All Saints with St James’ Church, Brightlingsea
“For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
For a tribute to David Salmon please click on the ‘News’ page.
Thought for the month
This is a shortened version of Rev’d Brian Kyriacou’s sermon on 4th March
This morning I would like us to think about the cross or more particularly the victory of the cross. This is the essence of the Collect for the day and the reading from 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. The death of Jesus was a victory.
The Jews did not see it as a victory. They could not accept that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ. They were expecting a political Messiah, someone who would lead them against the Roman armies occupying their land. A crucified Messiah was a stumbling-block to them. (The Greek word for ‘stumbling-block is ‘skandalon’ from which we get our word ‘scandal’)
The Gentiles (non-Jews) regarded it as foolishness (Greek ‘moros’ from which we get our word ‘moron’). It was unthinkable that a crucified criminal could be a saviour. Crucifixion was how the Romans put criminals to death.
Paul saw the cross as the power to save, a victory. But what was the problem that meant Jesus had to die?
The problem is that sin separates us from God for ever. It is a barrier between us and God. The penalty for sin is spiritual death and separation from God. And this is how we shall remain until the problem is solved and dealt with.
How is the problem of sin ever going to be dealt with? How can we ever have a personal loving relationship with God if sin separates us from him? The answer is by the death of Jesus. ‘Without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness’ (Hebrews 9:22)
There are 3 ways in particular that sin is dealt with by the death of Jesus:
- By his death Jesus takes upon himself the penalty for our sin and pays the price for us. Mark 10:45 says “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” A price (ransom) is paid for the release of a slave. The word ‘for’ means ‘on behalf of’. So Jesus has paid the price for (on behalf of) us, indeed on behalf of many. Now we are no longer in bondage to sin.
- By the death of Jesus the barrier of sin is removed. We now have direct access to God; no need to go through a priest. The curtain of the Temple has been torn in two from top to bottom. We are forgiven and reconciled to God. ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself not counting our sins against us (2 Corinthians 5:19)
- By the death of Jesus God declares us not guilty, acquitted, justified. As Billy Graham used to say, ‘justified’ means ‘just as if we had never sinned’. We are now in a relationship with God and we can look God in the eye. Teachers will tell you that when they are about to tell a child off, the child won’t look them in the eye. We can look God in the eye because it is ‘just as if we had never sinned’.
So what does the victory of the cross mean for us? It is that sin and death have been dealt with. We are declared not guilty even though we are guilty; the price has been paid; the barrier has been removed leaving us forgiven and reconciled to God in a right relationship with him.
This is all ours by faith in the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ
The cross is not foolishness or a stumbling block, a ‘scandal’. It is real and powerful and the way of salvation. Let us rejoice and be thankful for what Jesus has done for us by his cross and resurrection.
The hymns writer Isaac Watts captures the germ of this in his great hymn, ‘When I survey the wondrous cross’. The cross demands a response from us. What is yours?
News about the vacancy
We have 3 applicants for the post of Vicar. They have been invited to attend for interview on 13th March. The interviews will be conducted by the Archdeacon, representative of the Lord Chancellor and the churchwardens.
Contact details for parish personnel:-
Vicar: Please note that while we are without a Vicar, any enquiries should be directed to the church office either on 01206 30 23 78 or firstname.lastname@example.org There is an out-of-hours answering service: telephone and email messages are collected and answered regularly. The Church Office is open on Mondays 10-12pm. Letters can be posted through to the office when St James is open 8am-2pm each weekday. Alternatively please contact one of the churchwardens:-
Carole Warren 825 027 email@example.com
Bob Goodenough 30 37 49 firstname.lastname@example.org
PCC Secretary/PCC Treasurer: c/o Church Office, Victoria Place, Brightlingsea CO7 0AB
Parish website: allsaintswithstjamesb-sea.co.uk
Our Mother Church, All Saints’, although no longer the central place of worship, is an integral and essential part of our life together. We seek to enhance its role within the affections of the community and to worship there regularly. The Sunday services (8.00 communion and 10.00 Parish Eucharist) are held at All Saints every third Sunday in the month. There is a ‘Sparklers’ Sunday School for 4-12 year-olds on the 3rd Sunday of each month at St James at 10.00.