Notes of Meeting Sunday 12 February

Worship led by Dawn Budd

Love. Just a little word, but in the days surrounding Valentine's Day, it will be said time and time again.

The dictionary defines love as 'a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person', which really defines the love of God.

SONG: 1529 Thank you Jesus for your love to me

Who was Saint Valentine?

 It is believed that Saint Valentine was a priest during the 3rd century AD. Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than married ones so he outlawed marriage for them. Valentine felt this was unjust and continued performing wedding ceremonies for couples. He was found out and thrown in prison. Whilst there, he was visited by his jailer's daughter and they fell in love. When he was taken away to be killed, he sent her a letter signed "from your Valentine". A phrase still being used today. He loved her, and showed his love right until the end- an everlasting love!

Jeremiah 31 v 3 " The Lord appeared to us in the past saying " I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with everlasting kindness "

 Psalm 136 v 26 " Give thanks to the God of heaven: his love endures forever "

SONG: 1716 As we come into your presence

The bible is really the greatest love story ever told.

John 3 v 16- the most well-known bible verse. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life"

God knew how the human race would treat his Son- laughing at him, mocking him and eventually killing him. Despite this he still sent him. Why? Because he loved us so much.

Roman 5 v 8 " But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, he died for us"

SONG: 514 Such love

Francis Chan, an American author and preacher, said " He measures out lives by how we love" How would you measure up?

John 13 v 34 " A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love each other"

1 John 4 v 8 " Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love"

Henry VIII, Ernest Hemingway, Napoleon, Beethoven and Ronald Reagan. What do they all have in common? They all wrote love letters.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn; Ernest Hemingway to Marlene Dietrich;  Napoleon to Josephine; Beethoven to his 'Immortal Beloved' (identity unknown); Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan But this ( holding up bible) is the greatest love letter ever written. Let me show you….

 YouTube clip .

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we can never really thank you enough for your gift of Jesus. For sending him when though you knew what we would do to him. That you loved us so much that you would give him up for our forgiveness. Thank you, that because of this, I can spend eternity with you and call you Abba, Father. Amen

SONG: 1 Abba Father


Breaking of Bread

Amidst all the heartbreak and despair in Turkey and Syria since the earthquake earlier this week, we’ve also seen and been able in a very remote way to appreciate the joy on the faces of those who have been miraculously saved from what remains of their ruined homes and businesses. They have the opportunity to get on with their lives, despite the loss seen all around them.

We’re here today to give our thanks to God that in his infinite mercy he has saved us and given us new life.

The Psalmist David had this experience of the Lord too as he records in Psalm 40: 1 – 3 .

I trust He’s put a song of praise in our mouths and on our hearts.

If your life has literally been saved by the brave actions of someone, all you want to do is surely to say thank you. But “thank you” hardly seems a big enough word to express your eternal gratitude to someone who has done so much for you – the English language is perhaps not expansive enough to do justice to your real feelings.

As we share today in the bread and wine to remember our blessed Lord, its good to remember to where he has brought us from:

Remember who you were – Eph 2:17 says “You were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world.”

What a situation to be in – NO hope, NO future. That was us too, before we met with Christ.

But Paul, writing to believers goes on to say “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Jesus Christ.”

Yes, what a change, now we have a hope, an assurance based solely on the death of Christ who paid the price for our redemption.

I’m sure too that we want to be like the one leper who Jesus had cleansed, who returned gladly to say thankyou to Jesus. Don’t be like the other nine, who couldn’t be bothered to even say thank you.

We’re here to bring our individual thanks to Jesus, for his amazing love, as we share in the bread and wine together, and remember the price he paid to set us free.

I love the words of the old Charles Wesley hymn


AND CAN IT BE that I should gain

An interest in the Saviour’s blood?

Died He for me, who caused His pain?

For me, who Him to death pursued?

Amazing love! how can it be

That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?


As John 3:16 reminds us God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son that whoever belies in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Amazing love indeed.

SONG: 523 Thank you Jesus

Give thanks for the Bread and Wine


Message by Robin Thomson

Where is true value?

Mark 14.3-9; 12.41-44

The cost of living crisis is hitting us all. We are all looking for ‘value for money’. Advertisements focus on that.All the supermarkets are competing to claim that they give the best value.We all want to be careful.Some people have to choose between heating and eating.

But at the same time some people spend lots of money. Think of the salaries that footballers get. The average salary in the Premier League: £3 million a year; £60,000 a week; £!000 per hour (depending how you calculate…)

That’s because so many people value football’s entertainment so much.

Last year one of Van Gogh’s paintings sold for almost £100 million (remember that he lived in poverty all his life).

It all depends what is valuable for you.

The story we have just read turns all our ideas of value upside down.

Mark describes the dinner party where a woman shocked everybody. From John’s account (John 12) we learn that the woman was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.They are together in a friend’s house and she comes to Jesus, breaks the jar of expensive oil and pours it over Jesus’ head.

The people are shocked. This jar of perfume was worth a year’s wages (300 denarii) – £ 20-30, 000.

What a waste! People made quick calculations how the money could have been better spent – to help the poor.

But we see that Mary understood true value. For her something was more important than money.

Actually not something but someone.

We recognise this in our daily lives. Of course money is important. We have to feed our families. But even then, we know that some things are more valuable.

Relationships, celebrating a birthday, spending time with our families

(Nobody ever said at their death bed ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office…’)

We might cross the world when someone is seriously ill or dying.

Mary knew this was the moment for her to show her devotion to Jesus.

