Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

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* Wilfred Grenfell and Vida Dutton Scudder *


Eternal Light, shine into our hearts, Eternal Goodness, deliver us from evil, Eternal Power, be our support, Eternal Wisdom, scatter the darkness of our ignorance, Eternal Pity, have mercy upon us; that with all our heart and mind and soul and strength we may seek your face and be brought by your infinite mercy
to your holy presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

( Alcuin of York, 735-804 )


Swell the song, proclaim the story, let the joyful echo ring;
Jesus died the world to ransom, Jesus lives, our priest and king.

Wake! and hear the gospel trumpet, with a loud and earnest call,
sounding forth the joyful tidings; full salvation free to all.

Wake! and hear the gospel, telling what redeeming grace has done;
To a feast of love and mercy, Jesus welcomes everyone.

Wake! and hear the gospel mandate, fight against the host of sin;
join the ranks that now are marching, precious souls for Christ to win.

Wake! and hear the gospel promise, unto those that faithful prove,
"I will give them life eternal, they shall dwell with me in love."

Swell the song, proclaim the story, let the joyful echo ring;
Jesus died the world to ransom, Jesus lives, our priest and king.

( Fanny Crosby, 1820–1915 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Wilfred Grenfell, “paying the rent for our room on Earth”

Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, KCMG was a medical missionary who was sent to Newfoundland by The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen in 1892 to improve the plight of coastal inhabitants and fishermen. That mission began in earnest in 1893 when he recruited two nurses and two doctors for hospitals, at Indian Harbour, Newfoundland and later opened cottage hospitals along the coast of Labrador. The mission expanded greatly from its initial mandate to one of developing schools, an orphanage, cooperatives, industrial work projects, and social work. Although originally founded to serve the local fishermen, the mission developed to include the aboriginal peoples and settlers along the coasts of Labrador and the eastern side of the Great Northern Peninsula of northern Newfoundland. He died on this day in 1940.

Vida Dutton Scudder: seeking the “larger mosaic of talents” in the poor

Vida Dutton Scudder took a close and careful look at American life and culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and did not like what she saw. Too much poverty, too much relegation of immigrants to the margins of society, too much power held by white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants. She had a different vision for society, based on her deeply held Christian faith, and she spent her life as a teacher and social activist, prodding society to change. This led her to a passion for Christian Socialism, which hoped to restore to Christianity the socialistic themes revealed in the "Acts of the Apostles." She founded the Denison House in Boston, a seedbed for social reform. She took an active part in organising the Women’s Trade Union, gave public and loud support for the Textile Workers Strike in 1912.

She sought “the genius that was America” in the “larger mosaic of talents” of its many immigrant populations. She wrote that for her real Christian Socialism was physically and realistically embodied in the Jesus of scripture who stepped out of stained-glass church windows into the sordid streets of ghettoised hollowness and spiritual deprivation.

She died on this day in 1954

Scripture. In the twelfth chapter of "The First Letter to the Corinthians," at verses four to six, we read:

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.


We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for working people and those who work for their betterment, welfare and just reward.

... for deep-sea fisherman; for their safety at work.

... for immigrants and first peoples.

... for postal workers. DETAILS

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

... for those living in the path of Hurricane Michael. 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.


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 "Social Teachings of the Christian Tear" by Vida Dutton Scudder:

The slow formation of a Christian social mind is one of the greatest things happening in this great epoch; for it means that Christian people are regaining a passionate allegiance to the Master's purpose, the creation of the Kingdom of God on earth. They are eager and ready to follow this purpose, no matter how revolutionary be the changes in the political or economic order to which it may lead.

The enquiry as to what the purpose involves is no easy one; it calls for all the sanity, courage and intellectual acumen that the seeker can command.

"Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth," must be the cry of the soul, but to distinguish the Lord's words in the din of conflicting theories is a grave and difficult matter. The Christian turns to the Church of Christ for guidance, and he does not turn in vain. Only, he must realise that the authentic voice of the Church reaches him, not through any casual or temporary channel, but through the spiritual truths on which she concentrates the hearts of her children. To church folk, at least, the solemn recurrent rhythms of the sacred seasons reveal ever new depths of meaning in the mysteries of judgment and incarnation, of penitence, atonement and resurrection, in the thought of the Church as the tabernacle of the indwelling Spirit, and in that consummation of Catholic faith, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Every one of these mysteries carries a distinct social message; taken together, they are for the Christian the ultimate source of all true social theory and the guide to all right social action.

This is not a statement that will commend itself widely. Dogma is unfashionable, and the church year is saturated with dogma. Modern radicals, appalled by the failure of Christianity to control the behaviour of classes or nations, turn from its doctrines with contempt. If they are religiously disposed, they point to the Sermon on the Mount and summon us sharply away from the formulae of the Church to the words of the Master. Christian ethics, rather than the Christian creed, is the accepted authority for liberal social faith.

And the authority is good; for no one can read the words of Jesus honestly and not be shocked in turning to contemporary life. The salutary contrast has become a platitude; it even gets into the newspapers. We are not allowed to forget that our industrial system virtually says, cursed are the poor, cursed are the meek; that instead of turning the other cheek we hit back when we are struck, and far from overcoming evil with good, try to overcome it by more vigorous evil; that Christian manufacturers, instead of giving unto the last as unto the first, are likely to buy their labour as cheap as they can get it, and are often disposed to fight a living wage to the finish; that we do not fill the hungry with good things and assuredly do not send the rich away empty. The permanent contradiction between Christian morals and world-morals is a puzzle and a permanent disgrace.

But even while stressing this contradiction, social Christianity needs another line of attack. For the radicalism which feeds wholly on such contrasts is ill-nourished and, in disgust with the Church, is likely to slip away from Christ. We need to find in Christianity not only precept but dynamic, not only moral teaching but a revelation of God's actual dealings with men. Despite anti-dogmatic prejudice and anti-clerical revolt, despite an alignment which for the past hundred years or more has thrown the forces of progress largely on the non-Christian side, the real source of sound social philosophy must be sought, not only in the teaching of Christ but in his person and, for the Christian, Christ is interpreted aright in his mystical body.

In the flow of the church seasons, Christian experience is revealed as a living thing, based on historical facts; and dogma is shown to be, not a mass of abstract assumptions torn out of life, but a transcript of realities as encountered by the soul. By these realities, all social phenomena must be measured. Unless our rising faith in social equality, in industrial democracy, in internationalism, be rooted in Catholic truth, one of two things will happen: either that truth will be discredited, or the social creed professed by liberals the world over will suffer defeat. For the Christian radical, neither alternative is conceivable. He believes that the amazing harmony between Christian truth and the new order is waiting to be discovered; and he is quite sure that only from the roots of a Christian and Catholic civilisation could bloom the fair flower of a cooperative commonwealth, for whose unfolding we watch and pray.


Compassionate God, your son, Jesus Christ, taught that by ministering to the least of our brothers and sisters, we minister to him. Make us ever ready to respond to the needs of others, that, inspired by the life and work of Vida Scudder and Wilfred Grenfell, our actions may witness to the love of our saviour, Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


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