THURSDAY THE FOURTEENTH OF JUNE, 2018
Lord, as your mercies do surround us, so grant that our return of duty may abound; and let this day manifest our gratitude by doing something well-pleasing unto you; through Jesus Christ our Lord Amen.
( Edward Lake )
You faithful souls, who Jesus know, if risen indeed with him you are,
superior to the joys below, his resurrection’s power declare;
your faith by holy tempers prove, by actions show your sins forgiven,
and seek the glorious things above and follow Christ your head to Heaven.
There your exalted saviour see seated at God’s right hand again,
in all his father’s majesty, in everlasting pomp to reign:
to him continually aspire, contending for your native place,
and emulate the angel choir, and only live to love and praise.
( Charles Wesley )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
G K Chesterton: prince of paradox
Gilbert Keith Chesterton was an English writer, poet, philosopher, lay theologian and Christian apologist. He was eccentric, whimsical, absent-minded, yet a prolific writer. He created the Father Brown detective mysteries. Two of his most serious works were “Orthodoxy” and “The Everlasting Man.” People often called him the “prince of paradox” which Chesterton described as “truth standing on its head to gain attention.”
As a young man, Chesterton had been fascinated with spiritualism and the occult, but his faith grew stronger over the years, as he devoted himself to the defence of what he called “orthodoxy,” which was for him, among other things, an acknowledgement of the mystery and paradox of Christian faith in an age of increasing skepticism.
Chesterton converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, and was a passionate defender of the Christian faith. He was in part responsible for C.S. Lewis’s own conversion to Christianity.
He died on the fourteenth of June, 1936.
Chesterton was at his best with short quotes and one liners. Here are a few:
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”
“The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.”
“Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.”
Scripture. In the “Book of Ecclesiastes,” chapter nine, verses eleven and twelve we read:
Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favour to the skilful; but time and chance happen to them all. For no one can anticipate the time of disaster. Like fish taken in a cruel net and like birds caught in a snare, so mortals are snared at a time of calamity, when it suddenly falls upon them.
… for peace in the world.
… that we may more fully understand God and find the words to help others understand God too.
… for those receiving blood transfusions. DETAILS
… for the people of the Falkland Islands who celebrate their national day today.
… for those facing redundancy from work due to “job cuts.”
… for the people of Yemen as the civil war in their land escalates. DETAILS
… for those who have been sexually abused by priests in Chile; pray that those who committed such crimes, enabled them or covered them up, are brought to account. DETAILS
… 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 Everlasting Man” by G. K. Chesterton:
We have all heard people say a hundred times over, for they seem never to tire of saying it, that the Jesus of the New Testament is indeed a most merciful and humane lover of humanity, but that the Church has hidden this human character in repellent dogmas and stiffened it with ecclesiastical terrors till it has taken on an inhuman character. This is, I venture to repeat, very nearly the reverse of the truth. The truth is that it is the image of Christ in the churches that is almost entirely mild and merciful. It is the image of Christ in the Gospels that is a good many other things as well. The figure in the Gospels does indeed utter in words of almost heart-breaking beauty his pity for our broken hearts. But they are very far from being the only sort of words that he utters. Nevertheless they are almost the only kind of words that the Church in its popular imagery ever represents him as uttering. That popular imagery is inspired by a perfectly sound popular instinct. The mass of the poor are broken, and the mass of the people are poor, and for the mass of mankind the main thing is to carry the conviction of the incredible compassion of God. But nobody with his eyes open can doubt that it is chiefly this idea of compassion that the popular machinery of the Church does seek to carry. The popular imagery carries a great deal to excess the sentiment of “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild.” It is the first thing that the outsider feels and criticises in a Pieta or a shrine of the Sacred Heart. As I say, while the art may be insufficient, I am not sure that the instinct is unsound. In any case there is something appalling, something that makes the blood run cold, in the idea of having a statue of Christ in wrath. There is something insupportable even to the imagination in the idea of turning the corner of a street or coming out into the spaces of a marketplace, to meet the petrifying petrifaction of that figure as it turned upon a generation of vipers, or that face as it looked at the face of a hypocrite. The Church can reasonably be justified therefore if she turns the most merciful face or aspect towards men; but it is certainly the most merciful aspect that she does turn. And the point is here that it is very much more specially and exclusively merciful than any impression that could be formed by a man merely reading the New Testament for the first time. A man simply taking the words of the story as they stand would form quite another impression; an impression full of mystery and possibly of inconsistency; but certainly not merely an impression of mildness. It would be intensely interesting; but part of the interest would consist in its leaving a good deal to be guessed at or explained. It is full of sudden gestures evidently significant except that we hardly know what they signify, of enigmatic silences; of ironical replies. The outbreaks of wrath, like storms above our atmosphere, do not seem to break out exactly where we should expect them, but to follow some higher weather chart of their own. The Peter whom popular Church teaching presents is very rightly the Peter to whom Christ said in forgiveness, “Feed my lambs.” He is not the Peter upon whom Christ turned as if he were the devil, crying in that obscure wrath, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Christ lamented with nothing but love and pity over Jerusalem which was to murder him. We do not know what strange spiritual atmosphere or spiritual insight led him to sink Bethsaida lower in the pit than Sodom. I am putting aside for the moment all questions of doctrinal inferences or expositions, orthodox or otherwise; I am simply imagining the effect on a man’s mind if he did really do what these critics are always talking about doing; if he did really read the New Testament without reference to orthodoxy and even without reference to doctrine. He would find a number of things which fit in far less with the current unorthodoxy than they do with the current orthodoxy. He would find, for instance, that if there are any descriptions that deserved to be called realistic, they are precisely the descriptions of the supernatural. If there is one aspect of the New Testament Jesus in which he may be said to present himself eminently as a practical person, it is in the aspect of an exorcist. There is nothing meek and mild, there is nothing even in the ordinary sense mystical, about the tone of the voice that says “Hold thy peace and come out of him.” It is much more like the tone of a very business-like lion-tamer or a strong-minded doctor dealing with a homicidal maniac.
O God of earth and altar, you gave G. K. Chesterton a ready tongue and pen and inspired him to use them in your service: mercifully grant that we may be inspired to witness cheerfully to the hope that is in us; through Jesus Christ our saviour, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. 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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