THURSDAY THE TWENTIETH OF APRIL, 2017
Lord, the lord whose ways are right, keep us in your mercy from lip-service and empty forms; from having a name that we live, but being dead. Help us to worship you by righteous deeds and lives of holiness; that our prayer also may be set forth in your sight as the incense, and the lifting up of our hands be as an evening sacrifice. Amen.
( Christina Rossetti )
PSALM SEVENTY-THREE ( abridged )
In the Lord God have I made my refuge.
Truly, God is loving to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
Nevertheless, my feet were almost gone;
my steps had well-nigh slipped.
For I was envious of the proud;
I saw the wicked in such prosperity;
for they suffer no pains
and their bodies are sleek and sound;
they come to no misfortune like other folk;
nor are they plagued as others are;
therefore pride is their necklace
and violence wraps them like a cloak.
Their iniquity comes from within;
the conceits of their hearts overflow.
They scoff, and speak only of evil;
they talk of oppression from on high.
They set their mouth against the heavens,
and their tongue ranges round the earth;
and so the people turn to them
and find in them no fault.
Behold, these are the wicked;
ever at ease, they increase their wealth.
Is it in vain that I cleansed my heart
and washed my hands in innocence?
All day long have I been stricken
and chastened every morning.
If I had said, "I will speak as they do,"
I should have betrayed the generation of your children.
Then thought I to understand this,
but it was too hard for me,
until I entered the sanctuary of God
and understood the end of the wicked:
how you set them in slippery places;
you cast them down to destruction.
When my heart became embittered
and I was pierced to the quick,
I was but foolish and ignorant;
I was like a brute beast in your presence.
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me with your counsel
and afterwards receive me with glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing upon earth that I desire
in comparison with you.
Though my flesh and my heart fail me,
God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.
Truly, those who forsake you will perish;
you will put to silence the faithless who betray you.
But it is good for me to draw near to God;
in the Lord God have I made my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.
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.
In the Lord God have I made my refuge.
may we find wisdom in your presence
and set our hope not on uncertain riches
but on the love that holds us to the end;
in Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Columbine High School massacre
On this day in 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed thirteen people and injured twenty-four others before committing suicide at Columbine High School located in Jefferson County, Colorado. Although their motives remain unclear, the personal journals of the two document that they wished their actions to rival the Oklahoma City bombing, as well as other deadly attacks that occurred in the United States in the 1990s.
The magnitude of the dead and injured shocked the world. The massacre sparked debate over gun control laws, the availability of firearms within the United States and gun violence involving youths. Much discussion also centred on the nature of high school cliques, subcultures and bullying, in addition to the influence of violent movies and video games in American society.
It was, as if for an instant, the curtain was drawn back to expose an American culture out of control.
There was a lot of blaming going on, and plenty of people to blame. Where were the parents? Where were the school administrators? How could two teenagers amass so many bombs and have access to these kinds of weapons? It was a sobering thought indeed, to realise how much more deadly their attack might have been had they been more competent in building and detonating the bombs designed to explode in the school cafeteria during lunch hour.
One of the most enduring questions to remain, eighteen years later, is why the Columbine Massacre failed to generate meaningful gun control in the United States. People argue over how many school shootings have occurred since Columbine. Factcheck.org, using a rather strict definition limiting the number to shooting actually occurring at schools where at least one person has died, claims that since the twentieth of April, 1999 there have been one hundred and thirty “major school shootings” in the US. One Hundred Thirty. And still no meaningful legislation is on the table.
One area where there has been growing attention and awareness, has been the reality of school bullying. Both Harris and Klebold recorded that they had been the subject of school bullying for at least four years. The out-and-out persecution of schoolchildren by other schoolchildren, enhanced by the power of social media has produced some meaningful change in school policies and penalties.
Let today be a day to pray for all children, the bullied and the bullies, those who are popular and unpopular, those with good family support and poor family support.
Scripture: In the first chapter of "Lamentations," at verse fourteen, we read:
"My transgressions were bound into a yoke; by his hand they were fastened together; they weigh on my neck, sapping my strength; the Lord handed me over to those whom I cannot withstand."
... for peace in the world.
... for those who are bullied, unpopular people, the friendless and those who so not fit in with the in crowd; in particular young people at school.
... for those driven to the point of doing evil, to themselves or to others, because of evil done to them.
... for a universal desire to rid the world of guns, bombs and other weapons.
... for the people of Venezuela during this time of civil unrest in their country; in particular those who have been killed or injured in recent anti-government demonstrations. 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 Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians":
Wherefore, girding up your loins, serve the Lord in fear and truth, as those who have forsaken the vain, empty talk and error of the multitude and believed in him who raised up our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, and gave him glory and a throne at his right hand. To him all things in heaven and on earth are subject. Him every spirit serves. He comes as the judge of the living and the dead. His blood will God require of those who do not believe in him. But he who raised him up from the dead will raise up us also, if we do his will, and walk in his commandments, and love what he loved, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness, covetousness, love of money, evil speaking, false witness; not rendering evil for evil or railing for railing or blow for blow or cursing for cursing but being mindful of what the Lord said in his teaching: “Judge not, that ye be not judged; forgive, and it shall be forgiven unto you; be merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again;” and once more, “Blessed are the poor, and those that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God."
Lord our God, you see your children growing up in an uncertain and confusing world. Walk with them in life, and keep the evil one from obstructing their path. Order their steps and guide their feet while they run the race of faith. Help us appreciate their ideals and sympathise with their frustrations, as together we look for a better world than either we or they have known; 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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