FRIDAY THE FIRST OF JUNE, 2018
* Justin Martyr *
Almighty God, the father of all mercies, we, your unworthy servants, give you most humble and hearty thanks for all your goodness to us and to all people. We bless you for our creation, preservation and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace and for the hope of glory. And give us, we pray, such a sense of all your mercies that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful and that we show forth your praise, not only with our lips but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Zeal is that pure and heavenly flame, the fire of love supplies;
while that which often bears the name, is self in a disguise.
True zeal is merciful and mild, can pity and forbear;
the false is headstrong, fierce and wild, and breathes revenge and war.
While zeal for truth the Christian warms, he knows the worth of peace;
but self-contends for names and forms, its party to increase.
Zeal has attained its highest aim, its end is satisfied;
if sinners love the Saviour’s name, nor seeks it aught beside.
But self, however well employed, has its own ends in view;
and says, as boasting Jehu cried, come, see what I can do.
Self may its poor reward obtain, and be applauded here;
but zeal the best applause will gain when Jesus shall appear.
Dear Lord, the idol self dethrone and from our hearts remove;
and let no zeal by us be shown, but that which springs from love.
( John Newton )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Justin: martyr for Christ, defender of the Church
Justin was born into a Gentile family in Samaria about the year 100 AD. His family were Greeks, living near Israel after the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 AD. He was brought up with a good education in rhetoric, poetry, and history. He studied various schools of philosophy in Alexandria and Ephesus, but never felt comfortable in their schools of thought.
At the time, the Jews were busy reconstructing Judaism along Rabbinic lines, and followers of Jesus represented a spectrum of beliefs: some were mixed communities of Jews and Gentiles, others hewed to a more traditional Judaism which embraced Jesus as Messiah.
About 130 AD, Justin encountered a Syrian Christian who introduced him to Christ and to the prophets of the “Old Testament.” He renounced his pagan beliefs and became a Christian. He became a teacher and evangelist for his new-found faith. In Ephesus he held dialogues with a Jewish teacher, Trypho, which he later published. Later, in Rome, he directly addressed the emperor, asking him to treat Christianity as a legal religion and to put an end to persecution. While in Rome, he defended the Church against Marcion, who wanted the Church to abandon the “Old Testament” completely.
Justin also gave us one of the earliest glimpses of Christian worship:
“On the day called Sunday there is a gathering together in the same place of all who live in a given city or rural district. The memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits. Then when the reader ceases, the president in a discourse admonishes and urges the imitation of these good things. Next we all rise together and send up prayers. When we cease from our prayer, bread is presented and wine and water. The president in the same manner sends up prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people sing out their assent, saying the ‘Amen.’ A distribution and participation of the elements for which thanks have been given is made to each person, and to those who are not present they are sent by the deacons.”
Scripture. “John,” chapter twelve, verses forty-four to forty-six:
Then Jesus cried aloud, “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me and whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness.”
… for peace in the world.
… that people from all cultures may come to understand and own the teachings of Jesus Christ and in doing so, come to know him as their saviour.
… for workers in the dairy industry. DETAILS
… for the people of Samoa who celebrate their national day today.
… for an end to organised-crime-related violence in Mexico and the corruption that goes with it; for the people of the state of Tamaulipas where mass disappearances have been reported recently. DETAILS
… for children in care and for children who are regularly in and out of care.
… 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 “On the Resurrection” by Justin Martyr:
We must now speak with respect to those who think meanly of the flesh, and say that it is not worthy of the resurrection nor of the heavenly economy, because, first, its substance is earth; and besides, because it is full of all wickedness, so that it forces the soul to sin along with it. But these persons seem to be ignorant of the whole work of God, both of the genesis and formation of man at the first, and why the things in the world were made.
For does not the word say, “Let Us make man in our image, and after our likeness”? (Genesis 1:26)
What kind of man? Manifestly he means fleshly man, for the word says, “And God took dust of the earth, and made man.” (Genesis 2:7)
It is evident, therefore, that man made in the image of God was of flesh. Is it not, then, absurd to say, that the flesh made by God in his own image is contemptible and worth nothing? But that the flesh is with God a precious possession is manifest, first from its being formed by him, if at least the image is valuable to the former and artist; and besides, its value can be gathered from the creation of the rest of the world. For that on account of which the rest is made, is the most precious of all to the maker.
