WEDNESDAY THE SIXTEENTH OF MAY, 2018
* Caroline Chisholm *
Grant, we beseech you, almighty God, that we who believe your only-begotten son, our redeemer, to have ascended into heaven, may ourselves dwell, at the last, amid heavenly things. Amen.
( Roman Missal, sixth to eighth century, altered )
Christ the Lord ascends to reign, Christ has broken every chain;
hear the angel voices cry, singing evermore on high: Alleluia!
Christ, who bore all pain and loss, comfortless upon the cross,
lives in glory now on high, pleads for us and hears our cry: Alleluia!
Christ, our paschal lamb indeed, all your ransomed people feed;
take our sin and guilt away; let us sing by night and day: Alleluia!
Christ now bids us tell abroad how the lost may be restored,
how the penitent forgiven, how we all may enter heaven: Alleluia!
( Michael Wiesse )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Caroline Chisholm: giving immigrants a voice
Today Saint Laika’s remembers Caroline Chisholm.
When Caroline was a child, in the early 1800’s, her father, a wealthy, landed gentleman, brought into their home a poor, maimed soldier. He instructed his family that they were obliged to care for this man who had fought for them. This experience made a deep impression on Caroline, and she dedicated her life to helping others.
In 1832 the East India Company posted her husband to India, and Caroline saw the bleak living conditions the wives and daughters of British soldiers had to face. She started a school for them and greatly improved their standard of living.
Life next took her to Australia, to Sydney, where she worked tirelessly on finding work opportunities for female immigrants. Later she expanded her work to cover entire families. It is estimated that during her time there, she helped over fourteen thousand immigrants to find employment and homes.
Back in England, she organised a group of wealthy people to provide loans for folks migrating to Australia. She got Parliament to pass laws for better shipboard condition for passengers.
She died at age sixty-eight in 1877. The Church of England also remembers her today.
Scripture. In the fifty-eighth chapter of "Isaiah," at verses six and seven we read:
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
... for peace in the world.
... for immigrants and those who assist them.
... for all who live in poverty and struggle to better their conditions.
... for Thomas Markle and all undergoing surgery in the near future. DETAILS
... for those who are unhappy at work.
... for poorly pets.
... 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 "Miracles" by C. S. Lewis:
There are, I allow, certain respects in which the risen Christ resembles the ghost of popular tradition. Like a ghost he appears and disappears: locked doors are no obstacle to him. On the other hand he himself vigorously asserts that he is corporeal (Luke 24: 39– 40) and eats broiled fish.
It is at this point that the modern reader becomes uncomfortable. He becomes more uncomfortable still at the words, "Don’t touch me; I have not yet gone up to the Father" (John 20: 17). For voices and apparitions we are, in some measure, prepared. But what is this that must not be touched? What is all this about going up to the Father? Is he not already with the Father in the only sense that matters? What can "going up" be except a metaphor for that? And if so, why has he not yet gone?
These discomforts arise because the story the apostles actually had to tell begins at this point to conflict with the story we expect and are determined beforehand to read into their narrative. We expect them to tell of a risen life which is purely spiritual in the negative sense of that word: that is, we use the word "spiritual" to mean not what it is but what it is not. We mean a life without space, without history, without environment, with no sensuous elements in it. We also, in our heart of hearts, tend to slur over the risen manhood of Jesus, to conceive him, after death, simply returning into deity, so that the Resurrection would be no more than the reversal or undoing of the Incarnation. That being so, all references to the risen body make us uneasy: they raise awkward questions.
It is at this point that awe and trembling fall upon us as we read the records. If the story is false, it is at least a much stranger story than we expected, something for which philosophical religion, psychical research and popular superstition have all alike failed to prepare us. If the story is true, then a wholly new mode of being has arisen in the universe. The body which lives in that new mode is like, and yet unlike, the body his friends knew before the execution. It is differently related to space and probably to time, but by no means cut off from all relation to them. It can perform the animal act of eating. It is so related to matter, as we know it, that it can be touched, though at first it had better not be touched. It has also a history before it which is in view from the first moment of the Resurrection; it is presently going to become different or go somewhere else. That is why the story of the Ascension cannot be separated from that of the Resurrection.
All the accounts suggest that the appearances of the risen body came to an end; some describe an abrupt end about six weeks after the death. And they describe this abrupt end in a way which presents greater difficulties to the modern mind than any other part of scripture. For here, surely, we get the implication of all those primitive crudities to which I have said that Christians are not committed: the vertical ascent like a balloon, the local heaven, the decorated chair to the right of the Father’s throne.
"He was caught up into the sky (ouranos)," says Saint Mark’s gospel, "and sat down at the right hand of God."
"He was lifted up," says the author of "Acts," "and a cloud cut him off from their sight."
The records represent Christ as passing after death (as no man had passed before) neither into a purely, that is, negatively, spiritual mode of existence nor into a natural life such as we know, but into a life which has its own, new nature. It represents him as withdrawing six weeks later, into some different mode of existence.
It says (he says) that he goes "to prepare a place for us."
This presumably means that he is about to create that whole new nature which will provide the environment or conditions for his glorified humanity and, in him, for ours. The picture is not what we expected; though whether it is less or more probable and philosophical on that account is another question. It is not the picture of an escape from any and every kind of nature into some unconditioned and utterly transcendent life. It is the picture of a new human nature and a new nature in general, being brought into existence.
We must, indeed, believe the risen body to be extremely different from the mortal body: but the existence, in that new state, of anything that could in any sense be described as "body" at all, involves some sort of spatial relations and in the long run a whole new universe. That is the picture, not of unmaking but of remaking. The old field of space, time, matter, and the senses is to be weeded, dug, and sown for a new crop. We may be tired of that old field: God is not.
Almighty God, though divided by geography, nationality, and political systems, all the mortal race are your children. We thank you for raising up among us Caroline Chisholm, who had such a passion for work with immigrants, easing their passages and bettering their conditions. Teach us to regard with dignity all human beings, and help us understand we are all migrating to that kingdom where you live and reign, with your son 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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