WEDNESDAY THE SEVENTEENTH OF MAY, 2017
Late have I loved you, O you who are eternal truth and goodness: late have I sought you, my Father! But you did seek me, and when you shined forth upon me, then I knew you and learnt to love you. I thank you, O my light, that you did shine upon me; that you did teach my soul what you would be to me, and did incline your face in pity unto me. You, Lord, have become my hope, my comfort, my strength, my all! In you my soul rejoices. The darkness vanished from before my eyes, and I beheld you, the sun of righteousness. When I loved darkness, I knew you not, but wandered on from night to night. But you led me out of that blindness; you took me by the hand and call me to you, and now I can thank you, and your mighty voice which has penetrated to my inmost heart. Amen.
( Augustine of Hippo )
PSALM EIGHTY-FOUR ( abridged )
Blessed are they who dwell in your house.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
My soul has a desire and longing
to enter the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.
The sparrow has found her a house
and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young:
at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God.
Blessed are they who dwell in your house:
they will always be praising you.
For one day in your courts
is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of ungodliness.
For the Lord God is both sun and shield;
he will give grace and glory;
no good thing shall the Lord withhold
from those who walk with integrity.
O Lord God of hosts,
blessed are those who put their trust in you.
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.
Blessed are they who dwell in your house.
sustain us in this vale of tears
with the vision of your grace and glory,
that, strengthened by the bread of life,
we may come to your eternal dwelling place;
in the power of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Mary McLeod Bethune: educator and civil rights leader
Mary McLeod Bethune died on the eighteenth of May, 1955. She was an American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian, and civil rights activist. She is best known for starting a school for African-American girls in Daytona Beach, Florida. This later evolved into the co-educational Bethune–Cookman University. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her a national advisor on what was known as his “Black Cabinet.” She was known as "The First Lady of The Struggle" because of her commitment to gain better lives for African Americans.
Faith was a very important part of her life from her earliest days. Her first education was at the Trinity Mission School run by the Presbyterian Church. Her parents were born into slavery, she was the fifteenth or seventeen children. She had at first wanted to be a missionary in Africa, but later turned her thoughts to the education of African American girls. The Presbyterian Church persuaded her to move to Florida, where she ran a mission school. This was in 1899.
In October 1904, she moved to Daytona Beach, Florida and opened the Literary and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls. In the beginning she struggled to find financial support.
Later on, reflecting back on that time she wrote: “I considered cash money as the smallest part of my resources. I had faith in a loving God, faith in myself, and a desire to serve.”
The Presbyterian Church, and local black churches in Daytona got her through the early years.
Besides her efforts in education, she was a dynamo in the civil rights area. She was involved in the National Association of Coloured Women and as early as 1917 was registering African Americans for voting. She took on the Ku Klux Klan in Florida in the 1920’s, and went on to establish a National Headquarters for the NACW in Washington, DC, a first for any organisation of African Americans.
After working on the presidential campaign for Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, she was invited as a member of his Black Cabinet. She advised him on concerns of black people and helped share Roosevelt's message and achievements with blacks, who had historically been Republican voters since the Civil War.
On May 18, 1955, Bethune died of a heart attack. Her death was followed by editorial tributes from across the country.
The "New York Times" noted she was, "one of the most potent factors in the growth of interracial goodwill in America."
The Washington Post said: "So great were her dynamism and force that it was almost impossible to resist her... Not only her own people, but all America has been enriched and ennobled by her courageous, ebullient spirit."
Scripture. In the fourth chapter of "Philippians" at verses twelve and thirteen we read:
"I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
... for peace in the world.
... for those who are an ethnic minority in their land and for those who work for their full and equal inclusion within society.
... for educators, in particular those who provide schooling for those without easy access to education.
... for an end to homophobia, transphobia and biphobia throughout the world. DETAILS
... for the people of Norway who celebrate Constitution Day today.
... for Mohammad Amin, who was murdered by the Saudi Arabian authorities after being arrested for dressing in female attire, and for all transgender and transvestite people who live in places where they are persecuted and criminalised. 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 "Building a Better World, Essays and Selected Documents" by Mary McLeod Bethune:
I believe today that spiritual growth comes with meditation and communion when alone I sit with God. Through the years my meditative moments have grown into habitual continuation. They are not too habitual however, to keep away the fervour which comes with each experience. There is in me always that deep awe and reverence for God and his way of working in me. I feel him working in and through me, and I have learned to give myself freely, unreservedly to the guidance of the inner voice in me.
I can remember when I longed to know the inner voice and searched my mind for an answer to its meaning. It came about in the late hours of those nights when I listened to my mother. She took her lonely vigils when she thought everyone in the house was asleep. There she was, in the dark, on her knees. I knew the form kneeling in the moonlight which poured in upon her, sometimes beside her bed, sometimes beside a chair. She would ask God for faith, for strength, for love, for forgiveness, for knowledge, for food and clothing, not for herself but for her children and for all the poor people. I gained faith in her way when I saw these things she prayed for coming to pass.
Many a poor man left our home happy because mother and father had given some simple thing that met his need. Many were the times that our little family was happy when a gift of something we needed came almost miraculously. And my mother's "Thank You, Father,” made me realise early in life that all things must come from God. I began to see that the full life must be mine only as I learned to live close to God and to trust him always. I thank my mother and heavenly Father for imparting to me this strength and vitality which has led me from that picture in the closed hours of those nights to the light of this full new day, when I am enjoying the fruits of that first seed-sowing. The desire for spiritual start in living grew on me, and I know today that effectual, fervent desire does not go unrewarded.
As I grew I knew what it meant to absorb my will into the will of God whom I claimed as my Father. Where he reigned at first I do not know. I am sure my child mind personalised him; but when I knew him to be a great Spirit, his fatherhood increased because his spirit could dwell in me and go with me and never leave me to my own devices. Part of that learning his will was in the secret of knowing how to hold the faith with the desire, and how to work continually to bring things to pass. When I had my first experiences with people who could read when I could not, and with seeing fine churches, when my people worshipped in shacks, I asked God to open to me the opportunity to do something about that. The idea that I needed gripped me. I found myself endowed with creative power within. I put all negative thoughts away from me. as I do now, and then and there I affirmed my needs, my hopes, and my aspirations. That affirmation with God took me from the cotton fields to the little mission school to Scotia College to Moody Bible Institute, and, finally, to the planting of the Bethune-Cookman College—the real child of my desire.
Lord our God, we thank you for the gifts of grace given to your servant, Mary McLeod Bethune, particularly for the clarity of her vision, and the freshness of her thought. Help us, like her, to serve you with single-hearted devotion, in the church and in public life; 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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