Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE TWENTY-FOURTH OF AUGUST, 2018
* Bartholomew *

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord our God, grant us grace to desire you with our whole heart, that so desiring, we may seek and find you, and so finding you we may love you; and loving you we may hate those sins from which you have redeemed us; for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.

( Anselm, 1033/4-1109 )

CANTICLE

King of saints, to whom the number of your starry host is known,
many a name, by man, forgotten, lives forever round your throne;
lights, which earth-born mists have darkened, there are shining full and clear,
princes in the court of Heaven, nameless, unremembered here.

In the roll of your apostles one there stands, Bartholomew,
he for whom today we offer, year by year, our praises due;
how he toiled for you and suffered none on earth can now record;
all his saintly life is hidden in the knowledge of his Lord.

Was it he, beneath the fig tree seen by you, and guileless found;
he who saw the good he longed for rise from Nazareth’s barren ground;
he who met his risen master on the shore of Galilee;
he to whom the word was spoken, greater things you yet shall see?

None can tell us; all is written in the Lamb’s great book of life,
all the faith, and prayer, and patience, all the toiling, and the strife;
there are told your hidden treasures; number us, O Lord, with them,
when you make up the jewels of your living diadem.

( John Ellerton, 1826–1893 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Bartholomew, the apostle who disappeared

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles, according to the lists provided in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He is not listed by John, who refers instead to “Nathanael, of Cana in Galilee.” These need not be different people, for Bartholomew comes from the word “Bar-Tolmei” which means “son of the furrows”. Perhaps, son of farmers.

Like much of what we know about the apostles, information about Bartholomew is sketchy and the subject of legends. Some refer to his missionary activity in India, while other sources place the focus of his work in Armenia. He does play a large part in the heritage of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Again the legends say he was flayed and crucified in Armenia. He is most often portrayed in art this way: carrying a knife and holding his own skin. An apocryphal gospel bearing his name purports to tell of Christ’s descent to the dead and his freeing of the souls held in the grip of death.

Take comfort in the fact that someone so close to Jesus has faded completely into legend, so much so that the real flesh and blood apostle is unknown. Most disciples do not become famous in the service of God. Let Bartholomew be a sort of “everyman” apostle, to represent all that we do to bring forth the kingdom of God.

Scripture. In the "Gospel of John," chapter thirteen, verses sixteen and seventeen, we read.

Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for all the countless disciples of Christ who do good without receiving fame and public acknowledgement of their deeds and that we may be content to do the same.

... for leatherworkers and plasterers and all people and institutions that claim Bartholomew as their patron.

... for members of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

... for the people of Ukraine who celebrate their national day today.

... for those killed or injured during the recent upsurge in violence in Eastern Ukraine. 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.

READING

From a homily on the first letter to the Corinthians by John Chrysostom:

It was clear through unlearned men that the cross was persuasive, in fact, it persuaded the whole world. Their discourse was not of unimportant matters but of God and true religion, of the Gospel way of life and future judgement, yet it turned plain, uneducated men into philosophers. How the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and his weakness stronger than men!

In what way is it stronger? It made its way throughout the world and overcame all men; countless men sought to eradicate the very name of the Crucified, but that name flourished and grew ever mightier. Its enemies lost out and perished; the living who waged a war on a dead man proved helpless. Therefore, when a Greek tells me I am dead, he shows only that he is foolish indeed, for I, whom he thinks a fool, turn out to be wiser than those reputed wise. So too, in calling me weak, he but shows that he is weaker still. For the good deeds which tax-collectors and fishermen were able to accomplish by God’s grace, the philosophers, the rulers, the countless multitudes cannot even imagine.

Paul had this in mind when he said, "The weakness of God is stronger than men."

That the preaching of these men was indeed divine is brought home to us in the same way. For how otherwise could twelve uneducated men, who lived on lakes and rivers and wastelands, get the idea for such an immense enterprise? How could men who perhaps had never been in a city or a public square think of setting out to do battle with the whole world? That they were fearful, timid men, the evangelist makes clear; he did not reject the fact or try to hide their weaknesses. Indeed he turned these into a proof of the truth. What did he say of them? That when Christ was arrested, the others fled, despite all the miracles they had seen, while he who was the leader of the others denied him!

How then account for the fact that these men, who in Christ’s lifetime did not stand up to the attacks by the Jews, set forth to do battle with the whole world once Christ was dead, if, as you claim, Christ did not rise and speak to them and rouse their courage?

Did they perhaps say to themselves: “What is this? He could not save himself but he will protect us? He did not help himself when he was alive, but now that he is dead he will extend a helping hand to us? In his lifetime he brought no nation under his banner, but by uttering his name we will win over the whole world?”

Would it not be wholly irrational even to think such thoughts, much less to act upon them?

It is evident, then, that if they had not seen him risen and had proof of his power, they would not have risked so much.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Almighty God, you gave to your apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and courageously to preach your word. Grant that we, with all your church, may proclaim to the ends of the earth, the good news of your love, revealed to us in 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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