Archive for the ‘Tapton year 2018’ Category

Service 22nd July – sermon by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Sunday, July 26th, 2020

Bible study 14th July 2020 David & bathsheba

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020


I am a big fan of the TV series MASH which was set in the Korean war but was, in fact, a commentary on Vietnam. Famously, it lasted longer than the Korean war itself. I remember one episode which showed the surgeons in their blood-stained aprons operating on one casualty after another but then the scene would change to show the pursuits and entertainment of folks back home in US. The incongruity was startling- people were having lunches on the lawn while young men died.

The story of David and Bathsheba begins in 2 Samuel 11:1 with ‘In the Spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men’. David is a warrior king. He is meant to be seeing off invaders but instead he is safely in the palace and sending someone else. Power becomes dangerous when leaders forget their purpose.

Have a look at this painting by Jean-Leon Gerome in 1899 of Bathsheba bathing.

  1. How do you feel about the characters in this scene?
  2. (Try to be honest….no judgments) how does this picture make you feel?

 Read 2 Samuel 11:1-5.

It is clear that David is walking around on the roof of the palace. He has a high position of privilege but nothing to suggest that Bathsheba was displaying herself to him on her roof! She was cleansing herself after her monthly period as was the Jewish law. This whole story (as is Gerome’s painting) is set up for the male gaze. We are meant to be a man looking at a woman touching herself. Bathsheba was probably totally unaware of David’s gaze and thus she is already humiliated and exploited before she is even summoned to the palace. As was the custom of the time she is defined by the men in her life both of whom are part of David’s ‘Mighty Men’ and thus David’s actions towards Bathsheba are a betrayal of his closest allies. The verbs in this short passage all show David’s initiative and power ‘saw, sent, get, lay with her’.

Verse 4 says simply ‘and he slept with her’. How much choice did she have before a king? The only thing Bathsheba does is come before the king as a loyal subject would. Uriah later does exactly the same thing. I’ve read commentaries that said it was consensual because she didn’t put up a fight. Part of the problem is that in Hebrew there is no legal or technical term for rape. You have to go on the context. Certainly, the term ‘lay with’ does not stress overwhelming brutality as in the rape of Tamar or Dinah in the biblical text…..but still. It shows that defining rape/abuse has always been problematic and power is a dynamic that has been historically ignored.

3-Are passages like 2 Samuel 11:1-5 helpful or harmful for modern women? What do we do with passages like this in the church?

Bathsheba’s voice is silent in this. Her only initiative is to go home and not stay in the palace. Perhaps she wants to pretend the whole thing has not happened and to continue to be Uriah’s wife. Then in a sad reversal of David’s messengers she sends word to him that she is pregnant. That is the first statement we hear from her lips.

Read 2 Samuel 11: 6-15

Uriah’s actions as a military man of honour (and a foreign Hittite!) stand in stark contrast to David’s own. David tries to get Uriah to sleep with his wife so that the baby can be passed off as his. It would be almost comic if it wasn’t so tragic. Eventually, David in effect murders Uriah by putting in the frontline and then getting the other men to withdraw. Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11:26 is called ‘Uriah’s wife’ and mourns for him before David had her brought into the palace. In terms of blame verse 27 declares ‘But the thing David had done displeased the Lord’.

4-Have you ever noticed that sin tends to spiral, one sin tends to lead to others? Can you give any examples? Why is that? What can stop it?

Read 2 Samuel 12:1-14

5-Why do you think the prophet Nathan tells the story about the lamb rather than just come out with it?

6-David is forgiven but there are still terrible consequences. Is the same true for us? We can be eternally forgiven but the consequences of our mistakes may still play themselves out in the next generation?


We might not be David and we hopefully have not committed his particular sins but we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Sin is sin. We might want to say that some are worse than others but the Bible doesn’t. David’s confession is simple and honest. Tradition has it that David composed this psalm after Nathan confronted him. What lines strike home for you? What is overwhelming is God’s forgiving love.

Generous in love—God, give grace!
    Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
    soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
    my sins are staring me down.

You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
    it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
    whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
    in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
    Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
    scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
    set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
    give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
    shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
    or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from grey exile,
    put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
    so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
    and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
    I’ll let loose with your praise.

 Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
    a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
    when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
    don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.


Sunday 12th July – reflections on ‘a place at the table’

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

Sunday 2nd February 2020

Monday, February 3rd, 2020

Leader : Suzanne Nockels    We are going to be looking at the Bible  from Genesis to Revelation.                         Reading  Genesis 1 `-26  In the beginning                                                                                                                                            The exiled scholars in Babylon decided to write down everything  that had happeed before their exile  but Babylon had its own story   which was almost the same as Genesis      thikig about whast was around them.  But they put God  into their memories.

Creation wasn’t only the once it is still going on today  – trees bear fruit whihc grows into new trees, plants form seeds which grow, animals and humans reproduce.

