MONDAY THE EIGHTH OF JANUARY 2018
* Harriet Bedell and Mary Slessor *
Lord, you have taught us in your word that there is a time to speak and a time to keep silence. Make us ready to listen as we are to talk; ready to listen to your voice in the quietness of our hearts and ready to listen to other people who need a sympathetic ear. Show us when to open our mouths and when to hold our peace that we may glorify you both in speech and in silence; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
( Frank Colquhoun )
A Patre Unigenitus
From God the Father, virgin-born
to us the only Son came down;
by death the font to consecrate,
the faithful to regenerate.
Beginning from his home on high
in human flesh he came to die;
creation by his death restored,
and shed new joys of life abroad.
Glide on, O glorious Sun, and bring
the gift of healing on your wing;
to every dull and clouded sense
the clearness of your light dispense.
Abide with us, O Lord, we pray;
the gloom of darkness chase away;
your work of healing, Lord, begin,
and take away the stain of sin.
Lord, once you came to earth’s domain
and, we believe, shall come again;
be with us on the battlefield,
from every harm your people shield.
To you, O Lord, all glory be
for this your blest epiphany;
to God whom all his hosts adore,
and Holy Spirit evermore.
( translated from Latin to English by John Mason Neale )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Harriet Bedell and Mary Slessor: showing forth Christ
Today Saint Laika’s remembers Harriet Bedell who spread the gospel with a life of service among the native Americans, and Mary Slessor who did the same among the native peoples of Nigeria. These women testify powerfully to the way faith in Christ leads people to give great service to God by serving others.
Harriet Bedell, was born in Buffalo, New York on the nineteenth of March, 1875. She was trained as a schoolteacher but was inspired several years later by an Episcopalian missionary who spoke at her church describing the many needs of missionary work. In 1906 she applied to, and was accepted by, the New York Training School for Deaconesses, where her one-year course of study included instruction in religious matters, missions, teaching, hygiene, and hospital nursing. Following her training she was sent as a missionary-teacher to the Cheyenne at Whirlwind Mission in Oklahoma. While there she cared for the sick and the poor, organised social services for the tribe, performed the duties of the rector in his absence and provided education for the women and children. She provided religious instruction, hoping to win the confidence of the people and convert them to Christianity.
Later she served in a remote part of Alaska, where she was consecrated a deaconess in the Episcopal Church. The Great Depression of the early 1930’s caused that work to stop due to lack of funds. Deaconess Bedell traveled back to New York to plead for more contributions, but she was never to return.
Through speaking engagements following her service in Alaska, Bedell was invited to visit a Seminole reservation in southern Florida. Appalled by their living conditions, she began her campaign to improve the quality of life among the Mikasuki-Seminole by living and working with them, not merely teaching them. She sought to revive the doll making and basket weaving skills which had become nearly extinct. She spent the rest of her life among the Seminoles, and died on this day in 1969.
Mary Slessor was a Scottish Presbyterian from a working class family, who had developed a keen interest in foreign missions through her involvement at her local church. At the age of twenty-eight, having successfully completed training, she was assigned to the Calibar region of Nigeria. After many years of work with the Efik people of Calabar, she moved more deeply into the territory, where only minimal contact with the West had been established. There she lived and worked among the Okoyong tribe.
For the last four decades of her life, Slessor suffered intermittent fevers from the malaria she contracted during her first station to Calabar. However, she downplayed the personal costs, and never gave up her mission work to return permanently to Scotland. The fevers eventually weakened Slessor to the point where she could no longer walk long distances in the rainforest, but had to be pushed along in a hand-cart. She died in early January 1915.
Scripture. In “Psalm Ninety-Six,” verses two and three we find these words:
Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous works among all the peoples.
… for peace in the world.
… for Christian missionaries.
… for the people of the Northern Mariana Islands, who celebrate their national day today.
… 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 “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis:
It is no use either saying that if there is a God of that sort (an impersonal absolute goodness) then you do not like him and are not going to bother about him. For the trouble is that one part of you is on his side and really agrees with his disapproval of human greed and trickery and exploitation. You may want him to make an exception in your own case, to let you off this one time; but you know at bottom that unless the power behind the world really and unalterably detests that sort of behaviour, then he cannot be good. On the other hand, we know that if there does exist an absolute goodness it must hate most of what we do. This is the terrible ﬁx we are in. If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are in the long run hopeless. But if it is, then we are making ourselves enemies to that goodness every day, and are not in the least likely to do any better tomorrow, and so our case is hopeless again. We cannot do without it, and we cannot do with it. God is the only comfort, he is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves his enemies. Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion. Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger, according to the way you react to it. And we have reacted the wrong way.
Holy God, you chose your faithful servants Mary Slessor and Harriet Bedell to live the gospel amidst the indigenous peoples of North America and Nigeria: fill us with compassion and respect for all people, and empower us for the work of ministry throughout the world; 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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