How did she know? Perhaps it was her intuition. Perhaps she saw something in Jesus, whom she knew very well, that made her realise what was about to happen.

It could also have been the context of the time. Mark places this story between two very different paragraphs:

- just before, the leaders are plotting to kill Jesus, trying to find a way. There must have been tension in the air.

- and just after, we read about Judas offering to betray Jesus for money. His values were very different.

But Mary knew that the most important thing was to express her devotion to Jesus.

We know from Luke’s Gospel (10.42) that she had already done this as she sat at his feet and listened to him.  ‘’Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.’

Now this was a further, dramatic step. Devotion to Jesus.

How do we show it?

- spending time with Jesus in prayer, however busy we feel we are

- listening to Jesus in his word: as we read the Bible and try to understand his words we are doing that

- obeying what we learn from him, even though it’s hard and costly


How do we do that in practice? Let’s learn some more from Mary.

1. Mary understood true value

2. Mary's love was extravagant and costly

We could say she was impulsive, even reckless.That’s not always a good quality, but in this case it was absolutely right.

We can compare it for a moment with the story of the widow, just a short while earlier (Mark 12.41-44).

Jesus watches the people giving and he sees what a remarkable thing the poor widow did. Some gave a lot, but she put in just two copper coins.

But it was all she had.

This was extravagant, reckless - Who is going to support her? But it was a sign of her devotion, much more than all the others. This was true value.

She gave ‘all that she had’.
Mary did something similar. Jesus says ‘she gave what she could – literally ‘what she had’.

It was extravagant (NB Paul teaches us that we are to care for our families (! Timothy 5.8. So this is not an example to be careless or wasteful in the wrong way).

What they both did was extravagant, even extreme. But it was right.

Muslim leader (Ibrahim Mogra) at the time of the 7/7 bombings. He said “People ask, ‘are you an extremist?’ I would like to be extreme in my love.”

Extreme love. Striking words (and from a Muslim leader).

The two women gave what they had. It doesn’t matter whether we give big or small things – that’s not the point. We can serve Jesus and show our devotion to him with whatever we have - our time, our gifts, whatever they are.

It’s not our ability but our availability

Sometimes that’s costly

- to be known as a follower of Jesus

- to give our time to friends who may be in need. That can be very tiring…

They gave what they had.

 - Mary understood true value

- Mary's love was extravagant and costly

And perhaps the most important,

3. Mary recognised the significance of Jesus


Jesus shows this by his reaction. When the disciples, and her family, were scolding her, he says, ‘leave her alone.’ She has done a beautiful thing – to me.

You can help the poor any time – and you should do so (Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 15.11 – be generous to the poor).

That’s always a good thing to do. But what Mary has done for me can only be done now. This is the last opportunity.

Jesus links the anointing with his burial (8). Did Mary think of this when she did it?

There is a similar story in Luke 7.36-50, where a woman anoints Jesus. It’s a different story, with a different woman. And there Jesus links her action to her love: ‘she has been forgiven so much and so she loves me so much.’

Here it is different. He links the anointing to his death – that must have been so much on his mind.And he also links it to the Gospel (9).

Extraordinary words, ‘Wherever the Gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.’

Of course, this has happened, as the story has been recorded for us.

But Jesus is not just praising Mary, ‘what a great person she is’. He is showing how she has understood his true significance:

Mary already knew that Jesus was great. - Luke 10: she sits at his feet; -John 12: she sees him raise her brother Lazarus. But now she has recognised, and demonstrated, something even more

Jesus is going to die. And his death will be a sacrifice for our sin, for the whole world. That is why he is worthy of our devotion. He is not just a wonderful friend to Mary, he is the unique saviour of the world.

That is what Mary recognised. And that is why her action was so special, and so commended.

Jesus was worthy of her devotion.He is worthy of our devotion.

Let us give him whatever we have – our whole life – because he died for us.

I remember a time, 15 years ago, when I was going through a time of doubt and questioning. Could I really trust Jesus? I watched a BBC TV programme about Jesus. It was a drama of these last weeks of his life (I have forgotten the title).  And it was so moving to see Jesus in his humanity, his compassion, his sacrifice. It restored my trust in him and my commitment, however weak.

400 years ago there was a painter in Germany. One day he had a gypsy girl in his studio, as a model for a painting. As she sat there she saw another painting he was doing for a church – Jesus on the cross. She asked the painter. ’Sir, who is that man and what is he doing?’ He explained the story of the cross.

‘Sir,’ she said, ‘how much you must love him.’ The painter was stunned. He had not cared at all about Jesus. The painting was just another project.

But he was deeply moved by the girl’s words and his whole life was changed.

When he gave the painting to the church, he had written these words below it: ‘All this I did for you. What have you done for me?’

Some years later a young nobleman came into the church. He saw the painting and the words beneath it.

He too was deeply move and his life was changed. His name was Zinzendorf and he helped to found the Moravian missionary society (around 1730) that sent missionaries around the world, living lives of great sacrifice.

Later Zinzendorf said about the painting and its words, ‘I have loved Jesus for a long time, but I have never actually done anything for him. From now on I will do whatever he leads me to do.’

‘All this I did for you. What have you done for me?’

Mary did what she could – something amazing.

The hymn we are going to sing in a few minutes reminds us that we too can show our devotion, like Mary, with every part of our lives.

SONG: Take my life, and let it be




  • Wednesday this week at 10.30am is our Coffee Morning
  • Speaker next Sunday will be Brian Legg
  • Reminder – Sunday 26th February at 12 noon will be our annual Church Members Meeting.