“On Tuesday I went to a day conference at St Martin in the Fields organised by the Greater Churches network. The Greater Churches network is made up of 40 churches, bigger than normal parish churches but not as big as cathedrals. We considered issues like provision for people who visit our churches as tourists and how churches like St. Mary Magdalene’s meet their civic obligations. I found the day most useful.”
The PCC meeting on Wednesday evening went well. The PCC agreed to apply for planning permission and faculties for two message boards, a new external notice board and some notice boarding in the tower area and at the back of the bookshop. A small team have worked very hard on the designs and these were approved and applauded. We look forward to seeing all of this work completed to bring the notice boards in St. Mary Magdalene up to a similar standard as our website. There will be an opportunity for the congregation as a whole to consider what is being proposed and make any comments.
It was also agreed that we should apply for a faculty for the bells project. Currently we have raised just under half the amount required to meet this project but we need a faculty in order to apply for some grants. Rosemary Tuhey who leads the team produced an impressive paper and the PCC expressed their thanks to her.
Members of the Bells of St Mary’s project team (a project to recast and rehang the bells and replace the Carillon) were delighted to enjoy a tea party with one of the project Patrons, the Mayor of Taunton Deane, Councillor Dave Durdan and his wife Renee this week.
“let us not love in word … but in deed” (v.18) RSV
Words are comparatively un-costly to utter. It is too easy to offer platitudes or good advice. It is something very different to get involved, to get our hands dirty and to put our hands in our own pockets. Our reading starkly condemns anyone who does not give practical help when they have the wherewithal to do so.
John tells us that however much we think we love God, we manifestly cannot do so if our hearts are hard and uncompassionate when face to face with need. Yes, we may agree. But what do we do when confronted with too much need; we haven’t got the wherewithal to meet all the need so how do we know which to respond to and which to ignore?
I believe the answer remains theoretical until we start to help. The main thing is to start to help one person, and then take it from there. Even Jesus did not meet the needs of everyone in Israel, but only those who came to him. Even then he might leave the crowd and go off alone to pray.
What we have to beware of is failing to respond at all to any need. James gives a similar warning when he writes: “If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?” (James 2:15-17). If we are tempted only to say, “I will pray for you”, when in fact we could do something practical to help, then we fall into this very trap.
It matters not whether people are being good neighbours to us, as it is our privilege and our duty as followers of Jesus to take the initiative and be good neighbours to them. As we pray for someone or listen to their need, let us try to hear if there is something we should be doing to help them. God has done so much for us, what can we do for him?
Thank you Lord for those who have helped me, especially for your care for me. May I too learn to love others in a real and practical way. Amen.
1 Who would not offer something that cost him nothing?
Harvest was very enjoyable last weekend and we delighted at how beautiful the church looked.
I was pleased that the Choristers, who worked hard baking the Sudanese bread, had their photograph in The Somerset Gazette this week. The choristers had worked with me to produce some bread on Friday night but we couldn’t make it cook properly. However, moving to a hotter gas ring on Sunday morning brought success. The Harvest lunch too was a great success and enjoyed by all.
We are being required to bear fruit that springs from our loving relationship with the Lord our God.
“Almighty God, you have taught us through your Son that love is the fulfilling of the law: grant that we may love you with our whole heart and our neighbour as ourselves; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”