WEDNESDAY THE SEVENTH OF FEBRUARY 2018
O God, our true life, to know you is life, to serve you is freedom, to
enjoy you is a kingdom, to praise you is the joy and happiness of the
soul. I praise and bless and adore you. I worship you. I glorify you. I
give thanks to you for your great glory. I humbly ask you to live with
me, to reign in me, to make this heart of mine a holy temple, a ﬁt
habitation for your divine majesty. Amen.
( Augustine of Hippo )
According to thy gracious word,
in meek humility,
this will I do, my dying lord,
I will remember thee.
Thy body, broken for my sake,
my bread from heaven shall be;
the testamental cup I take,
and thus remember thee.
Gethsemane can I forget
or there thy conflict see,
thine agony, and bloody sweat,
and not remember thee?
When to the cross I turn my eyes
and rest on Calvary,
O Lamb of God, my sacrifice,
I must remember thee.
Remember thee, and all thy pains
and all thy love to me;
yea, while a breath, a pulse remains,
Will I remember thee.
And when these failing lips grow dumb
and mind and memory flee,
when thou shalt in thy kingdom come,
Jesus, remember me.
( James Montgomery )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
The Martyrs of Japan
In early February 1597, what appeared to be a successful introduction of Christianity into Japan came to a screeching halt. Japanese leader Hideyoshi ordered the execution of twenty-six Christians by crucifixion in Nagasaki, Japan.
In his book, “Silence,” Japanese novelist Shusaku Endo pins the responsibility on “the pilot of a stranded Spanish ship, who, in an effort to impress the Japanese, boasted that the greatness of the Spanish empire was partly due to the missionaries who always prepared the way for the armed forces of the Spanish king." When Hideyoshi heard this, Endo says, “he ordered the immediate execution of a group of Christian Missionaries. And so twenty-six, Japanese and European, were crucified on a cold winter’s morning in February 1597.”
The Japanese were open, at first, to Christianity, when it arrived in its western form. Buddhists had long been accustomed to the presence of Christians throughout south east Asia, who were members of the Assyrian Church of the East. Their presence in Asia was almost completely wiped out in the early fifteenth century by Tamerlane.
Unfortunately the Western Christians brought with them religious rivalry between the Jesuits and the Franciscans who both evangelised Japan, and there were political rivalries along with colonial aspirations to contend with between the Spanish Empire and the Portuguese.
By 1630, what was left of Christianity in Japan was driven underground. Yet it is remarkable that two hundred and fifty years later there were found many men and women, without priests, who had preserved through the generations a vestige of Christian faith. They were known as the “Kirishitans.”
Scripture. In the third chapter of the "Book of Lamentations," at verses forty-six to forty-eight, we read:
All our enemies have opened their mouths against us; panic and pitfall have come upon us, devastation and destruction. My eyes flow with rivers of tears because of the destruction of my people.
... for peace in the world.
... for the people of Grenada 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 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 "Mere Christianity" by C. S. Lewis:
All I am doing is to ask people to face the facts, to understand the questions which Christianity claims to answer. And they are very terrifying facts. I wish it was possible to say something more agreeable. But I must say what I think true. Of course, I quite agree that the Christian religion is, in the long run, a thing of unspeakable comfort. But it does not begin in comfort; it begins in the dismay I have been describing, and it is no use at all trying to go on to that comfort without first going through that dismay. In religion, as in war and everything else, comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth, only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.
O God our father, source of strength to all your saints, you brought the holy martyrs of Japan through the suffering of the cross to the joys of eternal life: grant that we, encouraged by their example, may hold fast the faith we profess, even to death itself; through Jesus Christ our lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 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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