THURSDAY THE NINETEENTH OF OCTOBER, 2017
Almighty God, when our vision fails and our understanding is darkened, when the ways of life seem hard and the brightness of life is gone, grant to us the wisdom that deepens faith when the sight is dim and enlarges trust when the understanding is not clear. And whenever your ways in nature or in the soul are hard to be understood, then may our quiet confidence, our patient trust, our loving faith in you be great and as children, knowing that they are loved, cared for, guarded, kept, may we with a quiet mind at all times put our trust in the unseen God. So may we face life without fear and death without fainting; and, whatever may be in the life to come, give us confident hope that whatever is best for us both here and hereafter is your good pleasure, and will be your law. Amen.
PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SIX
The Lord has indeed done great things for us.
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
then were we like those who dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter
and our tongue with songs of joy.
Then said they among the nations,
"The Lord has done great things for them."
The Lord has indeed done great things for us,
and therefore we rejoiced.
Restore again our fortunes, O Lord,
as the river beds of the desert.
Those who sow in tears
shall reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed,
will come back with shouts of joy,
bearing their sheaves with them.
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 has indeed done great things for us.
Lord, as you send rain and flowers even to the wilderness, renew us by your Holy Spirit, help us to sow good seed in time of adversity and to live to rejoice in your good harvest of all creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Today is a good day to tell the story of Henry Martyn, a young man who felt a calling to be a missionary; whose short life left a bigger impact on global Christianity than his thirty-one years might lead one to believe.
Henry was born in Truro, Cornwall in 1781. He had intended to practice law, but he was captivated by a sermon he heard on missionary work in India, and so he changed course, got himself ordained as a priest in the Church of England and set off to India in 1805.
On his way around the Cape of Good Hope, Africa’s southernmost tip, he was caught up in the British takeover of the colony from the Dutch. He tended to dying soldiers and was repulsed by the horror of war.
He wrote in his diary, “I prayed that England, whilst she sent the thunder of her arms to distant regions of the globe, might show herself great indeed by sending forth the ministers of her church to diffuse the gospel of peace.”
He arrived in India in 1806 and spent the next several years establishing churches and schools and, because he was gifted with an innate understanding of languages, worked on translating the "New Testament" and the "Book of Common Prayer" into Urdu, the local Hindistani language, and into Persian.
In 1811 he travelled to southern Iran where he perfected his Persian "New Testament" and engaged in theological discussions with Muslims, Jews and Armenians. He was the first English priest ever to break that new ground.
Stricken with fever, he made his way over land towards the Mediterranean where he hoped to catch a ship back to England. However he made it only as far as Armenia where he died on the sixteenth of October, 1812. He was given Christian burial by the clergy of the Armenian Church.
Scripture. In the forty-ninth chapter of "Isaiah," at verses five and six, we read:
And now the LORD says, "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth."
... for peace in the world.
... for missionaries and translators of Christian texts.
... for the people of Niue, who celebrate their national day today.
... for the people of Catalan; that their constitutional crisis does not evolve into violent civil unrest. DETAILS
... for those killed or injured when two suicide bombers, in Humvee trucks, targeted a military base in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar. DETAILS
... for those who self-harm.
... for refugee children.
... for an end to the hepatitis A outbreak in California; for those who have died from the disease; for an end to the poverty and homelessness that enables illness to take hold of a community. 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 "Journals and Letters of the Rev. Henry Martyn, B.D.":
On a review of the state of my mind since my arrival at Dinapore, I observe that the graces of joy and love have been at a low ebb. Faith has been chiefly called into exercise, and without a simple dependence on the divine promises I should still every day sink into fatal despondency. Self-love and unbelief have been suggesting many foolish fears respecting the difficulties of my future work among the heathen. The thought of interrupting a crowd of busy people like those at Patna, whose every day is a market-day, with a message about eternity, without command of language, sufficient to explain and defend myself, and so of becoming the scorn of the rabble without doing them good, was offensive to my pride. The manifest disaffection of the people, and the contempt with which they eyed me confirmed my dread. Added to this the unjust proceedings of many of the principal magistrates hereabout led me to expect future commotions in the country, and that consequently poverty and murder would terminate my career.
"Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof" and "as thy days are so shall thy strength be," were passages continually brought to my remembrance, and with these at last my mind grew quiet.
If we labour to the end of our days without seeing one convert, it shall not be worse for us in time, and our reward is the same in eternity. The cause in which we are engaged is the cause of mercy and truth, and therefore in spite of seeming impossibilities it must eventually prevail.
O God of the nations, you gave to your faithful servant Henry Martyn a brilliant mind, a loving heart and a gift for languages, that he might translate the scriptures and other holy writings for the peoples of India and Persia: inspire in us a love like his, eager to commit both life and talents to you who gave them; through Jesus Christ our lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and 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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