Remember Christ

Services this weekend (24th–25th February)


This weekend, and until further notice, our services will be held at,

3rd URC Scout HQ
Kings Rd
Chandlers Ford
SO53 2EY

The Scout hall is behind and to the left of the URC Church. Parking in front of the URC Church or on the street.

Dear Friends

The seasons come and go. This winter, with the exception of a few very cold weeks, has been exceptionally mild and we can see the plant life confused by the warm weather. The darkness is now starting to clear away and many commuters are able to leave home and arrive back again in daylight. We are looking forward to the spring and the promise of summer beyond.

Nevertheless, we are still in the hard part of the year. Many school children are deep in preparations for exams, farmers must still arise in the dark to tend their land and animals, workers feel they need especially to earn their income to pay for a summer holiday. All around we see busyness and industry.

And yet I sit before my full barns and say to myself,

God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.

And I mean it! “I’m basically alright,” I delude myself, “I haven’t done and of the major sins—I haven’t killed anyone, assaulted anyone, hurt anyone. I’m basically okay.” And the Church, in her love for me tries her best to shake me out of my lethargy. “Open to me,” we will start to sing on Sundays in Matins,

the doors of repentance, O Life-giver; for my soul goeth early to the temple of thy holiness, coming in the temple of my body, wholly polluted. But because thou art compassionate, purify me by the compassion of thy mercies.

We have come, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, to the season of preparation, to the season of repentance, to the season of the Great Fast. But even now the Church shows compassion upon us by giving us a three-week period to prepare ourselves, to knock us out of complacency and set us in our right mind. We will start, on Sunday, with the Gospel reading of the Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee.

The Lord said this parable, “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 18:10:14

And this is more than a mere “repent like the Publican and not as the Pharisee,” this is to identify me as the Pharisee. I spend my life justifying myself, praising my own successes and finding excuses for my failures. And, I go further, I revel in the failures of others and gloss over their successes.

Yet Christ and his Church are not content for me to carry on my path to oblivion, they want me to come to my senses and repent: to examine in my life how I may turn back to remembrance of my first love. Christ is saying to me,

You have persevered and have patience, and have laboured for my name’s sake and have not become weary.
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.

Revelation 2:3–5

Let us, then, dear brothers and sisters, remember our first love Christ and turn again to him. He honours our perseverance and patience yet calls us to turn to him again in repentance and love. And in doing this, by keeping our fidelity to the Lord, we will all the more be honoured to celebrate his defeat of the powers of this age—death, sin and idolatry—through his death and Resurrection and thereby coming to new Life in him.

Come and see!

We serve a meal following the Liturgy on Sundays. All are welcome.

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In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God, Amen.

The Lord withdrew, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, into the region of Tyre and Sidon, which are to the north in Lebanon. He had previously commanded his disciples, a few chapters earlier,

“Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.
But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:5–8)

Christ commands his disciples to stay within their own community, within Israel, yet he goes to a place outside. Why is this? For the disciples, the Lord sends them out to tell the people of Israel that their Messiah, their Christ, has come bringing with him the Kingdom of Heaven, this would make little sense to Gentiles. But earlier in the chapter for today’s Gospel reading, the Pharisees were offended by the Lord’s words.

“Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” (Matthew 15:11)

The disciples told him of the offence he had caused (v. 12). And he told them,

“Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.
Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.” (vv. 13–14)

And to make his point, he withdrew to Tyre and Sidon: not to preach but to demonstrate to the disciples—to you and to me!—that faithfulness can come from anywhere. “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David;” cries out the Canaanite Woman, “my daughter is severely possessed by a demon.” She did not have the blindness of the Pharisees who had the Messiah before them but could not recognise him, she did not eat according to the Law of Moses yet the words which came from her mouth did not defile her; despite lacking everything possessed by the people of God, by Israel, she was faithful and because of this and as a sign to his disciples, the Lord heals the daughter.

Read last Sunday’s Sermon, Outside the Church.
Archive of Past Sermons.

Services this week

Friday 23rd February
Discussion on the Gospel of Matthew, 8 pm
Online only

Saturday 24th February
Great Vespers, 6.30 pm
At 3rd URC Scout HQ, Chandlers Ford

Sunday 25th February
Matins & Divine Liturgy, 9 am
At 3rd URC Scout HQ, Chandlers Ford

Online session is via Google Meet: please get in contact for the details.

Please join us: all are welcome, come and see.

Attending Church

We meet at 3rd URC Scout HQ, Kings Rd, Chandlers Ford SO53 2EY. The Scout hall is behind and to the left of the URC Church. Come and See.

Can I help you?

I am here for you, you need only ask. Is there a way I can support your life of faith? Get in touch.

Can you help the parish?

Yes, absolutely. Offer yourselves to the Lord: pray! Make available to him all your talents and ask him how he would like you to use them — listen for his reply.

Your prayers!

With love in Christ

Fr Alexander
[email protected]