Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE EIGHTEENTH OF MAY, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

O King of Glory, Lord of Hosts, ho did ascend in triumph above all the heavens, leave us not orphans, but send upon us the Spirit of Truth promised by the Father. Alleluia! Amen.

CANTICLE

O love, how deep, how broad, how high, how passing thought and fantasy,
that God, the Son of God, should take our mortal form for mortals’ sake!

He sent no angel to our race, of higher or of lower place,
but wore the robe of human frame and he himself to this world came.

For us baptised, for us he bore his holy fast, and hungered sore;
for us temptations sharp he knew, for us the tempter overthrew.

For us to wicked men betrayed, scourged, mocked, in crown of thorns arrayed,
he bore the shameful cross and death; for us at length gave up his breath.

For us he rose from death again, for us he went on high to reign,
for us he sent his Spirit here to guide, to strengthen, and to cheer.

All glory to our Lord and God for love so deep, so high, so broad;
the Trinity whom we adore forever and forevermore.

( attributed to Thomas á Kempis )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Dirk Willems: loving your enemy when they do not love you back

Dirk Willems grew up in the Netherlands in the tumultuous sixteenth century time of reformation and protest. He followed the Anabaptist tradition.

He had been imprisoned for his faith and managed to escape from prison, with guards in hot pursuit. He could have made his escape but one of his pursuers fell through the thin ice of a frozen pond and was in danger of drowning. Willems turned around and rescued the guard. He was recaptured, and burned at the stake on the sixteenth of May, 1569.

The charges against him were preserved:

“Whereas, Dirk Willems, born at Asperen, at present a prisoner, has, without torture and iron bonds (or otherwise) before the bailiff and us judges, confessed that at the age of fifteen, eighteen or twenty years, he was rebaptised in Rotterdam, at the house of one Pieter Willems, and that he, further, in Asperen, at his house, at divers hours, harboured and admitted secret conventicles and prohibited doctrines, and that he also has permitted several persons to be rebaptised in his aforesaid house; all of which is contrary to our holy Christian faith, and to the decrees of his royal majesty, and ought not to be tolerated, but severely punished, for an example to others; therefore, we the aforesaid judges, having, with mature deliberation of council, examined and considered all that was to be considered in this matter, have condemned and do condemn by these presents in the name; and in the behalf, of his royal majesty, as Count of Holland, the aforesaid Dirk Willems, prisoner, persisting obstinately in his opinion, that he shall be executed with fire, until death ensues; and declare all his property confiscated, for the benefit of his royal majesty. So done this sixteenth of May, in presence of the judges.”

Scripture: In the sixth chapter of "Luke," at verses twenty-seven to thirty-one, we read:

But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the courage to live the teachings of Jesus in our daily life.

... for the reconciliation of enemies.

... for our enemies.

... for the success of the thousands of volunteers, community members, health professionals, supporters and scientists who are working together to find a safe and effective AIDS vaccine; for the continued commitment of the governments, institutions and individuals who are funding the work. DETAILS

... for people who work in museums. DETAILS

... for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, that their future together will be happy; for all who are involved in making their wedding tomorrow a memorable, blessed and safe occasion; that the love of God will permeate the ceremony and be made known to all who witness it; for all couples who are getting married this coming weekend.

... for men who suffer from postnatal depression. DETAILS

... 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 "Miracles" by C. S. Lewis:

To say that Christ’s passage to a new "nature" could involve no upwards movement, or no movement at all, within the "nature" he was leaving, is very arbitrary. Where there is passage, there is departure; and departure is an event in the region from which the traveller is departing. All this, even on the assumption that the ascending Christ is in a three-dimensional space. If it is not that kind of body, and space is not that kind of space, then we are even less qualified to say what the spectators of this entirely new event might or might not see or feel as if they had seen.

There is, of course, no question of a human body as we know it existing in interstellar space as we know it. The Ascension belongs to a new nature. We are discussing only what the "joint" between the old nature and the new, the precise moment of transition, would look like. But what really worries us is the conviction that, whatever we say, the "New Testament" writers meant something quite different. We feel sure that they thought they had seen their master setting off on a journey for a local "Heaven" where God sat in a throne and where there was another throne waiting for him. And I believe that in a sense that is just what they did think. And I believe that, for this reason, whatever they had actually seen (sense perception, almost by hypothesis, would be confused at such a moment) they would almost certainly have remembered it as a vertical movement. What we must not say is that they "mistook" local "heavens" and celestial throne-rooms and the like for the "spiritual" heaven of union with God and supreme power and beatitude.

Heaven can mean:

(1) The unconditioned divine life beyond all worlds.

(2) Blessed participation in that life by a created spirit.

(3) The whole nature or system of conditions in which redeemed human spirits, still remaining human, can enjoy such participation fully and for ever. This is the heaven Christ goes to "prepare" for us.

(4) The physical heaven, the sky, the space in which Earth moves.

What enables us to distinguish these senses and hold them clearly apart is not any special spiritual purity but the fact that we are the heirs to centuries of logical analysis: not that we are sons to Abraham but that we are sons to Aristotle. We are not to suppose that the writers of the "New Testament" mistook heaven in sense four or three for heaven in sense two or one. You cannot mistake a half sovereign for a sixpence until you know the English system of coinage; that is, until you know the difference between them. In their idea of heaven all these meanings were latent, ready to be brought out by later analysis. They never thought merely of the blue sky or merely of a "spiritual" heaven. When they looked up at the blue sky they never doubted that there, whence light and heat and the precious rain descended, was the home of God: but on the other hand, when they thought of one ascending to that Heaven they never doubted he was "ascending" in what we should call a "spiritual" sense.

The fact that Galilean shepherds could not distinguish what they saw at the Ascension from that kind of ascent which, by its very nature, could never be seen at all, does not prove on the one hand that they were unspiritual, nor on the other that they saw nothing. A man who really believes that "Heaven" is in the sky may well, in his heart, have a far truer and more spiritual conception of it than many a modern logician who could expose that fallacy with a few strokes of his pen. For he who does the will of the Father shall know the doctrine. Irrelevant material splendours in such a man’s idea of the vision of God will do no harm, for they are not there for their own sakes. Purity from such images in a merely theoretical Christian’s idea will do no good if they have been banished only by logical criticism.

It is not an accident that simple-minded people, however spiritual, should blend the ideas of God and Heaven and the blue sky. It is a fact, not a fiction, that light and life-giving heat do come down from the sky to Earth. The analogy of the sky’s role to begetting and of the Earth’s role to bearing is sound as far as it goes. The huge dome of the sky is of all things sensuously perceived the most like infinity. And when God made space and worlds that move in space, and clothed our world with air, and gave us such eyes and such imaginations as those we have, he knew what the sky would mean to us. And since nothing in his work is accidental, if he knew, he intended. We cannot be certain that this was not indeed one of the chief purposes for which nature was created; still less that it was not one of the chief reasons why the withdrawal was allowed to affect human senses as a movement upwards. (A disappearance into the Earth would beget a wholly different religion.) The ancients in letting the spiritual symbolism of the sky flow straight into their minds without stopping to discover by analysis that it was a symbol, were not entirely mistaken. In one way they were perhaps less mistaken than we.

CLOSING PRAYER

Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women who have given their lives in witness to your truth and love; inspire us with the example of Dirk Willems, and give us courage to bear witness with our lives to your son’s resurrection; 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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