Serve Christ, Show Love, Share Faith
Birkenhead Priory Parish
SUNDAY 16 JULY
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15.13)
Where do we base our hope?
Hope in our current circumstances will let us down. We live in a fallen world, so circumstances, people, possessions and the structures in society will never be perfect or sufficient to meet our every need or hope.
Yet Paul says here that in God, we are in a position not only to be filled with hope, but to overflow with it. The hope we have is so sufficient and satisfying that it spills out of us into the lives of those around us.
But that isn’t necessarily how we feel every day is it? Often we can look around us and feel hope-less. But the hope that Paul talks of, which comes from God, comes from much deeper than our circumstances.
Earlier in chapter 15, Paul writes this: ‘For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught through the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide, we might have hope’ (verse 4).
For Paul and the Roman Christians the ‘Scriptures’ were what we know as the Old Testament - very little of the New Testament had begun to be written by Paul’s time (especially as he wrote a large proportion of it!). The Old Testament is not irrelevant to us now that we have the New Testament. Rather it serves to give us endurance and encouragement, leading to hope.
How? Because it tells us that we are rooted in a much greater story. Each of our lives, and our life as a community, is rooted in the great story of God’s love for this world he created and his desire to rescue us in Jesus and bring us back to him after we have turned away. Each of us can find our place in this great story that continues to unfold in and through each one of us. It tells us that our deepest understanding of hope is rooted not in our present circumstances, but in God who has always has, does and will, work in us and in the world, to bring about his Kingdom of justice, peace and love. Reading through the Psalms gives us a model for this - so many of them combine the blunt honesty of crying out to God about current circumstances, asking where God is to be found, with the humble acknowledgement of how God has worked in the past, revealing his unchanging nature and love that transcends the day to day, yet is not separate from it.
This kind of hope roots our identity in God, in his story, as it becomes our story through Jesus. And it says whatever we face as individuals and as a church, we are part of a greater story of certain hope, because God’s future (think Isaiah 11, Revelation 21-22) is our future. And that can overflow! Paul
SUNDAY 16 JULY
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified: hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people, that in their vocation and ministry they may serve you in holiness and truth to the glory of your name; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Diary Dates July 2017
Sun 16 10.30am Holy Communion
Mon 17 2 - 4pm Friendship Group, CtK
3.00pm Art Group
Tue 18 11.30 TOCP Lunch CtK
12 - 3pm Ukulele Group
Wed 19 5.45pm Bite Nites CtK
Thur 20 10.00 am Let's Pray Together CtK
1 - 3pm Craft 'n' Chat
Sun 23 10.30am Holy Communion
Mon 24 3.00pm Art Group
Tue 25 11.30am TOCP Lunch CtK
12 - 3pm Ukulele Group
Wed 26 5.45pm Bite Nites CtK
Thur 27 10.00 am Let's Pray Together CtK
1 - 3pm Craft 'n' Chat
6 - 11.00pm Music Group
Sun 30 10.30 Holy Communion Priory Chapel
If anyone has an event to be included in the monthly diary, please let Irene Lee have the information.
Our church family have for a long time been very generous in donating food to the Foodbank via the box at the back of church. The Foodbank is now appealing for toiletries, eg. soap, deodorant, toothpaste; also, washing up liquid and soap powder. They are desperate for these items and your donations would be very much appreciated. Please leave items in the large box.
We next meet on Monday 17 July from 2.00 to 4.00pm when we hope to have a speaker. Always a warm welcome and time to chat over tea and cake.
Sometime in the next few weeks, we will hold an event to mark Fairtrade Fortnight at which there will be a raffle. You are invited to collect some fairtrade items, such as biscuits, chocolate, sugar, tea, coffee, anything with the fairtrade logo, and place them in the box at the back of church. More details to follow.
Pantomime Sunday 7th January 2018 at 2pm - Advance Notice
We have once again booked seats at the Floral Pavilion to see the pantomime which this year is PETER PAN. By booking a group in advance we get tickets at the lowest price which this year is £13.50 per ticket for adults and children. Seats are centre stalls which means we have a very good view of the stage.
*To obtain tickets at this price we have to book and pay for them by 22nd October. Booking forms will be available shortly. For more information speak to Irene Lee.
Post Communion Prayer
Grant, O Lord, we beseech you, that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by your governance, that your Church may joyfully serve you in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This Week's Readings:
OLD TESTAMENT READING
Isaiah 55: 10-13
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”
NEW TESTAMENT READING
Romans 8: 1-11
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”