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Sunday 21st January 2018 11:00
Sung Eucharist for the Third Sunday of Epiphany
Celebrant and Preacher: Rev'd Nathanial

Sunday 28th January 2018 11:00
Sung Eucharist for the Fourth Sunday of Epiphany
Celebrant: Rev'd Nathanial
Preacher: Jack Noonan

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19th January 2018

Dear Worshippers, Friends and Patrons of St. Clement’s,

Do join us..

Sunday 21st January at 11.00 – Sung Eucharist for the Third Sunday of Epiphany
Our Gospel reading is John 2.1-11 where Jesus turns water into wine in a wedding in Cana and the supporting readings are Revelation 19.6-10 in which John writes about the Wedding of the Lamb and Genesis 14.17-20 in which King Melchizedek blessed Abram. There will be parallel Children’s Ministry and following worship, Coffee Hour in the hall on the third floor of Klimentska 18.

Other things…

My sermon from last Sunday is now available to listen to on the church website. If you have missed it or would like to listen again, follow the link. The sermon is about the simple, open and gracious invitation which sums up for the most part the heart of Jesus’ message– COME AND SEE for yourself.

Celebratory Prayer for birthdays and wedding anniversaries or any other such occasion is a part of our regular service. You are invited to send to me the details of your birthday or any special occasion for which you would like us to pray, by email to me.

Yours in His Service,

Nathanial

14th January 2018 – Second Sunday of Epiphany – Rev’d Nathanial BM

Sermon (Click Link to Listen)

Readings: 1 Samuel 3. 1 – 20 ; Revelation 5. 1 – 10 ; John 1. 43 – 51

12th January 2018

Dear Worshippers, Friends and Patrons of St. Clement’s,

Do join us..
Sunday 14th January at 11.00 – Sung Eucharist for the Second Sunday of Epiphany
Our Gospel reading is John 1.43-51 where Jesus tells Philip and Nathanael to follow Him whilst the supporting readings are 1 Samuel 3.1-20 where we come to know about Samuel’s calling and the commencement of his prophetic ministry; and Revelation 5.1-10, which reveals Christ: the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the lamb of God. There will be parallel Children’s Ministry and following worship, Coffee Hour in the hall on the third floor of Klimentska 18.

Other things…
To read my sermon from 25th December and Jack Noonan’s sermon from 31st December please follow the link.

Celebratory Prayer for birthdays and wedding anniversaries or any other such occasion is a part of our regular service. You are invited to send to me the details of your birthday or any special occasion for which you would like us to pray, by email to me.

Yours in His Service,
Nathanial

31st December – First Sunday of Christmas – Jack Noonan

Focus Scripture: Luke 2: 22-40

The liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas draw into sharp focus the birth and infancy of Jesus. Emanuel, God with us…But it will take thirty years before this Child hears His prophetic cousin john tne Baptist’s, public declaration of Him:
‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”

Today, however, my focus is not on Jesus, but on His mother, Mary. St.Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus, the Son of God. Today’s sermon will be the first of a series as I work through some 12 episodes involving Mary/Miriam ,a 12-14 yr old girls who came from Nazareth ,a town so small that archaeologists once believed it never existed.

Within the Christian Church there is a wide spectrum of opinion in relation to the nature and status of Saint Mary. Generally our viewpoint depends on which Church tradition we grew up in and what teaching authority our denomination placed on the authority of tradition.

My upbringing was Irish Roman Catholic.

The Western Latin and Orthodox churches have evolved over the centuries a substantial body of doctrinal teaching in relation to Mary. Some of these doctrines also find adherents within the High church Episcopal and Anglican tradition. Particular devotion to Mary, however, garner little or no support, within the denominations of the Reformed Protestant and Separatist tradition.

The doctrines in question are The Bodily Assumption of Mary into heaven; the Immaculate Conception of Mary, that she was conceived without sin; that Mary is co Redemtrix and finally that Mary was forever virgin, meaning that she never engaged in sexual relations with her husband Joseph and never had children subsequent to Jesus.

All discussion really hinges the denominations view of the teaching authority of tradition.

