Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

* Vida Dutton Scudder, Wilfred Grenfell *


O Lord, lift up the light of your countenance upon us: let your peace rule in our hearts and may it be our strength and our song in the house of our pilgrimage. We commit ourselves to your care and keeping this day; let your grace be mighty in us and sufficient for us, and let it work in us both to will and to do of your own good pleasure, and grant us strength for all the duties of the day. Keep us from sin, give us the rule over our own spirits and keep us from speaking unadvisedly with our lips. May we live together in peace and holy love and do your command with your blessing upon us, even life for evermore. Prepare us for all the events of the day, for we know not what a day may bring forth. Give us grace to deny ourselves, to take up our cross daily and to follow in the steps of our lord and master. Amen.

( Matthew Henry )


Your kingdom, Lord, we long for,
where love shall find its own,
and brotherhood triumphant
our years of pride disown.
Your captive people languish
in mill and mart and mine;
we lift to you their anguish,
we wait your promised sign.

Your kingdom, Lord, your kingdom,
all secretly it grows;
in faithful hearts forever
his seed the Sower sows.
Yet ere its consummation
must dawn a mighty doom.
For judgment and salvation
the Son of Man shall come.

If now perchance in tumult
his destined sign appear,
(the rising of the people)
dispel our coward fear!
Let comforts that we cherish,
let old tradition die;
our wealth, our wisdom perish,
so that he draw but nigh.

In wrath and revolution
the sign may be displayed,
but by your grace we'll greet it
with spirits unafraid.
The awestruck heart presages
an advent dread and sure;
it hails the hope of ages,
its master in the poor.

Beyond our fierce confusions,
our strife of speech and sword,
our wars of class and nation,
we wait your certain Word.
The meek and poor in spirit
who in your promise trust,
the kingdom shall inherit,
the blessing of the just.

( Vida Dutton Scudder)

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Vida Dutton Scudder: seeking the “larger mosaic of talents” in the poor
Wilfred Grenfell: “paying the rent for our room on Earth.”

Vida Dutton Scudder took a close and careful look at American life and culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and did not like what she saw. Too much poverty, too much relegation of immigrants to the margins of society, too much power held by white, Anglo-Saxon protestants. She had a different vision for society, based on her deeply held Christian faith, and she spent her life as a teacher and social activist, prodding society to change. This led her to a passion for Christian socialism, which hoped to restore to Christianity the socialistic themes revealed in the "Acts of the Apostles." She founded the Denison House in Boston, a seedbed for social reform. She took an active part in organising the Women’s Trade Union, gave public and loud support for the textile workers strike in 1912. She sought “the genius that was America” in the “larger mosaic of talents” of its many immigrant populations. She wrote that, for her, real Christian socialism was physically, realistically embodied in the Jesus of scripture who stepped out of stained-glass church windows into the sordid streets of ghettoised hollowness and spiritual deprivation. She died on this day in 1954

Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, KCMG was a medical missionary to Newfoundland and Labrador. The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen sent Grenfell to Newfoundland in 1892 to improve the plight of coastal inhabitants and fishermen. That mission began in earnest in 1893 when he recruited two nurses and two doctors for hospitals at Indian Harbour, Newfoundland and, later, opened cottage hospitals along the coast of Labrador. The mission expanded greatly from its initial mandate to one of developing schools, an orphanage, cooperatives, industrial work projects, and social work. Although originally founded to serve the local fishermen, the mission developed to include the aboriginal peoples and settlers along the coasts of Labrador and the eastern side of the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. He died on this day in 1940.

Scripture. In the twelfth chapter of "The First Letter to the Corinthians," at verses four to six, we read:

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.


We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that the Church may once again embrace the social vision of the first Christians and become a true community of believers in the teaching of Jesus Christ.

... for those who drowned when a boat packed with Rohingya Muslims, fleeing violence in Myanmar, capsized near Bangladesh; for those who are missing and for all victims of this prolonged and brutal act of ethnic cleansing. DETAILS

... for foster carers.

... 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.


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 Church and the Hour" by Vida Dutton Scudder:

There is secret sacrifice involved in placing special emphasis on intercession. It is the sacrifice demanded by an age peculiarly called to labour for social ideals. Petition at highest is only a small part of prayer. Praise is a blessed duty, confession of sin a necessity: above all other forms comes that pure single concentrated practice of the presence of God whence flows all peace and power. Considering the richness of the life hid with Christ in God through prayer, one cannot marvel if it drew men of old away from all earthly pursuits to an exclusive consecration. But the via contemplativa is today the way for very few; and perhaps precisely in the sacrifice of dearer energies, the subordination of possible hidden joys, lies part of our expiation for communal guilt. The joys may wait on that great day when the redeemed of the Lord shall come to Zion with songs and with everlasting joy upon their heads. Here and now, God may best be found by those who in the secret life forever deny in part even their higher desires, that they may lift the sorrowful needs of the world up to his heart of mercy.

Through intercession, the handicapped, the sick, the feeble, the inhibited from action, can find their place, can march shoulder to shoulder with the vigorous, or perhaps can lead the march, in the inspiriting advance toward the kingdom of justice. Legislative reforms, and greater things, may be achieved by desires rising from some obscure bed of pain. Yet this is no mere work for private initiative, it is also a work for the Church. Men grope to discover how an aroused Christian community can react on the social situation through its ecclesiastical machinery; the answer is difficult, opinions vary. Some say that the clergy should throw themselves into politics, some that they should stay out. Some want institutional churches, some despise them. Some wish the Church to inaugurate social service under her own name, others think that if she does she will simply chip in at cross purposes to wiser secular agencies. But one thing the churches surely can do without harming or interfering, they can summon people to pray for social justice, and they can teach them how. In a parish or a diocese, or in the Church universal, why should not a novena or a week of prayer be now and then proclaimed against some shocking evil, child labor, or the white slave traffic? If Christian people threw themselves heartily and reverently into such a scheme and got themselves ready for prayer by becoming intelligent on the issue, what an access to zeal would ensue on the merely human side! And in that unseen region whither prayers wing their flight, who can tell what forces would be set in motion?


Compassionate God, your son, Jesus Christ, taught that by ministering to the least of our brothers and sisters we minister to him. Make us ever ready to respond to the needs of others, that, inspired by the life and work of Vida Scudder and Wilfred Grenfell, our actions may witness to the love of our saviour, Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


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