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The Storms of Life – Self-Preservation

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 The Reading: Mark 4:35-41

“Don’t you care if we perish?” (v.38) RSV

We come to another of the unique insights that Mark alone records. The cry of the disciples is not an example of faith, despite the fact that Jesus answers and calms the storm! No, it is an example of fear, panic and accusation. No wonder Jesus commented when it was all over “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”

The disciples have been ‘caring’ for Jesus. They’ve been doing their stuff and are probably feeling quite good about themselves. Now suddenly the tables are turned and their first reaction is to blame Jesus. How can he let this happen? Why isn’t he immediately making everything okay? Why doesn’t he care for us? This is an attack on Jesus and his love. Amazingly Jesus never reproaches them for this blasphemy.

And who were the “we” that the disciples were anxious about? Did “we” include Jesus, or just themselves? We, too, are often quick to blame God. We think that it probably wasn’t his ‘fault’ that the storm came, but we find fault with him for not sorting out the problem immediately. How dare he allow us to be upset, frightened and endangered. Doesn’t he love us?

It is pressures and crises that reveal what lies within us. We can be rather good Christians when we are in control and all is going moderately smoothly. But put the squeeze on us and, oops, something rather unpleasant comes out from us.

Jesus is looking for the sort of faith that is not frightened whether we sink or swim. The faith that trusts God come what may. St Paul was able to say, “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Now that is faith. Next week we shall see, in fact, exactly the sort of faith that he was looking for from his disciples.

Thank you Lord that you never leave us nor forsake us, and that we are within your protection. Forgive us when we fear and shout at you. Help us to praise you and rejoice in all circumstances. Amen. 

Explore More

1 Who else blamed God?

Job 3:1, 38:1-2, 40:1-2

2 How did Jesus speak to God when on the Cross?

Luke 23:34, 46

Balanced Prayer

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Service: 10:00 am Holy Communion

Preacher: Revd Sheila Murray

Readings:  2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18: 9-14

Do you struggle with your prayer life?  Sheila speaks about this and offers a balanced, easy-to-use routine that you may find helpful that she got from Bill Hybels book, ‘Too Busy Not to Pray’.

Sheila - Prayers and ACTS - Cropped

 

Thinking of Others

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Despite our own financial burdens of lighting, sound and now urgent replacement of the boiler our primary concern is for those outside our membership and people who are in desperate need.

 Those who attended the recent Deanery Synod meeting were given three presentations.

  • The first was by ‘Open Door’ (day care for those sleeping rough in Taunton – usually about 15 per night).
  • The second was by ‘FoodBank’ (for those who are caught in the poverty trap who cannot afford food).
  • And the third was by the ‘Taunton Town Chaplaincy (pastoral care in the work place).

All these three projects (and many others besides) all need our prayerful and financial support.

So it is just as well that we believe in the God who “owns the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10), and who can “supply all our needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippeans 4:19).

Today and every day let our focus and our faith be in the One who provides, rather than allowing ourselves to be daunted by the great need.  That way we shall be able to channel His provision into needs both within and without St Mary’s.

 

Your Vote is Needed!

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Vote - x-in-checkbox-1281305-m

Four local charities have been shortlisted for Lloyd’s Community Fund 2013. The two charities receiving the most votes will each be awarded £3,000.

For the charities involved – and to vote – call into Lloyds bank, or online at www.taunton.foodbank.org.uk.

You can vote for any of the four charities but we’d like it to be for the Foodbank, please.

Voting ends next Friday 1st November.

Diane and Derek

 

The Storms of Life – At Peace

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 The Reading: Mark 4:35-41

 “Asleep in the stern on the cushion” (v.38) RSV

The cushion at the rear of the boat was reserved for the honoured guest. Jesus did not needlessly turn down help and comfort when offered. There was no false abasement here. He had worked hard all day and now needed and accepted the best place to rest. He slept the sleep of the just. “God gives his beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2). He laid down his head with human tiredness and in perfect trust in his Father’s “everlasting arms”.

Jesus was at perfect peace in this dark world of sin. We too can know this “peace of God which passes all understanding” (Philippeans 4:7) if we truly believe that God has not only got the whole world in his hands, but in particular you and me.

He allowed the disciples to look after him, to minister to him. The disciples were only too happy to do this; it was something they felt able to do, and it lay within their power. We too are mainly happy to serve God, worship him, and keep his House in order. We even tend to feel empowered and useful.

There’s nothing wrong with that, unless we can only serve yet are unable to trust or receive help when we are weak.

How do we feel when in the hands of unreliable Christians who like helping but let us down when the going gets tough? And how do we feel when afloat on waters that are liable to churn up into a cauldron of swirling froth fit to drown us without any warning? Our lives are sometimes like that. All can seem to be going swimmingly until there is a stock market crash or an accident or ill health or our spouse goes off with someone else! What then?

Is our trust in ourselves, in fellow Christians, calm waters, or ultimately in God? Our trust at all times (good and bad) must be in the promises and presence of God. He will never leave us nor forsake. We can always sleep easy with Him.

Lord help us to trust whether waking or sleeping. May we be ever mindful of your good promises, and that with you we need never be afraid or anxious. Amen. 

Explore More

1. What enables us to sleep peacefully?

Isaiah 26:3-4

2. Are there times when you should not be able to sleep?

Jonah 1:5-6, Luke 6:12

Broken Boiler – Wrap up Warmly!

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The boiler has broken beyond repair. When the PCC met this week concern was expressed that this situation needs to be resolved asap. We have three estimates for both an ordinary replacement and an eco-condenser boiler. The ordinary boiler would cost approximately £15000 and the eco condenser boiler £21000 (because a condenser boiler requires the fitting of a new flue). The eco condenser boiler is much cheaper to run and so we would achieve substantial savings; it is estimated that it would have paid for itself in approximately seven years. This is why the PCC have opted for this type of boiler.   We have been quoted a time of at least two weeks for the parts to arrive and the work to begin.   So, we need the “Dunkirk Spirit” and wrap up warmly. Please would you pray and respond appropriately to the appeal leaflet.

Christianity Explored

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Bible with magnifying glass - 643698_jesus_wept

We are really pleased that, already, seven people have signed up to come to Christianity Explored which begins on October 30th at 7.30pm. Rita and Rod are co-leading it and it is an opportunity to go over the basics of our faith.

You don’t need to know anything about the Bible.

You won’t be asked to read or pray aloud, and you can ask any questions you want.

We begin with tea, cake and a chat. Do join us in the Upper Room!

Be assured that the Upper Room is on a different heating system and it will be warm. You will receive a warm welcome too!

Organ Fund: Use Your Talents

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The amount raised so far is £2,123.39, generated from £130 of the original distribution of £220.  Several of these projects are still ongoing, and money is yet to be received from holders of the remaining £90.

Very many thanks to all who have used their talents or have supported the venture with purchases and sponsorship.

Weekday Welcomers Needed

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We are in desperate need of more volunteers to help as Weekday Welcomers, to cover alternate Thursdays and Fridays.    Our church will not be able to stay open in the afternoons unless we have more support, and that would be a great shame.   If you feel you can help for just a few hours each month, please contact Sandra Jordan via the parish office.