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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE TWENTY-SEVENTH OF FEBRUARY, 2017
* GEORGE HERBERT *

OPENING PRAYER

Come, my way, my truth, my life:
such a way as gives us breath;
such a truth as ends all strife;
such a life as killeth death.

Come, my Light, my feast, my strength:
such a light as shows a feast;
such a feast as mends in length;
such a strength as makes his guest.

Come, my joy, my love, my heart:
such a joy as none can move;
such a love as none can part;
such a heart as joys in love.

( George Herbert )

CANTICLE

Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and king!
The heavens are not too high, his praise may thither fly,
the earth is not too low, his praises there may grow.
Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and king!

Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and king!
The church with psalms must shout, no door can keep them out;
but, above all, the heart must bear the longest part.
Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and king!

( George Herbert )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

George Herbert: faithful in small things and large

Today Saint Laika’s remembers George Herbert, priest and servant of Christ, a poet and one who shaped the life of the clergy in post-Reformation England.

George Herbert was born in 1593, and later attended Trinity College, Cambridge, and became the Public Orator of the University, responsible for giving speeches of welcome in Latin to famous visitors, and writing letters of thanks, also in Latin, to acknowledge gifts of books for the university library. This brought him to the attention of King James I, who had him in mind for a career in the king’s court. However, when the King died in 1625, he returned to his first desire, holy orders, and was ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1626.

Herbert was devoted to his parish ministry. He was a good visitor, regularly visiting his parishioners, bringing holy communion if they were ill, and food and clothing if they were in need. Instead of reading morning and evening prayer privately, as many priests did, he read them in church and invited his parishioners to attend. He would also ring the church bell at the hour of prayer, so that those unable to attend might at least pause in their day to offer their own prayer. He was an example of Christian compassion and charity, very edifying to his parishioners.

He set down his thoughts on the parish ministry in a book entitled “A Priest in the Temple: the Country Parson.” It was very influential in shaping the practice of ministry in post-Reformation England. He was also a poet and some of his poems have found their way into English hymnody.

Of his poems, Herbert said they were: “a picture of the many spiritual conflicts that have passed betwixt God and my soul, before I could submit mine to the will of Jesus my master; in whose service I have found perfect freedom.”

George Herbert died on this day in 1633.

Scripture: In the fourth chapter of "Philippians," at verses eight and nine we read:

"Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for parish priests.

... for poets and hymn writers.

... for the people of the Dominican Republic who celebrate their national day today.

... for abandoned wives and children. DETAILS

... for those affected by rain storms and mudslides in Chile, in particular those who are without water. DETAILS

... for those who are not able to work or who are unable to get work because of a physical or mental disability.

... for those suffering from hunger due to the famine in South Sudan. DETAILS

... for those injured when a pick-up truck was driven into a crowd at a Mardi Gras parade in the US city of New Orleans. DETAILS

... for people born intersex, in particular those who are mistreated because of ignorance and bigotry. DETAILS

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

"Prayer" ( 1 ) by George Herbert:

Prayer the church's banquet, angel's age,
God's breath in man returning to his birth,
the soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
the Christian plummet sounding heaven and earth,
engine against the Almighty, sinner's tower,
reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
the six-days world transposing in an hour,
a kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;
softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,
exalted manna, gladness of the best,
heaven in ordinary, man well drest,
the milky way, the bird of Paradise,
church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul's blood,
the land of spices; something understood.

CLOSING PRAYER

Our God and king, you called your servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honours to be a pastor of souls, a poet, and a priest in your temple: Give us grace, we pray, joyfully to perform the tasks you give us to do, knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for your sake; 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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Holy Communion For The Last Sunday After The Epiphany
The Sunday Next Before Lent
Transfiguration Sunday

Ours is a transformative faith. Ours is an evolutionary faith, a journeying faith, a blossoming faith. God has promised never again to destroy that which he has created. Instead our encouraging God works with the earthly and lovingly persuades all his creatures to become more glorious and perfect. God is changeless but the revelation of God through his son, Jesus Christ, has changed everything. In the sacrament of holy communion this truth is made clear to us as we experience the transfiguration of the commonplace into the very being of Jesus, our lord and saviour.

At Saint Laika's everyone is welcome to take communion and be in communion, with each other and with God. There are no exceptions. So, come, join us.

If you want to physically partake of communion you will require a small piece of bread and a small amount of drink (preferably made from grapes and containing alcohol).

CLICK HERE to access the podcast via iTunes.

To stream the service direct from this page without having to use the iTunes' facility, click on the arrow on the left of the player below.

Join in with us as we worship God by CLICKING HERE for the order of service, credits and details of the music featured. The words in bold type are the ones we say together.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE TWENTY-FOURTH OF FEBRUARY, 2017
* MATTHIAS *

OPENING PRAYER

Loving God, I thank you for choosing me to be your disciple and for the gift of your son, Jesus. Help me proclaim and bear witness to the gospel by word and by deed today and every day. Open my heart to the outcast, the forgotten, the lonely, the sick and the poor. Grant me the courage to think, to choose and to live as a Christian, joyfully obedient to you. Amen.

( Heidi Busse )

CANTICLE

The eternal gifts of Christ the King,
the apostles' glory, let us sing,
and all, with hearts of gladness, raise
due hymns of thankful love and praise.

For they the Church's princes are,
triumphant leaders in the war,
in heavenly courts a warrior band,
true lights to lighten every land.

Theirs is the steadfast faith of saints,
and hope that never yields nor faints;
and love of Christ in perfect glow
that lays the prince of this world low.

In them the Father's glory shone,
in them the will of God the Son,
in them exults the Holy Ghost,
through them rejoice the heavenly host.

To thee, Redeemer, now we cry,
that thou wouldst join to them on high
thy servants, who this grace implore,
for ever and for evermore.

( Ambrose of Milan )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Matthias: the thirteenth apostle

The twenty-fourth of February is the day Saint Laika’s remembers Matthias, the thirteenth apostle of Jesus Christ.

The story of Matthias is spun out in the first chapter of "Acts." Judas had died. And Peter had announced that someone was needed to take his place. So the disciples of Jesus proposed two candidates, Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias. Now today, I’m sure we would insist on a résumé, appoint a search committee, hear them preach, or otherwise do our best to convince ourselves of the merits of one over the other.

Scripture says, “they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was added to the eleven apostles.”

The timing is interesting. Jesus had already ascended into heaven, but the promised Holy Spirit had not yet come. It was obvious that having twelve apostles was important to the first believers. Perhaps Peter reasoned that Jesus had selected twelve, so eleven would not do. Even more important, after the Spirit had come, the office of the twelve apostles fell into oblivion. As the original apostles died, they were not replaced with other apostles, but with bishops. So Matthias is something of an anomaly.

After his election, it gets a bit murkier. Where did Matthias go? What did he do?

Some say he preached in the land known today as the nation of Georgia, where he was killed and buried. Others maintain that he lived and died in and around Jerusalem. The Orthodox believe he was condemned to death by Ananias the high priest and was beheaded.

Ancient legends suggest that the feast day of Matthias is the luckiest day of the year, a day so full of luck that, should you place a bet, or purchase a lottery ticket, the odds might be in your favour. But beware! Today is the original feast day of Matthias. In the past few decades many Christians changed his observance to the fourteenth of May. But there is no evidence that the Lord has authorised a transfer of good luck to that day.

Matthias reminds us all, that God has filled the church with many gifted people. At Saint Laika’s it matters less what rank you hold, or what office, but only that you feel encouraged to live each day well, and use your gifts, whichever they may be, to bring grace, not fear, into the world.

Scripture. In "Psalm Fifteen," verses one, two and four, we find these words:

O LORD, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill? Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart; who stand by their oath even to their hurt."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who are chosen, that they may be the right choice.

... for those who are not chosen, that they may find their true vocation and not be stopped from pursuing it.

... for alcoholics and those addicted to other substances, that they may find the strength to persevere in their fight to free themselves from their addiction.

... for carpenters and tailors and all under the patronage of Saint Matthias.

... for the people of Estonia as they celebrate their national day today.

... for those who are forced into marriage against their will and those who have been disowned for refusing to obey their parents in relationship matters.

... for animals that are the victims of human cruelty.

... for those suffering from anorexia or another eating disorder.

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Issues Facing Christians Today" by John Stott:

A note of caution needs to be added at this point. Leadership is a concept shared by the church and the world. We must not assume, however, that Christian and non-Christian understandings of it are identical. Nor should
we adopt models of secular management without first subjecting them to critical Christian scrutiny. Jesus introduced into the world an altogether new style of leadership. He expressed the difference between the old and the new in these terms:

"You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and their high officials exercise authority over them. Nor so with you. Instead whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
( Mark 10:42-45 )

Among the followers of Jesus, therefore, leadership is not a synonym for lordship. Our calling is to be servants not bosses, slaves not masters. True, a certain authority attaches to all leaders, and leadership would be impossible without it. The apostles were given authority by Jesus and exercised it in both teaching and disciplining the church. Even Christian pastors today, although they are not apostles and do not possess apostolic authority, are to be respected because of their position over the congregation (1 Thessalonians 5:12ff.), and even obeyed (Hebrews 13:17). Yet the emphasis of Jesus was not on the authority of a ruler leader but on the humility of a servant leader. The authority by which the Christian leader leads is not power but love, not force but example, not coercion but reasoned persuasion. Leaders have power, but power is safe only in the hands of those who humble themselves to serve.

What is the reason for Jesus stress on the leaders service?

Partly, no doubt, because the chief occupational hazard of leadership is pride. The Pharisaic model would not do in the new community which Jesus was building. The Pharisees loved deferential titles like father, teacher, rabbi, but this was both an offence against God to whom these titles properly belong, and disruptive of the Christian brotherhood (Matthew 23:1-12).

Jesus main reason for emphasising the servant role of the leader, however, was surely that the service of others is a tacit recognition of their value.

CLOSING PRAYER

O Almighty God, who in the place of Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve: grant that your Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always walk in the light of Christ and bring the good news of your love for us to every race and nation; through 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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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE TWENTY-THIRD OF FEBRUARY, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Loving God,
you are merciful and forgiving.
Grant that those who are suffering the hurts of the past
may experience your generous love.
Heal their memories, comfort them,
and send them all from here
renewed and hopeful;
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

PSALM FORTY-EIGHT ( abridged )

We have waited on your loving-kindness, O God.

Great is the Lord and highly to be praised,
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain is fair and lifted high,
the joy of all the earth.
On Mount Zion, the divine dwelling place,
stands the city of the great king.
In her palaces God has shown himself
to be a sure refuge.

We have waited on your loving-kindness, O God,
in the midst of your temple.
As with your name, O God,
so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
your right hand is full of justice.
Let Mount Zion rejoice and the daughters of Judah be glad,
because of your judgements, O Lord.

Walk about Zion and go round about her;
count all her towers;
consider well her bulwarks; pass through her citadels,
That you may tell those who come after
that such is our God for ever and ever.
It is he that shall be our guide for evermore.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

We have waited on your loving-kindness, O God.

Father of lights,
raise us with Christ to your eternal city,
that, with kings and nations,
we may wait in the midst of your temple
and see your glory for ever and ever. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Sophie and Hans Scholl, Cristoph Probst: the White Rose

On the twenty-second of February, 1943, Hans Scholl, his sister Sophie and their friend, Cristoph Probst, were executed by the Nazis. They were part of a group known as “The White Rose,” which was distributing anti-Nazi propaganda in and around Munich, Germany. They were observed by a custodian at the university passing out their literature and he turned them in to the Nazis on the eighteenth of February. Four days later they were tried and executed. Hans was twenty-four, Sophie was twenty-one, Cristoph was twenty-two.

