In the busyness of your life are you looking for a bit of space during Lent, for an opportunity to come and be still with God? Then join us at OASIS on Tuesdays at 7-8pm in the Upper Room. The evening will start with a few words from scripture to reflect on, there will be some quiet music, and a time to pray, to listen to God and just to be. OASIS will meet on Tuesdays: February 24th, March 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th.
For more information please speak to Revd Sheila Murray or Shirley Farrington.
Have you ever visited St Mary Magdalene’s on a Friday night? Speech training, chorister, choir and occasionally Voice all happen. There is a buzz about the church and a real sense that the Holy Spirit is with us. Worshipping God is not boring—it is an exciting privilege.
“The planning for the election Hustings at Taunton Baptist Church on 26th April has moved on a pace. All six candidates will be present, it will begin at 2.30 pm and last approximately 90 minutes. Soon you will be invited to submit questions on a range of topics. Do put this date in your diary – Taunton Deane is a marginal constituency. This week I met with Rt. Hon. Steve Webb, Minister for Pensions, at the vicarage and we discussed universal credit and its effect on the poorest folk in our community.”
“… set the bread of the Presence on the table” (v.30) RSV
What could be a clearer indication of the bread of Communion than this Old Testament symbol of the “bread of the Presence” (v.30) or Showbread (e.g. 2 Chronicles 13:11)?
Every Sabbath twelve fresh loaves were prepared for the table; they were placed in two rows of six, and the previous twelve were eaten. Surely the significance of this ritual was that the bread is made holy by the presence of God, and is then consumed by Aaron and his sons (representing the people of God), so that they may become partakers of the divine nature.
John appears to refer to this process of divinisation in his account of the Feeding of the 5000. He records Jesus as saying: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh” (John 6:51). There is no doubt that the very life blood of God flows into us through the symbolic bread.
And symbolic it is. However high its significance, however holy, and however much a means of grace, it is not in itself the Presence of God. There is no magic here. It has not changed irresistibly into ‘God’! It remains bread, and yet when eaten in faith it truly conveys the Presence of God.
Did not Jesus himself illustrate this point when he cited the occasion when David and his men were hungry in the desert, “Have you not read what David did, when hungry, and those who were with him; how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for him to eat …” (Matthew 12:3-4). He was arguing with the Pharisees that rituals, however important, are only relative and may sometimes be broken. The Bread would have been to David and his men ordinary, not divine; it was still bread!
The bread of the Presence was a wonderful foreshadowing of the gift of the Bread of Communion that we have today.
May I truly receive you, O Lord, and your life when I receive your word and eat the Bread of Communion.
1 Read about David eating the Bread of the Presence
The Easter cards have been printed and are ready for distribution. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered to deliver these. Please would you collect the cards from the back of church. will be in church soon for distribution. We are grateful to Roy and Mary Sims for organising this. The design is bright and eye catching and this year we have adopted a postcard style so the cards can be but through the doors easily.
Mothering Sunday is when we think about our mums and our mother church. No one is absolutely certain exactly how the name of Mothering Sunday began.
However, one theory is that the celebration could have been adopted from a Roman Spring festival celebrating Cybele, their Mother Goddess. As Christianity spread, this date was adopted by Christians.
The epistle in the Book of Common Prayer for this Sunday refers to the heavenly Jerusalem as “the Mother of all us all”, and this may have prompted the customs we still see today.
It is known that on this date, about four hundred years ago, people made a point of visiting their nearest big church (the Mother Church). The church in which each person was baptised. People who visited their mother church would say they had gone “a mothering.”
Those ‘in service’ at the local Manor House, were only allowed one day to visit their family each year. This was usually on Mothering Sunday. For some this could be a significant journey since their mother may have lived some distance away, indeed another town from the Manor where they were put in to service. Often the housekeeper or cook would allow the maids to bake a cake to take home for their mother. Sometimes a gift of eggs; or flowers from the garden (or was allowed. So the traditions of Mothering Sunday began which we continue today.
A piece of good news is the success of the Taunton Town Chaplaincy. At their AGM on Tuesday evening we were told that the Trust is financially stable and there are 30 volunteer chaplains. They are not only ministering in the workplace, (Anna Burt, from St Mary Magdalene is chaplain at Matalan) but are now a presence on the streets, patrolling around Taunton, speaking to shoppers and shop workers for an hour and a half each day. They wear their chaplain’s jackets and shirts and are becoming a familiar and welcome sight on our streets. Do read about their work in this month’s Manna.
We have received a donation of £281.06 in memory of Norman Sherston. This will go towards purchasing something for the coffee shop as we all have very fond memories of him when he came to visit us there.
We are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact cars are having in the churchyard. The path is deteriorating, the vicarage wall is precarious and the grass is being churned up.
If the churchyard is full, please do not “force” an extra space, but instead use the Canon Street car park. You may reclaim the cost (on production of the car park ticket) from the book or coffee shop if helping as a volunteer, or from the Office if on welcoming or other official duty.
“We believe we know where we’re going and the One who will take us there and we want others to join us in our pilgrimage. That’s why we are audacious enough to put the invitation outside. What we need to make sure of is that we are on that journey ourselves, that we have the guide living in our lives and leading us. And through this may God draw many people to Himself.”