MONDAY THE FIFTH OF FEBRUARY 2018
* Anne Hutchinson *
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen.
Amazing grace ( how sweet the sound ) that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.
It was grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come:
It is grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease:
I shall possess, within the veil, a life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine;
but God, who called me here below, will be forever mine.
( John Newton )
“calling leaders to account"
Today Saint Laika’s remembers Anne Hutchinson, a key figure in the development of religious freedom in England's American colonies and the history of women in ministry.
Anne was born in England, but migrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony with her husband in 1634. Her strong religious convictions were at odds with the established Puritan clergy in the Boston area, and her popularity and charisma helped create a theological schism that threatened to destroy the Puritans' religious experiment in New England. She was eventually tried and convicted, then banished from the colony with many of her supporters.
It started with Bible study which she led for women, but soon men became interested in her studies, too. Anne accused the Colony leadership of espousing a “covenant of works.” This was a covenant which suggested that eternal life was for the obedient, death was the fate of the disobedient. In contrast to this, Anne Hutchinson preached a “covenant of grace,” which promises eternal life for all those who have faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit bestows on all the ability to respond to God's grace with works of love and mercy. This is one of the classic divides, especially since Reformation times. Do we earn the right to eternal life by our obedience to God’s will, or are we given eternal life by a gracious God, who also gives us the ability to respond to his grace by doing works of mercy and love?
Before she was condemned and exiled from the colony, she responded to her male judges with a judgment of her own: “...you have no power over my body, neither can you do me any harm, for I am in the hands of the eternal Jehovah my Saviour, I am at his appointment, the bounds of my habitation are cast in heaven, and I do verily believe that he will deliver me out of your hands.”
She moved her family to Rhode Island with the encouragement of Roger Williams, another dissident thinker, exiled from Massachusetts. Later she would move her family again to the lands held by the Dutch, to what would later become the Bronx. She and several of her children were killed in an uprising of Native Americans in 1643.
She is honoured by Massachusetts with a State House monument calling her a "courageous exponent of civil liberty and religious toleration."
Scripture. In the fifth chapter of "Romans," verses three to five, we read:
We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
... for peace in the world.
... that we may be confident that God has graciously forgiven our sins through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
... that we may have the moral strength and courage to remain obedient to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
... for those who are facing redundancy from work.
... for students who take on huge debts to obtain degrees that will be of little or no benefit to them.
... for Esmond Bradley Martin, the ivory trade investigator who has been murdered in Kenya; for his family and friends and all who will mourn his passing; for the safety of the animals he spent so much of his life working to protect; for all who risk their lives campaigning to make the world a better place for all its creatures. DETAILS
... for an end to political corruption particularly, at this time, in South Africa where the legacy of Nelson Mandela is being tarnished by the greed and criminality of those who should be protecting it. DETAILS
... for the engineer who died and all who were injured when an Amtrak train crashed into a stationary freight train in South Carolina DETAILS; for all those involved in accidents over this past weekend.
... for those injured in a chlorine attack on the town of Idlib in Syria; for an immediate end to all forms of chemical warfare. 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 in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
From "Christ's First and Last Subject," a sermon (no. 329) by C. H. Spurgeon:
And as repentance is of gospel parentage, I make a second remark, it is also of gracious origin. Repentance was never yet produced in any man’s heart apart from the grace of God. As soon may you expect the leopard to regret the blood with which its fangs are moistened, as soon might you expect the lion of the wood to abjure his cruel tyranny over the feeble beasts of the plain, as expect the sinner to make any confession, or offer any repentance that shall be accepted of God, unless grace shall first renew the heart. Go and loose the bands of everlasting winter in the frozen north with your own feeble breath, and then hope to make tears of penitence bedew the cheek of the hardened sinner. Go ye and divide the earth, and pierce its bowels with an infant’s finger, and then hope that your eloquent appeal, unassisted by divine grace, shall be able to penetrate the adamantine heart of man.
O God, we thank you for Anne Hutchinson, whose visions of the liberty of the soul illumined by the light of Christ made her a brave prophet of religious tolerance in the American colonies; and we pray that we also may follow paths of holiness and good conscience, guided by the radiance of Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, 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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