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Friendship Wednesday Invitation

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An invitation for adults to Friendship Wednesday every third Wednesday of the month starting on the 20th April from 2.15 to 4.00 pm in the coffee shop area.

Join us for an afternoon of chat and board games.

Thank you Readers!

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This year is the 150th anniversary of Readers’ ministry and we are planning to marry this with a Reader’s Sunday Service on the Sunday after Ascension.

Our Readers, Peter, Ronnie and Daphne, all work very hard in our parish and we thank them for all they do.

Say the Word – Lazarus 2

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 The Reading:  John 11:38-44 

Lazarus, come out” (v.44) RSV

Last week we spoke of the place and value of prayer.  God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are his ways our ways (Isaiah 55:8).  Or as another scripture has it, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established” (Proverbs 19:21).

Jesus arrived in Bethany and proceeded to prepare the two sisters and all the onlookers for the miracle that was going to take place.  Without their co-operation and the necessary faith Jesus would have been severely hampered in what he was going to do.  You may remember that it is recorded that when he was in his home town of Nazareth “he could do no mighty work there” (Mark 6:5), “because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:58).  Similarly when we come to look at the healing of Jairus’ daughter Jesus had to put out the scornful mourners, and keep with him only the few who had faith.

So we see this week that Jesus deals separately with Martha and then Mary to tackle their grief and disappointment.  He then raises their hope and faith.  He also prays in front of the crowd, as he says, “for their sake” (v.42).  Finally he gets them to take the first practical step of faith: “Take away the stone” (v.39).  This opens up the possibilities.  Either there will be a stink or there will be a deathly hush.

And now Jesus raises the dead, not through prayer, but through the creative word of command: “Lazarus, come out” (v.43).  This loud proclamation was not said to the people or to God, but to Lazarus.  As we have read earlier this week we are expected to speak to the mountain.  In this case it is Lazarus who has to respond.  That’s what faith is: hear and obey.  James makes this very clear in his letter when he wrote, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17).

Outside the grave of Lazarus, Jesus said the word.  The young man came forth.  The people were given a further work to do: “Unbind him and let him go” (v.44).  Once again we are involved in the process of healing and deliverance.

Lord, it is incredible but true, you raised the dead.  I believe, help my unbelief, and may my faith grow.  Amen. 

Explore More

1  How does James explain faith and works?

    James 2:17-26

2  Which disciple raised the dead?

    Acts 9:36-43

Easter Services

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Holy Week

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Archdeacon John Reed will be leading us in a time of reflection/meditation on Monday to Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm. This will be a special time and you are warmly invited to come. Each talk lasts half an hour.

This leads us to Maundy Thursday when we are privileged to have another significant visitor – Dr Ziggy Rogoff. Ziggy is a Messianic Jew and a missionary working with Jews for Jesus. He will be coming to talk to us at 6.15pm – 7.00pm about the Passover Meal (coffee and biscuits provided). He will then preach at our Maundy Thursday Service.

Then there will be the vigil which follows the service until 9.30pm. This is a time to just sit quietly with God, either in the main church where the lights will have been dimmed, and the altar will have been stripped or in the St Andrew Chapel. It would be very encouraging to see more people staying this year.

Good Friday

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  • The Revd Dr Susan Durber is the new minister at Taunton URC in Paul Street and she will lead us in our 10.30 Morning Service on Good Friday – the Revd Rod Corke will be preaching.
  • After the service there is the walk to St James and then processing through the Town as an act of witness.
  • In the afternoon at 2.00pm we will be remembering Jesus’ crucifixion with ‘An Hour at the Cross’ led  by Revd Ben Whitworth.
  • Then in the evening, starting at 7.30pm, our Good Friday Devotional Concert, a sequence of meditative music with the Choir of St Mary Magdalene, string orchestra and other instruments centred around the short Passiontide cantata Wondrous Cross by Alan Bullard. This is a  powerful work of words and music and very appropriate for Good Friday evening.