Archive for December, 2018

Church walk

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

The weather was kind and we had a very pleasant stroll through Endcliffe Park to Forge Mill Dam cafe to enjoy refreshments and friendly discussion including about the institution of Communion and how it is taken by different denominations.

In our contemporary view of the Lord’s Supper, there is but one cup. However, historically, there were four, each with its own blessing and its own story to tell. They represent the four “I wills” that God declared in Exodus 6:6,7, and today they remind us of our journey as consecrated followers of Christ.

The Cup of Sanctification: “I will bring you out from under the burden of the Egyptians.”

The Cup of Judgment: “I will deliver you from their bondage.”

The Cup of Redemption: “I will . . . redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.”

The Cup of Praise: “I will take you for My people, and I will be your God.”

All four of these cups are not only part of the story of Passover but also part of our story with Christ.

Jesus and His disciples had already partaken of the first two cups and enjoyed their Passover meal. However, it was the third cup, the Cup of Redemption, that Jesus took “after the supper” and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20, NIV).

But what about that fourth cup? Interestingly, it’s quite possible that Jesus did not drink from the fourth cup. Instead, after the third cup, He said, “ I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29, NIV).

That cup is His promise to us that He will return for us and that we will drink it together at the marriage supper of the Lamb.  Taken from the Bible Advocate online 29/12/2018.

 

Christmas Day Service – 10.15am

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Reading from Luke 2

It was good to be joined by a number of friends from Hillsborough Tabernacle Congregational Church.

Suzanne introduced the congregation to how we might say Merry Christmas in a number of languages from around the world.

At the Advent Service at the beginning of December  a ‘posada’,  a wandering crib, was circulated  amongst the congregation and for the month of December was passed between members and friends who added their thoughts to a notebook.  Suzanne shared some of these thoughts with us.

Suzanne then revealed the extent of the Roman Empire where the census was conducted. This was the first census so a new experience for the people.  Change was happening.

 

 

 

 

 

Carols by candlelight 23rd December 2018

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

Carols by candlelight today at 2.45p.m.

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Readings:  Luke 2: 1-7    Luke 2: 8-20      John 18: 33-37

Suzanne reflected on the time someone put a ‘Darth Vader’ toy amongst the churches nativity scene.  ‘A stray in a manger’ but with a lot of imagination wouldn’t Jesus have welcomed such a stranger and isnt that the whole spirit of Christmas.

Christmas Dinner at Pilate’s house?

Have you ever wondered how and where famous people celebrated Christmas dinner and with whom? Did their identity change from that seen in public? Does our identity change during Christmas dinner with the family?

In the reading Jesus says ‘belonging to the truth’, how does that work?  Truth is subjective, relative to our own truth, fundamentally truth is knowable and can be owned.

However Jesus says he is not of this world. Is Jesus messing with us, truth is not something we possess, we belong to truth where truth is a person  ‘ the way, the truth and the life’.  We belong to Jesus in a different way to belonging a gym etc.

Christmas shows our limitations of belonging whereas Jesus never lets us down.

 

Sunday worship – 16th December 2018

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Readings:  Matthew 1:18-25     Luke 1:26-38

Suzanne displayed an image of ‘The Annunciation’ by American artist, Henry Ossawa Turner (1898).

We reflected on the young girl sat on a bed with hands clasped in a dim room, gazing at a bright light at the foot of the bed.  This was his representation of Angel Gabriel visiting Mary.  Mary an ordinary person finding a connection with God.

Suzanne asked if we live our lives by a given script, was it meant to be or like in panto do we go off script? What was the script for Mary? Protect her reputation, get married and have children. Whilst Joseph as a good Jewish man would do their bit for the community, find a girl with a good reputation, get married and have children.  Neith Mary nor Joseph stuck to the script!

The narrative around Mary and Joseph contains a hint of danger and threats, if not to Mary and Joseph, to their families. In this  case God intervenes.

Mary does not accept disgrace because she listens to God which we can do with practice without conforming to cultural expectations.

 

 

 

Church Anniversary Sunday 9th December

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

Led by Rev Bill Bentham and Mrs Betty Bentham

Reading: Luke 15:  11-32

Bill asked why the parable of the Prodigal Son for a church anniversary?

Advent is a time to look forward and consider the journey that the church has undertaken. What has happened in the last 12 months, has the church remained the same, moved backwards or continued to move forward? Everyone connected to the church will have their own opinion.

