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Baptism Today

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Service:  10:00 am Holy Communion

Preacher:  Revd Dennis Cavaghan

Readings:  Acts 10:34-43 & Matthew 3:13-17

Baptism today – should the words sin and Devil be retained.

SERMON QUERY

In this sermon I was well challenged by a visitor who heard me describing ‘sin’ as something that is done against God and not against man.  This person rightly pointed out that the Lord’s Prayer (NB modern version) says, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”

The old version did not use ‘sins’ but ‘trespasses’, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

In fact the Lord’s Prayer as recorded in Matthew and Luke does not agree with the modern translation!

(more…)

Inheritance – Glorious

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 The Reading:  1 Peter 1:3-9

 an inheritance which is imperishable” (v.3) RSV

Although our inheritance from God is not defined clearly, it is nevertheless described as being glorious.  Perhaps it is not put into words because in our present physical and sensual state we would not appreciate the spiritual world.

Peter is plainly carried away with keen anticipation when he writes about it; he says it is “an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (v.4).  He trusts his God that when something good is promised, it will be good!

 Of course we do get a foretaste of the coming Kingdom while we live in this world.  We experience the love, joy and peace of the Holy Spirit.  We know the loving provision of our heavenly Father, and the fellowship of his children.  This foretaste is also called our “guarantee” (2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5 and Ephesians 1:14).  In other words the Spirit is a down payment or a deposit.  This is how we know and experience something of what is coming our way.

St Paul, as well as Peter, waxes eloquent about our future inheritance.  But he knows that its nature can only be understood in our heart and not our head.  He prays that the Ephesians may have “the eyes of their hearts enlightened, that they may know what is the hope to which God has called them, and what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, what is the immeasurable greatness of his power” (Ephesians 1:18-19).

This is what we need to pray for, both for ourselves and for all believers.  God wants us to be full of anticipation and assurance.  But if we have no conviction about our future state, then we will be fearful of dying.  We will also remain unstrengthened when we face current hardships.  If we have no real hope for the future then we will be, as St Paul puts it, “of all men most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19).  We lose so much if we remain in ignorance.

 Father, thank you for our glorious future inheritance. Grant me to both to understand it and to anticipate it more and more.  Amen.

 Explore More

1  Note Paul’s plea against ignorance of the Lord’s return.

    1 Thessalonians 4:13

2  How are our future bodies described?

    Philippians 3:21

Taunton Team Chaplains

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Do you have experience in retail, industry or in the military? Could you be a Chaplain to local businesses or organisation?

We have vacancies for volunteer chaplains for this rewarding daytime ministry, training and support provided. Have a look at our web site www.tauntonteamchaplaincy.org and email us from there. Or call Steven Reed on 07581 424420

Our New Boiler

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Did you ever wonder where our new boiler resides?  Well, here it is in all its glory under the Magdalene Centre.

Not only will we be warm but we will have reduced our carbon footprint significantly and have reduced running costs.

A big thanks again to everyone who made it possible.

Inheritance – How?

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 The Reading:  Luke 10:25-29 

What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (v.25) NRSV

Eternal life is not only desirable, it is essential!  When Jesus promised us that we may have “life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10), then surely this is an offer too good to pass off.  Yet how do we secure it?

This therefore was the question asked by the lawyer in today’s reading: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (v.25). Jesus’ response was that he should keep the whole law of God.  In other words that he should love God and his neighbour with all that he has.  Of course this standard was too high!  He therefore tried to “justify himself” (v.29).

The fact is that none of us is able to enter eternal life by our own effort.  As Jesus told his disciples, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).  No one can save himself by trying to pull himself up by his own bootlaces.  The whole essence of the Gospel is that God (in Christ) reaches down to us; he takes the initiative, and he gives us the power to respond.

Paul puts this point very clearly when he writes: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God – not because of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9).

Therefore, when Jesus told the lawyer to be saved by keeping the law, he was merely enabling him to see that he needed help!  It is only when we admit our need that God can begin to help us.  Jesus came to the sick, not the righteous.  That is, he came to those who knew they needed help, not to those who thought they were okay.

This story of the lawyer is paralleled by a similar one involving a rich, young ruler (Luke 18:18 and Mark 10:17).  And what did he have to do to inherit eternal life?  He had to sell all that he had and give it to the poor.  Could he?  No.  We all need God grace in order to be saved and to enter eternal life.

 Lord, I am weak but you are strong.  The good I would I do not.  Save me by your gracious power.  Amen.

 Explore More

1  What are the dangers of head knowledge?

    Isaiah 29:13, Matthew 15:8

2  Who enters heaven first? (NB they were obedient to Jesus)

    Matthew 21:28-31

Epiphany

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On Sunday 5th January at 10.00am, we celebrate a family communion together. We will be anticipating Epiphany, which is on Monday, when we remember the journey of the wise men. The wise men who belong to our beautifully refurbished nativity set have been travelling around the church and will finally arrive at the crib today. The children will make crowns and stay in for the Eucharist.

The wise men said: “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” We will worship the Lord Jesus today just as  the wise men did.

 

Thank You All for a Super Christmas!

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What a super Christmas we enjoyed at St Mary’s! Attendances were generally up and we have received very positive feedback from those who came to the five services of Christmas (Lessons and Carols, The Crib Service, The First Communion of Christmas, BCP on Christmas Morning and the Christmas Morning Family Communion). The Lessons and Carols service was sublime (thank you choir, choristers, organists and readers). The Crib Service proved ever more popular and if we continue growing at this rate we may soon have to have two services. Dennis’ sermon at midnight on Christmas Eve was very challenging and thought provoking and I recovered quickly from serving coffees on Christmas morning. Many people worked very hard to make sure Christmas at St Mary’s was special – thank you to all!

Poetry Competition

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United Press are running a poem competition – free to enter and the prize is £250 for church funds. The closing date is January 31st 2014, and you may enter up to three poems, with a religious theme.

Full details are in the Parish Office, if anyone is interested.

The “Christmas Pudding” Coin Collection

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Many thanks go to Joan and Morton Dunn who volunteered to count the Christmas pudding coin collection for our mission work.  They were pleased to report to us that the total was £520.99 which is splendid.  The money will go to support the work of the Town Centre Chaplaincy which is making such an impact on our town. Sylvia Hawkins, who guessed £520, was the winner of the competition and has chosen chocolates as her prize.

If you have any ideas for another interesting container to attract small change, please let Rod know.

Christmas Carol Quiz

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Yes!  It’s back!

The Christmas Carol Quiz in aid of The Organ Fund again complied by Viv Kew, organist at Portishead URC

Only £1 per entry to find 30 Christmas Carols

Cash prizes for the first three correct entries -£50; £30; and £20.

 

Forms available from the 23rd November after Sunday services and also in The Bookshop.

Closing date is 4th January. Prizes awarded the following Sunday.