Welcome to St John's Church, Gowerton
Croeso i Eglwys Sant Ioan Tre-Gŵyr
Update 2nd April
Our reading is Matthew chapter 21 verse 9
And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
Holy week 2020 will without doubt go down in history as a week when many will state that the church was closed – no worship, no prayer, no joyous celebration on Easter morn. This is so far from the truth, it shows a lack of understanding of what the Church is, and what Christians seek to proclaim in their lives.
The church building is just a structure where we gather, to collectively sing praises, receive the sacrament of the Eucharist, pray for those who are in need and give thanks for all the gifts we have all received through the abundant love of God. However, we must never forget that our calling is to express our faith in every aspect of our lives; at this time it is a challenge I grant you, we are, perhaps, not in the mood to sing, “Hosanna to the Son of David” (Matthew 21:9) on Palm Sunday or walk with our Lord towards Golgotha, and yet as people of faith we are sustained and comforted by the words of Holy Scripture, and in particular the words of the Gospels that tell of Jesus’ words and actions leading up to his crucifixion on that first Good Friday.
During next week I invite you to follow with me the words found in the Gospel according to John:
Tuesday John chapter 12 verses 20-36
Wednesday John chapter 13 verses 1-17
Maundy Thursday John chapter 13 verses 21-32
Good Friday John chapter 19 verses 1-30
After each section set aside some time for a prayer (with a coffee/tea and a biscuit I suggest) and remind yourselves of the fact that God loves you, and will walk with you every moment of your day, if you just open your hearts and minds to His words.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all, now and evermore.
Alex, Julia and Rebecca
Update 30th March
Journeys in the Bible
1. Name all the people on this road that we are told about ((Luke Chapter 10:25-37).
2. The distance from Jerusalem to Jericho is approx. 17 miles/25 km so you need to do that number of steps on the spot!
3. Solve these anagrams they all relate to the passage you have just read.
a) Genesis chapter 11 verses 26-32. Name his 3 sons and any other relatives that are mentioned.
b) Ur to Canaan is about 600miles (950km) – obviously you DO NOT have to do the journey all at once, but count your steps so you know when you arrive! You will be following the route of the River Euphrates.
c) Using the letters from the names of Terah’s 3 sons a b r a m n a h o r h a r n I have made 32 words of 3 letters or more – see how many you can do.
Read Luke 24:13–35. This journey is about 10-12km (7 ½ miles) – don’t forget to pace it out, to make it longer you can do the return journey.
1) On this road Jesus listened to the two people he met, take time to pause, listen and reflect.
2) Answer these questions- test your knowledge on Paul.
What was Paul's name before he became a Christian?
What city was Paul traveling to when he heard Jesus speak to him?
Was Paul originally a Pharisee?
Paul wrote a number of the books in the New Testament. Where was Paul when he wrote many of them?
Where was Paul born?
Which one of these books in the New Testament did Paul NOT write?
Paul spent most of his life after becoming a Christian in what occupation?
Who travelled from Moab to Bethlehem? The journey was about 80km/nearly 50 miles (don’t forget to do the equivalent number of steps).
Read the book of Ruth.
Now match the women’s names with the correct Bible references.
A. ELISHEBA B. JEZEBEL C. BATHSHEBA D. RACHEL E. ZIPPORAH
F. ELIZABETH G. SARAI H. JOCHEBED I. HANNAH J. ASENATH
K. ACHSAH L. EVE M. HAGAR N. REBEKAH O. ADAH
P. ANINOAM Q. PREISCILLA R. RHODA S. DAMARIS T. KETURAH
U. EUNICE V. HUSHIM W. DINAH X. EGLAH Y. TAHPENES
1. 1 Chronicles 8:8 2. Genesis 25:1 3. Genesis 16:1 4. Luke 1:36
5. Genesis 29:6 6. Exodus 18:2 7. Genesis 34:1 8. 1 Samuel 14:50
9. Genesis 22:23 10. Genesis 11:31 11. Numbers 26:59
12. Exodus 6:23 13. 2 Samuel 3:5 14. Acts 18:2
15.Genesis 36:2 16. 1 Chronicles 2:49
17. 1 Samuel 1:2 18. 1 Kings 1 16:31 19. 1 Kings 11:19
20. Acts 12:13 21. Acts 17:34 22. Genesis 3:20
23. Genesis 46:20 24. 1 Kings 2:13 25. 2 Timothy 1:5
Neighbour, journey, robbery, ignored, Samaritan, helped, Three, Compassion, beaten
Update for Sunday, 29th March
The text for today is from the Gospel of Matthew chapter 4 verses 14-16
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Can I begin this message with a big thank you to all who were able, for following Archbishop John’s suggestion of lighting a candle in their windows last Sunday as a sign of hope and prayer.
A well-known Christian folk singer called Garth Hewitt wrote a song entitled ‘Light a Candle in the Darkness’, the chorus of which is as follows:
Light a candle in the darkness,
Light a candle in the night,
Let the light of God unite us,
Light a candle in the night.
The song itself has little relevance to our present situation, however the chorus shouts our message from the rooftops.
My chosen text from Matthew’s Gospel underlines our responsibility:
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
“Good works” in today’s closed-down society involves staying in contact with each other, being constant in prayer and following the Government’s advice to stay at home other than to shop for necessities. It is our collective responsibility to adhere to the guidance.
As Christians we believe in faith that our Lord never leaves our side whatever our predicament. The following is well-known to all of you, let it speak to you today and always:
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."
The Lord replied:
"My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."
May God’s Blessing be upon you all.
Don’t forget on Sunday morning there are a variety of televised services available on the internet as well as on BBC 1 at 11.30 am.
Update 20th March 2020
Can everyone please put a single lighted candle in their front window on Sunday as a Candle for Hope.
Update 19th March 2020
This is the first of our weekly messages from St John’s which will continue as long as the situation requires.
2 Corinthians chap 1 verses 3-4
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
In these challenging and worrying times there is a need to take the recent words of the Bishop of Norwich to heart, “We continue to be the church just in a different way, to be a people of hope, to be a people of prayer, to be a people of kindness, to be a people of loving service. Because WE are the people of God.”
This Sunday is Mothering Sunday, a day in which we give thanks to God for all mothers, and focus our prayers on Mother Church, the bride of Christ. The characteristics of mothers resonate with special significance at this present time, to comfort, protect, guide and feed.
As we all brace ourselves to face the coming weeks it is vital that we remember we all have a role to play with regard to reaching out to the isolated, the lonely and distressed.
I have been heartened and encouraged by the number of people who have asked, “What can I do?” Councillor Sue Jones is being very pro-active in her efforts to set up a support system for those affected by our present situation, can I encourage you all to keep in touch and contact Sue or myself if you know of anybody who is in need of help. (Cllr Sue Jones 872561, Rev Alex Pye 927158)
I will finish this edition with a prayer by Michael Ramsey,
“Most merciful father, you have called us to be a caring Church, reflecting in our lives your infinite care for us your children.
Help us fulfil our calling and to care for one another in an unselfish fellowship of love; and to care for the world around us in sharing with it the good news of your love and serving those who suffer from poverty, hunger and disease.”
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.