Notices 10th May 2020 

Church Family News
Prayer meeting Join us in spirit on Wednesdays and Saturdays, as we 'meet' remotely together to pray.  At 10am on Wednesdays and Saturdays, we will be continuing our virtual prayer meetings.

We know some of you aren't able to access what we are doing online but please do join us in spirit between 10:00am and 10:40am as we pray for our Alpha Online course, our church and national leaders, our community, and our nation’s keyworkers.

#TryAlpha

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 We will be continuing online Alpha on Tuesday 12th May at 8pm.   

Join us on Tuesday 12th May at 8pm on ZOOM
First check out the TASTER VIDEO here: Is There More to Life Than This?
Over 7 weeks, our ZOOM discussion group will watch a short video on topics like: who Jesus is, what he did, prayer & the Bible – followed by sharing your thoughts and comments.
To register, email Pauline with your name;
 info@ccbedford.org
To join each week, a ZOOM link will be sent to registered people.
We will finish at 9pm!
Your vital Alpha roles:
a/ Share the social media posts widely and often yourself - use the buttons below to view our social media posts and don't forget to like and share them as appropriate.

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b/ Pray for people to invite their friends, for people to see the online invitations and to watch the first episode (Is there more to Life?) and to want to watch and discuss more of what they have seen.
c/ Pray with others together on Zoom. For more information about praying during and for Alpha, and joining with others in a ZOOM prayer meeting for Alpha guests and leaders, please contact Judy Miller.
 
Daily Hope offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line.  The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind.

Aid
 
Christian Aid Week – Sunday 10th May until Saturday 16th May.
Because of lockdown, there are none of the usual ways to donate to the charity (i.e. cake bake donation, actual red envelope donation/contactless machine.) However, Christian Aid have developed a ‘Virtual red envelope’, accessible
here for your donations in 2020.  For more information about how donations will be used see their website

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The Marriage Sessions explore how couples can build a fun, strong and lasting relationship. Many marriages will be feeling the strain right now, but we’re hoping this resource will help you not only endure this season together, but enjoy it.
 
Every Monday from 11 May for four weeks Care for the Family will send you a link to one session, which you can watch at a time that suits you and your partner best. Each episode includes a mix of real life stories, insight from leading relationship specialists and trusted wisdom from Rob Parsons.
 
Midweek you’ll also receive some bonus content to help you unpack the session even further (just make sure you confirm to receive emails from us when you sign up).


So sign up today and enjoy four free date nights on us! 

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The Word for Today There are some copies of this, available outside the entrance to the church halls (140 Dudley Street) only collect if you are passing on an essential journey.                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Next edition of Christ Church Life
Due out at the beginning of June, wouldn’t it be encouraging to share a Bible verse or passage that has been a real help and reassurance to you? Hannah Hibbert is looking for your contribution, so please email
editor@ccbedford.org with a) your Name; b) Bible text; c) brief reason how it has helped you.

How to support others
FOODBANK We welcome appropriate food for FOODBANK – Their most needed items at the moment are: long life fruit juice, tinned rice pudding, sponge pudding, tinned carrots, tinned peas, rice (500g), tea-bags (40/80), squash and cup-a-soup. There is a collection basket in the Hub (open on Tuesdays between 12.30pm and 2.45pm), or leave with Richard (115 Denmark Street) or John (161 Dudley Street) and they will hand over to the Foodbank team.

A Word from Richard – If the Gospels records are so different about the resurrection, how can the diversity add to our confidence in these as historical records?

In my last Word from Richard, I remarked that within the 4 Gospel stories of the resurrection (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), there are only three common themes, on which they all agree:

  1. The tomb is empty
  2. The Resurrection is announced
  3. The disciples physically meet Jesus
That’s true, but … there are a set of common details that seem to coalesce round these three common themes, so much so as to be like planets round the sun of the 3. I’m grateful to Ian Paul for listing these so helpfully:
  • That women first went to the tomb early on the Sunday morning;
  • That the stone had been rolled away, and that the tomb was empty;
  • That there were angelic beings present;
  • That some male disciples came to the tomb in response to the report of the women, and found the same;
  • That the consistent response of all the disciples (both men and women) was a mixture of wonder, confusion, and fear;
  • That Jesus himself appeared to a wide range of people on different occasions;
  • That the people he met consistently failed to recognise him at first, quite possibly as a result of their lack of expectation;
  • That he was both bodily, in the sense that he could be touched and he ate, and yet he was also transformed, in that he could appear and disappear at will;
  • That after a period of time, he was taken up to heaven.
It is these very details, circling our ‘sun of three common themes’ that provide us with greater certainty that Jesus is indeed risen from the dead, that the unbelievable (and that’s what it seemed to the first disciples as well) had truly happened.

