Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

* Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy *


Worthy of praise from every mouth, of confession from every tongue, of worship from every creature, is your glorious name, O Father, Son and Holy Spirit; who did create the world in your grace and by your compassion did save the world. To your majesty, O God, ten thousand times ten thousand bow down and adore, singing and praising without ceasing, and saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts;
heaven and earth are full of your praises; hosanna in the highest." Amen.

( Nestorian liturgy )


Jesu! who in sorrow dying did deliverance bring to me,
whilst my sins for vengeance crying nailed you to the shameful tree;
you who Satan’s power subdues and the sinner’s hope renews,
that I through need must come to you bids me now so graciously.

Born in sin, my life transgression, oh how I have gone astray!
But I make you full confession that nought but sin has marked my way.
Grant me graciously remission, as I am wounded with contrition.
Be no more my trespass sought which on me your wrath has brought.

I believe; in you believing, leave me not, O Lord, to die;
strength and grace from you receiving, I may sin and death defy.
Now I stay me on your blessing, till, the sight of you possessing,
I shall live from conflict free, happy in eternity.

( Johann Rist )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

G. A. Studdert Kennedy: Woodbine Willie

Today Saint Laika’s remembers a man who went to war and came back a man of peace. G.A. Studdert Kennedy, a priest in the Church of England and legendary military chaplain of the First World War.

Born in Leeds in 1883, Kennedy was the seventh of nine children born to Jeanette Anketell and William Studdert Kennedy, a vicar in Leeds. He himself entered the priesthood and was serving as the vicar of Saint Paul’s, Worcester, when war broke out. He volunteered as a chaplain to the armed forces on the Western Front, where he brought comfort and pastoral care up and down the line. Grateful soldiers gave him the nickname “Woodbine Willie,” because he always seemed to have a Woodbine cigarette to share with a soldier who wanted one. In 1917, he won the Military Cross at Messines Ridge after running into no man's land to help the wounded during an attack on the German frontline.

Kennedy wrote two books of poems based on his wartime experiences. In one poem he comments on his nickname:

They gave me this name like their nature,
compacted of laughter and tears,
a sweet that was born of the bitter,
a joke that was torn from the years.

Of their travail and torture, Christ’s fools,
atoning my sins with their blood,
who grinned in their agony sharing
the glorious madness of God.

Their name! Let me hear it, the symbol
of unpaid, unpayable debt,
for the men to whom I owed God’s peace,
I put off with a cigarette.

The war turned Kennedy into an advocate for pacifism. Returning to England, he resumed parish ministry in London, but in those years he also published a series of books advocating both pacifism and socialism. He became associated with the Industrial Christian Fellowship and went on speaking tours on their behalf. In early March 1929, while in Liverpool on a speaking tour, he suddenly took ill and died.

Scripture. In the "Second Book of Samuel," chapter twenty-two, verses two to four, we read:

The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.


Let us now call to mind our sin and the infinite mercy of God.

God the Father, have mercy upon us.
God the Son, have mercy upon us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy upon us.
Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, have mercy upon us.

From all evil and mischief; from pride, vanity, and hypocrisy;
from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all evil intent,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sloth, worldliness and love of money;
from hardness of heart and contempt for your word and your laws,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sins of body and mind;
from the deceits of the world, the flesh and the devil,
good Lord, deliver us.

In all times of sorrow; in all times of joy;
in the hour of death, and at the day of judgement,
good Lord, deliver us.

By the mystery of your holy incarnation;
by your birth, childhood and obedience;
by your baptism, fasting and temptation,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your ministry in word and work;
by your mighty acts of power;
and by your preaching of the kingdom,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your agony and trial;
by your cross and passion;
and by your precious death and burial,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your mighty resurrection;
by your glorious ascension;
and by your sending of the Holy Spirit,
good Lord, deliver us.

Give us true repentance; forgive us our sins of negligence and ignorance and our deliberate sins; and grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to your holy word.

Holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal, have mercy upon us.
Make our hearts clean, O God; and renew a right spirit within us.

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for an end to war.

... for military chaplains.

... for a fair distribution of wealth among all people.

... on International Women's Day, for the human rights of women to be recognised and guaranteed throughout the world; that women will no longer be secondary to or subordinate to men; that there will be full equality between men and women; that women can live their lives without fear of violent attack, harassment or abuse.

... for the people of Syria who celebrate their national day today.

... for the homeless; in particular, those who are dependant on alcohol or drugs, those who suffer from mental health problems and those caught up in petty crime.

... 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.


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 “The Hardest Part" by G. A. Studdert Kennedy:

It is God alone that matters. I am quite sure about that. It is not any church of God, or priest of God; it is not even any act of God in the past like the birth of Christ or his death upon the cross. These may be revelations of what God is or means by which he works; but it is God himself, acting here and now upon the souls of men; it is he alone that can save the world.

There is only one commandment really: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength, with the whole bag of tricks in fact. It's got to be a whole hog, go-ahead and damn the consequences kind of love, a complete and enthusiastic surrender of the whole man to the leadership of God.

It is funny the body isn't mentioned; it comes in here a bit, the giving of the body. It's about all some of these dear chaps know how to give, and they give like kings: better than many kings, God bless them. There is the whole of vital religion, and therefore the whole of life. in a nutshell. Love God all out, and then live with all your might.

The other commandment is only a bit off the big one. You couldn’t help loving your neighbour if you once loved God. You may love churches and services and hymns and things,
and not love your neighbour; lots of people do, but that is not loving God. These things become ends in themselves, and then they are worse than useless. That's always been the
bother with religion.


Glorious God, we give thanks not merely for high and holy things, but for the common things of earth which you have created: Wake us to love and work, that Jesus, the Lord of life, may set our hearts ablaze and that we, like Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, may recognise you in your people and in your creation, serving the holy and undivided Trinity; who lives and reigns throughout all ages of ages. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


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