Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE TWELFTH OF APRIL, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

God of resurrection, we are often not the Easter people that we should be, living in the certain knowledge of your great mercy and love. Distracted by the world around us we fail to hear your voice, or hide when faith is challenged as we wander off the path. Forgive us, we pray; restore the love that we first had, a faith that can endure. We will keep our eyes fixed on you, Lord, and with you at our right hand we shall not be shaken. Amen.

CANTICLE

Christ is risen from the dead;
darkness now no more shall reign;
thorns no more shall crown the head
that was bowed with grief and pain.
Christ the Lord, the mighty king,
from our sin has made us free.
Where, O death, is now your sting?
Where, O grave, your victory?

Scoffers now no more will say,
"If you are the Christ, come down
from the cross, and prove today
that to you belongs the crown!"
For our risen lord and king
from our sin has made us free.
Where, O death, is now your sting?
Where, O grave, your victory?

Faith now knows he is the Lord,
gives assent to his decree,
trusts the promise in his word
and is crowned with victory;
shouting praises to the king,
who from sin has made us free.
Where, O death, is now your sting?
Where, O grave, your victory?

( Henry A. Becker )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Saint Ardalion the Mime: struck by faith onstage

Today is a feria day at Saint Laika’s, no particular saint is remembered. But it is a good day to tell the curious tale of Saint Ardalion, a mime who practiced his art in the late third century. Ardalion was a comic actor. Romans loved comedy, especially the satiric kind, and Ardalion was famous for his buffoonish character. He did all the ridiculous things Christians do: prayed to an invisible god that was or was not an executed carpenter, ate bread and called it human flesh, thought wine was blood, wanted to kill children as a sacrificial feast, and eventually he renounced his faith and sacrificed (incense) to Jupiter Optimus Maximus. Predictable, but predictably hilarious.

Ardalion was successful because he so immersed himself in the roles he played that he “became” the character. Because he was a mime, the emotions were intense.

As the story is told, one day as Ardalion was spoofing the Christians, doing his best to make them the laughing stocks of Roman society, he was actually struck by faith in the middle of his performance. He began to mime the courage of Christians as they faced persecution, torture, and death. It is said that his audience shifted from outrageous laughter at his buffoonery, to a nervous kind of laugh, as they tried to figure out where Ardalion was going with his sketch. Finally, Ardalion shocked them by speaking aloud, and telling the audience that he had indeed come to believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God, the only lord. For this he was arrested and eventually he faced a martyr’s death, about the year 300AD. Many of the Orthodox Churches keep his day of remembrance on the fourteenth of April.

Scripture. In twelfth chapter of "Hebrews," verses thirty-seven and thirty-eight, we read:

They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented; of whom the world was not worthy.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for actors and comedians, for all performers on stage and screen; in particular for those who use their skill to tell the story of Jesus Christ and of the love of God for all humankind.

... that the civil war in Syria will not escalate into a war among nations.

... 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 "The Problem of Pain" by C. S. Lewis:

If the fixed nature of matter prevents it from being always, and in all its dispositions, equally
agreeable even to a single soul, much less is it possible for the matter of the universe at any moment to be distributed so that it is equally convenient and pleasurable to each member of a society. If a man travelling in one direction is having a journey down hill, a man going in the opposite direction must be going up hill. If even a pebble lies where I want it to lie, it cannot, except by a coincidence, be where you want it to lie. And this is very far from being an evil: on the contrary, it furnishes occasion for all those acts of courtesy, respect, and unselfishness by which love and good humour and modesty express themselves. But it certainly leaves the way open to a great evil, that of competition and hostility. And if souls are free, they cannot be prevented from dealing with the problem by competition instead of courtesy. And once they have advanced to actual hostility, they can then exploit the fixed nature of matter to hurt one another. The permanent nature of wood which enables us to use it as a beam also enables us to use it for hitting our neighbour on the head. The permanent nature of matter in general means that when human beings fight, the victory ordinarily goes to those who have superior weapons, skill, and numbers, even if their cause is unjust.

CLOSING PRAYER

Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women into the world who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth. Inspire us by the memory of Saint Ardalion and give us courage to witness to the good news of your love in 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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