Archive for the ‘Tapton 2021’ Category

Bible study – 2pm Wednesday 28th July led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Sunday, July 25th, 2021

A Note About Demons

I am reminded of a quote by CS Lewis that says that human beings make two mistakes about devils- the first is to disbelieve in their existence the other is to have an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.

In the New Testament there are two kinds of sickness; one is functional such eyes or legs that do not work properly. In the ancient mind this may or may not be a punishment for sin. The second is demon-possession. A demon’s choice of victim was completely random so there is no guilt for the individual. It is possible to make the distinction between the demon and the demon’s victim. Jesus attacks demons with holy aggression but supports the victim with compassion and hope.

We might think of big forces or conspiracy-theories today; consumerism, racial prejudice, pornography, violence as entertainment, poor diet. It doesn’t always help to blame people for attitudes derived from their environment, equally it does no good to extend kindly toleration to a destructive spiritual force.

Read Ephesians 6: 10-12

1-What are today’s ‘principalities and powers’ and does it help to make the distinction above?

A Note About Geography

This story takes place in the borderlands. For the first time Jesus has crossed to the ‘other side’ into an area known as the ten towns. These town had a Greek culture with pagan temples and a large amount of civil unrest. There was a Roman legion stationed there to keep things under control. One clue is there is a herd of pigs mentioned. Pigs are unclean animals in Jewish law and no such herd would have existed in the heartlands of Judaism. The region is unsettled and the man in the centre of this story is equally disturbed.

2-How much does our environment impact on our mental health?

Read Mark 5:1-20

The man or rather the demons recognise Jesus’ authority. Evil, in Mark’s gospel, recognises holiness quicker than established religion does. There’s no immediate surrender- the powers of evil put up a fight. Again, I am reminded of C.S. Lewis;

A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness — they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means — the only complete realist.’

This is not the man’s fight. He’s been caught in the crossfire between good and evil. This is Jesus’ fight against the powers that have taken possession over him and Jesus is not about to give in. The man has no identity, no name and they have taken over his voice.

3- In your Bible translation what name do the demons give themselves? Why is this significant? In Mark’s gospel the name ‘Legion’ is not in NT Greek but carefully spelt out in Latin, the language of the Roman colonial power. This man’s own being has become a colony of Rome.

The demons, skilled politicians that they are, broke a compromise. They ask to be sent somewhere else (interesting not back from whence they came). However, the pigs are not happy with this invasion and in a frenzy rush down the side of the cliff.

4-What would you feel if you were the pig farmer? Would you think this man’s mental health was worth it? In today’s money about £160,000

The town does not want too much upset, so they ask Jesus to leave! Maybe they could tolerate a couple of broken people around because they could then assure themselves that they are ‘normal’. The man was outcast and now Jesus, for his sake, has become outcast. This will continue all the way to the cross.

5-Who do we outcast?

6-What happens next to the healed man? Why do you think he wasn’t allowed to go with Jesus?

Prayer

Lord Jesus,

Healing is a costly business,

Ridding ourselves or others from false powers is a costly business,

We are not always up for the spiritual fight.

Help us rely on the power of your name.

Help us tell our own stories of spiritual healing without shame.

Help us change the culture of wherever God has placed us.

Amen.

Sunday service 25th July 2021

Sunday, July 25th, 2021

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Wednesday worship led by Rev Suzanne Nockels 20th July

Saturday, July 17th, 2021

Funeral of Muriel Turner led by Rev Suzanne Nockels – Friday 16th July 2021

Saturday, July 17th, 2021

Muriel was given a send off with a capacity congregation (subject to covid guidelines) in the church.

