24th JANUARY 2021
The Third Sunday of Epiphany
10.00am Online Facebook Eucharist
Following the service: Online Zoom Coffee
Collect: God of all mercy, your Son proclaimed good news to the
poor, release to the captives, and freedom to the oppressed: anoint us with
your Holy Spirit and set all your people free to praise you in Christ our Lord.
Readings: Genesis 14.17-20, Revelation 19.6-10, John 2.1-11
Post Communion: Almighty Father, whose Son our Saviour Jesus Christ is the light of the world: may your people,
illumined by your word and sacraments, shine with the radiance of his glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; for he is alive and reigns, now and for ever.
For your prayers:
- All those across the world affected by the Coronavirus; the sick and the frightened
- For all medical professionals and researchers
- The residents and staff of care homes, including those in our parish - Cedar Lodge, Aspen Court and Northway House
- The sick and those who have died
- Bishop Peter, Bishop Ruth and their families
RIP: Val Nash
The Church will be open for private prayer on Sundays - 12 noon to 3.30pm and Thursdays - 9.00am to 12.30pm.
The Parish Office will remain closed to visitors.
For enquiries about the Church Hall, please contact Lesley Jones.
St Andrew's Sunday Coffee Chat via ZOOM
It has been good to connect with people at ‘Zoom Coffee’ after the 10am service on Sundays. If you would like to join in for an on-line chat, please use the details below to log in.
The Zoom coffee chat meeting will start 10 minutes after the online service finishes and will last for around 40 minutes, but you can leave whenever you want to - so why not make your cuppa and join us!
Zoom Morning Prayer – Wednesdays – 9.00am
Katy will be hosting Morning Prayer on Zoom on Wednesdays at 9.00am, starting on 13 January and continuing during the time public worship is suspended. No books or apps are needed as the words will appear on the screen.
If you would like the zoom access codes, please contact the Parish Administrator by email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Growing in Prayer
Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God. During the pandemic, we have often been urged to pray, but may have found prayer more challenging. During Lent, Nicki Sawyer and Katy Gough invite you to join them in exploring prayer over 5 interactive sessions on Zoom on Thursdays at 7.30pm, starting on Thursday 25th February. If you do not have access to Zoom, you are welcome to use the material at home and we can arrange a weekly phone call to chat through it.
We will be using the book Life Source: A Five Session Course on Prayer for Lent, by Robert Warren and Kate Bruce. It is recommended that every participant has their own copy. Please let Katy know by Sunday 31st January if you would like her to order one for you from Church House Publishing for which there will be a charge of £7.99. Cheaper second hand copies are also available on Amazon and Ebay.
Here's what we'll be discovering:
* Source of life - prayer as relationship
* Source of joy - prayer as enjoying God
* Source of light - prayer as listening
* Source of wholeness - prayer as honesty
* Source of love - prayer as care
If you'd like to find out more or to sign up to receive the Zoom link, please get in touch with Katy: email@example.com or 01823 330854.
Children’s Society Blue Boxes - UPDATE
Since last week’s notice sheet, as you will know, the situation has changed. I have just heard from the Children’s Society that due to the current lockdown they are delaying the box opening until a later date (rather vague I am afraid) so please hold on to your boxes and keep putting any change/notes in until I am able to collect them. Sorry for any confusion.
Best wishes Janet Paynter
Taunton Foodbank - request for help
The Foodbank in Taunton was set up by the local churches in 2012 as a response to a need and a witness to their faith. The early leaders came from diverse backgrounds in the local churches, many of which are no longer available to give this service. We now have an urgent need for someone to join our Board to perform the role of Treasurer, and someone with charity or small business experience to assist in managing our receipts, gift aids, bills, etc (the two roles could be combined). More information is available from Howard Mathers, Chair of Trustees, who may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
alert to scams
As we rely on the phone and internet more than ever, some members of our congregation have noticed an increase in scams. It is best to be cautious about clicking links in emails or giving out any personal or financial information on the internet and the phone. If in doubt, contact the company through their official website or phone number instead.
(Christians Against Poverty)
CAP provided services to people struggling with issues of money management and debt.
CAP has an office in Taunton and would be delighted to help any parishioners (regardless of faith) who are struggling in these most difficult of times.
To book an appointment, please call 0800 328 0006.
Church Services by Telephone – free
A reminder of this service launched earlier in the year by The Archbishop of Canterbury. This is a free national phone line which brings worship and prayer into people’s homes while church buildings are closed because of the coronavirus. Daily Hope offers music, prayers and reflections, as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line.
The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services.
The first time I ever attended a wedding was about a year after the end of my student days. Two university friends of mine were getting married and invited me to attend the service in East London.
The venue is important to the story because then, as now, a trip to the “Smoke” meant lots of interesting buses and trains to take in on the way to, and, especially, after the wedding. The service was brief – a conveyor belt job, with one wedding broadly every 45 minutes. I made a mental note to double that if I ever became a Vicar, and when I did, I added a bit more after a nasty experience involving two weddings and a clock…
No matter, after the ceremony I was whisked away by car to the reception, which went on for ages… and ages… and ages. You know how it is… the meal… the speeches… the toast. In fact, so much toast I began to understand the meaning of the term, “wedding breakfast.” But in those days, I didn’t know how it was, and after a period of apparent inactivity, thinking of what I was missing, and the fact that I had an appointment to meet another mate in a muddy coach yard in Vauxhall, a good hour or so away, I fled.
Later, the bride wrote to thank me for coming and for the gift (at least I knew about that bit!) but then told me off…
“You left,” she said, “without seeing me in my going-away outfit.”
I thought, “Your what…?”
And I thought, “Your what…?”
