The congregation of this church works together and with others to:
We also subscribe to the aims of Inclusive Church
Christ, when he was lifted up did not say
"I draw some people to myself"
"I draw all, all, ALL"
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
St. John the Evangelist Church, Park Street, Taunton, TA1 4DG
Serving the people of Taunton town centre and beyond through our tradition of catholic sacramental worship.
Third Sunday in Lent 7th March at 10.00am
Join the Zoom Meeting
Login information will be posted later
During the latest lockdown restrictions
all services and openings at St John's are suspended.
So there will be no Sunday worship or Thursday opening for private prayer.
This is in accordance with the Diocesan provisions.
There may be an opportunity to join worship by Zoom
and further information on this will be posted here when available
"God is our refuge and strength;
a very present help in trouble"
Psalm 46, 1
"We too have a constant friend and companion in the risen Christ on whom we can rely as we journey on through these weeks and months of uncertainty."
so we are alone, but together
Rev Jane will continue to offer a Eucharist and prayers for our community,
so we can join her in spirit, to take our part as she prays on our behalf.
To accompany us through all the sorrows and joys of the year ahead, our Diocese suggests we use this reading, as the words speak to us and are a prayer for us now, as much as ever:
"As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
" As the challenge of the coronavirus grips the world, and as the Government asks
every individual and every organisation to rethink its life, we are now asking the Church of England in all its parishes, chaplaincies and ministries to serve all people in a new
Justin, Archbishop of Canterbury and John, Archbishop of York
A prayer from Bishop Peter
Lord God, carer of all people, creator, sustainer and healer;
We pray for all who have contracted Covid-19. Be with them and their loved ones and bring healing to their bodies.
We pray for all medical staff and emergency services as they look after the physical health, worries and concerns of their patients, especially the vulnerable and particularly those who have reduced contact with the outside world. Let us be good neighbours, looking out and after each other.
We remember the work of scientists, discovering and testing vaccines for this disease, and we pray for all of us, caught up in our everyday lives with the effects of these outbreaks.
Bless your world Lord, and help us to be blessings to one another, in Jesus name. Amen
Reflection and Readings
First Sunday in Lent
Mark’s gospel is succinct to say the least. The account of Jesus in the wilderness in Matthew and Luke are both much longer, but this wilderness time in all of the accounts is pivotal in Jesus’ life and ministry. Jesus went to the wilderness immediately after having been baptized and we heard what happened at his baptism: ‘The heavens were torn apart, the Spirit descended and the Father declared, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’ The Father claimed and identified Jesus as his own; as he does at each of our baptisms.
Then immediately (a favourite word of Mark) after his baptism Jesus entered the wilderness with the Father’s words echoing in his ears. His identity and relationship with the Father were a given before he went, even before he faced or responded to the temptations. This is important for us to remember too, because whether Jesus said yes or no did not determine his sonship, his beloved-ness.
They were already the reality. Jesus could neither earn that or lose it and the truth is that neither can we. Never. The temptations and struggles in the desert, did not determine how God would see Jesus but instead how Jesus would see himself. In struggling with his temptations Jesus began to know himself to be filled with and led by the Spirit. The truth of his baptism and the truth of his Father’s words were confirmed through his temptations in the wilderness.
That truth no longer just echoed in his ears but in the depths of his very being. It was that identity by which Jesus overcame the temptations. Those words spoken from heaven were a truth and a reality experienced in the wilderness, a truth and a reality that would lead Jesus onwards.
Our temptations, struggles and wilderness experiences offer an opportunity to become more whole, more integrated, more fully ourselves. That’s what they did for Jesus and it’s what they can do for us. The desert monks certainly saw it this way. St. Antony the Great, sometimes called the father of monasticism, goes as far as saying, ‘Without temptation no one can be saved’ (St. Antony 5).
We tend to focus on the person, thing, or situation that is tempting us but our temptations say more about what is going on within us than what is happening around us. Who am I? We answer those questions every time we face our temptations. We face ourselves and learn the ways in which our life has become disfigured and distorted, disconnected from the original beauty of our creation and the transfiguring presence of God – always within at the centre of our soul.
The type of temptations we experience and the circumstances by which they come are unique to each one of us because they reveal what’s inside us, what fills us. Look at what tempts you. What causes you to stumble and fall? What distracts you? Who are the people that push your buttons? Where do you get caught and trapped? What circumstances call forth a response other than the one you’d like it to be? This is not about the people, situations, or things. This is about you and discovering what fills and directs your life. What’s going on in you? What do you see?
Regardless of what you see there within you, know that it’s just information, a diagnosis if you like. It’s not a final judgment, a conclusion. We don’t pass or fail our temptations. We learn the truth about how we see ourselves. We learn the truth about who we are becoming. This learning is neither easy nor pain-free but it is the learning by which God reshapes and redirects our life.
‘You are my Son, the Beloved. You are my Daughter, the Beloved'. Perhaps our task this Lent is to return to the truth of who we are, daughters and sons of God, beloved children, with whom he is well pleased. In the ‘fast’ of Lent let us ‘feast’ on that truth.
Sunday, March 7th Lent 3 Exodus 20.1-17
St John the Evangelist Church
serves Taunton in a Benefice with St Mary Magdalene
The Rev Tobie Osmond is the Vicar of the Benefice
of St Mary Magdalene, Taunton and St John the Evangelist, Taunton.
Rev Jane Eastell is Associate Vicar with responsibility for St John's
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