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Jesus’ Ancestry – Mary

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The Reading: Luke 1:26-35

“How can this be, since I have no husband?” (v.34) RSV

All the women mentioned over the last six weeks have been not only ancestors of Jesus, but also have had rather alarming if not shocking backgrounds. But now as we come to the last one, the mother of Jesus, surely we have at least one female ancestor who was as pure as the driven snow!

Well, she may have been personally pure, a “virgin” (v.27) and the Lord’s “favoured one” (v.28), but as far as her neighbours were concerned she was a scandal. She was nothing less than a ‘naughty girl’ and an unmarried mother. Of course we know that in law she was betrothed to Joseph before her pregnancy, and that she was married to him before the birth. However, everyone ‘knew’ the real situation, or they thought they knew.

Who would believe that God was the father? “Pull the other one” people would retort. So Mary joins the list of the other unfortunate women who, according to Matthew’s genealogical list, were part of Jesus’ ancestry. That list included Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba as well as Mary (Matthew 1:3-6, 16).

There is no hint that Jesus was ashamed of any of his ancestors. He certainly remained entirely loving and loyal to his mother. However, when he was baptized by John in the River Jordan he was taking the sins of the whole human race, including his personal ancestors with him. The past is redeemable. Whatever has gone before can, through prayer and absolution, be cleansed and brought into the redeeming purposes of God.

In no way was Jesus’ life limited or blighted by his forebears. As he walked through life by the power of the Spirit, so he was free to live a life pleasing to his Father and fruitful for the salvation of individuals and mankind. We too can have that privilege. The curses of the past need not hinder us, for he has set us free. Praise his holy name!

Thank you Lord for my mother (good or bad, alive or dead). May your love and blessing be on her. Amen. 

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1 To whom did Jesus entrust his mother as he died?

John 19:26-27

2 Who became more important to Jesus than his human family?

Luke 2:48-51, Mark 3:31-35

Manna

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The latest edition is now available. If you have not already received the Diocesan Magazine please collect your free copy from the table opposite the Coffee Shop.

Just a Bite

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This coming week on Wednesday at 2.00pm we have the first MU “Just A Bite” meeting. This is a new venture, open to anyone, male or female, with refreshment provided.

At the first meeting, Rowena Merson, the Diocesan representative for the M.U., is coming to enthuse us. We hope these monthly meetings will be fun, interesting and an opportunity for good fellowship together.

Many thanks to Marlene Philips for all the hard work she has put in to this new venture.

Please come if you can.

Don’t Miss the Holy Spirit

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Service:  10:00 am Holy Communion

Preacher:  Revd Rod Corke

Readings:  1 Corinthians 12:1-11  & John 2:1-11

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Jesus’ Ancestry – Bathsheba

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The Reading: 2 Samuel 11:1-27

“Bathsheba … the wife of Uriah the Hittite” (v.3) RSV

This week we come to the fourth of the five women mentioned by Matthew in his ancestry of Jesus. This woman is not actually named, but there is no doubt as to who she is: “And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah” (Matt. 1:6). This wife was called Bathsheba.

If you read today’s reading you will have part of the story of this sorry event in David’s life. Bathsheba was beautiful but married. However, King David, who should have been out fighting (v.1), was idling his time in his palace. Consequently the devil found work for idle hands; he saw Bathsheba bathing on a nearby roof and invited her over. An adulterous affair ensued and soon there was a pregnancy. To make matters worse the problem was compounded by David effectively causing her husband, Uriah, to be killed at the battle front.

However, God did not dismiss David and Bathsheba forever. There was an immediate consequence, namely the death of their child. There were also long-term consequences: David would always live by the sword, and his son Absalom would rebel. However after David was confronted by the prophet Nathan (2 Sam. 12:1-15) and after he repented, the couple produced a second child. This time the child was going to be special in the history of Israel and in the lineage of Jesus, for his name was Solomon (2 Samuel 12:24)!

It never ceases to be amazing how God can weave our sins into his fruitful purposes. Bathsheba continued to be an influential wife. When David was old and dying she and Nathan made sure that David’s desire for Solomon to succeed him actually came to pass (1 Kings 1:11-31). Once again sin did not need to be the end of the story. Repentance opens up new possibilities. We should be heartened by such a recurring theme. Nothing is too difficult for our God. There is always a future and a hope.

Thank you Lord for the women of faith who have done great things for the Kingdom. May they be my challenge and inspiration. Amen. 

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1 Read David’s Psalm of repentance after his adultery.

Psalm 51

2 Which sons of David nearly got the throne instead of Solomon?

2 Samuel 15:10, 1 Kings 1:5

Episcopal Visits

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We are delighted that we are having several episcopal visits this term.

  • Bishop Peter (Bath and Wells) will be with us for Evensong at Pentecost and Bishop Peter (Taunton) will join us at 10.00am for our Patronal festival in July.
  • Bishop George, the former Bishop of Southwell (Nottingham), is coming on 17th March to help promote our Church Weekend Away at Glenfall House in June.
  • Bishop David from Wales, and a great supporter of this church, will be here on Easter Sunday morning.
And also our Archdeacon John Reed who will be with us on 10th February.
Much to look forward to.

Great British Railway Journeys

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You may have wondered what has happened to the Taunton/St. Mary Magdalene’s episode in the new “Great Railway Journeys” series. I contacted the producer and have been told that our episode is part of the journey fromLondon Paddington to Newton Abbot. This begins to air on Monday 28th and as we are half way through Michael’s adventure, the current expectation is that it will be the episode broadcast on Wednesday 30th January at 6.30pm on BBC 2. But all could change!

Paul’s Farewell

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On Sunday 13th January 2013, the congregation of St Mary’s said farewell to Paul, our Curate for 3 1/2 years before he goes off to be incumbent of the Parish of Water Orton, north-east of Birmingham.  The occasion was marked with gifts and a bring and share lunch.  It was a good time enjoyed by many.

“I have been so grateful and touched by the way you have marked important occasions in my life over the past three and a half years, including my two ordinations, first presiding at the Eucharist, and even my 40th birthday. I was overwhelmed by your generosity in my leaving gift and for the messages of goodwill received, together with the lunch provided on my final Sunday. The time I have spent with you has been a real earning process for me but more than that it has been a time when I have felt accepted and enjoyed the company of so many of you, and your generous hospitality. All good things have to come to an end but I will always have special memories of my time with you at St. Mary Magdalene’s.” Paul

Here is a video of some of the highlights

Fr Bob’s Parish, Kafue

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In September 2012, a group from St Mary’s visited Zambia to join in the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the of the construction of The Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka. Here Fr Bob shows us his new Parish of Kafue and shares his future plans.