Fore Street Topsham, Exeter

Minister : Reverend Paul Collings BTh (Hons) : email : : Telephone : 01392 206229 : Mobile : 07941 880768

About Us

St Nicholas Methodist Church has existed on the present site for over 150 years since it opened in 1867.

We are a friendly community of believers where all are welcomed. We help each other to worship God, and strive to live more like Christ in service beyond the walls of our church building.

Part of the
Exeter Coast and Country Circuit of the Methodist Church.

Friday, 25 March 2022

A Party at Bethany

Midst all the tension of Jesus onward move towards Jerusalem, we have an image of what Sheila Cassidy calls “A Party at Bethany”

She writes. “Jesus knew he was going to die and yet he smiled and joined in the conversation because that’s what polite people do. But Mary knew something that the others didn’t know or wouldn’t face and she did the only thing she could think of which was to make a massive public declaration of love by pouring a box of expensive embalming ointment over his feet and wiping it off with her hair. I love to imagine the scene, an commotion it must have caused and the pungent smell of the aromatic oils as it spread through the house.

And why did she do it? The commentaries talk about her doing it for Jesus’ burial, but I can’t say that makes a lot of sense to me. I think Mary wanted to say ‘I love you’. I care that you are lonely and afraid. I wish I could stop it happening but  know it’s got to be. So here is a SIGN, a sign that I know how you feel, that you are precious to me. My wasting this stuff on you is the only way I know how to make up to you for what you’re going through now.”

She then goes onto to speak of how her work within the hospice movement correlates with Mary’s actions. She continues, “The Bethany story is especially important to many of us who work in the hospice movement for we too pour the precious ointment of our time, our skill and our love over those who are dying and who, therefore, in human terms are of no further economic worth.“

We can similarly compare the plight of the Ukrainian Refugees and those sheltering in basements whose lives are seen as worthless by the invading oppressors. And so she prays, 

Lord of the Universe, Master of all, 

look in love upon your people.

Pour the healing oil of your compassion 

on a world wounded and dying.

Send us out in search of the lost, 

to comfort the afflicted, 

to bind up the broken, 

and to free those trapped 

under the rubble of their fallen dreams. Amen

A party Lord, how can this be

Within this life’s uncertainty?  

How can you settle in this way

With friends upon this doubt-filled day?

For there you gather, rest and pray

In spite of glooms own darkening way.

Where comes this inner sacred power;

Of peace beyond time’s troubled hour?

The resurrection life you claimed

With truth so earnest, unashamed.

As Lazarus lay in stone cold tomb

Your word called forth beyond death’s doom.

At Beth’ny too I halt a while

To sit and capture love’s dear smile

To hear the calm of gentle voice

And in my heart sing and rejoice.

For here through joyous friendship, care

Your loving kindness, you would share

Beyond the travail soon to rule

With vicious, callous, torture, cruel.

Lord, I would sit at your blest feet

And there behold the mercy seat;

Safe in your presence, there by grace

To gaze upon your lovely face.

© 2022 Paul Collings

No comments:

Community Groups Regularly Usiing the Church

Regrettably, due to the current restrictions, there are no community activities at the church premises.

Watch this space for news of when activities will restart.