What do yu love in life ?   Whatever it is it willbe mentioned in Genesis.

In Revelation we read about the tre of life  crops of frit  Water of life  all from creation mentioned in Genesis.


Sunday 8th December 2019 CHURCH ANNIVERSARY

Monday, December 9th, 2019

Leader : Rev.Dr Janet  Wootton    Light in the darkness                                Janet began by wishing the church Happy 166th Birthday and said her theme was Light and a light had shone through the windows for 166 years.

A worker for Chocolate Box, run by the Church Army, then told us about  the work they are doing  bringing caring and help to vulnerable women  –  a light in their lives.

We were then shown the new “Welcome” sign that we had all painted a small part of  – this will go in the front porch to welcome all who enter from us all.

Janet’s theme for her year as President of the Congregational Federation is  “The future of the Federation”  we were all asked to write down what we thought was the basis of Congregationalism and Janet discussed these thoughts.

We follow Christ as head of the church and are self  supporting so only have Him to answer to.

Sunday 1st December Advent Sunday

Sunday, November 24th, 2019

We have an Advent Wall of twenty boxes and we would like people to bring gifts for various charities

Chocolate Box   a charity that befriends sex workers   –  asking for ladies pampering item i.e. bubble batch, shower gel etc.                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Good News Hope Centre for victims of domestic abuse  – duvet covers, cutlery, mugs, cookware etc                        Maher – a project in India helping men, women and children exercise their right to  higher quality of life.  asking for cash donations  to be put in an envelope marked Mahler please.

The boxes will be in place until Christmas.  If you wish to know more about any of the charities    ask our Church Secretary Darryl Lomas  or come on the 1st to hear from Hazel from Good News.     8th Church Anniversary with Rev.Dr Janet Wootton and hear about Maher   and     15th Chocolate Box

Sunday 22nd September 2019

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

Leader :Margaret Wells   Reading   Philemon

Philemon is a book of only one chapter  22 verses   but it has been a great influence over the years  – Paul is asking the people to forgive Philemon his sins and accept him back into the family  (He has been in prison)   this is a very difficult thing for him to ask  –  we do not find it easy to forgive anyone and accept them back with open arms  no matter what they have done.   If our neighbour has entirely different views than ours  can we accept him and be good friends with him ?    There is a saying  “Never forgive  never forget”  and this is difficult to ignore.    Do we speak to those we meet when we go shopping, or on public transport ?  How much harder it is to accept someone into our close family circle.   Slavery stilll exists  do we try to befriend those we feel  might be not so free as we are?      There are many ways to befriend people  –  start by saying hallo to  a stranger and see where it leads.

Sunday 1st September 2019

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

Leader : Suzanne Nockels   Redings :  Ecclesiastes  9  7-15  John 10 7-10                                                               It is the 1st September today  children are going back to school, holidays are over, the start of autumn.   Have you joyous memories of sumer?  There has been joy during the Summer Joys programme at both churches  and joy on our summer holidays as well as other joyful occasions.   No a l life has been joyous but during the bad times we are upheld by the thought that these will end and joy will come.     Suzanne and Keith have just been to a museum in Paris which was about the Allies  entering Paris 75 years ago.  There was a dress on show which had been made by a lady who had heard that the allies were coming and she made the dress in anticipation of this event.  Can you imagine the joy she felt when she was able to wear it  after being occupied by German forces they were once again free of oppression.       Ecclesiastes has many references to joy       i.e   1  2        2  24-25         6  1-2     9  7-10

Suzanne and Keith were given a voucher from the church  to hear Kate Busby at the City Hall for their Silver Wedding

Saturday 31s August 2019

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

Keith and Sally Bradley opened their garden and provided scones and buns and plenty of tea and coffee in aid of our pipe organ  which is in need of repair.   Ably assisted in the kitchen by Joanne.    Despite a heavy rainfall about 12.30 which soon cleared everyone had a lovely time.  Thanks to the Bradleys for their hard work

Sunday 25th August 2019

Monday, August 26th, 2019

Leader :  Pat Moseley    Readings :  Psalm 121   Mark  6   45-52

It is not possible to value the peace of God.    The sea of Galilee is surrounded by hills and these funnel wind down into the lake and cause sudden storms.  but when there are no storms this is is very peaceful place  and once seen can never be forgotten.   Jesus had gone into the hills to pray when the sudden storm arose on the lake and his disciples were having difficulty with the boat  and he walked out to them on the water and calmed the storm.  He still can come to us when a storm rises in our lives.  But if we remember Psalm 121  “I will lift my eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help” Much nearer to home is the Hope Valley with its hills   and if we can get into the hills we can be close to God and be at peace  without all the distractions of city life.   Psalm 23  “Th Lord is my shepherd” is also related to the hills and  sheep grazing   and as the shepherares for his sheep  so our God cares for us.