Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE TENTH OF OCTOBER, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Grant, we beseech you, merciful Lord, to your faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins and serve you with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FOUR

Our help is in the name of the Lord.

If the Lord himself
had not been on our side,
now may Israel say;
"If the Lord had not been on our side,
when enemies rose up against us;
then would they have swallowed us alive
when their anger burned against us;
then would the waters have overwhelmed us
and the torrent gone over our soul;
over our soul would have swept
the raging waters.

"But blessed be the Lord
who has not given us over
to be a prey for their teeth.
Our soul has escaped
as a bird from the snare of the fowler;
the snare is broken and we are delivered.

"Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who has made heaven and earth."

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.

Our help is in the name of the Lord.

O God, maker of heaven and earth, you save us in the water of baptism and by the suffering of your son you set us free; help us to put our trust in his victory and to know the salvation won for us by Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

William Dwight Porter Bliss and Richard T. Ely:
economic justice? In church?
(transferred from Sunday)

On Sunday Saint Laika’s remembered two servants of God, who tried to move Christ’s church through the confusing theories of economics to find a way for the Church to lead and speak with authority to wealthy and poor alike.

Richard Theodore Ely was born in 1854 in Ripley, New York. After receiving his doctorate in economics at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, he taught at Johns Hopkins University and then at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Ely rejected the extremes of both capitalism and socialism.

When accused of being a socialist, he stated in his defence, “I condemn alike that individualism that would allow the state no room for industrial activity, and that socialism which would absorb in the state the functions of the individual.”

What was needed instead, he argued, was a proper and healthy balance between public and private enterprise. He favoured competition with regulation that would raise the moral and ethical level of economic practice.

Ely claimed that the Gospel was social rather than individualistic in nature, and he consistently called the Episcopal Church to work toward the reform of capitalism for the sake of the rights and dignity of the American worker.

Ely’s principles were highly influential on his friend Walter Rauschenbusch, one of the major figures in the Social Gospel Movement.

Like R.T. Ely, William Dwight Porter Bliss believed that the church was called to work for economic justice, the principles of which were grounded in the Gospel.

Originally ordained a Congregationalist minister, in 1887 he became an Episcopal priest. He served parishes in Massachusetts, California, and New York before organising the first Christian Socialist Society in the United States in 1899.

Bliss consistently claimed that economic justice, for which all Christians were responsible, was “rooted and grounded in Christ, the liberator, the head of humanity.”

Among his written works are "The Encyclopaedia of Social Reform" (1898) and "The Hand-Book of Socialism" (1895).

Scripture: In the second chapter of the "Book of Acts," at verses forty-four and forty-five, we read:

"All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for social justice and an equal distribution of the wealth of the world among all its people; for those within the Church who work for social justice.

... on this World Mental Health Day, for the full inclusion of the mentally ill within the Church and within society; for an end to the prejudice against them.

... on this, the fifteenth World Day Against the Death Penalty, for those on death row and for an end to this cruel and ungodly punishment.

... for the people of China, Fiji, North Korea and Taiwan who celebrate their national day today.

... for those who have been killed or made homeless by the wildfires raging in California.

... for all who are living under the threat of redundancy and unemployment.

... 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.

READING

From "The Social Faith of the Catholic Church" by William Dwight Porter Bliss:

But there is a better way, even the way of Christ. Christ came to fulfil the Old Testament Law. What was that Law? It was national, social, institutional. It proscribed the form of holding land and capital; all land was held as belonging to God alone, and to no individual in fee simple. Every one, however, who belonged to the theocracy (notice that he must belong to the organisation to gain its advantages) was defended, not in the ownership, but in the inalienable use of land and capital. No Jew could be permanently alienated from the land. If he was poor, his property, his tools, his capital, could not be kept overnight. The Law by its institutes defended the fatherless, the widow, the hireling (that is the wage worker), the stranger, the poor, the oppressed. Now see the result. Under such a Law, it was perfectly possible and easy and natural to take no thought for the morrow, to lend hoping for nothing again. Jesus Christ spoke to a people knowing the Law. Christian individualists cut off Christ's social basis and leave his teachings floating in the air.

But you say, If the law makes it easy to be good, what need of the Christ? What need of conversion; what need of the sacramental life? Ah that is it. The Hebrew Law did not work; no law can work; it is not the function of law to work; man must work the Law; hence the Christ, hence conversion, hence the sacraments, hence the means of grace. Jesus Christ came to make us fulfil the Law. What the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, that Jesus Christ came to fulfil; only conversion, the sacraments, the spiritual life, must not replace the Law, but fulfil it. This is the divine unity. Individualism forgets law; institutionalism forgets grace. A true Socialism fulfils the social law through grace. The Old Testament gives the world its social track; Jesus Christ gives the locomotive power. To preach as Tolstoi and most Protestants do, the latter without social organisation, is to try and run a locomotive without a track. No wonder that it lands us in the ditch of impossibilities and absurdities. Protestantism has run the world into a quagmire. Jesus Christ is the locomotive power drawing the world along the social track.

And notice that though the locomotive is above the track, the track must be laid down first and the locomotive stand upon it. Hence the Old Testament before the New, the majesty of Sinai before the Sermon on the Mount, the Law before the Gospel. In the Catholic Church, where Old Testament and New Testament each has its lesson, where we honour Law and Gospel, we have the true unity. But even here has a false Protestant individualism crept in. We need to revise the whole Protestant theory of salvation. Salvation is life; and life does not come from, but must be lived in harmony with, environment. We must be saved in society.

CLOSING PRAYER

Blessed God, whose son, Jesus, came as servant to all: we thank you for William Bliss and Richard Ely, whose dedication to principles of economic justice led them to be bold reformers of the world and the Church; and we pray that we, with them, may find our true happiness through self-sacrifice in service of your reign, where all the hungry are fed and the downtrodden are raised up through Jesus Christ, our liberator, who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. 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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