Hans and Sophie Scholl lived with their family in the southern German city of Ulm when National Socialists took power in 1933. Both children were still in school at the time (Hans was born in 1918 and Sophie in 1921). Their father, Robert, earned enough to support his wife, Magdalena, and five children as a tax adviser. A liberal man, Scholl did not approve of Germany's new leader and he and his wife taught their children the importance of tolerance.

Nevertheless they enthusiastically joined the Hitler Youth. They believed that Adolf Hitler was leading Germany and the German people back to greatness. Gradually though, Hans and Sophie began realising that their father was right. They concluded that, in the name of freedom and the greater good of the German nation, Hitler and the Nazis were enslaving and destroying the German people. They became disenchanted with the Hitler Youth, and began drawing their friend Cristoph and others into their resistance.

One day in 1942, copies of a leaflet entitled “The White Rose” suddenly appeared at the University of Munich. The leaflet contained an anonymous essay that said that the Nazi system had slowly imprisoned the German people and was now destroying them. The Nazi regime had turned evil. It was time, the essay said, for Germans to rise up and resist the tyranny of their own government.

Ultimately, there were six leaflets published and distributed by Hans and Sophie Scholl and their friends, four under the title “The White Rose” and two under the title “Leaflets of the Resistance.”

Members of the White Rose had various religious backgrounds. Sophie and Hans Scholl were influenced by anti-Nazi Roman Catholics and Cristoph Probst was baptised by a Catholic priest on the night before he died. Even in the deepest darkness of Hitler’s regime, the White Rose testifies to the light that shines, which no darkness can overcome.

Quote: “I never knew dying is so easy. I die without any feeling of hatred. Never forget that life is nothing but a growing in love and a preparation for eternity.” (Chistoph Probst in a farewell letter to his sister)

Scripture. In the twelfth chapter of "Hebrews," at verses three and four, we read:

"Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for all who risk their lives, liberty and livelihoods standing up to oppression wherever it is found.

... that the rise of fascism in our world today may be reversed.

... for the people of Brunei and the people of Guyana who are celebrating their national day today.

... for transgender students in the U.S.A.

... for Bradley Lowery and all children living with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. DETAILS

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Fellowship with God" by William Temple:

But if God is truly described as love, then at once it is clear that no distinction can be drawn between his will and his substance. Love is itself a disposition and energy of the will, and if this is what God is, then his very substance is will. There is no longer any danger in the admission of this. The peril of Pantheism is vanished. For the essential evil of Pantheism is its degradation of the creator into a mere soul or even a mere logical ground of the universe whose character has to be constructed by a process of induction from the facts of experience in past and present. If God is just the unknowable, from whose being the universe has resulted, such Pantheism cannot be avoided; and to regard the creation as a necessary act on the part of God will lead to this, unless God is truly believed to be love and all necessary consequences of his being are therefore regarded as expressions of love.

But God is Love. And if we say that the universe is necessary to God, as I for one should certainly say, we mean that because he is love he needs it as the object of his love and not that he needs it for the satisfaction of any self-regarding desire nor that it is an automatic emanation. He made all things, and by his will they came to be. All things are the creation of the will of God, the will of love. Because he is love, he made them and in this sense they are the necessary product of the divine nature.

Love must declare itself. From all eternity it is self -revealing.

"The Word was in the beginning with God."

Creation is that self-revelation which is implicit in the very nature of God. What we mean by creation may not exhaust this and the universe as we know it may be only a fraction of what flows from the love of God. But God's revelation of himself it is, a revelation which his nature, being love, inevitably gives.

CLOSING PRAYER

Holy and righteous God, in every age you have called men and women to contend fearlessly against evil, even at the cost of their own lives. Help us, like your servants Sophie and Hans Scholl, and Cristoph Probst, to make no peace with oppression, and to let the light of our faith shine in all we say and do; through Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE TWENTY-SECOND OF FEBRUARY, 2017
* ERIC LIDDELL *

OPENING PRAYER

Ever-faithful God,
we long to be faithful givers,
modelling ourselves on you
who have given everything to us.
May your Spirit of abundance,
which gives more than we ask or imagine,
grace these gifts for your kingdom
in Jesus’ name, Amen.

( Carol Penner )

PSALM FORTY-SEVEN ( abridged )

O sing praises to God, sing praises.

Clap your hands together, all you peoples;
O sing to God with shouts of joy.
For the Lord Most High is to be feared;
he is the great king over all the earth.

God has gone up with a merry noise,
the Lord with the sound of the trumpet.

O sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the king of all the earth;
sing praises with all your skill.

God reigns over the nations;
God has taken his seat upon his holy throne.
For the powers of the earth belong to God
and he is very highly exalted.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

O sing praises to God, sing praises.

As Christ was raised by your glory, O Father,
so may we be raised to new life
and rejoice to be called your children,
both now and for ever. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Eric Liddell: the Flying Scotsman wins gold in China

Today Saint Laika’s is remembering Eric Henry Liddell, a 1924 Olympic gold medal champion made famous by the film “Chariots of Fire.” His everlasting gold was his life of service to Christ and the people of China.

Liddell was born in Tianjin, China in 1902. His parents were Scottish missionaries working with the London Missionary Society. We might expect a child of missionaries to become equally devoted to the faith his parents laboured to share, but at age six, he was sent, along with his older brother, to Eltham College, Blackheath, a boarding school for the children of missionaries. So it was also the faith of the staff and teachers there which also contributed to his deep and devout faith. Liddell remained there until he enrolled in Edinburgh University. Liddell excelled in athletics throughout his educational career.

His faith was put to the test in the 1924 Olympics when the one hundred metre dash, the run he had trained for, was to be held on a Sunday. Liddell withdrew from the competition, for he had made a firm commitment to take the Sunday Sabbath as a strict act of submission to God. Instead he ran in the four hundred metre race, and surprised himself and the world by capturing the gold medal.

Following the Olympics, he returned to China and became a missionary, following in his parents’ footsteps, first in Tianjin and later in Xiaozhang. He was a teacher at an Anglo-Chinese College. He was ordained in 1932 and in 1932 married Florence Mackenzie, herself a daughter of Canadian missionaries.

Because of ongoing conflict between China and Japan in the 1930’s, Liddell and his family endured significant hardships. In 1941, after the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbour, the British government advised expatriates to leave the country. Florence Liddell took the children and fled to Canada.

Ignoring personal danger, Liddell accepted a new position at a rural mission station in Shaochang, which gave service to the poor. Then the Chinese and the Japanese were at war. When the fighting reached Shaochang the Japanese took over the mission station. In 1943, Liddell was sent to an internment camp with other missionaries. He died there of a brain tumour on the twenty-first of February 1945, five months before liberation.

Scripture. In the "Second Letter of Peter," chapter one, at verses three and four, we read:

"His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for missionaries, in particular those who are in danger.

... for athletes.

... for the people of Saint Lucia who are celebrating their national day today.

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Fellowship with God" by William Temple:

We can never re-make the world by the world's methods. So long as men or nations are mainly concerned with their share of this world's goods there will be strife and misery and hatred. We are animals, and from our animal ancestry we inherit a natural preoccupation with the physical side of things. But we are also spirits, made in the image of God, and from our spiritual endowment we receive the capacity for another fashion of life. Progress is the increasing control of the spiritual over the animal in man. In one sense it is " against nature." The Incarnation was "against nature"; the Resurrection was "against nature." Christ came to call men to a fashion of life which is "against nature" if by nature we mean what has always been. And in that sense of the word we have to choose between "nature" and Christ. But he has achieved what we could not achieve, and in him we see what we are to become. Our real life is something we have never yet really tested; it is hid with Christ in God.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, we rejoice in remembering your athlete and missionary, Eric Liddell, to whom you gave courage and resolution in contest and in captivity; and we pray that we also may run with endurance the race set before us and persevere in patient witness, until we wear that crown of victory won for us by Jesus our saviour; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, 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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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE TWENTY-FIRST OF FEBRUARY, 2017
* JOHN HENRY NEWMAN *

OPENING PRAYER

May our Lord God support us all the day long till the shades lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then in his mercy may he give us a safe lodging and a holy rest and peace at the last. Amen.

( John Henry Newman )

CANTICLE

Praise to the Holiest in the height,
and in the depth be praise;
in all his words most wonderful,
most sure in all his ways!

O loving wisdom of our God!
When all was sin and shame,
a second Adam to the fight
and to the rescue came.

O wisest love! that flesh and blood,
which did in Adam fail,
should strive afresh against the foe,
should strive, and should prevail;

and that the highest gift of grace
should flesh and blood refine:
God's presence and his very self,
and essence all-divine.

O generous love! that he who smote
in man for ma the foe,
the double agony in Man
for man should undergo.

And in the garden secretly,
and on the cross on high,
should teach his brethren, and inspire
to suffer and to die.

Praise to the Holiest in the height,
and in the depth be praise;
in all his words most wonderful,
most sure in all his ways!

( John Henry Newman )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

John Henry Newman: crossing the Tiber with help from old friends

Today Saint Laika’s remembers one of the most enigmatic, influential figures in nineteenth century church history. John Henry Cardinal Newman was born in London in 1801. He had a conventional upbringing in an ordinary Church of England home, where the emphasis was on the Bible rather than dogmas or sacraments. In March 1816 his father, a banker, suffered a financial disaster when his bank failed. Newman, alone at school and in shock at the sudden reversal of his family’s fortunes, fell ill, and, in the midst of the illness had a conversion experience to evangelical Calvinism.

In due course he was ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1825. In 1827 he suffered a nervous breakdown brought on by overwork, his family’s continuing financial distress, and then in 1828 compounded by the sudden death of his sister, Mary. During his “long vacation” as he later called it, he began to read the Church Fathers, those shapers of Christian thought in the early centuries of the Christian movement. As he continued his reading, his ideas began to shift from evangelicalism to a more Anglo-Catholic perspective.

Although he still struggled with the Roman Catholicism of his day, he began to see that the Reformation standard of “Sola Scriptura” (Bible alone) was not the standard of the early church. He began to see both the need for and importance of tradition in the life of the church. He became the man in the middle. And he used his intellect to try to move the Church of England’s self-understanding into a more Catholic direction.

He and others formed what came to be called “the Oxford Movement,” which remained faithful to the Church of England, while presenting the case for turning it in a more Catholic direction. He himself wrote a series of tracts to make the case. All the while Newman was being drawn more and more to the Roman Catholic Church. In 1845 he renounced his Anglican orders and was received into the Roman Church. He travelled to Rome, was ordained into the Roman Catholic priesthood, became a member of the Congregation of the Oratory. He then returned to England and established a house of the Oratory in Maryvale near Birmingham, where he continued to write and live until his death in 1890. Though not a bishop, Pope Leo XIII, made him a cardinal in 1877.

Newman has continued to have a tremendous influence on the Christian Church ever since. For the Roman Catholic Church in Britain, his conversion secured great prestige and the dissipation of many prejudices. Within it, his influence was mainly in the direction of a broader spirit and of a recognition of the important part played by development both in doctrine and in church government.

Scripture. In the "Song of Solomon," chapter three, verses one and two, we read:

"Upon my bed at night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer.

"‘I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares. I will seek him whom my soul loves.’

"I sought him, but found him not."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that the different denominations within the Christian Church may come to understand and respect each other and that there may be unity between them as they walk their different paths.

... for Anglo-Catholics.

... for albinos who are persecuted and in danger of being killed for their body parts. DETAILS

... for the people of South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen who are facing famine and for the success of those working to minimise the suffering.

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From the sermon by Benedict XVI preached at the beatification of John Henry Newman:

Cardinal Newman’s motto, "Cor ad cor loquitur," or “Heart speaks unto heart”, gives us an insight into his understanding of the Christian life as a call to holiness, experienced as the profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate communion with the heart of God. He reminds us that faithfulness to prayer gradually transforms us into the divine likeness.

As he wrote in one of his many fine sermons, “a habit of prayer, the practice of turning to God and the unseen world in every season, in every place, in every emergency (prayer, I say) has what may be called a natural effect in spiritualising and elevating the soul. A man is no longer what he was before; gradually he has imbibed a new set of ideas, and become imbued with fresh principles.”

Today’s Gospel tells us that no one can be the servant of two masters and Blessed John Henry’s teaching on prayer explains how the faithful Christian is definitively taken into the service of the one true master, who alone has a claim to our unconditional devotion. Newman helps us to understand what this means for our daily lives: he tells us that our divine master has assigned a specific task to each one of us, a “definite service”, committed uniquely to every single person:

“I have my mission”, he wrote, “I am a link in a chain, a bond of connexion between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do his work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place. if I do but keep his commandments and serve him in my calling”

CLOSING PRAYER

God of all wisdom, we thank you for John Henry Newman, whose eloquence bore witness that your church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic, and who made his own life a pilgrimage towards your truth. Grant that, inspired by his words and example, we may ever follow where your son, Jesus Christ leads; who lives and reigns with you and 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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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE TWENTIETH OF FEBRUARY, 2017
* FREDERICK DOUGLASS *

OPENING PRAYER

Today and every day, Lord, we get a glimpse of heaven touching earth. It comes in the glory of dawn's kiss, it thrives in the energy of life's landscape, it grasps each glimpse of humanity within us. May we learn to feel your presence graze our dreams and guide our visions that we might know you are our God. Amen.

PSALM FORTY-SIX ( abridged )

The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble;
therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved,
and though the mountains tremble in the heart of the sea;
though the waters rage and swell,
and though the mountains quake at the towering seas.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place of the dwelling of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her;
therefore shall she not be removed;
God shall help her at the break of day.

Come and behold the works of the Lord,
what destruction he has wrought upon the earth.
He makes wars to cease in all the world;
he shatters the bow and snaps the spear
and burns the chariots in the fire.

"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations;
I will be exalted in the earth."

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

God of Jacob, when the earth shakes and the nations are in uproar, speak, and let the storm be still; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Frederick Douglass: “ forever unfit to be a slave ”

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Frederick Douglass, American abolitionist and servant of Christ. Douglass was born into slavery in Talbot County, Maryland in 1818. His mother died when he was a little boy and at age eight he was sold to the Auld Family. Mrs. Auld began to teach Frederick to read, as she was teaching her own son, but her husband put a stop to it, claiming “it would forever unfit him to be a slave.” Nevertheless Frederick continued to learn to read from other white children, and by reading the writing of those for whom he worked. Douglass was a ravenous reader. By reading he became convinced of the evil of slavery, and all his life was an advocate for equal education for all children.

At the age of fourteen he experienced a conversion to Christ while attending the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He loved the rich history of spiritual song.

Later he remarked “Those songs still follow me, to deepen my hatred of slavery, and quicken my sympathies for my brethren in bonds.”

At age twenty he escaped from his owners and headed north to Massachusetts. He joined a church and began to be associated with the abolitionist movement. He had formidable oratorical skills to match his passion for reading, and soon he was becoming well-known as a speaker against slavery. Douglass produced some regular abolitionist newspapers, including "The North Star." In 1845 he published an autobiography, which was well-read and helped to expose the brutalities of slavery to new audiences.

Legally, however, he was still considered a runaway slave. The more renowned he became, the more he had to worry about recapture. In 1845 he went to England on a speaking tour. His friends in America raised enough money to buy out his master’s legal claim to him so that he could return to the United States in safety.

In 1848, Douglass attended the first women's rights convention, the Seneca Falls Convention, as the only African American. Elizabeth Cady Stanton asked the assembly to pass a resolution asking for women's suffrage. Many of those present opposed the idea, but Douglass stood and spoke eloquently in favour; he said that he could not accept the right to vote himself as a black man if woman could not also claim that right. His powerful words rang true with enough attendees that the resolution passed.

By the time of the Civil War, Douglass was one of the most famous black men in the country. He died on this day in 1895.

Scripture. In the second chapter of "Hebrews," at verses ten and eleven we read:

"It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who campaign for the freedom and equality of all people.

... for democracy in all nations and universal suffrage.

... for the people of eastern Ukraine and that the ceasefire in their region will hold and that Russia will deliver on its promise to remove heavy weapons from the front line. DETAILS

... for those facing famine and starvation in South Sudan. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured in a car bomb blast in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. DETAILS

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From ""The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro"" by Frederick Douglass:

Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that "Declaration of Independence," extended to us and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary. Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me.

Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, "may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!"

To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this fourth of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery, the great sin and shame of America.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, we bless you for the witness of Frederick Douglass, whose impassioned and reasonable speech moved the hearts of a president and a people to a deeper obedience to Christ. Strengthen us also to be outspoken on behalf of all victims of injustice; through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

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Holy Communion For The Seventh Sunday After The Epiphany
The Second Sunday Before Lent

Saint Paul assures us that, because we are now one with Christ, all space and all time is ours as all is from God and Christ is one with God and the Holy Spirit. This universal oneness that we will enjoy in its fullness when our human kingdoms become the Kingdom of God becomes real to us in the present when we take communion together in the presence of our saviour to whom we lovingly belong. At Saint Laika's everyone is welcome to take communion and be in communion, with each other and with God. There are no exceptions. So, come, join us. If you want to physically partake of communion you will require a small piece of bread and a small amount of drink (preferably made from grapes and containing alcohol).

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE SEVENTEENTH OF FEBRUARY, 2017
* JANANI LUWUM *

OPENING PRAYER

We give you thanks, O God,
that your nature is love.
Whenever we hurt you,
you forgive us;
whenever we try to push you away,
you reach out to draw us closer;
whenever we forget you,
you remain by our side in readiness;
for your capacity to love
is beyond measure.

Enfold us in your love
that we might find the strength
to love others
as you love us. Amen.

PSALM FORTY-FIVE ( abridged )

Behold our defender, O God,
and look upon the face of your anointed.

My heart is astir with gracious words;
as I make my song for the king,
my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

You are the fairest of men;
full of grace are your lips,
for God has blest you for ever.
Ride on and prosper in the cause of truth
and for the sake of humility and righteousness.

Your throne is God's throne, for ever;
the sceptre of your kingdom is the sceptre of righteousness.
You love righteousness and hate iniquity;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness above your fellows.

All your garments are fragrant with myrrh, aloes and cassia;
from ivory palaces the music of strings makes you glad.
Kings' daughters are among your honourable women;
at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

Hear, O daughter; consider and incline your ear;
forget your own people and your father's house.
So shall the king have pleasure in your beauty;
he is your lord, so do him honour.

"I will make your name to be remembered
through all generations;
therefore shall the peoples
praise you for ever and ever."

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Behold our defender, O God,
and look upon the face of your anointed.

Lord our God,
bring your bride, your holy Church,
with joy to the marriage feast of heaven,
and unite us with your anointed Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Janani Luwum, martyr: Idi Amin’s Becket

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Archbishop Janani Luwum, of Uganda, martyred during the brutal reign of Idi Amin.

In 1971, General Idi Amin, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces overthrew the legitimate government of Uganda. Almost immediately, he began a policy of repression, arresting anyone suspected of not supporting him. Hundreds of soldiers from the Lango and Acholi tribes were shot down in their barracks. Amin ordered the expulsion of the Asian population of Uganda, about fifty-five thousand persons, mostly small shopkeepers from India and Pakistan. Over the next few years, many Christians were killed for various offences. A preacher who read over the radio a psalm which mentioned Israel was shot for this in 1972.

In 1974 Janani Luwum became Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire. Idi Amin’s maniacal purges of all whom he considered dissenters continued and tensions were ratcheted higher. In early February 1977 the Archbishop called on President Amin to deliver a note of protest, signed by nearly all the bishops of Uganda, against the policies of arbitrary killings and the unexplained disappearances of many persons. Amin accused the Archbishop of treason, and had the Archbishop and two cabinet members (both committed Christians) arrested and held for military trial.

The trial began and ended on the sixteenth of February 16th, 1977. The Archbishop was not allowed to speak. Afterwards, he and the two cabinet ministers were taken to a Land Rover, driven off, and never seen alive again. The government put out a story that the Land Rover had crashed and the Archbishop had been killed. They placed his body in a sealed coffin and sent it to his home village for burial. Villagers broke open the coffin and saw Luwum’s bullet-ridden body.

Amin fled Uganda in 1979 for Libya and Saudi Arabia where he lived out his life in exile until his death in 2003.

Scripture: In the twelfth chapter of "John" at verse twenty-four, we read:

"Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the people of Uganda.

... for the people of lands under military rule or oppressed by dictators.

... for the people of Libya celebrating their national day today, that peace may come to their troubled land.

... for those killed or injured when an ISIS bomber blew himself up in the shrine of Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in the town of Sehwan in Sindh province, Pakistan. DETAILS

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Fellowship with God" by William Temple:

To all who are sincere with themselves there come dry, dead periods, when for our feelings at any rate our religion seems utterly empty. We say our prayers, but they seem to mean nothing. Sometimes those periods last for months together, sometimes they pass after a day or two. There is a rhythm in the life of the soul at least in its growth, which lasts most, if not all, of our lives which is like the rhythm of the seasons. There is a winter to be passed through before the spring and summer return. No doubt this is a sign of immaturity, and a few great souls pass beyond it before they die; but those who do so often tell us, as Saint John of the Cross tells us, that before the open vision of God is reached we have to pass through " the Dark Night of the Soul." What they experience in vivid intensity is what comes to all of us according to our spiritual measure.

So when the dry times come, when winter seems to have set in, do not be dismayed or rebellious. It is a normal feature of growth. But take great care of two things. Be careful first that the sense of alienation from God is not caused and sustained by some continued course of wrongdoing or wrong thinking. To defy conscience even in small ways is a sure method of sterilising the spiritual life. But be careful also to keep in mind the real nature of your spiritual hunger. What you need is God; not some gift of God in joyous confidence, or in assurance that all is well with your friends in the other world, nor any other of his priceless boons. What you need is God; not spheres of service nor hopes of world reconstruction, nor certainty of heaven after death. What you need is God himself the eternal, almighty and all-loving father. Having God you will have also all the other things that our souls rightly crave, but which apart from him can never satisfy.

"Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks, so longeth my soul after thee, God. My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God."

"Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us."

CLOSING PRAYER

O God, whose son, the good shepherd, laid down his life for the sheep: we give you thanks for your faithful shepherd, Janani Luwum, who after his saviour’s example gave up his life for the people of Uganda. Grant us to be so inspired by his witness that we make no peace with oppression, but live as those who are sealed with the cross of Christ, who died and rose again, and now 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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I Hate Plumbers

Our water tank in the loft needs replacing. I am having a hell of a job finding a plumber to do it. I leave messages on their answerphones (they don't ever answer) and they just don't call back. Today I called one company (Area Maintenance Plumbers & Electricians) who were recommended on the Checkatrade website. Somebody actually answered. I told them what I wanted and asked them to give me a quote for the work. I was told they would charge me £35.00 for the estimate. I asked why and the man replied that sometimes they gave a quote and then they did not get the job. D'oh!

On this basis of doing business it would cost me £70.00 to get just two estimates (and how else would I know if I was being ripped off?) and I doubt that the work will end up costing more than a couple of hundred pounds or so.

I am having real problems with the modern world.

Perhaps I should rob a bank. If I get away with it I could buy an island with the money and hide away on it. If I fail I could hide in my prison cell and let the nice prison authorities sort out any building maintenance that needs doing.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE SIXTEENTH OF FEBRUARY, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Searching God:
to you
no one is lost,
no one is left behind,
no one is the price to be paid for the greater good.
Give us the same restless desire,
the same fierce joy,
which finds grace in every child of earth
and makes a community open to all.
We ask this in the name of Jesus,
who loved the world and did not count the cost. Amen.

PSALM FORTY-FOUR ( abridged )

Rise up, O Lord, to help us.

My confusion is daily before me,
and shame has covered my face,
at the taunts of the slanderer and reviler,
at the sight of the enemy and avenger.

All this has come upon us,
though we have not forgotten you
and have not played false to your covenant.
Our hearts have not turned back,
nor our steps gone out of your way,
yet you have crushed us in the haunt of jackals,
and covered us with the shadow of death.

If we have forgotten the name of our God,
or stretched out our hands to any strange god,
will not God search it out?
For he knows the secrets of the heart.
But for your sake are we killed all the day long,
and are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

Rise up! Why sleep, O Lord?
Awake, and do not reject us for ever.

Why do you hide your face
and forget our grief and oppression?
Our soul is bowed down to the dust;
our belly cleaves to the earth.

Rise up, O Lord, to help us
and redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Rise up, O Lord, to help us.

In the darkness of unknowing,
when your love seems absent,
draw near to us, O God,
in Christ forsaken,
in Christ risen,
our Redeemer and our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Camilo Torres: priest and revolutionary

When the Church is complicit with the government in the subjugation of the poor, what is a priest to do? Such was the conundrum faced by Camilo Torres.

Torres was born in 1929. His parents were wealthy people in the South American nation of Colombia. He was given a good education, became fluent in four languages, and he felt called to become a Roman Catholic priest. He was sent to Europe to study sociology, and upon his return to Colombia, began to teach at the National University of Colombia, where he became involved in trying to organise young people to become involved with the poor, trying to get the church to recognise its social obligations to the poor, and trying to get the government to begin programmes that would really help the poor. His passion for the poor brought him popularity among the students, but the Church was not interested in taking a stand against the government, and so his bishop refused to support him in the face of increasing governmental criticism of his views. Increasingly he turned to the Marxists. He felt that they offered the best hope for the poor. He tried to reconcile his Catholic faith with their revolutionary ideals.

He wrote: “Analysing Colombian society I have come to realise that the country needs a revolution in order to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked and provide well-being for the majority of our people. I believe that the revolutionary struggle is a Christian struggle, and a priestly one. Indeed, in the present specific conditions of Colombia, participation in that struggle is the only way people can show love for their neighbours as they should.”

He resigned his priesthood and joined the National Liberation Army. He trained with them. Torres was only with the guerrillas about three months. He had trained with them, was given a pistol, and was told that he had to earn the right to carry a rifle. He insisted on going on a planned ambush. As one of the soldiers who were the victims of the ambush was brought down, Torres left his cover to retrieve the coveted rifle of the dead soldier. As he reached down to pick it up, he was shot in the shoulder; and as he tried to crawl away he was mortally shot again. Two of his comrades tried to rescue him and both of them were also shot down. Camilo Torres was killed on his first combat mission with the guerillas. It was the fifteenth ofFebruary, 1966.

Quote: “I am a revolutionary as a Colombian, as a sociologist, as a Christian, and as a priest. As a Colombian, because I cannot be a stranger to my people’s battles. As a Sociologist, because, thanks to the scientific knowledge which I have of reality, I have arrived at the realisations that technical and effective solutions will not be obtained without a revolution. As a Christian, because the essence of Christianity is love of neighbour and only through the revolution can the welfare of the majority be obtained. As a Priest, because the surrender of oneself to one’s neighbour, which the revolution demands, is a requisite of fraternal charity; it is indispensable for offering the sacrifice of the Mass, which is not an individual offering, but that of the entire people of God through the intercession of Christ.”

Scripture. In "Psalm Thirty-Four," verses five to seven we read:

"I sought the Lord and he answered me; from all my terrors he set me free. Look towards him and be radiant; let your faces not be abashed. This poor man called, the Lord heard him and rescued him from all his distress."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for a Church that stands up for the poor, the oppressed, the discriminated against rather than a Church that places its own security and privileges before all else.

... for the people of Lithuania who are celebrating their national day today.

... for the people of Christchurch, New Zealand, especially those who have evacuated their homes because of encroaching wildfires.

... for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after experiencing the horror of war.

... for those awaiting the results of medical tests.

... for children who are being sexually exploited.

... for Christians who are gay.

... for the frail and elderly.

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Fellowship with God" by William Temple:

We are called to be a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a kingdom and priests unto our God; we are required not merely to fulfil the obligations of average good citizenship, but to let men see in our characters the result of trusting God. Especially are we called to the offering of the true sacrifice.

All down the ages man has felt an instinct that prompted him to offer sacrifices to his God. It was a crude and horrible ritual in the early days. But it was very early realised that the spiritual value of it lay in the dedication of life which it symbolised, and the fellowship with God resulting from that dedication. There the worshipper brought his victim; the victim was slain; the blood, representing life, was offered by the priest. But the law had only a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of those things. It "was impossible that the dedicated life of bulls and goats should take away sins"; but "Christ has entered into the holy place," the presence and fellowship of the eternal God," not through the dedicated life of goats and calves, but through his own dedicated life, having obtained eternal redemption." In place of the "sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin" is set the reality of which these are
only the symbols. "Lo, I am come to do thy will, God."

In the one true sacrifice, Christ is both priest and victim. But that is only to say that the one true sacrifice is self-sacrifice. It is exactly this truth which our Lord has enshrined in the sacrifice that he has bidden us perpetually to offer.

CLOSING PRAYER

Holy God, grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression. Help us, like your servant Camilo Torres, to work for justice for the poor, to the glory of your holy name; through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE FIFTEENTH OF FEBRUARY, 2017
* THOMAS BRAY *

OPENING PRAYER

Give me, O Lord, I pray thee,
firm faith, unwavering hope
perfect charity.
Pour into my heart
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and spiritual strength,
the spirit of knowledge and true godliness
and the spirit of thy holy fear.

Light eternal, shine in my heart.
Power eternal, deliver me from evil.
Wisdom eternal, scatter the darkness of my ignorance.
Might eternal, pity me.

Grant that I may ever seek thy face
with all my heart and soul and strength;
and, in thine infinite mercy,
bring me at last to thy holy presence
where I shall behold thy glory
and possess thy promised joys. Amen.

( Alcuin of York )

PSALM FORTY-THREE

Give judgement for me, O God,
and defend my cause against an ungodly people;
deliver me from the deceitful and the wicked.
For you are the God of my refuge;
why have you cast me from you,
and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresses me?

O send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me,
and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling,
that I may go to the altar of God,
to the God of my joy and gladness;
and on the lyre I will give thanks to you, O God my God.

Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul,
and why are you so disquieted within me?

O put your trust in God;
for I will yet give him thanks,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Come, creator Spirit, light and truth;
bring us to the altar of life
and renew our joy and gladness
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Thomas Bray:
propagator and promoter

Little did Henry Compton, Bishop of London, know what he was starting when, in 1696, he asked parish priest Thomas Bray, to be his representative in the American colony of Maryland, to inspect the conditions and needs of the Anglican Church in that Roman Catholic colony.

Shortly before sailing to Maryland in 1699, Bray gathered with a few friends to form a society to ensure that the many good works with which he was involved could continue in his absence. That society would be known in history as SPCK, The Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge. The society is still in existence today, and were you to visit their website you would see this banner: "Communicating the Christian Faith since 1698."

Bray stayed in Maryland for several months. He organised seventeen church libraries with the aim of promoting a knowledge of the Christian faith as understood and expressed by the Church of England. Bray imagined a library for every church congregation and by his death, he had established thirty-nine lending libraries and school in Maryland. He had secured the right for the Church of England to exist in Roman Catholic Maryland and was called home in 1700 to defend his work before Parliament, which had been receiving complaints against Bray’s work by local Maryland Quakers.

In 1701, back in England he established the SPG, Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, which also continues in existence to this day: a missionary society concerned with carrying on the missionary work of the church. They were back in North America in 1703 and by the time of the American Revolution in 1776 they had employed over three hundred missionaries focused on bringing the gospel to African slaves, and native Americans.

Over the centuries SPCK and SPG have done a tremendous lot of good in supporting the gospel and the work of the Church in spreading it.

Thomas Bray remained in England. From 1706 until his death, on the fifteenth of February 15, he served as priest at Saint Boltolph’s Church, in London.

Scripture: In the second chapter of "Philippians," verses three to five we read:

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the work of the SPCK and the SPG.

... for the people of Serbia as they celebrate their national day.

... for victims of hate crimes.

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "An Essay Towards Promoting All Necessary and Useful Knowledge" by Thomas Bray:

Knowledge is the fairest ornament of the Soul of Man ; and whosoever is endowed therewith, let it be of any kind, which is not mischievous, fails not of esteem amongst all sorts of persons. This is certain, that knowledge does more distinguish the possessors of it, than titles, riches, or great places: for though these men may command the cap and the knee, and extort some outward kind of reverence from inferiors; yet the man of understanding is he, who is inwardly and truly respected, whilst the gaudy, but empty beau, is no other than the scorn and derision of all who converse with him. But especially a man is then esteemed for his knowledge, if his understanding is eminent in things laudable, and of great weight and moment, for whatever is greatly useful is highly valuable.

CLOSING PRAYER

O God, you opened the eyes of your servant Thomas Bray to see the needs of the Church in the New World, and led him to found societies to meet those needs: Make the Church diligent at all times to propagate the gospel among those who have not received it, and to promote the spread of Christian knowledge; through Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE FOURTEENTH OF FEBRUARY, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

God, let this be a fruitful day!
Open our eyes to beauty,
tune our ears to harmony,
the fragrance of your love
permeating every moment,
the touch of your hand
guiding all we do,
tasting the delight of your presence
in the sweet ripeness of joy. Amen.

( Carol Penner )

PSALM FORTY-TWO

As the deer longs for the water brooks,
so longs my soul for you, O God.
My soul is athirst for God, even for the living God;
when shall I come before the presence of God?
My tears have been my bread day and night,
while all day long they say to me,
"Where is now your God?"

Now when I think on these things, I pour out my soul:
how I went with the multitude
and led the procession to the house of God,
with the voice of praise and thanksgiving,
among those who kept holy day.

Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul,
and why are you so disquieted within me?
O put your trust in God;
for I will yet give him thanks,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

My soul is heavy within me;
therefore I will remember you from the land of Jordan,
and from Hermon and the hill of Mizar.
Deep calls to deep in the thunder of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and waves have gone over me.

The Lord will grant his loving-kindness in the daytime;
through the night his song will be with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my rock,
"Why have you forgotten me?
and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresses me?"

As they crush my bones, my enemies mock me;
while all day long they say to me,
"Where is now your God?"

Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul?
and why are you so disquieted within me?

O put your trust in God;
for I will yet give him thanks,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Come, creator Spirit, source of life;
sustain us when our hearts are heavy
and our wells have run dry,
for you are the Father's gift,
with him who is our living water,
Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Charles Freer Andrews: “Deenabandhu”

Charles Freer Andrews was an English priest, educator and Indian freedom fighter who is best known as a long time friend and co-worker with Mohandas Gandhi. Taking the initials of Freer’s name CFA, Gandhi used to call him “Christ’s Faithful Apostle.”

It may be hard to understand what prompted a young Anglican priest to decide to live his life among people of a differing culture, and to immerse himself in their struggles for self-government and independence from the very country to which he owed his allegiance. Perhaps we can say it was his love for Christ and his hunger and thirst for justice.

In 1904 he joined the Cambridge Brotherhood in Delhi and arrived there to teach philosophy at Saint Stephen's College, where he famously grew close to many of his Indian colleagues and students.

Increasingly dismayed by the racist behaviour and treatment of Indians by British officials and civilians, he supported Indian political aspirations, and soon became involved in the activities of the Indian National Congress. He met Mohandas Gandhi in South Africa, where he had gone to help the many Indian workers in their fight for justice. He was the one who persuaded Gandhi to return to India.

Freer put himself at the service of India, especially India’s poor, traveling, lecturing, writing, and lobbying on their behalf wherever they happened to be as a result of indentured labour policies, most notably in Fiji and in South Africa. He was given the name “Deenabandhu” ( “Friend of the Poor” ).

As tensions heated up in India’s quest for independence from Britain, Gandhi advised him that it would be better to leave India’s struggle to Indians. So from 1935 onwards, Andrews began to spend more time back in Britain, teaching young people all over the country about Christ’s call to radical discipleship.

Charles Andrew Freer, born on this day in 1871, died while in Calcutta in 1940, and he is buried there.

Scripture. In the twenty-third chapter of "Matthew," at verses eleven and twelve we read:

"The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who campaign for justice and for freedom.

... for those who live for others.

... for the people of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, that there may be peace between them and prosperity in their lands.

... for the people of Tibet and all other occupied lands.

... for those killed or injured in a suspected suicide bomber attack in Lahore, Pakistan. DETAILS

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "What I Owe to Christ" by Charles Freer Andrews:

For Christ, our lord and master, seeks from us deeds, not words. Devotion to him is, in the first place, not sentimental, but practical. The first act is to give up at his bidding what is personally known to be wrong, relying on his strength to reinforce our wills so that we are able to do what is right.

If the Christian faith we profess possesses the full dynamic to change men and women, giving them new hope and urging them forward to nobler action, then further proof is hardly needed. But if it has no power to restore and recreate the human will, leading on to deeds of unselfish service, then it stands self-condemned. It has become useless, as salt that has lost its savour. It is like a house built upon the sand, instead of being founded on a rock.

This test of action is a very simple one, but it goes deep. It is the only standard that Christ himself will recognise as sound and true. As the good physician, he probes the disease till he gets down to the evil in the human will itself.

In the first century, there could be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the lives of the disciples had been marvellously changed. Men took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. A miracle of joy had happened. The new birth from within had burst through its own confining sheath in every direction. Century-old conventions were swept aside in a few years. The Spirit of the living God was manifest in the fearless deeds of humble men and women, which had such power of new life and new joy in them that they literally transformed the world.

The same joy, the same power of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, should be witnessed in every country today. The age of miracles, in this sense of the word, has never passed. The great leap forward may still be taken. It is only our own faith and courage that are lacking when he bids us "launch out into the deep.”

CLOSING PRAYER

Gracious God, you called Charles Freer Andrews to empty himself, after the example of our saviour, so that he might proclaim your salvation to the peoples of India and the Pacific Islands: By your Holy Spirit inspire us with like zeal, that there may be one body and one spirit in Jesus Christ, our saviour; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE THIRTEENTH OF FEBRUARY, 2017
* ABSALOM JONES *

OPENING PRAYER

Abundant God,
more precious than gold
and far richer than rubies
is your eternal love.

You place true value
in whatever is good and loving and just
and you encourage us to invest ourselves
into the wealth of your economy.

Use us as your currency in the world
that we might show something of your lavishing grace
hallmarked upon our lives
and seen in all we do. Amen.

PSALM FORTY-ONE

O Lord, be merciful to me.

Blessed are those who consider the poor and needy;
the Lord will deliver them in the time of trouble.
The Lord preserves them and restores their life,
that they may be happy in the land;
he will not hand them over to the will of their enemies.
The Lord sustains them on their sickbed;
their sickness, Lord, you will remove.

And so I said, "Lord, be merciful to me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you."

My enemies speak evil about me,
asking when I shall die and my name perish.
If they come to see me, they utter empty words;
their heart gathers mischief;
when they go out, they tell it abroad.
All my enemies whisper together against me,
against me they devise evil,
saying that a deadly thing has laid hold on me,
and that I will not rise again from where I lie.

Even my bosom friend, whom I trusted,
who ate of my bread,
has lifted up his heel against me.

But you, O Lord, be merciful to me
and raise me up, that I may reward them.
By this I know that you favour me,
that my enemy does not triumph over me.

Because of my integrity you uphold me
and will set me before your face for ever.

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

O Lord, be merciful to me.

God our deliverer,
raise up the poor and comfort the betrayed,
through the one who for our sakes became poor
and whose betrayal brought our salvation,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Absalom Jones: shown to the balcony, he preferred the door

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Absalom Jones, the first African man to be ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church of the United States of America. Jones was born into slavery in 1746, and taught himself to read using the "New Testament." At the age of sixteen he was sold to a store owner in Philadelphia, and continued his education with the help of the Quakers, who operated a night school. He saved his earnings and was able to buy his freedom in 1784.

Jones became a lay minister at Saint George’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. He and others were so effective in encouraging black people to join the church, that the all white vestry made a decision that black members had to sit in the balcony, segregated from the white church members. On the Sunday after that decision had been reached, his prayer was interrupted when an usher sought to lead him up the stairs. Instead, he and other black members walked out the door of the church, never to return.

In 1791 Jones began holding religious services in Philadelphia. He wanted to found an African congregation. He looked to the Episcopal Church for support and found it. The Bishop of Pennsylvania was very open to the idea and the African Episcopal Church of Saint Thomas opened its doors in 1794. Absalom Jones was ordained a deacon in 1795, and a priest in 1804. He was a powerful preacher. He denounced slavery, and warned the oppressors to “clean their hands of slaves.” To him, God was the father, who always acted on “behalf of the oppressed and distressed.” But it was his constant visiting and mild manner that made him beloved by his own flock and by the community. Saint Thomas Church grew to over five hundred members during its first year.

He led an unsuccessful petition to the US Congress to eliminate some of harsher provisions of the "Fugitive Slave Act." When yellow fever struck Philadelphia, white residents fled, but Jones and his friend and colleague Richard Jones organised a corps of black Philadelphians who helped nurse the sick, as well as bury the dead.

Jones was an example of persistent faith in God and in the Church as God’s instrument He died on this day in 1818.

Scripture. In the fifth chapter of Galatians at the first verse, we read:

"For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for black Christians.

... for church congregations that are inclusive of all people without favour or prejudice.

... for those living below the Oroville Dam in northern California who have been ordered to evacuate their homes after an overflow channel at the dam was weakened by heavy rainfall and for all who have been affected by flooding and mudslides in the region.

... for those affected by bushfires in New South Wales in particular those whose homes have been destroyed.

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From a thanksgiving sermon by Absalom Jones:

The history of the world shows us, that the deliverance of the children of Israel from their bondage, is not the only instance, in which it has pleased God to appear in behalf of oppressed and distressed nations, as the deliverer of the innocent, and of those who call upon his name. He is as unchangeable in his nature and character, as he is in his wisdom and power. The great and blessed event, which we have this day met to celebrate, is a striking proof, that the God of heaven and earth is the same, yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.

Yes, my brethren, the nations from which most of us have descended, and the country in which some of us were born, have been visited by the tender mercy of the Common Father of the human race. He has seen the affliction of our countrymen, with an eye of pity. He has seen the wicked arts, by which wars have been fomented among the different tribes of the Africans, in order to procure captives, for the purpose of selling them for slaves. He has seen ships fitted out from different ports in Europe and America, and freighted with trinkets to be exchanged for the bodies and souls of men. He has seen the anguish which has taken place, when parents have been torn from their children, and children from their parents, and conveyed, with their hands and feet bound in fetters, on board of ships prepared to receive them. He has seen them thrust in crowds into the holds of those ships, where many of them have perished from the want of air. He has seen such of them as have escaped from that noxious place of confinement, leap into the ocean; with a faint hope of swimming back to their native shore, or a determination to seek early retreat from their impending misery, in a watery grave. He has seen them exposed for sale, like horses and cattle, upon the wharves or like bales of goods in warehouses of West India and American sea ports. He has seen the pangs of separation between members of the same family. He has seen them driven into the sugar; the rice, and the tobacco fields, and compelled to work—in spite of the habits of ease which they derived from the natural fertility of their own country in the open air, beneath a burning sun, with scarcely as much clothing upon them as modesty required. He has seen them faint beneath the pressure of their labours. He has seen them return to their smoky huts in the evening, with nothing to satisfy their hunger but a scanty allowance of roots; and these, cultivated for themselves, on that day only, which God ordained as a day of rest for man and beast. He has seen the neglect with which their masters have treated their immortal souls; not only in withholding religious instruction from them, but, in some instances, depriving them of access to the means of obtaining it. He has seen all the different modes of torture, by means of the whip, the screw, the pincers, and the red hot iron, which have been exercised upon their bodies, by inhuman overseers: overseers, did I say? Yes: but not by these only. Our God has seen masters and mistresses, educated in fashionable life, sometimes take the instruments of torture into their own hands, and, deaf to the cries and shrieks of their agonising slaves, exceed even their overseers in cruelty.

Inhuman wretches! though you have been deaf to their cries and shrieks, they have been heard in Heaven. The ears of Jehovah have been constantly open to them: he has heard the prayers that have ascended from the hearts of his people; and he has, as in the case of his ancient and chosen people the Jews, come down to deliver our suffering country-men from the hands of their oppressors. He came down into the United States, when they declared, in the constitution which they framed in 1788, that the trade in our African fellow-men, should cease in the year 1808: He came down into the British Parliament, when they passed a law to put an end to the same iniquitous trade in May, 1807: he came down into the Congress of the United States, the last winter, when they passed a similar law, the operation of which commences on this happy day.

Dear land of our ancestors! thou shalt no more be stained with the blood of thy children, shed by British and American hands: the ocean shall no more afford a refuge to their bodies, from impending slavery: nor shall the shores of the British West India islands, and of the United States, any more witness the anguish of families, parted for ever by a public sale.

For this signal interposition of the God of mercies, in behalf of our brethren, it becomes us this day to offer up our united thanks. Let the song of angels, which was first heard in the air at the birth of our Saviour, be heard this day in our assembly: Glory to God in the highest, for these first fruits of peace upon earth, and good will to man: O! let us give thanks unto the Lord: let us call upon his name, and make known his deeds among the people. Let us sing psalms unto him and talk of all his wondrous works.

CLOSING PRAYER

Set us free, heavenly father, from every bond of prejudice and fear; that, honouring the steadfast courage of your servant Absalom Jones, we may show forth in our lives the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God, which you have given us in your son, Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

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Holy Communion For The Sixth Sunday After The Epiphany
The Third Sunday Before Lent

We human beings are often unfaithful to each other, breaking our promises and betraying even those we love, sometimes in the cruelest of ways. But God is never treacherous, God is forever true to his word. God has promised to be with us always through his son in the power of the Holy Spirit. When we take part in the sacrament of holy communion we are reminded of this eternal reality as we perceive in the bread and the wine the person of Jesus Christ who is with us.

At Saint Laika's everyone is welcome to take communion and be in communion, with each other and with God. There are no exceptions. So, come, join us.

