THURSDAY THE EIGHTEENTH OF MAY, 2017
Eternal, merciful God! You are a God of peace, love and unity, not of conflict and division. With this unity you view the world in your righteous judgment, knowing it has forsaken you. You alone can establish and maintain unity in a world which in its own wisdom has fallen away from you, especially in those things which relate to your divine truth and the salvation of souls. You let the world divide and splinter into pieces, so that with the false wisdom of disunity which can only lead to disgrace, the world might again turn to you, O lover of unity!
We are poor sinners whom you have graciously endowed with the ability to understand all this. So we pray and implore you through the Holy Spirit to dispel confusion. Unify what is divided and make it whole. Also give us the means to seek your unique, eternal truth, which leads to divine unity.
Thus may we turn away from every division and become of one mind, will, conscience, spirit and understanding, aligned according to Jesus Christ, our Lord. May we then praise and glorify you, the heavenly Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, with steadfast unity and with one voice, through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, in the Holy Spirit. Amen.
( "Prayer Book for Earnest Christians" )
Show us your mercy, O Lord.
Lord, you were gracious to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the offence of your people
and covered all their sins.
You laid aside all your fury
and turned from your wrathful indignation.
Restore us again, O God our Saviour,
and let your anger cease from us.
Will you be displeased with us for ever?
Will you stretch out your wrath
from one generation to another?
Will you not give us life again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your mercy, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
I will listen to what the Lord God will say,
for he shall speak peace to his people and to the faithful,
that they turn not again to folly.
Truly, his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.
Mercy and truth are met together,
righteousness and peace have kissed each other;
truth shall spring up from the earth
and righteousness look down from heaven.
The Lord will indeed give all that is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness shall go before him
and direct his steps in the way.
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.
Show us your mercy, O Lord.
Most holy God,
when we come to you fearing that
truth condemns us,
show us that truth is one with love
in your Word made flesh,
our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Dirk Willems, loving your enemy when they don’t love you back
Willems grew up in the Netherlands in the tumultuous sixteenth century time of reformation and protest. He followed the Anabaptist tradition. He had been imprisoned for his faith and managed to escape from prison, with guards in hot pursuit. He could have made his escape but one of his pursuers fell through the thin ice of a frozen pond and was in danger of drowning. Willems turned around and rescued the guard. He was recaptured, and burned at the stake on the sixteenth of May, 1569.
The charges against him were preserved: “Whereas, Dirk Willems, born at Asperen, at present a prisoner, has, without torture and iron bonds (or otherwise) before the bailiff and us judges, confessed that at the age of fifteen, eighteen or twenty years, he was rebaptised in Rotterdam, at the house of one Pieter Willems, and that he, further, in Asperen, at his house, at divers hours, harboured and admitted secret conventicles and prohibited doctrines, and that he also has permitted several persons to be rebaptised in his aforesaid house; all of which is contrary to our holy Christian faith, and to the decrees of his royal majesty, and ought not to be tolerated, but severely punished, for an example to others; therefore, we the aforesaid judges, having, with mature deliberation of council, examined and considered all that was to be considered in this matter, have condemned and do condemn by these presents in the name; and in the behalf, of his royal majesty, as Count of Holland, the aforesaid Dirk Willems, prisoner, persisting obstinately in his opinion, that he shall be executed with fire, until death ensues; and declare all his property confiscated, for the benefit of his royal majesty. So done this sixteenth of May, in presence of the judges.”
Scripture: In the sixth chapter of Luke, at verses twenty-seven to thirty-one, we read:
“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
... for peace in the world.
... for the courage to live the teachings of Jesus in our daily life.
... for the reconciliation of enemies and for our enemies.
... that a vaccine to prevent the catching of the AIDS virus may be discovered and made available soon. DETAILS
... for those injured in Washington when President Erdoğan’s private security forces attacked people protesting against his visit and for a speedy end of his oppressive rule in Turkey. 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 "My Brother's Keeper" by Lester Bauman:
"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." (Philippians 2:3)
Humility is one of the most difficult of the brotherhood attitudes to cultivate. It is totally opposed to our natural inclinations. Eve ate the forbidden fruit because she wanted more prestige. We almost automatically seek the same. But the humble Christian is more concerned about his brother's success and prestige than he is about his own.
Humility takes a lot of the tension out of church life. If we are not worried about our prestige, we do not have to fight to maintain it. We can be much more relaxed when we teach a Sunday school class. We do not need to be embarrassed or offended if our thought is shot down by someone else. It does not need to bother us if we "lose" the election for Sunday school superintendent. We can honestly rejoice at the good thought a brother shares, or the position he is asked to fill.
If I am humble, my brother is no longer a threat to me. Since I have not prestige to maintain, I do not need to worry that my brother will undercut it. I am free to love him, no matter what!
Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women who have given their lives in witness to your truth and love. Inspire us with the example of Dirk Willems, and give us courage to bear witness with our lives to your son’s resurrection; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
CLICK HERE, then click on "Begin" and follow the instructions on each page.