WEDNESDAY THE THIRTIETH OF MAY, 2018
* Josephine Butler *
O God, send forth your Holy Spirit into my heart that I may perceive, into my mind that I may remember and into my soul that I may meditate. Inspire me to speak with piety, holiness, tenderness and mercy. Teach, guide and direct my thoughts and senses from beginning to end. May your grace ever help and correct me and may I be strengthened now with wisdom from on high, for the sake of your infinite mercy. Amen.
( Anthony of Padua )
Eternal Spirit, come into your meanest home;
from your high and holy place, where you in glory reign,
stoop in condescending grace, stoop to the poor heart of man.
For you our hearts we lift and wait for the heavenly gift.
Giver, Lord, of life divine, to our dying souls appear;
grant the grace for which we pine, give yourself, the Comforter.
Our ruined souls repair and fix your mansion there;
claim us for your constant shrine, all your glorious self reveal;
life, and power, and love divine, God in us for ever dwell.
( Charles Wesley )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Josephine Butler: “God and one woman make a majority”
Josephine Butler was an extraordinary woman by anyone’s definition. She was a deeply religious servant of Christ, whose faith was shaped by the evangelical wing of the Anglican church. She was a Victorian era British feminist and social reformer who was especially concerned with the welfare of prostitutes.
She was married to George Butler, a clergyman and scholar. Her ministry to women was shaped by the pain she endured when her only daughter died in 1863 following a fall from the staircase of their home.
She remarked that she sought solace by ministering to people with greater pain than her own. This led her to her ministry with prostitutes. She regarded the women as the exploited victims of male oppression and was a vocal opponent of the double standard of sexual morality.
Her most lasting legacy had to do with a crusade to repeal the “Contagious Diseases Act” which had been introduced into Britain in the 1860’s. It was a back-handed attempt to control prostitution by giving judges, based on an accusation of prostitution, the authority to order a genital examination of women to check for signs of venereal disease (she called it “surgical rape”). If found to be infected a woman could be incarcerated for three months in a hospital ward in order to be cured. Many women lost their livelihoods, some even committed suicide. From 1869 through 1886 she campaigned vigorously for the repeal of the law. Ultimately she was successful. Following the repeal of that law, she spent her time working to eliminate childhood prostitution.
She was an ardent feminist. She advocated for higher education for women. She advocated for women’s suffrage.
One of her favourite sayings was “God and one woman make a majority.”
All that she did was motivated by her deeply held faith.
Scripture. In the twenty-first chapter of “Matthew,” at verses thirty-one and thirty-two, Jesus says:
“Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.”
… for peace in the world.
… for prostitutes; for their release from whatever or whoever it is that is compelling them to sell their bodies.
… for the people of Anguilla who are celebrating their national day today.
… for the people of the village of Monjane in Mozambique who were attacked over the weekend by Islamists, especially for those, including children, who were beheaded; for all victims of terrorism. 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 “The Morning Cometh: A Letter to my Children” by Josephine Butler under the pseudonym of “Philalethes”:
You and I have been together among the Alps, in the early hours of the dawn, when all nature was freshly baptised with the dew of the morning, and such an exquisite purity was in the silent air, that we seemed to be breathing the heavenly ether of a new-born earth. And we have together looked upon those pure, snow-covered peaks, those fair sentinels of heaven, in the evening glow, bathed in the rose and gold of the setting sun; appearing at the last moment of farewell to the day, as if lighted by some light from within themselves. At such times we have felt that it was hardly possible to imagine anything more beautiful, more awful in grandeur and purity than this. May it be that we shall see these same familiar features renewed in the times of the new heavens and the new earth, all that tends to decay and death, all storms, violence and destructive forces done with for ever and this beautiful earth again such as we have seen it and loved it at its best, but infinitely better and more beautiful than its present earthly best? Its present unrest, the violent and terrifying forces working within its bosom are, it may be, the travail pangs which will usher in the new earth.
God of compassion and love, by whose grace your servant Josephine Butler followed in the way of your son in caring for those in need: help us like her to work with strength for the restoration of all to the dignity and freedom of those created in your image; 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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