Within Roman Catholic and Orthodox denominations tradition has a teaching authority, in and of itself, independent Scripture. Tradition is seen as part of the ongoing promised teaching work of the Holy Spirit within the Church, so these teachings and drawn from church tradition stand independent of Holy Scripture. They are essentially extra biblical doctrinal developments.
Within the Reformed Catholic and Protestant expressions of Christianity the understanding is different. The principle is that tradition, while of distinct value and merit, is ultimately and in the last analysis, subject to the Holy Scriptures and must not run counter to them.
Scripture, opened by the Holy Spirit of God, is the final authority and best test against possible doctrinal error.

This is where I find myself standing… and as the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception, The Assumption, the perpetual virginity of Mary and Mary being Co Redemtrix with our Saviour , have no clear warranty from the New Testament they are laid aside in my building up an understanding of the strength of character, faith, courage, obedience, love and beauty that is in the humanity and person of Mary, mother of Jesus.

The Gospels
The Gospels refer to at least 12 incidents connected with Mary. Seven events centering on the early life of Jesus. And the remainder referring to episodes in His public life. Today I would like us to consider just 2 episodes :

The Annunciation

It is well to realise that Mary was a young girl of between 12-14 years of age,engaged to a decent fair minded carpenter called Joseph, when the Archangel Gabriel issued God’s momentous invitation to her.

What was it about her that drew God into her life in such a radical way?
What spiritual maturing had already taken place in one so young, that enabled her to stay put in that room and not run away in utter panic….not only at the appearance of the Great Angel but also at the radical invitation of God?
God called on Mary to risk all… and lose her reputation among her family, neighbours, and the honourable man she was engaged to. She risked shame, isolation and the penalties of the Mosaic laws by becoming pregnant outside marriage. Had a married man been suspected of Mary pregnancy; Mary would have been sentenced to death by stoning. I think the shadow of gossip fell on Joseph.
.
God asked a great deal of her and she in faith answered ‘Yes’…. ‘,be it done unto me according to your word’. Demonstrating a humility, and a trusting faith in the faithfulness of God the Father.
Mary was “graced/blessed” by God. In that moment of acceptance, she became the channel through which God the Son took human form and entered our world. In saying ‘Yes’ to God her life ,our lives, and human history changed forever.

The Visitation to Elizabeth
Mary made her decision to visit Elizabeth on the basis of Gabriel’s revelation.
Is it that she instinctively knew that Elizabeth would also give her the emotional support, assurance and mature spiritual counsel that Mary’s unprecidented pregnancy warranted.

It is well to note that when the emotional high of saying ‘Yes’ to God settles down, and we are in a hard place adjusting to the consequences of drawing God’s will into our lives…we need solid, experienced godly, faith-tested friends to help us navigate the path of life in Christ. A Christian seeking to journey this alone is really an oxymoron; )) We need each other. Iron sharpens iron.

The meeting between Elizabeth and Mary is a meeting of Old and New Covenants.
Significantly the Old and New covenants embrace each other in joyful recognition .
Similiar to Sarah, Rebecca, and Hannah, the aged Elizabeth’s pregnancy is a miracle.She bears the last OT prophet whose prophetic drive is to ‘prepare the way of the Lord’.
Elizabeth embraces the pregnant unmarried teenage Mary carrying the seed of the Incarnate God…Mary is unassumingly inaugurating the new kingdom which her Son would proclaim.
This is all happening because Mary believes that what the Lord has promised ,He will accomplish.

The dominant unseen personality overseeing this meeting is the Holy Spirit.
The 6 month old John, who was filled with the Spirit even from his mother’s womb leaped in the womb.
His mother Elizabeth speaks in the Spirit and Mary’s response is a song of the Spirit. Holy Spirit to Holy Spirit.

Mary in her song ,the Magnificat expresses the joyful experience of being in and doing God’s will…..

If we carefully listen…we all have our own Magnificat……..

Our souls yearn, and glorify The Lord… despite our worries and concerns.
Our spirits in hope, rejoice in Jesus our Saviour.
It amazes us that God took time notice +call us.
We recognise that God, the Holy Spirit, has touched something in us…and will not let us go.
That the Lords mercy + love is there for all those who seek it.

C+A.

Hold to the image of the gestating seed….the creative Word.

The image of the supernatural seed of the Spirit of God is the invisible underlying reality in the Christian experience.

It is important to be aware that the Way of Christ is not a ‘natural’ but a supernatural Way.

