WEDNESDAY THE FIRST OF AUGUST, 2018
* Joseph of Arimathaea *
We beseech you, O Lord our God, be patient with us sinners. You who know our weakness, protect the work of your hands now and in times to come, deliver us from all temptation and all danger and all the powers of darkness of this world, and bring us into the kingdom of your only son and our God. For to your most holy name be the glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and for ever, to the ages of ages. Amen.
And did those feet in ancient time walk upon England’s mountain green?
And was the holy Lamb of God on England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here among those dark satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold! Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold! Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight, nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
till we have built Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land.
( William Blake 1757-1827 )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Joseph of Arimathaea: the Holy Grail to England bourne
Today Saint Laika’s remembers Joseph of Arimathaea and to those without an English or Anglican background, he is well worth remembering as the one who buried the body of Jesus in his own new tomb, which had been hewn out of rock. He is identified in the three synoptic gospels as a disciple of Jesus, a member of the ruling council, and as one who was looking forward to the kingdom of God. All of this is praiseworthy and deserving of a day of remembrance.
James Kiefer, in his brief biography of Joseph, notes: “the folk-tales of a community are part of the heritage of a community” and it is the folk-tales and legends about Joseph of Arimathaea which have so endeared him to the English people. There are tales of Joseph bringing Jesus as a teen to England on a trip to transport tin to the Middle East. There are tales of his bringing the Holy Grail (the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper) to England, to Glastonbury, in particular, where a great thorn tree grew around it to protect it. Cromwell’s soldiers cut it down, but a cutting from that tree was later replanted and is there to this day. Pilgrims to Glastonbury are pleased to purchase leaves from the Glastonbury Thorn as a remembrance of their visit.
The pertinent question to ask yourselves on this day to remember Joseph of Arimathaea, is how eager are you for the kingdom of God? And what gifts have you been given that might help God’s kingdom be seen in the midst of this sometimes dark and difficult world?
Scripture. In Luke’s gospel, chapter twenty-three, from the fiftieth to the fifty-third verse, we read:
Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid.
… for peace in the world.
… that we may always find the courage within ourselves to do what is right even when all around us have chosen to do that which is evil.
… for funeral directors, tinsmiths and who claim Joseph of Arimathaea as their patron.
… for the people of Benin and Switzerland who celebrate their national day today.
… for children mourning the death of a friend.
… for the parents and loved ones of children who have died accidentally.
… for those recovering from surgery, especially those suffering complications or relapses.
… for the three Russian journalists killed in an ambush in the Central African Republic; for the safety of all journalists working in dangerous situations.
… 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:
There must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away ‘blindly’ so to speak.
Christ will indeed give you a real personality: but you must not go to him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is his) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for him.
Does that sound strange?
The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find him, and with him everything else thrown in.
Merciful God, whose servant Joseph of Arimathaea with reverence and godly fear prepared the body of our Lord and saviour for burial, and laid it in his own tomb: grant to us, your faithful people, grace and courage to love and serve Jesus with sincere devotion all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, 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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