Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE FIFTEENTH OF MARCH, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Thank you, Lord, for making all things beautiful in their time
and for putting eternity into our hearts. Amen.

( J. H. Jowett )

CANTICLE

Lord Jesus Christ, my life, my light, my strength by day, my trust by night,
on earth, I am but a passing guest and sorely with my sins oppressed.

Far off I see my fatherland, where through your blood I hope to stand.
but before I reach that paradise, a weary way before me lies.

My heart sinks at the journey’s length, my wasted flesh and little strength;
my soul, alone, cries in me too, “Lord, take me home, take me to you!”

Oh, let your sufferings give me the power to meet the last and darkest hour!
Your blood refresh and comfort me; your bonds and fetters make me free.

Oh, let your holy wounds for me clefts in the rock forever be,
where as a dove my soul can hide and safe from Satan’s rage abide.

And when my spirit flies away, your dying words shall be my stay.
Your cross shall be my staff in life, your holy grave my rest from strife.

Lord, in your nail prints, let me read that you to save me hast decreed
and grant that in your opened side my troubled soul may ever hide.

Since you have died, the pure, the just, I take my homeward way in trust.
The gates of Heaven, Lord, open wide when here I may no more abide.

And when the last great day shall come and you, our judge, shall speak the doom,
let me with joy behold the light and set me then upon your right.

Renew this wasted flesh of mine that like the sun it there may shine
among the angels pure and bright, yes, like yourself in glorious light.

Ah, then I will have my heart’s desire, when, singing with the angels’ choir,
among the ransomed of your grace, forever I will behold your face!

( Martin Behm )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Longinus, whose spear pierced Christ’s side

In the ancient Western Calendar, the fifteenth of March was the day to remember Longinus, the name given to the Roman centurion who presided over Christ’s death on the cross. In John’s gospel, he is said to have pierced Jesus’ side with his lance, causing blood and water to flow out.

In “Luke,” he is said to have proclaimed: “Certainly here is an innocent man.”

In “Matthew” and “Mark” he proclaimed: “Truly this man was God’s son.”

In the gospels this centurion is unnamed. In one of the apocryphal gospels, the “Gospel of Nicodemus,” which dates to the fourth century, he was called Longinus, and that name carried throughout subsequent history. The legend stated that following his experience on Calvary, Longinus became a Christian.

The spear of Longinus was known to have been venerated as a relic in Jerusalem in the sixth century. In 615 AD, Jerusalem was captured by the Persians and the relic disappeared. Actually the relic multiplied. It turned up in Constantinople, there was one in Paris. Armenia claimed it had the lance. There is one at the Vatican.

There really is little compelling evidence that Longinus is anything more than a legend, a story spun out of the telling of our Lord’s passion in the four gospels. But these stories, these relics, guide us into the realm of devotion, where we can begin to admit to ourselves how much these stories of Jesus and his suffering love mean to us.

Longinus exists because those who love Jesus said to themselves, “Well, if I were this centurion, and if I were this close to Jesus Christ on the cross, how could I not have become a Christian?”

To admit that you are devoted to Jesus is simply to admit that you love him and that your heart and affections have been captured by his sacrifice. As the yearly remembrance of Jesus’ suffering and death draws near, you might remember that centurion with the words of this African-American spiritual:

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Scripture. In the nineteenth chapter of “John,” at verses thirty-three and thirty-four, we read:

But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out.

In the 1965 film “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” the part of Longinus was played by the American actor John Wayne in a cameo appearance.

INTERCESSIONS

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.

… that we may be persuaded to follow Christ more closely as we, during Passiontide, bear witness to how he suffered for us.

… for the people of Hungary 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.

READING

From “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis:

We can all understand how a man forgives offences against himself. You tread on my toes and I forgive you, you steal my money and I forgive you. But what should we make of a man, himself unrobbed and untrodden on, who announced that he forgave you for treading on other men’s toes and stealing other men’s money?

Asinine fatuity is the kindest description we should give of his conduct. Yet this is what Jesus did. He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if
he was the party chiefly concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offences.

This makes sense only if he really was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin. In the mouth of any speaker who is not God, these words would imply what I can only regard as a silliness and conceit unrivalled by any other character in history.

Yet (and this is the strange, significant thing) even his enemies, when they read the gospels, do not usually get the impression of silliness and conceit. Still less do unprejudiced readers. Christ says that he is ‘humble and meek’ and we believe him; not noticing that, if he were merely a man, humility and meekness are the very last characteristics we could attribute to some of his sayings.

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but l don’t accept his claim to be God.”

That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic, on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg, or else he would be the Devil of Hell.

You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon, or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, that we may be wholly yours, utterly devoted to you; and then use us as you will, but always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through 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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