No one rises from the dead. The dead are dead. Well, yes, occasionally, we hear from someone who ‘died’ for a few moments, and even for some minutes, and then are resuscitated back to life again. But not one who died on a Friday and rose to life again, without medical help, two days later. The dead are dead. No one rises from the dead.

So, unbelievably, for the disciples and for all who want to know ‘Who is Jesus?’ he is the only recorded person to have died and risen to life again. The evidence for such would have to be pretty amazing, wouldn’t you think?

What in diversity gives unity to these stories from our Gospel writers?

I love the details. We easily read over them, eager to get to the heart of the story, but the details are important. They offer us a real sense that the person who is writing was an eyewitness or relied heavily on eyewitness testimony. If we just look at John’s story and the arrival of Peter and John at the tomb, we first note the race to get there and that John (our writer) arrives first: a completely unnecessary detail to the story. Indeed that Peter goes past John, standing at the entrance, to boldly go where no one had gone yet – very Peter with his confident impetuosity – is another detail owing to someone who was there. And then in the tomb, John writes how the grave clothes are separated (John 20:5-7). You would have to have been there to notice and remember such a detail.

Notice also that John had to bend over to look into the tomb. It’s a small point but an accurate reflection of what we are learning about 1st century tombs, especially those of the wealthy. This tomb was Joseph of Arimathea’s. He was a rich man (Matt 27:57), a respected member of the Jewish high council, the Sanhedrin (Mark 15:43), and had not consented to that council’s actions (Luke 23:50-51). John tells us that Joseph of Arimathea was a secret disciple of Jesus (John 19:38). The tombs of the wealthy, of whom Joseph of Arimathea was one, were constructed for families, had a round disk to roll over the entrance, which was usually low (hence the need to ‘bend over’ to look in [John 20:5]) and large enough to enter in. That need to bend over and physically go in also points to the reality that the person outside would not see all that was happening inside: the angels at each end of the stone ledge on which a body was placed; the separation of the grave clothes.

It is these extra details, given by each of the authors – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – that strongly suggest they were aware of the main story (my three common themes) and also aware of the eyewitnesses’ memories of such a momentous day.

This suggests to me a strong correlation with truth – the resurrection did happen – and with a community trying to make sense of the completely implausible – genuine eyewitness details are there.

A little bit of Christ Church History Here are the adverts from the Christ Church News of 70 years ago.  How many names and or locations can you recognise?  (Thanks to Rachel Bennett for lending the magazine).


For your prayers this week
  • Pray for the stop of the spread of Covid-19 virus and development of a vaccine.
  • Pray for NHS/care home staff, at hospital and across the community, and other key workers you know to be given extra grace and strength in these days.
  • Pray for our Prime Minister and government, their advisors and specialists.
  • Pray for those you know may be lonely, vulnerable and struggling.
  • Pray for our on-line #TryAlpha course, which successfully started on 28th April, especially that the Holy Spirit will bless our guests and draw a few more to join this week.
  • Pray for our on-line #TryAlpha course team of Andrew, Helen and Will to be prepared to lead well.
  • Pray for your local community, its shops and businesses, and for God to sustain us all.
  • Pray for those working from home, who miss the friendships of the workplace.
  • Pray for our young people that God will surround them with his peace and comfort during these difficult times
  • Pray for plans for Thy Kingdom Come prayer initiative (Ascension Day to Pentecost)
  • Pray for God’s grace & healing for those you know personally, especially any fighting coronavirus.
  • Pray for all who have lost a loved one at this time, and God’s Peace and comfort.

God of Mission, who alone brings growth to your church. Send your Holy Spirit to give vision to our planning, wisdom to our actions, and power to our witness. Help our church grow in numbers, in spiritual commitment to you, and in service to our local community, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen