THURSDAY THE EIGHTEENTH OF OCTOBER, 2018
* Luke *
O God, who by your almighty word does enlighten every person who comes into the world, enlighten, we beseech you, the hearts of us, your servants, by the glory of your grace, that we may ever think such things as are worthy and pleasing to your Majesty and love you with a perfect heart, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
( Alcuin of York, 735-804 )
Saviour, who did healing give, still in power go before us;
you through death did bid men live, unto fuller life restore us;
strength from you the fainting found, deaf men heard, the blind went seeing;
at your touch was banished sickness and the leper felt new being.
You did work your deeds of old through the loving hands of others;
still your mercies manifold bless men by the hands of brothers;
angels still before your face go, sweet health to brothers bringing;
still, hearts glow to tell his praises with whose name the Church is ringing.
Loved physician, for his word lo, the gospel page burns brighter;
mission servant of the Lord, painter true, and perfect writer;
Saviour, of your bounty send such as Luke of gospel story,
friends to all in body’s prison till the sufferers see thy glory.
( Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, 1851–1920 )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Luke, the author of the third gospel, and the “Book of Acts,” has left us a marvellous testimony about the way God moved the earth into a new time, a time of the Spirit, a time for confidence in the midst of difficulties, a time for trust in God for salvation here and later in the “kingdom.” There is no record that he ever met Jesus personally, but he was clearly much inspired by hearing about him from those who had known him.
He was one of Paul’s fellow missionaries in the early spread of Christianity through the Roman world. He was fluent in the Greek language of his day; the text of his gospel is clearly the most polished Greek in the “New Testament.” So the church has come to believe that his purpose in writing was that Gentiles might learn about the Lord.
The infancy narratives about Jesus and John the Baptist show his careful attention to themes from the Hebrew “Bible.” He includes in his work six miracles and eighteen parables not recorded in the other gospels. The picture of Christ that he paints is of a grace-filled saviour, full of forgiveness and motivated by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the “Acts of the Apostles” he writes, not a history of the early church, but a salvation history, which shows how God’s Holy Spirit was active in the struggles of the apostles and their triumphs over persecution, in their preaching of the good news, in the conversion and baptism of other disciples, who would extend the Church into the future.
For myself, the story of the “good thief” epitomises the Jesus Luke wants us to know. And so I commend it to you as our scripture for today.
Scripture. At the twenty-third chapter of Luke, beginning at verse thirty-nine, we read:
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
… for peace in the world.
… for doctors, surgeons, artists, painters, notaries and all people, places and institutions which claim Luke as their patron.
… that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we may bring healing and good news to the world and to its people.
… for those in hospital recovering from surgery.
… for those killed or injured when an eighteen-year-old student set off a bomb in the canteen and then ran through the Kerch technical college in Crimea firing at fellow pupils before killing himself. DETAILS
… for those forced from their homes and struggling to survive due to a severe drought in northern and western Afghanistan. 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.
From a homily by Gregory the Great:
Our Lord and Saviour sometimes gives us instruction by words and sometimes by actions. His very deeds are our commands and whenever he acts silently he is teaching us what we should do. For example, he sends his disciples out to preach two by two, because the precept of charity is twofold – love of God and of one’s neighbour.
The Lord sends his disciples out to preach in twos in order to teach us silently that whoever fails in charity toward his neighbour should by no means take upon himself the office of preaching.
Rightly is it said that he sent them ahead of him into every city and place where he himself was to go. For the Lord follows after the preachers, because preaching goes ahead to prepare the way, and then when the words of exhortation have gone ahead and established truth in our minds, the Lord comes to live within us.
To those who preach Isaiah says, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God.”
And the psalmist tells them, “Make a way for him who rises above the sunset.”
The Lord rises above the sunset because from that very place where he slept in death, he rose again and manifested a greater glory. He rises above the sunset because in his resurrection he trampled underfoot the death which he endured. Therefore, we make a way for him who rises above the sunset when we preach his glory to you, so that when he himself follows after us, he may illumine you with his love.
Let us listen now to his words as he sends his preachers forth: “The harvest is great but the labourers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest.”
That the harvest is good but the labourers are few cannot be said without a heavy heart, for although there are many to hear the good news there are only a few to preach it. Indeed, see how full the world is of priests, but yet in God’s harvest a true labourer is rarely to be found; although we have accepted the priestly office we do not fulfil its demands.
Think over, my beloved brothers, think over his words: “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest.”
Pray for us so that we may be able to labour worthily on your behalf, that our tongue may not grow weary of exhortation, that after we have taken up the office of preaching our silence may not bring us condemnation from the just judge.
Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke to set forth in his gospel the love and healing power of your son: graciously continue in your church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 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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