If you want to physically partake of communion you will require a small piece of bread and a small amount of drink (preferably made from grapes and containing alcohol). How you view the nature of this part of the service is completely up to you.

CLICK HERE to access the podcast via iTunes.

To stream the service direct from this page without having to use the iTunes' facility, click on the arrow on the left of the player below.

Join in with us as we worship God by CLICKING HERE for the order of service, credits and details of the music featured. The words in bold type are the ones we say together.

In The Name Of Love:
The Church, Exclusion And LGB Mental Health Issues

From Gareth Streeter ( Oasis UK ):

Church teaching on same-sex relationships is fuelling a negativity in society that is undermining the mental health of lesbian, gay and bisexual people and making them more likely to self-harm and even contemplate suicide, according to a new report released today.

The ‘In the Name of Love: The Church, exclusion and LGB mental health issues’ report by the Oasis Foundation, has unveiled ‘watertight’ research that demonstrates that homosexual and bisexual people are up to 12 times more likely to experience mental health difficulties and presents the continuingly growing consensus that this is caused by societal discrimination that says – both explicitly and implicitly – that heterosexuality is superior to homosexuality. The study demonstrates ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that it is church goers and Christian leaders who are responsible for fuelling negative messages about same-sex relationships in society, the media and political debate.

While previous studies have shown the damage done to LGB people within Christian denominations, this report is the first study that seems to justify the long-held assumption that church practises and teachings are seriously damaging the mental health of lesbian, gay and bisexual people outside the Church, often with life-threatening consequences.

The research is being released in part to respond to the report from the House of Bishops which restated the Church of England’s opposition to same-sex marriage and will be discussed at the General Synod meeting next week.

The link between church teaching and poor LGB mental health

The notion that people with sexualities other than heterosexual are at increased risk of poor mental health has been established by a range or surveys and more detailed studies over a number of years. While a staggering 44% of LGB youth claim to have considered suicide and over half (52%) have self-harmed at some point in the past, other studies have demonstrated that these problems are not restricted to the young. A large study of 27,000 LGB people concluded that ‘sexual minorities were two to three times more likely to report having a longstanding psychological or emotional problem than their heterosexual counterparts with the figure rising to almost 13% in other surveys. Health bodies such as the National Health Service work on the basis that homosexual and bisexual people are more vulnerable to mental health issues.

The report goes on to state, however, that there is nothing intrinsic about being homosexual or bisexual that makes people susceptible to poor mental health. Instead, through surveying a range of studies from Western Europe, the report identified two major categories of causes:

1) Direct homophobia and discrimination – whereby LGB people directly experience a lack of access to communities, bullying or inferior treatment because of their sexuality or membership of a same-sex relationship.

2) Societal inferiority – whereby LGB people feel second class because of both explicit and implicit references in families, communities, the media and society that to be homosexual or bisexual is an inferior status to heterosexuality.

By analysing the practises of the major UK denominations, the study finds that – with the exception of the United Reformed Church – all the church groups practise discrimination of LGB people in some form, making churches some of the biggest organisational discriminators.

The analysis also establishes that church goers are the biggest source of negative attitudes toward same-sex relationships in the media, society and political debate:

· While all groups are growing more liberal to same-sex relationships, religious people are doing so at a much slower rate. In 1983, Anglicans were 1.2 times more likely than the non-religious to think homosexuality was wrong; now they are 2.6 times more likely.
· While only 37% of the general population opposed same-sex marriage in 2013, according to research by Oasis in 2015, opposition among church-goers was 49%
· Of the signatories listed on the website of the Coalition for Marriage (the campaign against same-sex marriage), 74% can be publicly identified as Christian.
· Of the MPs who voted against the introduction of same-sex marriage in 2013, 54% self-identify as Christian and many others may privately consider themselves people of faith.
· An analysis of 100 national media articles on the topic of ‘same-sex marriage’ found that 47% contained a negative comment, and of those negative comments 91% are from a Christian leader or commentator or politician who can be identified as Christian.

Rev Steve Chalke, Founder of Oasis, Says, “It is no secret that the negative stance taken by the Church, and so many individual local churches, has a hugely distressing impact on large numbers of LGB people and leaves countless numbers of them living lives of forced secrecy and dishonesty. Tragically, it is also common knowledge that the resultant anguish and distress often leads to spiritual, mental and physical harm, and in the worst of cases to people making the desperate decision to take their own life.

“Too often however, these powerful testimonies are dismissed by those that don’t want to hear them – those who are not yet ready to face up to the scale of the damage that we collectively have unintentionally caused. My hope is that this report is the beginning of a sea change to this approach.”

The Oasis Foundation is the research and policy arm of the Oasis group of charities, which work together to tackle social injustice, strengthen communities and ensure that every single person has the chance to fulfil their God-given potential. Oasis currently provides education, housing, youth work, essential services and much more in 36 communities in the UK. Oasis is a Christian charity which has long been campaigning for the church to take a fully inclusive stance toward people in – or seeking to be in – same sex relationships.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL REPORT

A Silver Bullet For Jeremy Hunt

England's Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, states that there is no silver bullet that will solve the problems of an ageing population.

Of course, there is.

You raise the taxes paid by the wealthy until our country has enough money to pay for the level of care that is required.

If the rich decide to leave the country rather than pay what they, because of their wealth, can afford towards the health care requirements of every member of our society then we should let them go on a one way ticket. At least then we won't have to pay for their care when they become sick.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE TENTH OF FEBRUARY, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

I am praying, blessed Saviour,
to be more and more like thee;
I am praying that thy Spirit
like a dove may rest on me.

I am praying to be humbled
by the power of grace divine;
to be clothed upon with meekness
and to have no will but thine.

I am praying, blessed Saviour,
and my constant prayer shall be
for a perfect consecration
that shall make me more like thee. Amen.

( Fanny Crosby )

PSALM FORTY ( abridged )

Great are the wonders you have done, O Lord my God.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me out of the roaring pit,
out of the mire and clay;
he set my feet upon a rock and made my footing sure.
He has put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God;
many shall see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
who does not turn to the proud that follow a lie.

Great are the wonders you have done, O Lord my God.
How great your designs for us!
There is none that can be compared with you.
If I were to proclaim them and tell of them
they would be more than I am able to express.

Sacrifice and offering you do not desire
but my ears you have opened;
burnt offering and sacrifice for sin you have not required,
then said I: "Lo, I come.
In the scroll of the book it is written of me
that I should do your will, O my God;
I delight to do it: your law is within my heart."

I have declared your righteousness in the great congregation;
behold, I did not restrain my lips;
and that, O Lord, you know.
Your righteousness I have not hidden in my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your loving-kindness and truth
from the great congregation.

Do not withhold your compassion from me, O Lord;
let your love and your faithfulness always preserve me,
for innumerable troubles have come about me;
my sins have overtaken me so that I cannot look up;
they are more in number than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails me.

Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
O Lord, make haste to help me.

Though I am poor and needy,
the Lord cares for me.
You are my helper and my deliverer;
O my God, make no delay.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Great are the wonders you have done, O Lord my God.

Free us from our sins, O God,
and may our sacrifices be of praise
to the glory of your Son,
our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Fanny Crosby “Praising my Saviour, all the day long.”

Frances Jane ( Fanny ) Crosby was one of the most prolific hymn writers in American Evangelicalism. It is said that in her lifetime she composed more than eight thousand hymns.

She was born in Putnam County, New York, on the twenty-fourth of March, 1820. Although not born blind, she lost her sight as an infant as a result of complications from a childhood illness. At the age of fifteen, she entered the New York Institute for the Blind where she would later teach for a number of years. In 1858, she married Alexander van Alstyne, a musician in New York who was also blind. Crosby was a lifelong Methodist.

Although known primarily as a hymn writer, she was also an advocate for education for the blind. She was the first woman ever to address the US Congress in 1843, when she spoke about the need for education for the blind in every state in America. She was on the faculty of the New York Institute for the Blind, and taught grammar, rhetoric, and history. In her later life she was a devoted worker at many of the rescue missions set up in New York. She said that many of her hymns were inspired by her experiences in the city missions. She was also a composer of secular poems and patriotic songs.

Crosby’s texts were so popular that nearly every well-known composer of gospel music of the period cam came to her for words to accompany their melodies. In most hymn writing, the words come first and then a composer sets them to music, but for Crosby the words came so quickly and naturally that composers would often take her their tunes and she would immediately begin to shape words that fit the music.

Perhaps the best example of this process led to the creation of Crosby’s most well known hymn “Blessed Assurance.” On a visit to the home of a friend, the composer Phoebe Knapp, a newly composed tune was played for Crosby. After listening to the tune several times, the text began to take shape, and in a very short time one of the world’s most popular gospel hymns was born.

Fannie Crosby died at age ninety-four on the twelfth of February, 1915.

Scripture. In "Psalm One Hundred and Eight", verses three and four, we read:

"I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples, and I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is higher than the heavens, and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who are blind or have poor eyesight.

... for those involved in the education of the blind.

... for hymn writers.

... for child refugees.

... for those killed or injured in a landslide on the Indonesian island of Bali. DETAILS

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Fellowship with God" by William Temple:

By strange methods, to men's limited understanding, does God carry his purpose to fulfilment. As we watch the processes of history, whether natural or human, it is hard to find in any separate occurrences evidence of an almighty love. Only when, urged on by faith or by that despair which is in reality faith's fiercest protest, we try to rise to the contemplation of the story as a whole, do we begin to find a meaning which bears the impress of a divine will. There is at first sight a great abundance of waste and futility; lives above others full of promise are cut short; movements that seem to contain the very hope of the kingdom of Heaven fail of fulfilment, or achieve their end to find in it only a source of fresh evil to the world. The cynic has no difficulty in proving his case from history.

Yet another reading of history is also possible for those who regard this world and all that happens in it as a fragment in a wider scheme. Lives are cut short, not to perish with promise unfulfilled but to serve more fully, and with a surer direction, in the nearer vision of the source of life; movements end in what seems like disappointment because the divine purpose is wider than the limits of man's comprehension, and nothing must be rounded into a completion which excludes any part of the richness of God's blessing. Even in this world the one life cut short becomes an inspiration to thousands, and the failure of every forward movement leads to the effort for a still ampler progress.

So we refuse the cynic's well-established wisdom and accept the precarious but ennobling apprehensions of faith. We do not expect or ask to understand; for the faith by which we turn from cynical disillusionment to inspiring hope is itself the assurance of things that are only hoped for, the proving of things not seen. To turn it into certainty would be to destroy its spiritual value. Because faith is hazardous, it is noble; because it is ever putting to the proof the powers that are not seen, it perpetually supplies its own accumulating evidence, and despises the calculations of a worldly prudence. In such faith the heroes of our race have fashioned all that is noble in its history thus far; by the same faith must we both interpret their heroism and seek to imitate it.

CLOSING PRAYER

O God, the blessed assurance of all who trust in you: we give you thanks for your servant Fanny Crosby, who, though blind, beheld your glory with great clarity of vision and spent her life giving voice to your people’s heartfelt praise; and we pray that we, inspired by her words and example, may rejoice to sing of your love, through 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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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE NINTH OF FEBRUARY, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever

Creator God, we glimpse your beauty
in setting sun, mountain top, eagle’s wing.
We sense your power in thunder crash,
lightning flash and ocean’s roar.
Creator God we praise you.

Precious Jesus, we see your love
stretched out upon a cruel cross.
We stand in awe at your sacrifice,
pure love poured out for humankind.
Precious Jesus we praise you.

Holy Spirit, we see your power
in lives transformed, hearts on fire.
We listen for your still, small voice,
comforting, guiding, calling.
Holy Spirit we praise you. Amen.

