MONDAY THE ELEVENTH OF DECEMBER 2017
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.. Amen
( Thomas Merton )
Almighty One! I bend in dust before you;
even so veiled cherubs bend;
in calm and still devotion I adore you,
all-wise, all-present friend!
You to the earth its emerald robes have given,
or curtained it in snow;
and the bright sun, and the soft moon in heaven,
before your presence bow.
You power sublime! whose throne is firmly seated
on stars and glowing suns;
0, could I praise you, could my soul, elated,
waft you seraphic tones,
had I the lyres of angels, could I bring you
an offering worthy of you,
in what bright notes of glory would I sing to you,
blest notes of ecstasy!
Eternity! Eternity! how solemn,
how terrible the sound!
Here, leaning on thy promises, a column
of strength, may I be found,
0, let my heart be ever yours, while beating.
As when it will cease to beat!
Be you my portion, till that awful meeting
when I my God shall greet!
( John Bowring )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Karl Barth and Thomas Merton:
the wideness of God’s mercy
(transferred from Sunday)
Today Saint Laika’s remembers two Christians from the twentieth century who testify to the wideness of God’s mercy and the many rooms in our Father’s house.
The two world wars had a profound effect on his theology. He challenged what he considered to be the too cozy relationship between faith and culture. His commentary on "Romans," published in 1918, argued that the God who is revealed in the cross of Jesus challenges and overthrows any attempt to ally God with human cultures, achievements, or possessions.
He later became a leader in the Confessing Church movement which opposed Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. He was the author of the "Barmen Declaration" in 1934, the foundational document of the Confessing Church. He personally mailed it to Hitler. He had to relinquish his teaching position in Germany, because he refused to take a loyalty oath to Hitler, so back in Switzerland he worked on a thirteen volume theological system called “Church Dogmatics.”
Even in the days before Vatican II, Pope Pius XII declared Barth to be the greatest Christian theologian since Thomas Aquinas. He died on the tenth of December, 1968.
Thomas Merton was among the most influential Roman Catholic writers of the twentieth century. His writings cover a broad range of subject matter: spirituality and the contemplative life, prayer and religious biography. He was also deeply interested in issues of social justice and Christian responsibility. He did not shy away from controversy and addressed race relations, economic injustice, war, violence and the nuclear arms race. Though he had been baptised into the Church of England, Merton underwent a powerful conversion experience in 1938 which led him to the Roman Catholic Church. He entered the Trappist monastery in Bardstown, Kentucky in 1941 where, even from the monastery cloister, he gained a world-wide reputation as a writer.
Toward the end of his life, he was actively exploring the relationship between Christian monasticism and Buddhist monasticism. It was on a trip to Thailand, that he was accidentally electrocuted also on the tenth of December, 1968.
Scripture. In the second chapter of "Colossians," at verses six and seven we read:
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
... for peace in the world.
... that Protestants and Roman Catholics may be united by their love for God.
... for theologians and spiritual writers.
... that we may learn to be still in the presence of God without losing touch with the world God created.
... for the wellbeing of the mountainous regions of our world; for those who live on mountains; for those who care for mountains; for the safety of all who work or pursue their sports and hobbies on mountains. DETAILS
... for those who are living with Huntington's disease, those who live with the knowledge that they may well develop the disease, those who mourn the loss of somebody who has died from the disease and the success of those searching to find a cure for the disease. DETAILS
... for those who have died recently 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 "Dogmatics in Outline" by Karl Barth:
The nativity mystery “conceived from the Holy Spirit and born from the Virgin Mary”, means, that God became human, truly human out of his own grace. The miracle of the existence of Jesus , his “climbing down of God” is: Holy Spirit and Virgin Mary! Here is a human being, the Virgin Mary, and as he comes from God, Jesus comes also from this human being. Born of the Virgin Mary means a human origin for God. Jesus Christ is not only truly God, he is human like every one of us. He is human without limitation. He is not only similar to us, he is like us.
Almighty God, we praise you for the gifts of grace you have revealed in the lives of Karl Barth and Thomas Merton. Encouraged by their example, grant that we may persevere in the course set before us until that day, when we can rejoice with them, and with all your saints in light; through Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. 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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