TUESDAY THE NINTH OF JANUARY 2018
O God, let me not interrupt you with my chatter. Let me listen, rather, to your still, small voice. Amen.
( Geddes MacGregor )
All ye Gentile lands awake!
Thou, O Salem, rise and shine!
See the day-spring over you break,
heralding a morn divine,
telling, God hath called to mind
those who long in darkness pined.
Lo! the shadows flee away,
for our Light is come at length,
brighter than all earthly day,
source of being, life and strength!
Whoso on this Light would gaze
must forsake all evil ways.
Ah how blindly did we stray
ere shone forth this glorious Sun,
seeking each his separate way,
leaving Heaven, unsought, unwon;
all our looks were earthward bent,
all our strength on earth was spent.
Earthly were our thoughts and low,
in the toils of folly caught,
tossed of Satan to and fro,
counting goodness all for nought;
by the world and flesh deceived,
Heaven’s true joys we disbelieved.
Then were hidden from our eyes
all the law and grace of God;
rich and poor, the fools and wise,
wanting light to find the road
leading to the heavenly life,
wandered lost in care and strife.
But the glory of the Lord
hath arisen on us today;
we have seen the light outpoured
that must surely drive away
all things that to night belong,
all the sad earth’s woe and wrong.
Thy arising, Lord, shall fill
all my thoughts in sorrow’s hour;
thy arising, Lord, shall still
all my dread of death’s dark power;
through my smiles and through my tears
still thy light, O Lord, appears.
Let me, Lord in peace depart
from this evil world to thee;
where thyself sole brightness art,
thou hast kept a place for me:
in the shining city there
crowns of light thy saints shall wear.
( Johann Rist )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Donald Miller is a spiritual writer I enjoy. His book” Blue Like Jazz” was a bestseller here in the States. Today’s meditation comes from his book “Searching for God Knows What.”
Here we are a few days into the New Year. Christmas and Epiphany are past, and it seems a good day to ask, with these mysteries still fresh in mind, what we think of God. Was the Incarnation a winning gambit for God?
To paraphrase the great Preface for Christmas "as we behold the God made visible, are we drawn to love the God we cannot see?"
Donald Miller confesses that he still fears God:
I realise it isn’t a big deal to fear God these days, but I do. By that I don’t mean I have just a deep respect for him, or a healthy appreciation for him; I actually get a general sense of terror. It isn’t because I think he is a bad guy, because I don’t. The sense of terror comes more from the idea that he is so incredibly other, has claimed he has created a kind of afterlife for people, who doesn’t exactly live in a space. A God who is that different, that other, can tell you over and over again that he loves you, and you are still going to be quite a bit afraid, just because of what it feels like when you think about his nature.
Everybody who met God in the Bible was afraid of him. People were afraid of even the angels, so the angels always had to calm people down just to have a conversation. It makes you wonder if the first thousand years in heaven will have us running around screaming like we would during an earthquake, the whole time God is saying to us, "Calm down, calm down, it’s just Me."
If you ask me, the way to tell if a person knows God for real, I mean knows the real God , is that they will fear him. They wouldn’t go around making absurd political assertions. I wonder what it sounded like to God when Jerry Falwell went on television and said the reason the twin towers were hit by those planes was because there were homosexuals in the building. And they wouldn’t be making absurd statements about how God wants you to be rich and how if you just send in some money to the ministry God will bless you. It seems like, if you really knew the God who understands the physics of our existence, you would operate a little more cautiously, a little more compassionately, a little less like you are the centre of the universe.
Back in 1917 Rudolph Otto described this experience as the “mysterium tremendum et fascinans," the experience of the presence of God which causes both fear and fascination. Should we be in proper fear of God, or has Jesus made fear unnecessary?
Scripture. In the "Book of Revelation," chapter fourteen, verses six and seven, we read:
Then I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.
He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water"
... for peace in the world.
... for those who are frightened or suffering from anxiety.
... for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who celebrate their national day today.
... that the current talks between North and South Korea may lead, eventually, to peace and democracy in the region.
... for the two hundred thousand Salvadorans who have been ordered to leave the U.S.A. DETAILS
... for those who have important meetings or interviews today.
... for sick pets and pets recovering from surgery.
... 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:
One reason why many people find "creative evolution" so attractive is that it gives one much of the emotional comfort of believing in God and none of the less pleasant consequences. When you are feeling ﬁt and the sun is shining and you do not want to believe that the whole universe is a mere mechanical dance of atoms, it is nice to be able to think of this great mysterious force rolling on through the centuries and carrying you on its crest. If, on the other hand, you want to do something rather shabby, the life-force, being only a blind force, with no morals and no mind, will never interfere with you like that troublesome God we learned about when we were children. The life-force is a sort of tame God. You can switch it on when you want, but it will not bother you. All the thrills of religion and none of the cost. Is the life-force the greatest achievement of wishful thinking the world has yet seen?
Most Holy God, the earth is filled with your glory, and before you angels and saints bow down in awe. Enlarge our vision to see your power at work in our world, and by your grace make us heralds of your Son, 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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