TUESDAY THE SIXTH OF DECEMBER, 2016
* NICHOLAS OF MYRA *
Lord, I am poured out, I come to you for renewal.
Lord, I am weary, I come to you for refreshment.
Lord, I am worn, I come to you for restoration.
Lord, I am lost, I come to you for guidance.
Lord, I am troubled, I come to you for peace.
Lord, I am lonely, I come to you for love.
Come, revive me.
Come, re-shape me.
Come, mould me in your image.
Re-cast me in the furnace of your love. Amen.
( David Adam )
The Lord my God shall make my darkness to be bright.
I love you, O Lord my strength.
The Lord is my crag, my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock in whom I take refuge,
my shield, the horn of my salvation and my stronghold.
I cried to the Lord in my anguish
and I was saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entwined me
and the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the Pit fastened about me
and the snares of death entangled me.
In my distress I called upon the Lord
and cried out to my God for help.
He heard my voice in his temple
and my cry came to his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked;
the foundations of the mountains shook;
they reeled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils
and a consuming fire went out of his mouth;
burning coals blazed forth from him.
He parted the heavens and came down
and thick darkness was under his feet.
He rode upon the cherubim and flew;
he came flying on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering round about him,
dark waters and thick clouds his pavilion.
From the brightness of his presence, through the clouds
burst hailstones and coals of fire.
The Lord also thundered out of heaven;
the Most High uttered his voice
with hailstones and coals of fire.
He sent out his arrows and scattered them;
he hurled down lightnings and put them to flight.
The springs of the ocean were seen,
and the foundations of the world uncovered
at your rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of your displeasure.
He reached down from on high and took me;
he drew me out of the mighty waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
from foes that were too mighty for me.
They came upon me in the day of my trouble;
but the Lord was my upholder.
He brought me out into a place of liberty;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
The Lord rewarded me after my righteous dealing;
according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me,
Because I had kept the ways of the Lord
and had not gone wickedly away from my God,
for I had an eye to all his laws,
and did not cast out his commandments from me.
I was also wholehearted before him
and kept myself from iniquity;
Therefore the Lord rewarded me
after my righteous dealing,
and according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
With the faithful you show yourself faithful;
with the true you show yourself true;
with the pure you show yourself pure,
but with the crooked you show yourself perverse.
For you will save a lowly people
and bring down the high looks of the proud.
You also shall light my candle;
the Lord my God shall make my darkness to be bright.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
The Lord my God shall make my darkness to be bright.
From your royal throne, O God,
you sent your living Word
to pierce the gloom of oppression;
so, in our souls' night,
come with your saving help
and penetrate our darkness with the
rays of your glory
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Nicholas of Myra: thank goodness for hagiography
Today Saint Laika’s remembers Nicholas of Myra, the fourth century bishop, whom the world knows as Santa Claus.
Very little is known about the life of Nicholas, except that he suffered torture and imprisonment during the persecution under the emperor Diocletian. It is likely that he was one of the bishops attending the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, where he opposed the Arian heresy, and confessed Christ as God. He was honoured as a saint in Constantinople in the sixth century by the emperor Justinian. His veneration became immensely popular in the West after the supposed removal of his body to Bari, Italy, in the late eleventh century. Nicholas is famed as the traditional patron of seafarers and sailors, and, more especially, of children. As a bearer of gifts to children, his name was brought to America by the Dutch colonists in New York, from whom he is popularly known as Santa Claus.
Saint Nicholas is a prime example of the role hagiography plays in the life of the Church. Hagiography is an art form in which the stories told about an established saint, the legends or narratives are sifted and brought together in a kind of holy (from the Greek "hagios") biography. The hagiography surrounding Nicholas tells us this about him: Nicholas’ parents died when he was a young man, leaving him well off and he determined to devote his inheritance to works of charity. An opportunity soon arose. A citizen of Patara had lost all his money, and had moreover to support three daughters who could not find husbands because of their poverty; so the wretched man was going to give them over to prostitution. This came to the ears of Nicholas, who thereupon took a bag of gold and, under cover of darkness threw it in at the open window of the man's house. Here was a dowry for the eldest girl and she was soon duly married. At intervals Nicholas did the same for the second and third; at the last time the father was on the watch, recognised his benefactor and overwhelmed him with his gratitude. This was the seed of the legend of Nicholas as the bringer of gifts to children, which turned him over time into the beloved figure he is today.
Scripture. In the "First Letter of John," chapter four, verses nine to eleven, we read:
"God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another."
... for peace in the world.
.... for sailors.
... for children, in particular those who are poor and in need.
... for the people of Greece, Apulia, Sicily, Russia and Loraine and all for whom Nicholas is their patron saint.
... for the people of Finland who are celebrating their Independence Day.
... for Bana Alabed and her family. DETAILS
... for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
From "The Crown of the Year" by Austin Farrer:
Our journey sets out from God in our creation, and returns to God at the final judgement. As the bird rises from the earth to fly, and must some time return to the earth from which it rose; so God sends us forth to fly, and we must fall back into the hands of God at last. But God does not wait for the failure of our power and the expiry of our days to drop us back into his lap. He goes himself to meet us and everywhere confronts us. Where is the countenance which we must finally look in the eyes, and not be able to turn away our head? It smiles up at Mary from the cradle, it calls Peter from the nets, it looks on him with grief when he has denied his master. Our judge meets us at every step of our way, with forgiveness on his lips and succour in his hands. He offers us those things while there is yet time. Every day opportunity shortens, our scope for learning our
redeemer's love is narrowed by twenty-four hours, and we come nearer to the end of our journey, when we shall fall into the hands of the living God, and touch the heart of the devouring fire .
Advent is coming, not our coming to God, but his to us. We cannot come to God, he is beyond our reach, but he can come to us, for we are not beneath his mercy. Even in another life, as Saint ]ohn sees it in his vision, we do not rise to God, but he descends to us, and dwells humanly among human creatures, in the glorious man, ]esus Christ. And that will be his last coming; so we shall be his people, and he everlastingly our God, our God-with-us, our Emmanuel. He will so come, but he has come already, he comes always: in our fellow-Christian (even in a child, says Christ), in his word, invisibly in our souls, more visibly in the sacrament. Opening ourselves to him, we call him in: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, O come, Emmanuel.
Almighty God, in your love you gave your servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness both on land and sea: Grant, we pray, that your church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our saviour and Lord. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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