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Neighbour – Love as Yourself

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 The Reading:  Mark 12:28-34 

You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (v.31) RSV

The two commandments that Jesus gave to sum up the Old Testament law were: a) to love God with our whole being, and b) to love our neighbour as our self.  We cannot of course fulfil the second, unless we fulfil the first.  And we cannot fulfil the first, if we are not fulfilling the second!

In other words, we do not have the love of God with which to love our neighbour, unless we are loved by and love God.  As we walk with our God so we are able to fulfil the commandment to love our neighbour: his love is “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5).

Conversely, if we think we love God and yet are not loving our neighbour, then we are deceiving ourselves (1 John 3:17).  The way that we show that we genuinely love God is by loving our neighbour “in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

We cannot give if we have not received.  We cannot give what we do not have.  If we do not love ourselves then we cannot love others.  Maybe we have never been loved.  How then can we fulfil this great command?  The answer lies in the love of God.  Once we start to understand how much he loves us, and that he accepts us as we are, then we shall find that same love starting to work through us to others.

This is why Jesus gave us a “new commandment” (John 13:34).  This new commandment deepened the original commandment (Leviticus 19:18) that he had quoted.  Now the requirement is: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).  This love, in the words of Ignatius, is “to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that I do your will.”

Let us resolve to love God, not only face to face, but by loving others, for he loves them too.

Teach me, O Lord, to love others, whoever they are, with the love with which you love me.  Amen. 

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1  What practical loving is Jesus talking about?

    Matthew 25:34-36

2   Who were Jesus’ ‘neighbours’?

    Mark 2:17

The Serpent on the Cross

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Service:  10:00 am Holy Communion

Preacher:  Revd Dennis Cavaghan

Readings:  Numbers 21:4-9 & John 3:13-17

“For he who turned toward it was saved not by what he saw, but by thee, the Saviour of all.”                                   Wisdom of Solomon 16:7, the Apocrypha

7 Ages – Old Age

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The Reading:  2 Timothy 4:6-8 

I have fought the good fight … I have kept the faith.” (v. 7) RSV

Paul was never less than 100% in whatever he did.  As a Pharisee he was more zealous than any of his peers, and as a Christian he put most to shame in his missionary zeal.  That is why when in prison and believing that his execution must be near he was able to say, “I have fought the fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  No doubt he had many regrets and sins, but he knew the Lord had forgiven them.

He was consequently able to look forward with eager longing to his reward.  “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness … “ (v.8).  This reward is not for him only but “also for all who have loved his appearing.” (v.8).

When we reach old age, and perhaps are weak or infirm, we can feel that we are a burden on others and a fairly useless addition to this world.  If we have a faith we may long to die and go to be with the Lord which, as St Paul said, is “far better” (Philippians 1:23).  But we are in our mortal coil and must continue to rejoice every day.  Our very weakness may be an opportunity for others to serve.  Our agedness is not our fault.  If we can’t hear, can’t remember and repeat ourselves, it is not our fault.  It may be extremely humbling, but we must not let it become humiliating.

King David must have been tempted to despise himself when in old age, the beautiful ‘hot water bottle’, Abishag, failed to arouse him (1 Kings 1:3-4).  But David could look back over a life of many achievements.  His Lord would not abandon him.  And then there was Peter.  He was told by Jesus that in his old age, “another will gird you and carry you where you do not want to go” (John 21:18).  Each of the 7 ages has its joys and difficulties.  Nevertheless, the Lord is constant and he always teaches us to rejoice.

Lord, grant me to be content, even in old age.  Amen. 

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1  Who in his old age held Jesus in his arms?

    Luke 2:25-28

2  Who was the oldest man in the Bible?

    Genesis 5:25-27

Holy Cross

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This Sunday is Holy Cross today and we remember particularly our brothers and sisters in Christ attending the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka.

Welcome Back Choir

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Today we welcome back our choir who will help lead the singing. We are indebted to Brian Cresswell who is stepping back into the breech to cover the important role of Musical Director whilst Miles Quick is in Canada. We know the choir is in safe hands.

Volunteer Needed

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Volunteer needed for alternate Mondays to join the Weekday Welcome Team from October.

For more information please contact Sandra Jordan, via Parish Office.

The Word of God is Sharp and Active

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Service:  6:30 pm Evensong

Preacher:  Revd Dennis Cavaghan

Readings:  Romans 13:8-58 & Matthew 18:15-20

The Word of God is sharp and active.  It comes in many ways but especially through the Scriptures.  Both Augustine and John Wesley were transformed by the Word, as have been countless Christians through the ages.  We too can be transformed by the renewal of our minds as we let God’s Word speak to us.  It can find us out; it has a way of speaking to us, encouraging us, challenging us, correcting us, fortifying us … if we were to but look at them.

7 Ages – Senior Citizen

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The Reading:  Joshua 14:6-12 

I am still as strong today as I was …” (v. 11) RSV

Caleb had been one of the two faithful spies (together with Joshua) who had been into the Promised Land and returned saying they could take it.  He had been forty years old at that time.  Since then Moses and Israel wandered in the wilderness for a further 40 years.  Caleb was now into his retirement years.  But he was still full of life.  As the Psalmist says: “They still bring forth fruit in old age, they are ever full of sap and green” (Psalm 92:14).

A follower of Christ should always be full of the Holy Spirit.  Joy should both be his hallmark and his strength.  As Nehemiah wrote: “… the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Caleb was not prepared to rust out in retirement, but he was determined to continue living for the Lord all the days of his life.

Retirement from our employment can be a hard pill to swallow, though some may welcome it with relief.  But as followers of Christ it is “he who endures to the end who will be saved” (Matthew 24:13).  We always need purpose, and even more so when we retire.  Fortunately Christians always have purpose; their aim is to know their God better, and to serve him with every fibre of their being.

Some people find retirement difficult because they become a ‘nobody’.  A former Bank of England Governor referred to the transition from ‘Who’s Who’ to ‘Who’s He’!  But disciples are not concerned with importance and recognition; they are concerned with using what’s left of their time and talents to the full.

They are not seeking the praise of men but rather the pleasure of their Lord. They want finally to hear that welcome: “Well done, good and faithful servant … enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:23).

Thank you Lord for the strength that is left to me.  May I find worthy outlets and opportunities for service.  Amen. 

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1  What do we need to beware of in retirement?

    Proverbs 6:10-11

2   How lively was Moses in his later years?

    Deuteronomy 34:7

Goodbye and Thank You Beki

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We shall be saying goodbye and thank you in our 10.00am service to Beki who has played the organ, and sung in our choir over the last three years. And we wish her well as she starts the third year of her organ studies in Birmingham.

Harvest Bring and Share Lunch

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Also coming up in the future is the Bring and Share Lunch after our Harvest Service on 5th October.

It would be lovely if some of the people who come to our 8.00am and 6.30pm services could come and join us for the lunch too.