The custom at Cana – and probably a whole lot of other places – of serving the good wine first was purely pragmatic. As John tells us, once the guests were gently merry, they wouldn’t notice when the rougher stuff came out. And these were weddings that could go on for days…… Thank goodness there were no trainspotters in those days!
But if upsetting one little wedding tradition was an issue for the Steward, that was peanuts compared with the social and theological dynamite that this story represents. And it is for that reason that the Wedding at Cana is a key text in this season of Epiphany – the revealing of the Christ to the whole world.
To understand that – and continuing with the wedding theme – we might like to think of five bells, representing five key words or phrases, each packed with meaning. Strike any one of those bells, you could potentially have a sermon in itself…
So I’m going to have a go at all five!
But before you all make a mental note to head off to your own equivalent of a muddy coach park in Vauxhall, I’ll promise to be brief!
The first bell is the wedding itself.
In the Bible, weddings are a frequent symbol of the coming of God’s Kingdom. Jesus uses it, and it is there in the apocalyptic Book of Revelation too. We are taught that a wedding brings two people together so that they become one flesh. It seals a relationship in which two people offer unconditional love to each other. As God does to us. It is the language of covenant, of promise. When God’s Kingdom comes, God will be known, and his Spirit will be in the hearts of his People and his will shall be done in all the earth.
The second bell is the need for more wine.
Most of us enjoy a glass of wine. It signals relaxation, like opening a bottle for the weekend. It signals celebration, when we share a special meal. Again, it is the language of the Kingdom, a glimpse of Heaven when all are one in God, and bask in his love. The new wine at the end of the feast signifies that work of new creation through the Word made flesh, dwelling among us.
The third bell is the purification pots.
Water represents life. Biologically it is life: no water, no life. In baptism, water signifies new life… cleansing, the forgiveness of sins… and the new life we have in Christ.
The fourth bell is the third day. Missed out from our lection, the actual text is that the wedding take place, “on the third day.”
The saving work of Christ would not suddenly arrive. It would have to be worked for. There would be a cost. Ultimately, that cost was death on a cross. But – after another wait – on the third day, Jesus is raised from the dead.
The role of Mary in this story is interesting. She represents the old order, longing for, and impatient for, the new. As the God Bearer she knows who Jesus is and wants him to spring into action. Jesus’ strange – almost rude – rebuke to his mother must have been based on this shared knowledge. The time is not yet. But out of love, a tentative sense of vocation, a tentative step in faith, one more minute closer to the cross, Jesus does act. Mother has spoken. Only sometimes Mother knows. Because they just do, don’t they, Mums.
Yet Mary is also the symbol of a hurting world, rushing to Jesus wanting instant solutions. Like the crowd after the Feeding of the 5000, sensing a free meal ticket in this enigmatic new Rabbi, wanting to make him king. But Mary, like the crowd, like us, must be patient. We must travel the long road, and wait for the hour of God’s appointing.
But if there is something almost reckless in Mary’s actions, it is no less so for the servants at the feast. Faced with the instruction from one of the guests, a complete stranger, would you have served water on the offchance that it had miraculously become wine? Would you dare risk your job? On the other hand, would you disobey and miss the glory?
Because glory is the fifth and final bell… the glory of the cross, the glory of the Empty Tomb… the glory of new life in the waters of baptism, and the glory of the new wine, the wedding feast at the heart of the Kingdom, when all things shall be complete.
And all of this reflected, for those who can see it, in this ordinary wedding at Cana in Galilee. A wedding like any other wedding, but for its guest list, and it’s timing, taking place as it did…
…On the third day.
HYMNS OF THE WEEK
Tomorrow January 25th is the feast of the Conversion of St
Paul and also the day that marks the end of the ‘Week of Prayer for Christian
This Sunday we would also have joining together with our friends at Rowbarton Methodist Church and St Peter’s Church for the Annual Covenant Service.
The following hymn expresses beautifully the importance and centrality of prayer in our lives, for those around us and for the wider church as we seek to grow closer together.
The words of the hymn are also very suitable as a prayer that we can use in the quiet of our homes and as we gather to share in the Eucharist.
God is love, and where true love is
God Himself is there.
Here in Christ we gather, love of Christ our calling.
Christ, our love, is with us, gladness be His greeting.
Let us fear him, yes and love Him, God eternal.
Loving him let each love Christ in all his brethren. Refrain…
When we Christians gather, members of one body,
Let there be in us no discord but one spirit.
Banished now be anger, strife, and every quarrel.
Christ, our God, be always present here among us. Refrain…
Grant us love’s fulfilment, joy with all the blessed,
When we see your face, O Saviour, in its glory.
Shine on us, O purest Light of all creation,
Be our bliss while endless ages sing Your praises. Refrain…
Father, Lord of all creation – a hymn to send us out into the world
Lord of all creation,
ground of being, life and love;
height and depth beyond description, only life in you can prove:
you are mortal life's dependence: thought, speech, sight are ours by grace;
yours is every hour's existence, sovereign Lord of time and space.
Christ, the man for others we, your people, make our prayer
help us love, as sisters, brothers all whose burdens we can share.
Where your name binds us together you, Lord Christ, will surely be;
where no selfishness can sever there your love the world may see.
Spirit, rushing, bringing wind and flame of Pentecost
fire our hearts afresh with yearning to regain what we have lost.
May your love unite our action, nevermore to speak alone
God, in us, abolish faction, God, through us, your love make known.
31st January 2021
Presentation of Christ in the Temple
10.00am Online Facebook Eucharist
Following the service: Online Zoom Coffee
Malachi 3.1-5, Hebrews 2.14-end, Luke 2.22-40
- St Andrews Church
- Greenway Avenue
- TA2 6HU