Welcome to St. Bartholomew’s, Burwash

 

The Sunday Next Before Advent Christ the King

 

Collect

Eternal Father,

whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of

heaven that he might rule over all things as

Lord and King:

keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit

and in the bond of peace,

and bring the whole created order to worship at his

feet;

who liveth and reigneth with thee,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Ezekiel 34:11-16; 20-24. Ephesians 1:15-end.

Matthew 25:31-end.

Many of us will, no doubt, have been following with interest the events as they unfold

in the United States, in the aftermath of the Presidential election, and perhaps with

the shifting scene inside our own No.10. Whatever title is given to a leader, the

process of king-making has always been fraught with difficulty, and the quest for or

the retention of power can bring out both the best and the worst in human nature.

The history of Israel is a complicated one, and when they decoded to make kings it

became more so. Originally one nation it split into two independent countries, Israel

in the north and Judah in the south. First Israel was overrun and its people scattered

by the Assyrians in 721BC. Then, some one hundred and fifty years later Judah was

conquered by the Babylonians and the cream of its population taken into exile.

Among the strange group of individuals that make up the collection of Hebrew

prophets, perhaps the strangest is the prophet Ezekiel, from whom our first reading

comes this morning. As a priest in the Temple in Jerusalem Ezekiel was among

those high ranking officials along with the king and his family who were dispatched to

Babylon. Like all his prophetic predecessors Ezekiel followed events on the political

scene with a keen interest. He listened with mounting horror to dispatches which

were brought to Babylon of the antics of the puppet king, installed by the

Babylonians in Jerusalem who finally tested the patience of the Babylonian King

Nebuchadnezzar so far that he sent in his army again and razed Jerusalem to the

ground.

With the focus of their faith, the Temple, destroyed, and their holy land trampled over

and desecrated, Ezekiel saw his ministry as one of reconciling his people to God.

Whilst he begins by chastising them for all the promises they had broken throughout

their history, acting out his prophetic visions often through bizarre symbolic acts, he

nevertheless strove to persuade his people not to lose heart but to forge a new

community under the leadership of a new king who would lead them in God’s way,

as a shepherd gathers and cares for his sheep (Ezekiel 34:11ff).

The idea of a king acting like a shepherd of his people was a model of leadership

that harked back to the original concept of Kingship, which a reluctant Samuel

instituted with Saul. Ultimate authority was ascribed to God; human power was

therefore delegated power, and it had moral limits. Throughout the Old Testament

we see that human power divided, by separating kingship from priesthood, the

secular from the sacred, and both kings and priests as being kept in check by the

institution of the prophet who was mandated by God to criticise the corruption that

power inevitably brings. Speaking truth to power is a risky business and the position

of the prophet was not a comfortable one, as Jesus of Nazareth was to discover in

his short life. He had assumed the role of prophet in his day precisely to point away

from himself to the higher authority of God, and his call was exactly that of the

prophets of old: seek God in this life, put your trust in him; seek his power and not

that of men. It was a message that threatened the delicate balance of power in

Palestine, which was at the time under Roman occupation. In the same way as the

prophets had been laughed out of court, the authorities first tried mockery with

Jesus, and when this failed turned to nastier methods. He was arrested on the

trumped up charge of claiming to be a king, which the Jewish authorities knew would

gain the attention of the Roman power. When he was brought to trial in front of the

Roman Procurator, Pilate asked him “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus

answered, “King is your word. My task is to bear witness to the truth”. (Jn. 18:37.)

The Feast of Christ the King, which the church celebrates today, was instituted in

1925 by Pope Pius XI. There are some who believe that the reason for him

suggesting this festival was the rise of fascism in Western Europe, and his desire to

re-enforce the model of Christian leadership in terms of service and care as opposed

to the dictatorial power espoused by the politics emerging in Italy. Whether or not

that is so it is a fitting way in which to end the Christian year, and perhaps this year

in particular. In fleshing out his answer to Pilate, Jesus went on to say: My kingdom

does not belong to this world. My kingly authority comes from elsewhere. Power

and authority have been very much in the news of late, whether it be the desire to

hold on to power in the United States, or the gossiping as to who wields the power

in No.10. Politicians of all shades play their power games, and to an extent we are

all drawn into the game, but the message of the Judaic/Christian tradition is that

these games are illusory for the real power, as Jesus pointed out, comes from

elsewhere. And perhaps finally a cautionary word for those who seek power or

desire to retain power, from the Babylonian Talmud: Power buries those who wield it.