PSALM THIRTY-NINE

Lord, let me know my end and the number of my days.

I said, "I will keep watch over my ways,
so that I offend not with my tongue.
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle
while the wicked are in my sight."

So I held my tongue and said nothing;
I kept silent but to no avail.
My distress increased, my heart grew hot within me;
while I mused, the fire was kindled
and I spoke out with my tongue:

"Lord, let me know my end and the number of my days,
that I may know how short my time is.
You have made my days but a handsbreadth,
and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight;
truly, even those who stand upright are but a breath.
We walk about like a shadow
and in vain we are in turmoil;
we heap up riches and cannot tell who will gather them.

"And now, what is my hope?
Truly my hope is even in you.
Deliver me from all my transgressions
and do not make me the taunt of the fool."

I fell silent and did not open my mouth,
for surely it was your doing.
Take away your plague from me;
I am consumed by the blows of your hand.
With rebukes for sin you punish us;
like a moth you consume our beauty;
truly, everyone is but a breath.

Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry;
hold not your peace at my tears.
For I am but a stranger with you,
a wayfarer, as all my forebears were.
Turn your gaze from me, that I may be glad again,
before I go my way and am no more.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Lord, let me know my end and the number of my days.

O Christ, Son of the living God,
help us when we are too cast down to pray,
and grant that we may trust you all our days,
for you are with us in our living and our dying,
Jesus, Lord and God. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

The Martyrs of Japan

In early February 1597, what appeared to be a successful introduction of Christianity into Japan came to a screeching halt. Japanese leader Hideyoshi ordered the execution of twenty-six Christians by crucifixion in Nagasaki, Japan.

In his book “Silence” Japanese novelist Shusaku Endo pins the responsibility on “the pilot of a stranded Spanish ship, who, in an effort to impress the Japanese, boasted that the greatness of the Spanish Empire was partly due to the missionaries who always prepared the way for the armed forces of the Spanish King."

When Hideyoshi heard this, Endo says, “he ordered the immediate execution of a group of Christian Missionaries. And so twenty-six, Japanese and European, were crucified on a cold winter’s morning in February 1597.”

The Japanese were open, at first, to Christianity, when it arrived in its western form. Buddhists had long been accustomed to the presence of Christians throughout south east Asia, who were members of the Assyrian Church of the East. Their presence in Asia was almost completely wiped out in the early fifteenth century by Tamerlane.

Unfortunately the Western Christians brought with them religious rivalry between the Jesuits and the Franciscans who both evangelised Japan, and there were political rivalries along with colonial aspirations to contend with between the Spanish Empire and the Portuguese.

By 1630, what was left of Christianity in Japan was driven underground. Yet it is remarkable that two hundred and fifty years later there were found many men and women, without priests, who had preserved through the generations a vestige of Christian faith. They were known as the “Kirishitans.”

Scripture. In the third chapter of the "Book of Lamentations," at verses forty-six to forty-eight, we read:

"All our enemies have opened their mouths against us; panic and pitfall have come upon us, devastation and destruction. My eyes flow with rivers of tears because of the destruction of my people."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for Christians in Japan.

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Fellowship with God" by William Temple:

So when the dry times come, when winter seems to have set in, do not be dismayed or rebellious. It is a normal feature of growth. But take great care of two things. Be
careful first that the sense of alienation from God is not caused and sustained by some continued course of wrong-doing or wrong-thinking. To defy conscience even in small ways is a sure method of sterilising the spiritual life. But be careful also to keep in mind the real nature of your spiritual hunger. What you need is God; not some gift of God in joyous confidence, or in assurance that all is well with your friends in the other world, nor any other of his priceless boons. What you need is God; not spheres of service nor hopes of world reconstruction, nor certainty of heaven after death. What you need is God himself the eternal, almighty and all-loving Father. Having God you will have also all the other things that our souls rightly crave, but which apart from him can never satisfy.

"Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks, so longeth my soul after thee, God. My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God."

"Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us."

CLOSING PRAYER

O God our Father, source of strength to all your saints, you brought the holy martyrs of Japan through the suffering of the cross to the joys of eternal life: grant that we, encouraged by their example, may hold fast the faith we profess, even to death itself; through Jesus Christ our lord, who lives and reigns with you and 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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The Church Of England And Mental Illness ( An Update )

On the ninth of January this year I posted an article on this website entitled "The Church of England and Mental Illness." In it I told the story of my time as an ordained minister in the Church which involves whistleblowing, cover ups, subsequent mental breakdown and summary dismissal. I would be grateful if you would read it if you have not done so already.

I also posted the essay on the Saint Laika Facebook page and so far it has been seen by over nine thousand five hundred people from the United Kingdom, acknowledged by nearly two hundred and fifty and shared seventy-nine times. Today, I received a comment on that Facebook post which posed a very pertinent question. I am posting that comment and my reply to it below.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE EIGHTH OF FEBRUARY, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Gracious God, when the struggles of life hem me in on every side, open me to the freedom of your presence that can help me see beyond every restriction, every limit that binds me.

O God, give me the wisdom to see the subtle ways people can be enslaved and the courage to speak for those who have no voice. I ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.

PSALM THIRTY-EIGHT ( abridged )

Lord, let me know my end and the number of my days.

I said, "I will keep watch over my ways,
so that I offend not with my tongue.
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle
while the wicked are in my sight."

So I held my tongue and said nothing;
I kept silent but to no avail.
My distress increased, my heart grew hot within me;
while I mused, the fire was kindled
and I spoke out with my tongue:

"Lord, let me know my end and the number of my days,
that I may know how short my time is.
You have made my days but a handsbreadth,
and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight;
truly, even those who stand upright are but a breath.
We walk about like a shadow
and in vain we are in turmoil;
we heap up riches and cannot tell who will gather them.
And now, what is my hope?
Truly my hope is even in you.
Deliver me from all my transgressions
and do not make me the taunt of the fool."

Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry;
hold not your peace at my tears.
For I am but a stranger with you,
a wayfarer, as all my forebears were.
Turn your gaze from me, that I may be glad again,
before I go my way and am no more.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Lord, let me know my end and the number of my days.

O Christ, Son of the living God,
help us when we are too cast down to pray,
and grant that we may trust you all our days,
for you are with us in our living and our dying,
Jesus, Lord and God. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Josephine Bakhita: slave and saint

Today is the anniversary of the death of Sister Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese nun who survived captivity and slavery and was officially recognised as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church in the year 2000. She died on this day in 1947.

She was born in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, where she lived a happy life with her parents and family until the age of seven or eight when she was captured by Arab slave traders, who forced her to walk barefoot over six hundred miles to the city of El Obeid. Over the next twelve years she was bought and sold over five times. She was forcibly converted to Islam.

She later recalled that she was so traumatised by the abduction and the mistreatment, that she forgot her family name. She took the name Bakhita which was a name the slave traders gave her, the Arabic word for “lucky.”

In 1883 in the city of Khartoum she was sold to the Italian Vice Consul, who treated her kindly and respectfully. When he was recalled to Italy in 1885, she begged him to take her with him. At the end of 1888 when her master returned to Sudan she was left in the custody of the Canossian Sisters in Venice.

The sisters introduced her to Christianity and supported her as she pled her case for freedom in the Italian Courts. She was granted her freedom in 1889, was baptised in 1890 and proceeded to join the Canossian Order. In 1902 she was stationed at a Canossian convent in Northern Italy where she would, in addition to participating in the regular life of the convent, spend her time talking about her experiences, and helping to train younger sisters for work in Africa. The townspeople who lived around her were struck by her holiness, her gentle, soothing voice, and her smile. She helped them get through the tumult of the Second World War. Many regarded her as a living saint.

Her final years were marked by pain and suffering, and confinement in a wheelchair. Her legacy is that transformation is possible even through great suffering. On his visit to Sudan in 1993, Pope John Paul II publicly honoured her.

He said: "Rejoice, all of Africa! Bakhita has come back to you. The daughter of Sudan sold into slavery as a living piece of merchandise and yet still free. Free with the freedom of the saints."

Scripture. In "The Second Letter to the Corinthians," chapter twelve, verses nine and ten we read:

"I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who are enslaved and for an end to human trafficking and slavery in our world.

... for an end to coerced conversions.

... for those killed or injured in a suicide bombing at Afghanistan's Supreme Court in Kabul. DETAILS

... for the success of the peace talks in Colombia between the government and ELN, a left-wing rebel group. DETAILS

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Fellowship with God" by William Temple:

We celebrate the resurrection-triumph of incarnate love. We long to share that triumph. But that can only be so if triumphant love is in our souls. And the triumph of love must be over the enemies of love, which are hatred and malice, envy and contempt, suspicion and indifference.

The Easter message proclaims the triumph of love over all of these. But it wins by suffering. If we show love in the face of hatred, we must not expect to overcome the hatred without suffering. It is by its suffering that love prevails; that is the message of Good Friday. But through its suffering it does prevail; that is the message of Easter Day. The Resurrection proclaims that the only real success is that which is in store for those who love, and will practise a chivalry, even a knight-errantry, which to the world must seem grotesque. We are to trust the untrustworthy and love the unlovely, accepting the misery of betrayals and ingratitude, until our constancy in loving and trusting softens and wins the malignant or the suspicious heart. We are to heap up the coals of fire on the head of the unloving, as the blacksmith heaps the glowing coals on the iron bar, till hardness gives place to malleability and we overcome evil with good.

The man who lives thus in our fallen world will suffer; say, rather, the man who did once live thus in our fallen world did suffer. But if we hold fast to him he carries us to the triumph that he himself has won, the triumph of love over hatred and malice, over envy and contempt, over suspicion and indifference even over death, which is love's last enemy because it seems to rob love of its beloved. To such a triumph we look forward. It cannot be completed under the conditions of life upon this planet. But even here it can be tasted. We look forward to a world where mutual trust is universal, where each success or failure wins from all a genuine sympathy in joy or sorrow, where every man and woman, where every society and nation, where every house of business or manufacturing firm, where every branch of the Christian Church, sincerely desires and rejoices at the well-being of every other. But that can only come if those who believe in such an order will live even now as members of it, suffering in this world whatever their loyalty to that heavenly citizenship involves. For it is not in spite of its anguish in this world, but in and through that anguish, that love wins the victory.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, by the power of your grace, you transformed the cruel sufferings of slavery in Josephine Bakhita, into a life of gentleness, compassion, and prayer. So work in us by that same grace so that we too may experience growth in holiness as we follow your son, Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord.

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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Cost Free Protesting In England

My country (England) is in a right mess at the moment. The poor are getting poorer whilst a very few privileged people are getting obscenely rich. Our health service is being starved of the funds it needs to provide the service it was originally envisioned to whilst our government is quite happy to spend a vast amount of money on nuclear missiles. Low wages are too low to live on and have to be subsidised out of the public purse. Local government finances have been squeezed so much following the bailing out of the bankers that they are having to cut essential services (such as the care of the infirm and elderly) and even sell off our parks and recreation grounds.

But what does the right-on, middle class of England take to the streets to protest about? The president of a country half way across the world.