This is vital for our church to hold on to, for without the supernatural we emasculate the gospel ,,,,and a church without power, has nothing to offer beyond words …. words stripped of the power to transform.

Sarah, Rebecca, Hannah, Elizabeth, and Mary accepted in faith the gift of the divine seed and birthed greatness.

This we are also challenged to do.

What new thing does God want to birth in your life?
Your dissatisfactions will give you some clues.
What do you need to let go of?
What do you need to embrace?

Pray unceasingly. Search the scriptures.

God has a plan for each of us. Seek it out. Accepted it.
And with Mary, say ‘Yes’. Submitting and obeying; ‘be it done to me according to Your word’.
The rest then is history , sooooo fasten your seat belt for with God nothing is impossible. Amen

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL

Part of a Holy Week collection of poems. Here Mary is at the foot of the cross…

MARY , MOTHER.
Son…….
Minejoys fade
With each laboured breath,
Your weight stretched body makes.

I do not understand God’s promise,
That gave my womb life.

Can it be for these
Bloodfilled soulseared agonies?
Since youth my spirit
Rejoiced in God, my Saviour.
But dreaded dreams
Of Simeon’s sword,
My sleep, many mornings
Broke.
Nightmares now stalk this hill.
Relentless Death wrenches you.

This is Eternity’s womb,
Nature groans in expectation
Of my Son.
His breath exhaling
Life through Death,
Where nails and lance pierce.

Transforming fault
Pinned on timber!

Still labouring birthpangs,
Dwarfing forebirths.
Reeded gall’s no comfort.
‘Eli… Eli…!‘, he cries.
With shuddering spasm
Death dies. Selah.
From this driven stake
Newbirth’s Spirit flies.
Let go,
Let go, my Son,
Let go
It… is… finished…

25th December -Christmas – Rev’d Nathanial BM

Readings: Luke 2.1-20, Isaiah 62.6-12 and Titus 3:4-7

How many of you went shopping ‘gifts’ for your friends and family? With the coming of Christmas, we make lists of gifts that we have to get for our near and dears one. And, sometimes, our children make a list of the gifts they wish to receive on this special occasion. While writing this sermon I was reminded of a song that my babies often watch on the Internet these days – the 12 days of Christmas my true love gave to me and it made me think how good those gifts are but nothing compared to the gift that God has given to us at Christmas. In John 3:16 as we all know; it is written that ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son’ and Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:15 writes Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!.

Paul had the greatest theological mind and yet he calls God’s Christmas “gift” – indescribable. No one on this Earth can match the indescribable person – Jesus Christ. There is absolutely nothing to compare with this Gift that you and I have received, my dear friends.

In today’s Gospel Reading we see that Mary gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger.

We beautifully wrap the gifts.. Don’t we? Gift wrapping is an art in itself. Here we have our indescribable gift.. strangely wrapped..

1) The baby comes wrapped in Isaiah’s prophecy..
How do you wrap an indescribable gift? What do you use? Mary wrapped him in bands of cloth. God, while preparing the people, for receiving the gift of His Son, wrapped him in the powerful prophetic voice of Isaiah. In today’s Old Testament reading, we see, it’s given – See, your salvation comes; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.’ Isaiah in another chapter calls him – Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore.
2) The baby Jesus comes wrapped in history
In the GOSPEL Reading we see that – In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. That’s how you wrap an indescribable gift. You wrap Him in undeniable history. The census records that there is no myth involved, no story that we read but a true account of the God coming down as a man on the Earth. John writes – The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

3) For many people, the baby, comes wrapped in mystery
We can’t leave out the mystery. If you take away the mystery there’s nothing indescribable about him. We have a prophetic word from Isaiah and other prophets, saying, “The Messiah is coming; be ready. God’s gift is about to be delivered without compensation. God became man. . Undiminished deity took upon himself perfect humanity and, linking the two natures together in one personality housed in one unique body, the God-man was delivered. No less deity. No less humanity in one person, in one body. That is a mystery.

4) The baby comes wrapped in the hope of eternal life..
In today’s New Testament Reading, Titus chapter 3, we see that the baby is the evidence of God’s goodness and loving kindness and is wrapped in the hope of eternal life. While reading John Stott, I came across something I would like to share with you.. ‘There is nothing that can be compared with this message of God who loved, and came after, and died for, a world of lost sinners’. Our God’s love is indescribable and so is his Christmas gift.

