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The Armour of God

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Service:  6:30 pm Evensong

Preacher:  Revd Sheila Murray

Readings:  Joshua 1:1-9 & Ephesians 6:10-20

Printed version of Semon

I don’t know how many of you have seen the Star War films, or Lord of the Rings or any of the Harry Potter stories, these films are about the battle between good and evil.

Our passage from Ephesians 6 is also about the battle between good and evil, and it is full of strong imagery about amour.   But this isn’t a computer game or a fantasy adventure film.   There is a battle going on and Paul says that Christians need to have the right tools for the fight.

This is about having a living faith, and about the choices we make.   Paul here is writing to people who believed implicitly in evil spirits – he uses words throughout this letter of powers, authorities, world rulers – and these people were not only facing physical battles, attacks from men, but also attacks from spiritual forces who were fighting against God.   Some of us might find that hard to comprehend.   But I know when I have been for example in the town of Glastonbury, I have felt the oppression of evil;  as I walked through the town I felt a real dis-ease and a heaviness coming from certain shops.

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Sightings of Jesus – The Lake

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The Reading:  John 21:1-8 

It is the Lord” (v.7) RSV

Peter arrived first at the tomb.  He and John had run there in response to the women’s message that the tomb was empty.  When he arrived, he went in but didn’t know what to think.  Now we read of him fishing on Galilee, hearing from John that “It is the Lord” (v.7), and consequently plunging into the sea in order to reach Jesus as quickly as possible.

All the disciples in the boat saw Jesus, and yet it took one of them, John, to recognise him with certainty: “It is the Lord” (v.7).  There is a significant sentence that sums up this ambivalence of faith, “None of the disciples dared ask him, ‘Who are you?’  They knew it was the Lord” (v.12). What was their problem?  Quite simply the evidence of their eyes was not sufficient.  With their minds they questioned, but with their spirits they believed.

What had opened the eyes of their spirit?  It was the miracle: the catch of fish.  They recognised the Lord by what he did.  They saw the ‘finger of God’ (Luke 11:20) at work.

We too have to live by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).  We do not see God and yet we recognise his presence by his activities.  This what Jesus said about the Spirit; his presence is like the wind – felt and effective but unseen (John 3:8)

The catch of fish was not a coincidence, but a result of hearing the word of the Lord and obeying.  The catch could be explained no doubt in many ways, but to the believer it was a direct activity of God.  It was proof that it was “the Lord” (v.7).

It took one person to see and to have faith: John.  The others caught his faith and his conviction.  We thank God for people who inspire faith, and long to be such people ourselves.

Sometimes I long to see you, Lord, and one day I will.  But now help me to see you in your handiwork and in your people, and to come running to you in gratitude.  Amen. 

Explore More

  1. Who wanted help to believe, and who helped him?

     Mark 9:24

2. Who inspired his servant to see the unseen?

    2 Kings 6:15-17

Needles & Natter

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An opportunity for anyone who likes to knit, crochet, embroider, work tapestry etc to come and bring their work, have a cup of tea or coffee and chat and bring any friends with you who make like to join us. Hopefully we can learn from each other and perhaps even try a new craft.

We will meet in the Coffee Shop once a month on the second Wednesday at 2pm for about an hour and a half, starting on Wednesday 12th February.

Contact Sheila if you want to know more.

Confirmation Service – 1st May 2014

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The Confirmation Service took place on Thursday at St James and it was a wonderful occasion. The Bishop of Taunton, the Rt Revd Peter Morris confirmed and preached. Please continue to pray for Valerie Gaskell, Anita Kingscott, Massen Kingscott, Sandra Parrott, Scarlett Atherton, Liam Atherton, Charlotte Dunford, Rosanna Smillie, Daniella Smith and Alexandrea Vickery.

Dining set

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Dining table and chairs - comedor-169418-mFree to a good home –  6 place dining table and 4 chairs.

Donation to the organ fund.

Please telephone Ken Marshall on T 284949.

MU Next Meeting

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On 7th May, 0ur guest speaker Angela Coakes will talk about her work with those who have suffered Post Abortion Stress.

Please remember to bring £8 if you would like to go on the guided tour of the Walled Gardens of Cannington and cream tea on 4th June. Transport will be arranged.

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GSW – St Margaret’s Hospice

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The Great Somerset Walk is Somerset’s longest, organised walk which takes hikers through some of the most scenic landscapes in the heart of the county.

The walk follows a combination of foot and bridle paths and gives you the chance to design your own route. You can walk a shorter 3-4 mile section or challenge yourself with a longer hike – the choice is yours!

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Church Weekend Away 2015

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A DATE FOR YOUR DIARY – NEXT CHURCH WEEKEND AWAY – 19th – 21st JUNE 2015

“I have now managed to organise another venue and date for our next church weekend away. We shall be going to the Ammerdown Christian Conference Centre which is near Radstock for the weekend of 19th-21st June 2015. I know this seems a long time away, but it will come round quite quickly and we shall be looking for people to sign up in September/October this year. I have provisionally booked a great speaker, The Venerable   Nicola Sullivan who is the Archdeacon of Wells, however at the moment she is unable to confirm her diary for 2015 so at this stage it is only provisional, but she is very keen to come and join us if she can.

The Ammerdown Centre is in beautiful countryside in the grounds of Ammerdown House. All bedrooms have en-suite facilities and guests have access to some of the grounds of the main house and use of its outside  swimming pool at certain times! There are lots of lovely walks round about and it will be another wonderful setting for our weekend away.

Do please keep this date clear in your diaries so that you can join us. If you want to know more please speak to Sheila or you can visit Ammerdown’s website at: www.ammerdown.org “

Sheila Murray

Sightings of Jesus – The Tomb

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The Reading:  John 20:1-10 

… then (John) saw and believed.” (v.8) RSV

Peter and John arrive at the tomb.  The women had told them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” (v.2). They have to run to check it out; they have no anticipation that Jesus has risen from the dead.  On their arrival John pauses outside seeing that the stone has been taken away from the entrance, and peers in – the grave clothes are still there.  Hmm.  Peter comes after and blunders straight in.  He also saw the evidence that the body of Jesus had not been stolen, but he couldn’t work it out beyond that.  Finally John goes in and “saw and believed” (v.8).

The words that John uses for “saw” are most significant.  When John arrived first he saw (or, looked).  The Greek word, blepo, simply means the ability to see with the eyes.  He has no particular thoughts or understanding. Peter then goes in and theorises, theoreo; he scratches his head and thinks, but comes to no conclusions or insight.  Finally John goes in and “sees”, hodeo.

The light dawns and he understands the significance of the grave clothes.  Jesus’ body has not been stolen, but has dematerialised through them and risen to new life.  God gives the faith to John that is able to understand and believe, even though he may not be able to explain.

Within a few decades there would be no eye witnesses left.  Future generations would only have the written testimony of those first witnesses.  They will have the scriptures.  John records how “they did not yet know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead” (v.9).  Nowadays we do have those scriptures, and they are sufficient to believe.  Yes, Jesus has risen from the dead, and as a result everything has changed.

Thank you Lord for the scriptures which bear witness to your glorious resurrection.  May your Spirit confirm their truth to me.  Amen. 

Explore More

  1. Did John see himself as a witness?

    1 John 1:1-4

 2. Did Peter see himself as a witness?

    2 Peter 1:16-21

Training in Bereavement Support

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Somerset Area Cruse Bereavement Care intends to run the accredited course “Awareness in Bereavement Care” in the Taunton area this autumn. The full course commences on 13 September. If you want to find out more, there is a taster workshop on Saturday 12th July 9:30 – 12.30. See full details below.

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