TUESDAY THE TWENTY-NINTH OF MAY, 2018
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my works, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend that which is holy.
Guard me then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.
( Augustine of Hippo )
Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest, and in our souls take up your rest;
come with your grace and heavenly aid to fill the hearts which you have made.
O comforter, to you we cry, O heavenly gift of God most high,
O fount of life and fire of love and sweet anointing from above.
You in your sevenfold gifts are known; you, finger of God’s hand we own;
you, the promise of the Father, you who does the tongue with power imbue.
Kindle our sense from above and make our hearts overflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high, the weakness of our flesh supply.
Far from us drive the foe we dread and grant us your peace instead;
so shall we not, with you for a guide, turn from the path of life aside.
Oh, may your grace on us bestow the Father and the Son to know;
and you, through endless times confessed, of both the eternal Spirit blest.
Now to the Father and the Son who rose from death, be glory given,
with you, O Holy Comforter, henceforth by all in earth and heaven.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
The Barmen Synod opens to formulate a Christian Response to Nazism
In 1933, the national synod of the German Protestant churches endorsed the Nazi party. The churches unified into a new organisation called the German Evangelical Church, which was known colloquially as the Reichskirche, or the “Reich Church.” This, in effect, placed the Church under the Nazi Party, and all sermons, classes, and publications had to conform to the tenets of the Nazi Party. This provoked a reaction among pastors, theologians and laity in Germany. A smaller, “Confessing Church” was formed. Its notable leaders included Karl Barth, Martin Niemöller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
On the twenty-ninth of May, 1934 the Barmen Synod opened. Members of the Confessing Church were attempting to articulate a basis for their opposition to the German Evangelical Church.
The Synod adopted a document entitled “The Barmen Declaration” which stated boldly that the sole authority for the Church is Jesus Christ. Any other relationship the church enters into, such as the relationship of the Church to the State, must be subservient to Jesus Christ. There can be only one Lord of life, one true lover of soul and society. The state oversteps its boundaries and encroaches upon human dignity when it seeks to extend its authority into all areas of human life.
The Barmen Declaration serves as a vivid reminder of the ongoing need for the church to remain true to her own identity under the lordship of Jesus Christ.
Quote: “Try the spirits whether they are of God! Prove also the words of the Confessional Synod of the German Evangelical Church to see whether they agree with holy scripture and with the confessions of the fathers. If you find that we are speaking contrary to scripture, then do not listen to us! But if you find that we are taking our stand upon scripture, then let no fear or temptation keep you from treading with us the path of faith and obedience to the word of God, in order that God’s people be of one mind upon earth and that we in faith experience what he himself has said: ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you.'”
Many have noted parallels with our own time and the willingness of some American evangelicals to align their spiritual authority with the policies of the present American government. On the evening of Thursday the twenty-fourth of May, religious leaders led a march on Washington under the banner of “Reclaiming Jesus.” Their aim was to, in the spirit of Barmen, reclaim Jesus as the sole authority of the Church.
Scripture. In the “First Letter of John,” at the fourth chapter, verses one and four, we read:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
… for peace in the world.
… for the courage to remain faithful to Christ and obedient to his teaching even when the society we are living in demands that we do otherwise.
… for Christians living in a communist or a predominantly Islamic state who face persecution because of their adherence to the word of God, even imprisonment or execution.
… for those who are serving as United Nations peacekeepers; for their safety and for the success of their missions. DETAILS
… for the people of Nigeria who are celebrating their national day today.
… for those who live with nagging pain.
… for women who have fallen pregnant but do not want a child and for the men responsible for such conceptions.
… for the success of any future talks between North Korea and other nations.
… for those who were killed, injured or suffered damage to their homes in the recent storms that have hit the United States.
… for an end to the cultural fads that are encouraging young people to commit acts of violence, mostly on other young people. DETAILS
… for those caught up in the violence that has broken out in Nicaragua; for those who have already died or who have been badly injured. 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.
From “My Strength is Made Perfect in Weakness,” a sermon on “The Second Letter to the Corinthians,” chapter 12, verse nine, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
Let us be truthful and not unrealistic; let us ask the question: What is the meaning of weakness in this world?
We all know that Christianity has been blamed ever since its early days for its message to the weak. Christianity is a “religion of slaves” (Friedrich Nietzsche), of people with inferiority complexes; it owes its success only to the masses of miserable people whose weakness and misery Christianity has “glorified.” It was the attitude towards the problem of weakness in the world which made everybody followers or enemies of Christianity. Against the new meaning which Christianity gave to the weak. against this glorification of weakness, there has always been the strong and indignant protest of an aristocratic philosophy of life which glorified strength and power and violence as the ultimate ideals of humanity. We have observed this very fight going on up to our present day.
Christianity stands or falls by its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power, and by its apologia for the weak. I feel that Christianity is doing too little in making these points rather than doing too much. Christianity has adjusted itself much too easily to the worship of power. It should give much more offence, more shock to the world than it is doing. Christianity should take a much more deﬁnite stand for the weak than for the potential moral right of the strong.
Lord, keep us steadfast in your word. Curb those who by deceit or sword. would wrest the kingdom from your son, and bring to naught all he has done. Amen.
( Martin Luther )
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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