Service: 6:30 pm Holy Communion
Preacher: Revd Dennis Cavaghan
Readings: Ephesians 3: 1-12 & Matthew 2: 1-12
We should be able to give a reason for the hope that is within us … through the Revelation by the Holy Spirit and … through the Power of God by the Holy Spirit.
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The Reading: Luke 1:26-31
“behold you will conceive … and bear a son” (v.31) RSV
One of the ways angels are ‘ministering spirits’ (see last week) is by being messengers. God speaks in many and various ways (Hebrews 1:1-2). He has spoken most clearly through his Son, and his words are conveyed to us through the Scriptures and by the Holy Spirit. However, God still uses angels.
The most famous occasion was surely the message to Mary, “Hail, O favoured one, the Lord is with you …” (v.28). He went on to announce the conception and birth of Jesus. Another classic message was that given to the shepherds. An angel conveyed the glorious news of the birth: “… in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). Angels again were there at the resurrection of Jesus, “… He is not here; for he has risen … go quickly and tell his disciples …” (Matthew 28:5-7).
Out of the many examples in the Old Testament we might think of Balaam, who when riding his ass, was stopped in his tracks by an angel that he could not see (though his donkey could!). Eventually “the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel … standing … with his drawn sword in his hand.” The angel warned him that he was on a false mission and should change his intention of cursing Israel, to blessing them (Numbers 22:21-35).
In the New Testament an angel appeared to the Roman Centurion, Cornelius, in Caesarea. The instruction was given to send for Simon Peter who was in Joppa. Peter arrived (after having his own vision on the rooftop) and preached in such a way that Cornelius and his household were converted and baptised.
We may need a vision to see an angel, but they are there none the less. Let us be open to their message. This will not be a common occurrence but that does not mean it will never happen. Their ministry is to warn and to guide us.
Thank you Lord for these unseen ministering spirits. May I not be deaf to their help and their message. Amen.
1 What message did the angel give Gideon?
2 What did the angel say to Moses from the burning bush?
On Sunday 4th January, we will anticipate the Feast of The Epiphany (6th January). The word Epiphany means “manifestation”, that is the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. In Roman Catholic and Protestant churches this means we enjoy celebrating the physical manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles with the coming of the Magi (wise men). In the Orthodox tradition, churches commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God.
The wise men from our crib set who have been traveling around the church will be placed in the nativity scene. The 10.00am service will be Family Communion and the children will make crowns. All of us will share the communion together on this feast day.
We are delighted to welcome back our Musical Director, Miles Quick. Miles has finished his sabbatical in Canada and is playing for us today. We are looking forward to an exciting New Year musically. Miles is basing himself at St Mary’s and we have the opportunity to move the music and worship here to new heights.
If you would like to be part of this, as a choir member, chorister or an instrumentalist – why not chat to Miles?
Good news! Permissions from the DAC and Taunton Deane for our new signs – two message boards and a notice board have been given.
We estimate that the work should be complete by the beginning of February.
There is no meeting in January and the next meeting on 4th February will be a Wave of Prayer Service. Christmas greetings to all.
Please do not forget to renew your membership for next year.
A new start is to consider coming on Christianity Explored. This is a course on basic Christianity and answers the question – ”What does it mean to be a Christian?” If you would like to be confirmed, then attendance on this course will be good preparation. Confirmation is being held in May and Christianity Explored begins in the Upper Room on the 5th February and runs weekly for six weeks. There is a sign up sheet at the back of church.
New Year Tower Tour on Friday 2nd January 2014 – 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.