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Wise Men on their Way

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The Wise Men have been spotted in the North (window)!  They will reach the Christ Child (Altar) by Epiphany on January 6th.

 

Fortification Package for 2013

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Service:  10:00 am Holy Communion

Preacher:  Revd Dennis Cavaghan

Readings:  Colossians 3:12-17 & Luke 2:41-52

St Paul gives five words of wisdom to the Colossians to enable them (and us) to face the future hopefully and positively.

1. Who we are in Christ

2. As far as possible be at peace with all people

3. Adopt a spirit of thanksgiving in all circumstances

4. Learn more about God’s will and promises

5. Sing praises to God

Jesus’ Ancestry – Tamar

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The Reading: Genesis 38:6-30

“By the man to whom these belong, I am with child” (v.25) RSV

This series of the female lineage of Jesus began with Sarah, and was followed by Leah. We now move on to the five women who are mentioned in the list of ancestors given in the Gospel according to Matthew. This genealogy (Matt. 1:1-17) is peculiar in as far as any women are mentioned at all. And then, as we shall see, the five women mentioned are each of them somewhat suspect!

The first of them is Tamar: “Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar” (Matt. 1:3). Now the story as to how Judah produced children by his daughter-in-law is a salutary tale! Judah had married off his eldest son, Er, to Tamar. In due course he died without issue. So, according to the custom at the time, the widow was to be ‘serviced’ by the dead man’s brother. This man, Onan, decided not to go through with this duty, and he too died. Judah obviously thought that Tamar was a bit of a black widow and so refused to let his third son anywhere near her. Instead she was to remain effectively under house arrest.

Tamar felt that her father-in-law had not been fair. So she tricked him into ‘lying’ with her by pretending to be a prostitute, though he did not know it was her. She conceived, and when accused by Judah of unfaithfulness, she produced evidence that he was the father (Gen. 38:25)! She bore twins, Perez and Zerah. And it was Perez, Judah’s son by incest (Lev. 18:15), that the line down to Jesus was maintained.

This may seem extraordinary, and yet God’s grace and sovereign purposes are even more extraordinary. Despite our incredible rebellion and human failure, God continues to work out his purposes. Despite deception and incest God brought Jesus, our Saviour, into the world. Hallelujah!

Thank you Lord that whatever sin has been perpetrated in my past I am in your hands. With us these things are impossible, but with you all things are possible. Amen. 

Explore More

1 What happened to a different Tamar?

2 Samuel 13:7-21

2 Read about Judah and Tamar’s place in Jesus’ lineage

1 Chronicles 2:1-4

 

Fifth Candle of the Advent Wreath

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Advent Wreath – 5th Candle – Christ Candle

Halleujah!  Christ is born and we light our 5th candle of the Advent Wreath.

5th CANDLE – “CHRIST CANDLE” – The white candle reminds us that Jesus is the spotless lamb of God, sent to wash away our sins! His birth was for his death, his death was for our birth! “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!‘” (John 1:29)

4th CANDLE – THE ANGEL CANDLE or THE CANDLE OF LOVE

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St Mary’s Christmas Hours

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We wish you all a Happy Christmas.  Over the holiday period the Office and Church hours will be as follows:

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Fourth Candle of the Advent Wreath

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Advent Wreath – 4th Candle – The Angel Candle or Candle of Love

At St Mary’s we light a candle each Sunday during Advent (the four Sundays leading up to Christmas).

Each candle is symbolic.  On Sunday 23rd December we lit our fourth candle.

4th CANDLE – THE ANGEL CANDLE or THE CANDLE OF LOVE

The angles announced the good news of a Savior. God sent his only Son to earth to save us, because he loves us! “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17)

3rd CANDLE –  THE SHEPHERD CANDLE or THE CANDLE OF JOY

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Jesus’ Ancestry – Leah

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 The Reading: Genesis 29:31-35

“… surely now my husband will love me” (v.32) RSV

The female ancestors of Jesus did not always have an easy life, and they weren’t always saints. Leah, however, seems to have been a good soul, though she suffered from being somewhat plain and her eyes were weak. Her husband, Jacob, had been tricked into marrying her, though he wanted to marry her beautiful younger sister, Rachel (Gen. 29:17-18). He ended up with both of them as his wives, but he loved Rachel and “hated” (v.31) Leah.

Leah found it unbearably painful to be so rejected by her husband. However, he plainly did his duty by her since she started to produce children. Because of her suffering God blessed her with fertility. She bore four boys: Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah. This last one was to be the line through which Jesus was born. As it says: “Lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered” (Rev. 5:5).

This fourth son was so named because ‘Judah’ in short meant: “This time I will praise the Lord” (v.35). Each of the previous children had been named with names that indicated her desperate desire to win the love and appreciation of her husband. But by the time she reached the fourth, she had found her consolation not in her husband but in her Lord. He alone could bring balm and joy to her soul. Sometimes life is very hard, and there is no consolation to be found from circumstances or people. In such circumstances the Lord alone can be our joy and our salvation.

Leah suffered from the fact that so many men tend to look on the outward appearance. But God is much more interested in the imperishable beauty of a pure heart. As Peter puts it in his letter, “… the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:4). Peter mentioned Jesus’ ancestor Sarah in this connection. He could also have cited Leah.

Lord, keep me from judging others by their looks or their wealth. Help me to love others as you love them. Amen. 

Explore More

1 Who nearly chose the wrong person to be king and why?

1 Samuel 16:6-7

2 Note how Rachel, Leah, Tamar and Ruth are connected.

Ruth 4:10-12

 

Inviting Angel Doors

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So many folk have commented positively on the angel doors now they are lit. We used this to good affect on Thursday evening when it helps to attract tired shoppers in for refreshment.

We had another enjoyable evening and we will repeat this again on Thursday 20th (6.30pm till 8.30pm).

We need servers and listeners to man the Church and also need the gift of cakes.

If you are able to help please complete the signup sheet at the back of Church.

School Visitors

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Pupils from Taunton Academy in the Soldier’s Corner

This week we were delighted to have pupils from Taunton Academy visit us.  In all five groups came and they were accompanied by several teachers  Rod, the vicar, talks to them about various aspects of the church; this particular photo is taken in the Soldier’s Corner.