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Sunday Services

8.00 Eucharist

10.00 The Parish Eucharist

10.00 Junior Church

18.30 Evening Prayer

19.00 Benediction

Weekday Eucharists

Tuesday 10.00

Wednesday 19.00

Thursday 10.00

Friday 12.30

Saturday 18.00

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Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Street, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 3JG.
01823 354800
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Friday
Jul122019

Sunday 21 July

 

GOSPEL GOSSIP

‘Mary has chosen the better part…’

St Luke 10. 38-42

Sunday 21 July

Feathers may have been ruffled by this passage as it seems to cast women in the subservient role of being housekeepers.  However, there is no indication that they were excluded whilst the ‘boys’ talked; rather the contrary.  Of the two sisters, whose house Jesus and his disciples were visiting, one, Mary, decided it was more important to focus on Jesus’ presence and teaching, whilst the other, felt obliged to get on with her daily tasks.  The point that St Luke is making is not about the roles of women, but the demands of Jesus, applicable to men and women alike 

You may have some sympathy that Martha went and moaned at Jesus about her sister, who wasn’t pulling her weight, she felt, in the house, preferring instead to sit at his feet.  In her words of complaint to Jesus, Martha almost seems to be blaming Jesus for her sister’s dereliction of her ‘duty’. She could not have been pleased with the way Jesus answered her, a gentle rebuke – a reminder that she seemed to be more concerned with physical cares than with spiritual ones.

  •          Whose ‘side’ would you immediately take?
  •          Why?
  •          Was Mary deserting or delaying her household tasks?
  •          Do you fit God into spare time, or do you make him a priority?
  •          Whose ‘feet’ do you sit at?

Sometimes resentment or misunderstanding clouds our understanding.  Yet we don’t always take kindly to having things pointed out to us that we have overlooked, or failed to consider.  Martha was, understandably, wearied by her tasks, and frustrated that whilst she was going on with them, others (presumably the disciples who accompanied Jesus on his visit, as well as her sister) ‘lounged about’ relaxing whilst she struggled on single-handed.

We read too much into this story.  How do we know Mary wouldn’t chip in and help with the chores once Jesus and his disciples had left?  The point surely, is how we prioritise our life and the way we live it.  Too often we will use spurious or incidental reasons (excuses?) to delay our being challenged by Jesus – because that is what he does.  He doesn’t come to affirm us, pat our heads and move on, he comes to transform us.  He can only do that if we allow him the time, and are open to his teaching.

  •          Who or what informs your way of living?
  •          Are you prepared to be challenged by the gospel?
  •          Did Jesus come merely to reassure or to institute a new world order?
  •          How often does bias, prejudice or other feelings towards others affect your discipleship?
  •          Are you prepared to put things on one side if something more important came up and how  would you decide what was ‘more important’? 

Using this simple, domestic image, Jesus makes it clear that whilst he is present it is he who should demand our full attention, not be the one in the background.  He doesn’t want us to deny our humanity, with its cares and responsibilities, but he wants us to be able to fulfil it, to reach our divine potential, and that we can only do by ‘sitting at his feet’ – all the rest flows on from this.

Saturday
Jun292019

Sunday 7 July

 

GOSPEL GOSSIP

 

Jesus sent them ahead in pairs

 

Luke 10. 1-11, 16-20

 

Sunday 7 July 

This week’s gospel passage from Luke is effectively the first organised Christian mission.  We hear how Jesus appointed 70 people and sent them off in pairs.  Even at this early stage, Jesus was drawing others into sharing his ministry, yet giving those who he sent specific instructions as to what to do.  He equips them for their task, and prepares them for rejection as a response – something with which he is familiar. He sends them out with his authority, and with the assurance that he will be at those places too.

First, there is the sending out – the co-mission, then comes the return.  Jesus expects those whom he has sent out in his name to come back to him, not to report back to base, but so that they are able to express their joy at the completion of their task.  He is aware of the effect of what they are doing.  Luke does not tell us that there is a specific time limit for this missionary work but does state that the disciples’ reward is not they have received his power and authority, but that they earned a place in heaven.

  •           What does the word ‘missionary’ mean to you?
  •           Where is the mission field today?
  •           Do you consider yourself a missionary?
  •           What meaning does the message, ‘the kingdom of God has come to near to you’, convey?
  •           Is the kingdom of God a future aspiration or a present reality?

We have probably by now moved very far away from the idea of missionaries being brave souls going off to the heathens dressed in khaki suits and wearing pith helmets!  Yet it may seem just as implausible to consider that we are actually appointed by Jesus, with his authority and power today; that the message is the same – the kingdom of God has come near to you.

It is not a shortage of priests or other accredited ministers which is driving the Church’s re-commitment to lay ministry today.  The gaps that need to be plugged and not in roles but in function.  However, such shortages have highlighted the ways in which the Church has not always made full use of the missionary gifts available, nor perhaps allowed them to flourish.  The message is the same and the need is the same – and the means are the same.  No one can know about Jesus unless they are told.

  •           How would you go about telling the story of Jesus?
  •           Where would you go?
  •           What would you need to equip you for the task?
  •           Why would you even want to attempt it?
  •           How would you cope with apparent ‘failure’?

What we face today is the same as those 70 2000 years ago.  But with some vital differences.  Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we know the completeness of his victory.  Through the gifting of the Holy Spirit we can be assured of Jesus’ power and authority.  And we know that there is no place or situation into which we may enter where Jesus has not been before.  And when the missionaries returned, they were full of joy and excitement, not grumbling and resentful of having been sent out.  What’s your response to this?