That’s why the Christmas story is to be repeated in God’s words time after, time after time. Because that’s the only way men and women will believe the prophecy, the history and mystery that surrounds that baby.
God’s good news or indescribable gift is for everyone. For the working-class, even impoverished shepherds possessing virtually nothing, and later for the majestic magi possessing wealth, power and prestige. And God’s gift is for you and me.
I wonder what happened to the shepherds after this night. Obviously they were changed. But they still had their work to do. Their position in society did not change. But I believe, they told everyone they could about their glorious experience. And they continue to bear witness through this account in Luke 2, year after year.
You and I have probably never seen an angel stand before us, we have not heard heavenly angels sing praise to God. Or maybe we have and did not even realize it. Nevertheless, we have been given the good news/ God’s gift. Jesus has come, our Savior, our Messiah, our Lord. After the holidays, when we get back to our routine, whether it involves shepherding sheep or not, how will this reality change our life? Who will you tell about it? Who will see this Jesus in the way we live our life? I would like to encourage each one of us; let us try to describe some of the qualities of this indescribable gift wherever we are this Christmas and this new year.

5th January 2018

Dear Worshippers, Friends and Patrons of St. Clement’s,

Tomorrow is the Feast of Epiphany, celebrating the visit of wise men to baby Jesus. This marks the beginning of the season of Epiphany when we think about the way Jesus ‘made manifest’, first of all at His Baptism. Therefore, the first Sunday after Epiphany is celebrated as the ‘Baptism of Christ’.

Do join us..

Sunday 7th January at 11.00 – Sung Eucharist celebrating the Baptism of Christ

Our Gospel reading will be the account of baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist as recorded in Mark 1. 4-11 whilst the supporting readings are Genesis 1. 1-5 and Acts 19. 1-7. Following worship, there will be Coffee Hour in the hall on the third floor of Klimentska 18.

It being the first Sunday of the month, I will be off to Brno for our regular monthly service there..

Sunday 7th January at 17.00 – Holy Communion celebrating the Baptism of Christ
The service will take place in our regular Brno venue – ‘The Upper Room’, corner of Jezuitská and Mozartova, Brno. If you have family or friends living in Brno, do tell them about our services there.

Other things…

If you can help us by sharing your time and expertise by being a Welcomer, Coffee Hour Organizer, Reader or Intercessor, please get in touch with Alasdair Duncan duncan.alasdair49(at)gmail(dot)com and he will add you to the Rota Volunteers List. If you have not done anything of this kind earlier but are interested in it, there are people who can guide/train you.

Celebratory Prayer for birthdays and wedding anniversaries or any other such occasion is a part of our regular service. You are invited to send to me the details of your birthday or any special occasion for which you would like us to pray, by email.

Yours in His Service,

Nathanial

Christmas Message

Dear Worshippers, Friends and Patrons of St. Clement’s,

I am happy to report that on last Friday 15th December, as many of you present know, more than 200 people joined the ‘People in Need’ Carols. On the following day Saturday 16th December, some of us along with four enthusiastic kids went to Nebušice to sing Carols and spread the joy of Christmas. Then on Sunday 17th December, we had a good fellowship, keeping in mind that many people leave Prague to return to family and friends in their home countries and on Tuesday 19th December we had the last evening of Advent activities led by David Hellam where we enjoyed decorating the cookies and making truffles together while discussing Christmas traditions in various countries. My heartfelt gratitude to all who led and participated in these programs.

Now coming to this Sunday, if you are in Prague this Christmas, please join us for..

Sunday 24th December at 11.00 – The Service of Nine Lessons and Carols

We will have the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols celebrating the birth of Jesus. Following worship, there will be Coffee Hour in the hall on the third floor of Klimentska 18. It would be great if you could bring some appropriate seasonal nibbles. This will be a time when we will have our church family’s Christmas get-together. You are welcome to invite your irregular worshipping or non-worshipping friends.

This will be the only Sunday this year when we will have two services at St. Clement’s, rather than just one..


Sunday 24th December at 23.30 – Midnight Eucharist for Christmas

At this service, our Gospel reading will be John 1.1-14, which will be our final reading at our Service of Lessons and Carols. This wonderful introduction to the Gospel of John, explains, what we celebrate at Christmas – The Incarnation – How the Word became flesh. The supporting readings will be Isaiah 52.7-10 and Hebrews 1.1-4.