Canon Patrick Sales

St. Bartholomew’s will be open for private prayer on Sunday and Wednesday 9.00 am - 3.00pm

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Due to the current lockdown, we have been directed by the Government and the Church of England that the Church may not open for Sunday Worship.

St. Bartholomew’s will be able to open for private prayer between 9.00 am - 3.00 pm starting on Wednesday 11th November and then every Sunday and Wednesday until the Lockdown has been lifted.

If you have any queries please contact the Churchwardens Vicky Patterson 01435 884135 or Richard Harden on 01435 882556

Issued 5th Nov 2020

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Christmas Gifts and Food for FSW: November and December 2020

I have received this message from Garton House (FSW’s Headquarters)

“Christmas is not far away and FSW know that many of you will be wondering about our plans for collection and delivery of hampers and toys to our families. As usual, we will be distributing toys and food hampers (including fresh turkeys) to our families as we normally do on the last working day before the Christmas break.

Our main needs prior to Christmas are for Christmas specific food items such as sharing boxes of chocolates or biscuits; family packs of crisps or snacks; Christmas puddings; stuffing; gravy; cranberry and bread sauce.

FSW would also welcome donations of gift vouchers that can be given to older children, please place in an envelope clearly marked GIFT VOUCHERS, new toys for children aged 5 and over (but please no soft toys this year) or financial donations that can be directed at supporting the families most in need over the Christmas period.”

So far as the Deanery is concerned, our planned collection dates are 18 November for food, and Christmas gifts during the week beginning 7 December: if you have any late food donations for either Christmas, or the usual items, these will also go to FSW in the December run.

Food donations should be taken to the Food Bank at Church and the other donations to the Toy and Crib Service – if we are allowed to hold it on 6 December – otherwise they can be brought to me ,Lesley Woodburn, at Oak House, Heathfield Road, Burwash. Telephone 883196

THANK YOU. YOU ARE REALLY HELPING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

 
 
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From the Churchwardens

 

We now embark on a long period – perhaps between one and two years – while a new Rector is found and appointed. It is a complicated process which has to follow a strict legal pathway and which has to satisfy not just Burwash but also Burwash Weald and Etchingham, as nowadays we are all together in a united benefice.

During the vacancy, a number of priests and a lay reader have kindly agreed to look after us week by week, for which we are truly grateful. There are arrangements (listed in the village magazine each month and on this website) for giving pastoral care and dealing with weddings and baptisms.

We want to try to keep things going as near to normal as possible, but the Covid restrictions do make that difficult. We are only able at present to hold one service a week, with limited numbers. We still ask you to continue to email us each week that you would like to attend. Special services like Remembrance Sunday and Christmas regrettably look very likely to be far from normal. We will try to keep everyone informed of developments via this website, the magazine, and the e-bulletins.

During this vacancy, we particularly ask for your whole-hearted help and support, and please do contact one of us if you think things are going wrong. We really need to know.

Vicky Patterson ( thymeplace@gmail.com )

Richard Harden ( rh@richardharden.co.uk )

                        

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United Benefice of Burwash,  Burwash Weald & Etchingham  

A normal weekly pattern of Churches opened for private prayer                                                                        

Monday

All Churches

Closed

Tuesday

All Churches

Closed

Wednesday

Assumption of Blessed Mary &

St Nicholas

9 am – 4 pm

Thursday

St. Bartholomew's

St Philip's

9am - 3pm

Friday

All Churches

Closed

Saturday

All Churches

Closed

Sunday

St. Bartholomew's &  St Phillip's

9am - 3pm

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