THURSDAY THE FIFTH OF JULY, 2018
We gratefully acknowledge that you are the Eternal One, our God for evermore; the rock of our life and the shield of our salvation. You are God who exists to all ages. We will therefore render thanks unto you and declare your praise for our lives, which are delivered into your hand and for our souls, which are confided in your care; for your goodness, which is displayed to us daily; for your wonders and your bounty, which are at all times given to us. You are the most gracious, for your mercies never fail. Evermore we hope in you, O Lord our God. Amen.
( "Jewish Book of Service" )
Ye holy angels bright, who stand before God’s throne
and dwell in glorious light, praise ye the Lord each one.
Assist our song, or else the theme
too high doth seem for mortal tongue.
Ye blessed souls at rest, that see your saviour’s face,
whose glory, even the least, is far above our grace.
God’s praises sound, as in his sight
with sweet delight you do abound.
Ye saints, who toil below, adore your heavenly king
and onward as ye go some joyful anthem sing;
take what he gives and praise him still,
through good or ill, who ever lives!
All nations of the earth, extol the world’s great king:
with melody and mirth his glorious praises sing,
for he still reigns, and will bring low
the proudest foe that him disdains.
Sing forth Jehovah’s praise, ye saints, that on him call!
Him magnify always his holy churches all!
In him rejoice and there proclaim
his holy name with sounding voice.
My soul, bear thou thy part, triumph in God above
and with a well tuned heart sing thou the songs of love.
And all my days let no distress
nor fears suppress his joyful praise.
Away, distrustful care! I have thy promise, Lord:
to banish all despair, I have thine oath and word:
and therefore I shall see thy face
and there thy grace shall magnify.
With thy triumphant flock then I shall numbered be;
built on the eternal rock, his glory shall we see.
The heavens so high with praise shall ring
and all shall sing in harmony.
( Richard Baxter, circa 1615 - 1691 )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Godelieve: her mother-in-law was wicked
Out of the middle ages comes the story of Godelieve, a Flemish woman who was born in the middle of the eleventh century, who was no more than thirty years of age when she died. Her life’s story is an amalgam of fact and fiction.
Godelieve was a pious girl who wanted to become a nun. But her father would have nothing to do with that. He arranged for her to be married to a nobleman named Berthold.
Berthold’s mother took an instant dislike to Godelieve, and so worked on her son, that he fled the wedding reception and left the marriage unconsummated. She was imprisoned by her mother-in-law in a narrow cell, and was treated with severity. It was reported that out of the meagre food she was given, she managed to share it with others who were in need. It was reported that she suffered both mental and physical abuse at the hand of her mother-in-law.
When word of Godelieve’s situation reached her own father, he enlisted the aid of the local bishop and of Berthold’s father. They threatened Berthold with prison if he did not take Godelieve as a proper wife and treat her well. He promised to do so, and for a time Godelieve’s situation improved. Yet happiness was not to be found for Godelieve. Her husband soon began to abuse her once again. While he was away on business, he ordered two of his men to strangle her and throw her into a pond, to make it seem her death was accidental.
What turned Godelieve from an unfortunate victim of brutal times, into a saint happened after her death. It seems that Berthold married a second time. He had a daughter, Edith, who was blind. She was healed by prayers made to Godelieve. This led to her husband’s confession to her murder. He travelled to Rome to seek the pope’s absolution, and both daughter Edith and father Berthold, lived the remainder of their lives as religious. We do not know what happened to the mother-in-law.
Godelieve’s feast day was kept on the sixth of July.
While the story of Godelieve may be fanciful, the reality is that many, many women live in abusive relationships every day. The haunting reality of these contemporary stories of physical, mental, and sexual abuse, drive us to both prayer and action. In many places there exist not only women’s shelters but centres where legal and medical help is available to assist women escaping these relationships. Like Godelieve, too many of these contemporary women are also murdered by their abusers.
Scripture. In the fifth chapter of "Ephesians," at verses twenty-eight and twenty-nine we read:
In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church.
... for peace in the world.
... for women trapped in abusive relationships and for those who minister to them and help them seek safety and freedom.
... for those who have been forced into marriage against their will.
... for the National Health Service in the United Kingdom which celebrates the seventieth anniversary of its inception today; for those who work in it and for its continuance in line with its original intent; that all people may enjoy healthcare that is not restricted by their ability to pay.
... 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 "Mere Christianity" by C. S. Lewis:
What do we do next?
What difference does all this theology make?
It can start making a difference tonight. If you are interested enough to have read thus far you are probably interested enough to make a shot at saying your prayers and, whatever else you say, you will probably say the Lord’s Prayer.
Its very first words are "Our Father." Do you now see what those words mean?
They mean quite frankly, that you are putting yourself in the place of a son of God. To put it bluntly, you are dressing up as Christ. If you like, you are pretending. Because, of course, the moment you realise what the words mean, you realise that you are not a son of God. You are not a being like The Son of God, whose will and interests are at one with those of the Father: you are a bundle of self-centred fears, hopes, greeds, jealousies, and self-conceit, all doomed to death. So that, in a way, this dressing up as Christ is a piece of outrageous cheek. But the odd thing is that He has ordered us to do it.
What is the good of pretending to be what you are not?
Well, even on the human level, you know, there are two kinds of pretending. There is a bad kind, where the pretence is there instead of the real thing; as when a man pretends he is going to help you instead of really helping you. But there is also a good kind, where the pretence leads up to the real thing. When you are not feeling particularly friendly but know you ought to be, the best thing you can do, very often, is to put on a friendly manner and behave as if you were a nicer person than you actually are. And in a few minutes, as we have all noticed, you will be really feeling friendlier than you were.
Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children’s games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups: playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits so that the pretence of being grown-up helps them to grow up in earnest.
Gracious God, you created us in your image and breathed life into us, a life you want us to live abundantly. We ask you to free those living with abuse physically, mentally or spiritually, from their oppression, so that they may walk in peace and enjoy a life full of your blessings. In Jesus’ name. 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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