Sunday service led by Rev Nockels – 11th July

Tuesday, July 6th, 2021

Wednesday worship – 7th July led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Tuesday, July 6th, 2021

Theme of ‘The Gardener’

Bible study – 9th July

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

BIBLE STUDY- THE HEM OF HIS GARMENT

Do you hate waiting? Imagine waiting in a queue for something important and someone jumps in ahead of you. What do you do? I can remember waiting in A&E when Isaac was a small baby because he was coughing and de-hydrated and someone barged in ahead of us. It is one of the few times I have seen my husband visibly cross. I hate waiting when I think the person ahead of me is wasting time; ‘don’t they know that I have important things to do!’

  1. Do you have stories of queue jumpers and time-wasters?

Of course, we don’t know why people jump in or whether people are actually wasting time. It might not be selfishness but a genuine emergency. In Mark 5, two stories are deliberately put side by side.

Read Mark 5: 21-43

We have a clash of interests; Jairus and his ill daughter and the woman with a constant bleed. Let’s start with her. According to Leviticus 15 a menstruating woman is ritually unclean and therefore must keep herself away from worship and other people because could contaminate the holiness of others – a spiritual sort of self-isolation. This poor woman has been excluded from her community for 12 years. In order to keep the others ‘pure’ she has to be kept out. Who oversees the religious control? The synagogue leader- in other words Jairus.

Jairus is risking his respectability by seeking the help of this unorthodox preacher but his daughter is ill and he’s heard that Jesus can heal. Her life hangs in the balance. Surely the woman with the constant bleed can wait, what difference will another day make? Time is of the essence to him.

  1. Why do you think Jesus allows himself to be diverted?
  2. When have you thought that people might have an important issue, but it can wait until a crisis is over?

Jesus is breaking down the whole system of what/who is clean. After her healing the woman was meant to go to the Temple and make a sacrifice to claim her ‘clean’ status, but Jesus makes no such suggestion. He makes the Temple and the sacrifice redundant. Jairus may have thought that she would contaminate Jesus, but the flow goes in the opposite direction. Power goes from him to her. Holiness is the most contagious thing. Desmond Tutu writes ‘goodness is stronger than evil, life is stronger than death.’

  1. When have you noticed that holiness is contagious?
  2. What do you make of Jesus’ reaction? Do events/others take our energy without our consent?
  3. What do think Jairus might have felt when the news came of his daughter’s death?

Jairus doesn’t give up. Both these stories are about people who show remarkable faith and are brave enough to break the rule. Jairus allows his daughter to be touched by a man who has been touched by an unclean woman.

  1. Has there been a time when showing love has meant breaking the rules? We so often think that faith is ‘rule-keeping’ does Mark 5 show something different?

Jewish men wore long shawls with tassels at the corners attached by a blue thread (Numbers 15). They are there to help them remember the commandments and live a holy life. It is likely that the woman touched one of these tassels literally reaching out for holiness. The word in Hebrew can also be translated as ‘wing’. Jesus’ garment may have blown in the wind like a wing.

Read Malachi 4:2

This is where we get the reference in ‘Hark the herald angels sing’. I wonder if Jesus also laid his shawl over the dead little girl? Holiness and healing are found in Jesus- the woman and Jairus come from very different position but in the end they both reach out to Jesus and hope against hope- something that looks like faith.

Pray

Creator God,

You have made all people in your image,

And through love show the value of each,

Whether we see ourselves as Jairus or the woman- you love us.

Whether others see us as Jairus or the woman- you love us.

Forgive our pride when we automatically think our needs are more important.

Forgive our lack of trust when we worry that precious seconds are passing by.

Forgive us from not being diverted by what’s important because something else is urgent.

Give us your freedom and peace.

There is healing in Christ’s wings and we reach out to Him.

Amen.

Wednesday worship – led by Rev Suzanne Nockels – 30th June

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

Sunday worship led by Rev Suzanne Nockels 27th June

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

Wednesday worship led by Mr Darryl Lomas – 23 June

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

Readings Psalm 51: 10-12 & 2 Samuel 11:1-4

Darryl considered the life of Martin Luthor King Jnr – consider how it compares to that of King David