Quite true, say they; yet the flesh is a sinner, so much so, that it forces the soul to sin along with it. And thus they vainly accuse it, and lay to its charge alone the sins of both.
But in what instance can the flesh possibly sin by itself, if it have not the soul going before it and inciting it? For as in the case of a yoke of oxen, if one or other is loosed from the yoke, neither of them can plough alone; so neither can soul or body alone effect anything, if they be unyoked from their communion. And if it is the flesh that is the sinner, then on its account alone did the Saviour come, as he says, I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Mark 2:17) Since, then, the flesh has been proved to be valuable in the sight of God, and glorious above all his works, it would very justly be saved by him.
We must meet, therefore, those who say, that even though it be the special handiwork of God, and beyond all else valued by him, it would not immediately follow that it has the promise of the resurrection. Yet is it not absurd, that that which has been produced with such circumstance, and which is beyond all else valuable, should be so neglected by its maker, as to pass to nonentity? Then the sculptor and painter, if they wish the works they have made to endure, that they may win glory by them, renew them when they begin to decay; but God would so neglect his own possession and work, that it becomes annihilated, and no longer exists. Should we not call this labour in vain? As if a man who has built a house should immediately destroy it, or should neglect it, though he sees it falling into decay, and is able to repair it: we would blame him for labouring in vain; and should we not so blame God? But not such a one is the Incorruptible — not senseless is the Intelligence of the universe. Let the unbelieving be silent, even though they themselves do not believe.
But, in truth, he has even called the flesh to the resurrection and promises to it everlasting life. For where he promises to save man, there he gives the promise to the flesh. For what is man but the reasonable animal composed of body and soul? Is the soul by itself man? No; but the soul of man. Would the body be called man? No, but it is called the body of man. If, then, neither of these is by itself man, but that which is made up of the two together is called man, and God has called man to life and resurrection, he has called not a part, but the whole, which is the soul and the body. Since would it not be unquestionably absurd, if, while these two are in the same being and according to the same law, the one were saved and the other not? And if it be not impossible, as has already been proved, that the flesh be regenerated, what is the distinction on the ground of which the soul is saved and the body not? Do they make God a grudging God? But he is good and will have all to be saved. And by God and his proclamation, not only has your soul heard and believed on Jesus Christ, and with it the flesh, but both were washed, and both wrought righteousness. They make God, then ungrateful and unjust, if, while both believe in him, he desires to save one and not the other.
Well, they say, but the soul is incorruptible, being a part of God and inspired by him, and therefore he desires to save what is peculiarly his own and akin to himself; but the flesh is corruptible, and not from him, as the soul is. Then what thanks are due to him, and what manifestation of his power and goodness is it, if he purposed to save what is by nature saved and exists as a part of himself? For it had its salvation from itself; so that in saving the soul, God does no great thing. For to be saved is its natural destiny, because it is a part of himself, being his inspiration. But no thanks are due to one who saves what is his own; for this is to save himself. For he who saves a part himself, saves himself by his own means, lest he become defective in that part; and this is not the act of a good man. For not even when a man does good to his children and offspring, does one call him a good man; for even the most savage of the wild beasts do so, and indeed willingly endure death, if need be, for the sake of their cubs. But if a man were to perform the same acts in behalf of his slaves, that man would justly be called good. Wherefore the Saviour also taught us to love our enemies, since, says he, what thank have you? So that he has shown us that it is a good work not only to love those that are begotten of him, but also those that are without. And what he enjoins upon us, he himself first of all does.
Almighty and everlasting God, you found your martyr Justin wandering from teacher to teacher, seeking the true God, and you revealed to him the sublime wisdom of your eternal Word: Grant that all who seek you, or a deeper knowledge of you, may find and be found by you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
CLICK HERE, then click on “Begin” and follow the instructions on each page.