We tend to all have a personal ‘jobs to do list’ and we cannot afford to just stand back and ignore those jobs. Anniversary is not just about the church but about those connected to church, the Congregational Federation and the NE Area.  Churches are closing but we have seen the new church developing in Pickering.

Churches are not just about the members, at Scunthorpe CC half the Samaritan Purse boxes are filled by people outside the church, at Tapton our Advent Wall boxes are being filled by all the organisations using the church. Not a dividing wall but a uniting wall.

There is a dilemma about worship. Why will people volunteer and do favours for the church but not attend worship?

We might consider ourselves a small congregation but Paul on his journeys made a massive difference, seeking out Christian communities and engaging with them.  St Augustine was cent by Pope Gregory to evangelise in Britain but was met by Celtic Priests already here and he went to Canterbury where the church already existed.

Back to the Prodigal Son – this was Jesus telling us we have freedom to make decisions and live by them. We look at happy days and see joy but Jesus reveals the joy is false and will collapse. To the Jews the story of the wayward son is heightened by him working with the pigs!  To the Jew leaving God is deemed to lead to everlasting purgatory, but the love of God wants us to return.

Perhaps the title of the Prodigal Son should be changed to God the Father of the Prodigal Son.

There will always be sympathy for the eldest son who remains faithful to his father but the parable reflects on the returning son and the celebration that will result when anyone returns to God at any time providing it is genuine.

 

Advent Sunday service – 2nd December 2018

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Opened with Malachi 3:1-3  and hymn ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’

Suzanne brought a small decorated box to the service, – a posada, explaining it was a wandering crib. In the box was a nativity scene and Suzanne asked the congregation to take possession of it for 3-4 days before passing it onto someone else in church. In the box is a notepad on which holders should express any thoughts they may have whilst holding the box.

Suzanne then asked who would we give house room to:

  • Would we take in a baby and nurture it?
  • Would we take an adult into our home?
  • Would we welcome Christ in Glory?
  • Would we take in a judge – at the second coming?

At this point the first candle on the Advent ring was lit  reading Matthew 25:13.  The new venture of an Advent Wall was then introduced and it is hoped the wall will bring all users of the church together rather than a wall that divides.

Following Readings: Isaiah 64: 1-8    Suzanne posed the question ‘What does it mean to say Come Lord Jesus’

Can we plan happiness or organise real joy? At Christmas do we really know what we want and what will bring real joy?  Joy is something we receive not something to be grabbed or chased and Suzanne compared it to catching a butterfly.  Sit still until it lands on you and experience the joy!

Advent is like waiting for the butterfly, often joy coming after suffering and something needs surrendering.

In Matthew 8: 5-13 we read of the centurion used to giving orders but when his boy is ill he surrenders all his power and Roman ideals to approach Jesus. His belief being strong when he declines the  offer of Jesus to come to his house just asking Jesus to give the order. He returns home to experience the joy of his bit beig recovered.

We finished watching ‘the Tea Man’ who sets up a free tea wagon and gives up so much living on 1/5th of the average US income but leading to new interactions and friendships of all races and religions.  He started a band and strangers became friends!

 

 

 

RASCALS Seniors party – Saturday 1st December

Saturday, December 1st, 2018

The church must thank Tracy Roberts from RASCALS Breakfast ad After School Club for once again putting on a wonderful Christmas party for members and friends of Tapton.

Thanks Tracy

Bible Study Wednesday 28th November 2018

Saturday, December 1st, 2018

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

As we enter Advent, Suzanne asked us about our feelings when we’re waiting for something e.g. an operation, birth or buying a home?

She recited a poem by RS Thomas ‘Kneeling’ including ‘Prompt me God but not yet, the meaning is in the waiting’.

Advent means coming – waiting in stillness, embracing the present and savouring the future.

Biblical accounts of people waiting:

Gen 18:10-18  and Abraham as he waited to reach the Promised Land and have his children, with Sarah laughing in disbelief.

Isaiah 7:10-17  where Isaiah says look out for signs – what is God doing for us, can we spot it especially in the small things

James 5:1-8   when people were feeling persecuted and justice failing them. It was a time of haves and have note waiting a 2nd coming.

We have to wait and cannot speed the second coming up, even as we pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’.