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Tabernacle – The Altar

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The Reading:  Exodus 27:1-8 

You shall make the altar” (v.1) RSV

The Altar lay outside the Tent, and indeed was the key to entering.  The altar was outside not only so that the tent was not burnt by its fire, but because sacrifice was always the prerequisite to drawing close to God.  No sinful human being could presume to go barging into the presence of God without due preparation.  The first stage was to be cleansed from sin and rebellion.

As the writer to the Hebrews says: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22).  This is what the altar was for.

Jesus fulfilled and so ended the need to keep sacrificing burnt offerings on the altar, by offering himself as the one, perfect sacrifice.  Again, as the writer to the Hebrews puts it: “(Christ) has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26).We approach our Lord not because we are good, but because he (Jesus Christ) is good.  It was God himself who was, in his son Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19), dying for us that we might be forgiven.  His love for us cost him his life.

The altar is, however, not only there for sacrifice for sin, but also for sacrifices of thanksgiving!  God has given so much and it is only right that we should offer back to him the first fruits of our gains.  Gratitude is a key attitude to cultivate within ourselves.  It stops us taking things for granted and even grumbling that we have not got more!

Paul expresses well the sacrifices that are fitting for us to give: “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1).  Our God is pleased with the dedication of ourselves to him, and “a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name” (Hebrews 13:15).

Thank you Lord for your love and sacrifice for me.  May I respond in generous love and sacrifice for you.  Amen. 

Explore More

1  What was Abraham going to sacrifice on his homemade altar?

    Genesis 22:1-2, 9-14, James 2:21

2   What did Solomon offer at the altar?

    2 Chronicles 1:5-7

The Cross

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This Cross started with the bare remains of our Christmas Tree.

It now carries the bag of coins, the red robe, the crown of thorns, the three nails for his hands and feet, the dice and the spear.

Good Friday Devotional Concert

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The main work this year will be The Crucifixion by John Stainer. This work is a powerful and heartfelt meditation on Jesus’s death on the cross and the events immediately leading up to it. It will be sung by the choir of St Mary Magdalene’s and friends, with two distinguished local soloists. There will also be readings and instrumental meditations, with hymns for everyone to join in. The event will last about an hour. Admission is free. Please come!

Free Admission

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Holy Week Talks

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The Holy Week talks this year will be led by the Revd Ben Whitworth and will run in the evenings from Monday 30th March, (Mon, Tues, Wed 7:00 for half an hour) culminating with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Day.

Easter Lilies in Memory

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Lily - 338794_bouquetYou are invited once again to remember your loved ones with a Lily for Easter.

We ask for a donation of £3 towards the cost; please put the money in an enveloped clearly marked with the name of the person’s name, and hand it in to the office or to a church warden.

The New Covenant

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Service:  10:00 am Holy Communion – Passion Sunday

Preacher:  Revd Dennis Cavaghan

Readings:  Jeremiah 31:31-34 & John 12:20-33

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‘The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.’  This is what the new covenant is all about …

  • born again
  • filled with the Holy Spirit
  • worshipping God
  • enjoying Him forever

Let us lay hold of it!

 Tabernacle – The Lampstand

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The Reading:  Exodus 25:31-40 

you shall make the seven lamps for it” (v.37) RSV

This piece of furniture is well known nowadays as the Menorah – the seven branched lampstand or candelabrum.  We learnt two weeks ago about the Laver which was used to cleanse, and last week about the Table of showbread (Bread of the Presence) which was used to feed.  This week’s Lampstand has the natural benefit of bringing light.

In this dark world we need the light of God’s presence and also the light of his word to guide us.  As the Psalmist says: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

Jesus brings us the presence of God, and surely that is why  he said “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).   The love of Jesus dispels gloom and the teaching of Jesus clears away ignorance.

The arrival of Jesus (the word made flesh) is expressed well by John in the opening verses of his Gospel: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it … The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world” (John 1:4-5, 9).

The seven-branched lampstand/candelabrum resided in the Holy Place in front of the veil that hid the Holy of Holies.  It was regularly filled with oil to sustain the flames.  This too was fulfilled in Jesus who lived by the life and power of the Holy Spirit.  He was daily filled with heavenly power, and that was why he shone so brightly wherever he went.

We too are called to be lights in this world, and we can only do so by being filled with the same Holy Spirit.  Jesus said: “You are the light of the world … men do not light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  Let your light so shine …” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Thank you Lord for the light of your Spirit and your Word.  Fill me afresh today and every day so I may shine for you.  

Explore More

1  Who had to keep the lamp burning?

    Leviticus 24:1-4

2  Which miracle illustrated Jesus as the light of the world?

    John 9:1-7

Children and Communion

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We are considering the possibility of children receiving communion before confirmation.

If you are interested in exploring this with us, then come to the Vicarage on Tuesday 28th April at 7.30pm and tell us what you think.

Young Readers’ Success

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Young Readers’ Success

Some very good news. We have known for sometime that, under Margaret Roe’s tutoring, our Young Reader’s Group are reading superbly well in church – we are all proud of them. Now they have had external recognition. On Monday 9th March, at the Taunton Festival of the Arts – Drama section, our young readers were entered for the Bible Reading classes. All gained high marks with Merit and Commendations with one young reader winning the St James’ cup and also gaining a Distinction in the Prepared Reading Class.  Well done all!