And then do not forget to join us for..

Monday 25th December at 11.00 – Family Eucharist for Christmas Day

During the service we will hear familiar Christmas story recorded by Saint Luke – Luke 2.1-20 describing the birth of Jesus. The supporting readings are Isaiah 62.6-12 and Titus 3:4-7. There will be No Coffee Hour to let you all get home to enjoy your Christmas dinner.

Other important things…

My sermon from last Sunday is now available to listen to on our church website. If you have missed it or would like to listen again, click here.

Our Bishop The Rt. Rev’d Dr. Robert Innes wishes everyone a happy and blessed Christmas. Following is the link to view his Christmas greetings.. http://europe.anglican.org/main/latest-news/post/1326-christmas-greetings-from-bisop-robert. Our Archdeacon The Ven Colin Williams and Area Dean The Rev’d Dr. Frank Hegedus have also asked me to convey their best wishes to all this Christmastide.

Christmas Cards will, once more, be available at the back of the church, in return for a donation to support the ministry of St. Clement’s. A pack of ten cards with envelopes is for 200 CZK.

If you are away from home this Christmas and would like to share the joy of Christmas with people in Prague, you are invited to partake in Potluck Dinner on 25th December at 14.00 at Sally Whetstone- MC Sweeny’s residence in Prague 6. For more information, please get in touch with Sally swhet@yahoo.com.

Celebratory Prayer for birthdays and wedding anniversaries or any other such occasion is a part of our regular service. You are invited to send to me the details of your birthday or any special occasion for which you would like us to pray, by email to me.

And finally.. May I wish you all Merry Christmas.

Yours in His Service,
Nathanial

17th December 2017 – Third Sunday of Advent – Rev’d Nathanial BM

Sermon (Click Link to Listen)

15th December 2017

Dear Worshippers, Friends and Patrons of St. Clement’s,

A reminder that later today, St Clement’s will be hosting ‘People in Need’ Carols starting at 18.00 followed by seasonal refreshments at the back of the church. Then, on Saturday, some of us will be Carolling around the town to spread the message of Christmas. If you would like to know more about it, please get in touch with Churchwarden Gordon Truefitt or with me.

Sunday 17th December at 11.00 – Sung Eucharist for the Third Sunday of Advent
The Gospel Reading is John 1.6-8, 19-28 whilst the supporting readings are Isaiah 61.1-4, 8-11 and 1 Thessalonians 5.16-24. Following worship, there will be Coffee Hour in the hall on the third floor of Klimentska 18.

Tuesday 19th December at 18.00 in the small meeting room on the first floor of Klimentska 18
Join us for an evening of Advent Meditations led by David Hellam on Bread of life(working with food). This will be the last Tuesday this season we will be exploring the Christmas message through craft activities. All materials will be provided. If the outside door of Klimentska 18 is locked, please press the bell marked ‘Kancelář’ and you will be buzzed in.

Other important things…

Christmas Cards will be available at the back of the church, in return for a donation to support the ministry of St. Clement’s. A pack of ten cards with envelopes is for 200 CZK.

The Service of Nine Lessons and Carols will be held on Sunday 24th December at 11.00 followed by seasonal refreshments. Midnight Eucharistong> for Christmas will be on Sunday 24th December at 23.30 and the Family Eucharist for Christmas will be held on Monday 25th December at 11.00. Do invite your friends and family who normally do not come to church to be a part of our Christmas services. Attached is pdf of the invitation we have prepared which you could either print-out or send an e-copy.

If you are away from home this Christmas and would like to share the joy of Christmas with people in Prague, you are invited to partake in Potluck Dinner on 25th December at 14.00 at Sally Whetstone- MC Sweeny’s residence in Prague 6. For more information, please get in touch with Sally swhet@yahoo.com

Celebratory Prayer for birthdays and wedding anniversaries or any other such occasion is a part of our regular service. You are invited to send to me the details of your birthday or any special occasion for which you would like us to pray, by email to this address.

Yours in His Service,
Nathanial

10th December 2017 – Second Sunday of Advent – Rev’d Nathanial BM

Sermon (Click Link to Listen)