TUESDAY THE THIRD OF OCTOBER, 2017
Our Father, grant us, this day, the sense of your presence to cheer and your light to direct us; and give us strength for your service. And yet more, Father, give us your own help and blessing in our sorrows, our faintness, our failure and sin. You know that we cannot bear our burdens alone. We are like children and the world seems very dark to us, and our path very hard, if we are alone. But we are your children and we know we can come to you to ask you to help us, enliven us, strengthen us and give us hope. We are not ashamed of our tears, for our Lord has wept with us. We do not ask you to take away our sorrow, for he was made perfect through suffering; but we do ask you to be with us as you were with him Our Father, close to your children, even as your son has promised us. Amen.
PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-ONE
The Lord shall keep you from all evil.
I lift up my eyes to the hills;
from where is my help to come?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not suffer your foot to stumble;
he who watches over you will not sleep.
Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel
shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord himself watches over you;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand,
so that the sun shall not strike you by day,
neither the moon by night.
The Lord shall keep you from all evil;
it is he who shall keep your soul.
The Lord shall keep watch over your going out
and your coming in,
from this time forth for evermore.
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 shall keep you from all evil.
Lord, ever watchful and faithful,
we look to you to be our defence
and we lift our hearts to know your help;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Alexander Vladimirovich Men: visionary
Father Alexander Men, to put it simply, was a pesky fly buzzing around the Russian Orthodox Church, a visionary advocating for an open, ecumenical Orthodoxy who was always in trouble under the Soviet, a pastor who baptised thousands of people, an intellectual who was a prolific writer and, lastly, a martyr who was murdered with an axe on his way to the Sunday service in September 1990.
He was born into a Jewish family in 1935, but he and his mother were baptised six months later by a priest in a breakaway church which did not cooperate with the Soviets. His father was arrested by the NKVD when Alexander was six years old and was assigned to a labour camp in the Ural Mountains.
Alexander entered the clergy and was ordained a priest in 1960. While most parish churches existed on the margins of the Soviet Union, Men’s parish grew at an amazing rate. He was an active evangelist, encouraging many who had dropped out to come back. He advocated for a more open, ecumenical style of Orthodoxy, which got him in trouble with the official Russian Orthodox Church. As the Soviet Union was coming to an end, he was active on television and radio and he completed a seven volume "History of Religion," his most famous writing. His strenuous efforts in educating the Russian people in the basics and dynamics of the Orthodox faith has garnered him the label of a modern day apostle to the Soviet people.
Quote: “I find more meaning in the wing of a bird and in the branch of a tree, than in five hundred icons. God has given us two books: the Bible and Creation."
Scripture. In "First Timothy," chapter six, verses eleven and twelve we read:
"Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses."
... for peace in the world.
... for prophets and all who call the Church to account; for rebels and outsiders; for those who stand alone demanding reform because they can do no other.
... for the Russian Orthodox Church, that it may become an authentic channel for God's mercy and Christ's gospel, uninfluenced by the powers and dominions of this world.
... for the people of Germany, Iraq and South Korea who celebrate national days today.
... for gay people in Egypt as their persecution by the authorities intensifies. DETAILS
... for women who lose their jobs, or who are otherwise victimised, on becoming pregnant. 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 "An Inner Step Toward God: Writings and Teachings on Prayer by Father Alexander Men":
The Christian life cannot develop without prayer.
People often approach me with the question, “How can I pray, since I do not know any prayers?”
This, my friends, is a mistake, because when you talk to each other or to a loved one, you do not need to read a paper or seek someone else’s words. It is not for nothing that we mock public officials who read everything from a script.
When a person speaks with someone, he should speak naturally, from his heart. Prayers written in the prayer book are just aids. They are not spells or pagan formulas that summon a spirit, but rather a conversation between a person and God, a sacramental, vivifying encounter that gives purpose, fullness of life, and incomparable joy. Prayer is the soul’s encounter with its only beloved, its only
saviour. For this encounter to take place, a person must have his own words.
Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth. Inspire us with the memory of Alexander Men, whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross, and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives to your son’s victory over sin and death; 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
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