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Time Capsule for the Tower

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Time Capsule ON SUNDAY 29th JUNE after the 10.00am service Rosemary Berry collected signatures for the time capsule which is to be put in the tower.  There was a cost of £2 for each name and comment written into a special book containing acid free, archival paper.

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Malachi – 8th Question to God

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 The Reading:  Malachi 3:13-18 

How have we spoken against thee?” (v.13) RSV

“Your words have been stout against me” (v.13) says God.  It is amazing how puny man can be so bold in opposing God.  The Israelites were a bit taken aback when they were accused of this: “How have we spoken against thee?”  They had been committing the cardinal sins of grumbling and ingratitude.  They basically felt it did not pay to try to be good and to follow God.  It all seemed hard work and God was not blessing them.  Remember our first session in Malachi; they asked, “How hast thou loved us?” (Malachi 1:2).

The Israelites were accustomed to resenting God.  Way back in the time of Moses when God had brought them out of the Red (Reed) Sea and into the Wilderness, they grumbled all of ten times (Numbers 14:22-23) over various practical issues, like food and water, so that in the end God let them rot in the desert and not enter the Promised Land.  This was not so much an arbitrary punishment as the inevitable result of adopting an unbelieving and grumbling spirit.  It made them incapable of entering Canaan.

Nowadays people tend not to complain to God, they simply say that because they are not blessed in the way they think they should, that there is no God.  The arrogance is palpable when paltry man shakes his fist at heaven and tells God that he does not exist.  But if we do believe in God then we may be guilty of finding fault with him; we may even get angry with him.  Job did that, but in the end he came to his senses and had to repent for speaking so rashly (see Explore More).

The third of the Ten Commandments is: “Take not the name of the Lord your God in vain” (Exodus 20:7).  We can do this by swearing/cursing, of course.  But more importantly we can do it by calling ourselves Christians and then not living up to that high calling.  God is easily dishonoured by our lives.  So our lives can “speak against God” (cf. v.13).  Our desire should always be to bring honour to his name, and indeed to be the first to praise and thank him, even in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Thank you Lord that you never grumble about me.  Help me never to grumble about you.  Amen. 

Explore More

1  Read how Job repented after being angry with God.

    Job 42:1-6

2  How did Paul honour God even in prison?

    Acts 16:24-25, Philippians 4:11-13

Welcome The Revd Sue Rose

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“On Sunday 19th June, we welcome The Revd Sue Rose, who has been recently appointed Diocesan Director of Ordinands.  Sue was formally incumbent of the Benefice of Cheddar, Draycott and Rodney Stoke and Sue and I have known each other for several years.  Sue will be preaching and presiding this morning and we look forward to her ministry.  So what does a Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO) do?  The DDO looks to encourage calling to ministry and helps to prepare candidates for national selection (a three day intensive interview called a BAP—Bishop’s Advisory Panel).  Once selected, the DDO supports the ordinands through training at theological college.  Please give Sue a warm welcome today.”

Rod Corke, Vicar

PCC Away Day

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Last Saturday the PCC spent an enjoyable and productive day at The Mill House Retreat Centre, Tiverton.  We looked at and updated our Mission Action Plan and discussed the recently received plans our architect has drawn for the final stage of development in the Coffee Shop area.

Healing Service

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Would you like some healing prayer for yourself or someone you care for?

The next Healing Service (with Communion) is happening on 5th June at 6.30pm.  Do come.

Friday Morning Communion Service

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“Last Thursday was Corpus Christi when we give God thanks for the celebration of Holy Communion.  Have you ever thought about starting your Friday morning with a short communion service?  After the service, a group of us go to County Stores for tea/coffee/teacakes/or a cooked breakfast.  No one has to come and the folk who go are not an exclusive group in any way.  We would love your company.”

Rod Corke, Vicar

Trinity Sunday

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Today is Trinity Sunday, when we consider especially God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The classic definition of the Trinity is: “One God in three divine persons. The three persons are distinct, yet are one in “substance, essence and nature”. Today also marks the beginning of what the church calls Ordinary Time as distinct from Festival Time which includes the feasts of Christmas and Easter. The liturgical colour changes to white today and then to green. Green continues until Advent Sunday when the penitential purple colour is used. This seems an appropriate time to give thanks to our Sacristan, Sandra, and her serving team, who do such splendid work coping with the seasonal changes in our worship.

Malachi – 6th & 7th Questions to God

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 The Reading:  Malachi 3:6-12 

How shall we return?  How are we robbing thee?” (vv.7-8) RSV

This is perhaps the best known part of Malachi: tithing!  But note its context.  This passage is not primarily about raising money or making everyone feel guilty.  It is about repentance and returning to intimacy with God.  “How shall we return?” is the question on the lips of Israel.  It should be constantly on ours, for too easily and too often we drift away from our Lord.  But when Israel asked the question there was a note of arrogance about it.  They felt they did not need to return for they did not think that they had wandered off.  Perhaps they even felt that if anyone had moved away in the relationship it was God!

God is quick to point out that of course it was they who had moved away, and the reason was that they were “robbing” (v.8) him.  The Israelites were offended that they should be accused of robbing God.  But as ever it was not their sins of commission that God was on about, but their sins of omission.  They had not stripped the Temple of gold and silver, nor had they robbed priests of their candlesticks (see Les Miserables).  No, they had not done wrong, but they had failed to do right, that was their trouble.  They had robbed God by failing to give back to him a portion of all that he had given to them.  The first reason for giving is not to meet need (however great that need may be), but to express love and gratitude to our Lord and Saviour.  Then, and only then do we give to meet need.

Giving is then not a chore nor even an obligation, but a joy and a privilege.  St Paul speaks often about giving (as indeed does Jesus).  He writes not about tithing (which incidentally is not mentioned in the New Testament), but about generous and proportional giving.  Above all he states that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).  As we give God promises us much in return: “I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour down on you an overflowing blessing” (v.10).  If we rob God, we rob ourselves.

Take my silver, take my gold.  Not a mite would I withhold.  All things come from you O Lord, and of thine own do I give thee.  Amen. 

Explore More

1  Should our giving always go to the poor?

    John 12:1-8

2   What example of generous giving did Jesus use?

    Luke 21:1-4