I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that if the situation in the USA was to change it would not cost the English anything whilst the raising of hundreds of thousands of our own people out of poverty would cost our middle class a lot of money. You can tell by the comfortably well off left's reaction to Brexit that when push comes to shove it is money that matters to them. Their own money.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE SEVENTH OF FEBRUARY, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

For a world where lies are accepted at face value;
hear our prayer, God of truth.
For a world where racism in high places is tolerated;
hear our prayer, God of the oppressed.
For a world where people with disabilities are mocked;
hear our prayer, God of the disadvantaged.
For a world where the rich hold the reins of power;
hear our prayer, God of the poor.
For a world where men violate women with impunity;
hear our prayer, God of the downtrodden.
For a world where the earth is ignored and neglected;
hear our prayer, God of the voiceless.
For a world where nations interfere in enemies’ elections;
hear our prayer, God of the disenfranchised.
For a world where the church is charmed by false gods;
hear our prayer, God of the lost.
For a world where free speech is threatened;
hear our prayer, God of the silenced.
For a world where hatred is growing by leaps and bounds;
hear our prayer, God of the vulnerable.
For a world where dissent is dangerous and necessary,
hear our prayer, God of those who suffer for righteousness’ sake.
God of hope, we turn to you for vision and courage
as we strive to be faithful in word and deed,
followers of Christ in times like these. Amen.

( Carol Penner )

PSALM THIRTY-EIGHT ( abridged )

Make haste to help me,
O Lord of my salvation.

Rebuke me not, O Lord, in your anger,
neither chasten me in your heavy displeasure.
For your arrows have stuck fast in me
and your hand presses hard upon me.
For my iniquities have gone over my head;
their weight is a burden too heavy to bear.

I am utterly bowed down and brought very low;
I go about mourning all the day long.
I am feeble and utterly crushed;
I roar aloud because of the disquiet of my heart.

Those who seek after my life lay snares for me;
and those who would harm me whisper evil
and mutter slander all the day long.
But I am like one who is deaf and hears not,
like one that is dumb, who does not open his mouth.

I have become like one who does not hear
and from whose mouth comes no retort.
For in you, Lord, have I put my trust;
you will answer me, O Lord my God.

Forsake me not, O Lord;
be not far from me, O my God.
Make haste to help me,
O Lord of my salvation.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Make haste to help me,
O Lord of my salvation.

Almighty Lord and Saviour,
behold with pity the wounds of your people;
do not forsake us, sinful as we are,
but for the sake of the passion of your
beloved one, Jesus,
come quickly to our aid,
for his mercy's sake. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Dom Hélder Pessoa Câmara: the Red Bishop

Born on the seventh of February, 1909, in Fortazela, Brazil, Dom Hélder Câmara became a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church and one of the twentieth century’s great practitioners of non-violence.

As a young priest, he ministered to the very poor people of the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. With other clerics, he encouraged peasants to think beyond their conventionally fatalistic outlook by studying the gospels in small groups and asking what conclusions could be drawn for social change. In 1959 he founded Banco da Providência in Rio de Janeiro, a philanthropic organisation to fight poverty and social injustice by making it easier for poor people to receive loans.

He was appointed bishop of the diocese of Olinda and Recife from 1964 to 1985, during a period when the country had a series of military rulers. Under his guidance the Roman Catholic church in Brazil became an outspoken critic of the 1964 to 1985 military dictatorship and a powerful movement for social change. He was one of the architects of the Medellin statement in which the Roman Catholic Bishops of South America denounced the "institutionalised violence" inherent in social inequality and oppressive social structures. It proclaimed the “option for the poor”, whereby the church should stand with the most oppressed in their daily struggles.

Military leaders often accused him of politicising the church's charitable work, which led him to coin a phrase for which he has become famous: "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist."

He was labeled “the Red Bishop.” He worked tirelessly for democracy and human rights in Brazil, even as he watched friends and fellow priests imprisoned, tortured, and killed.

Dom Hélder retired as archbishop in 1985, the same year that the military relinquished power. With democracy restored, Pope John Paul II, no fan of Câmara's programmes or theology, began replacing Brazil’s bishops with more conservative leaders. In his twilight years, Câmara remained silent, and never criticised the Pope. He died at age ninety in 1999.

Scripture. In "Psalm Thirty-Seven", verses five and six, we read:

"Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the poor and the oppressed.

... for an end to dictatorships and military rule.

... for clergy who stand up against injustice even if it means risking their life.

... for the thirteen thousand people executed by the Syrian regime at Saydnaya prison between September 2011 and December 2015. DETAILS

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "The Degradation of the World and the Renovation of the Earth" by Dom Hélder Câmara:

At first sight, the situation of this world suggests despair. For Christians, however, the last word is always hope.

Despite everything, we have no use for a misleading or alienating hope that looks only to eternal life as though eternity didn’t start here and now, because it is here and now that we build an eternal life.

Regardless of our race, religion, nation, or professional setting, if each one of us looks around, we will discover that along with the prudent and conformist bulk of society, and along with that elite minority which is a embarrassment for its own class, there is another minority that is willing to work, even sacrifice, for a more just and human world. Would it not be possible for us to find the way (in each tiny community, then each neighbourhood, each province, each nation and each continent in all the world) to unite all those minorities until they number in the thousands upon thousands? Would it not be possible for these minorities to agree upon three or four concrete points, which demand immediate action?

The first and very important point would be to start with each of us asking ourselves whether or not we are at peace with justice or whether we are committing injustices. After all, it is not enough to contemplate human misery and ask for charity; we must achieve justice as a condition for peace. Then let us begin by confronting local injustices together with neighbours and friends who are people of good will. No one confronts global injustices who does not start by facing the injustices in their own community.

Another indispensable step would be this: whoever has faith and is linked to a particular religion should frequent their religious group. Then, in union with brothers and sisters of good will, demand of your religious group that it never separate the love of neighbour from love of God; demand that it speak out against all those injustices that should never exist among brothers and sisters who are children of the same heavenly Father.

Sometimes, when a person demands justice in the name of his or her faith, it is all too easy to paint that person as a rebel or communist. But on that day when we all demand of that our religious groups that they denounce injustice and work strenuously to make the world a more life-giving place for all (literally: breathable), those who labeled every defender of justice a communist are simply going to look ridiculous.

Let’s take the case of Italy. Imagine what would happen if the thousands upon thousands of young people who marched to Florence, all the while thinking about the injustices of this world, would not stop marching but would continue, vigilant and demanding, at home, at school, at work, at church, refusing to settle for band-aid solutions, but instead would demand justice as a condition of peace.

Still, in order for all of us to actually move from theory to practice and not settle for good intentions, in order to finally start the reformation of the structures that we have talked so much about, we need more. Inside of us, around us, as a positive portent and sign of the deep changes that we must achieve at the national, continental, and then global level we need even more than the force of an idea. We need a touch of grace, an impulse from on high.

Perhaps that impulse from on high, that touch of grace, will be the coming to life of Christ’s word: “Wherever two or three of you gather together in my name, there will I be among you.”

And we not just two or three; we are thousands upon thousands. Maybe some, or maybe many of you, think that you don’t have any religion or faith. The truth is, we are and we will be with Christ even though we don’t know it, and even though we seem not to want it. For he will be with us, to the degree that our hunger and thirst for justice, truth, and love is honest.

Let them laugh who will. Goliath once laughed at the young David.

For God, who is love, will not let selfishness, ambition, and hatred, dominate the earth forever.

CLOSING PRAYER

Holy God, you give us prophets to cry out for justice and to defend the poor. As we remember the life and witness of Dom Hélder Câmara, help us to hear the truth he told, lest we support injustice to secure our own well-being. And help us, in our own day to work for a society in which we might catch glimpses of your kingdom; through 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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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE SIXTH OF FEBRUARY, 2017
* WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON AND MARIA STEWART *

OPENING PRAYER

Let us pray that our life
may not turn our faith into a lie.

Lord God, our father,
you keep speaking your Word to us
through your son Jesus Christ.
Make us listen to that word and welcome it
with all that is in us.
Let that word change our mentality and our ways,
that it may direct our life
to make it a lived message of good news
for all to see, to be inspired by, and to follow.
Let it be the living power that leads all
to give you praise and glory,
through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

PSALM THIRTY-SEVEN ( abridged )

The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord.

Fret not because of evildoers;
be not jealous of those who do wrong.
For they shall soon wither like grass
and like the green herb fade away.

Trust in the Lord and be doing good;
dwell in the land and be nourished with truth.
Let your delight be in the Lord
and he will give you your heart's desire.
Commit your way to the Lord and put your trust in him,
and he will bring it to pass.
He will make your righteousness as clear as the light
and your just dealing as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait for him;
do not fret over those that prosper
as they follow their evil schemes.
Refrain from anger and abandon wrath;
do not fret, lest you be moved to do evil.

When your steps are guided by the Lord
and you delight in his way,
though you stumble, you shall not fall headlong,
for the Lord holds you fast by the hand.

Depart from evil and do good
and you shall abide for ever.
For the Lord loves the thing that is right
and will not forsake his faithful ones.
The righteous shall possess the land
and dwell in it for ever.

The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
The Lord shall stand by them and deliver them;
he shall deliver them from the wicked and shall save them,
because they have put their trust in him.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord.

Blessed and holy God,
ever merciful and forgiving,
may we turn from what is evil
and do what is good in your sight,
for you have saved us by the cross of your son,
our saviour Jesus Christ.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

William Lloyd Garrison and Maria Stewart: “the powerful force of prejudice”

Today Saint Laika’s remembers two courageous Americans who were leaders in the movement to abolish slavery in the United States, Williams Lloyd Garrison and Maria Stewart. Much more could be written of them, than space allows here.

Garrison was a prominent American abolitionist, journalist, suffragist, and social reformer. He is best known as the editor of the abolitionist newspaper "The Liberator," which he founded in 1831 and published in Massachusetts until slavery was abolished by constitutional amendment after the American Civil War. He was one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society. He promoted "immediate emancipation" of slaves in the United States. In the 1870s, Garrison became a prominent voice for the woman suffrage movement.

"The Liberator" was a significant factor in the spread of anti-slavery feeling in the country. It gradually gained a large following in the northern states. By 1861 it had subscribers across the North, as well as in England, Scotland, and Canada. It was received in state legislatures, governor's mansions, Congress, and the White House. Garrison published the last issue (number one thousand eight hundred and twenty) on the twenty-ninth. of December, 1865, when slavery had been abolished.

In addition to its abolitionist advocacy, Garrison's "Liberator" continued to be the leading advocate of woman's rights beginning in the 1840s, publishing editorials, speeches, legislative reports and other developments concerning the subject. Garrison died in 1879, long before women’s suffrage was achieved.

Maria Stewart was a domestic servant who became an African-American journalist, lecturer, abolitionist, and women's rights activist. The first American woman to speak to a mixed audience of men and women, whites and black, Stewart was also the first African-American woman to make public lectures, as well as to lecture about women’s rights and make a public anti-slavery speech. Stewart enunciated African-American exceptionalism, the special bond she saw between God and African Americans, and advocated social and moral advancement, even as she vocally protested against social conditions African Americans experienced, and touched on several political issues. Her Christian faith strongly influenced Stewart. She often cited Biblical influences and the Holy Spirit, and implicitly critiqued societal failure to educate her and others like her. "The Liberator" published her writings. One of the most famous is “Why Sit Ye Here and Die?”

Like Garrison, she saw the intrinsic connection between the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage. She was an advocate for women, and especially African-American women. After her speaking career, Stewart then moved to New York, then to Baltimore, and finally Washington, where she worked as a schoolteacher, and then as head matron at Freedmen's Hospital, until her death. She died on this day in 1880.

Scripture. In the third chapter of the "First Letter of John," at verses one and two, we read:

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for an end to slavery in our world today.

... for end to discrimination against and the oppression of women in both public and domestic life.

... for journalists and documentary makers who, through their work, campaign for human rights.

... for Queen Elizabeth the Second of Great Britain who celebrates the sixty-fifth anniversary of her accession to the throne today.

... for the people of New Zealand who celebrate Waitangi Day today.

... for the judiciary of the United States as they seek to maintain the rule of law and constitution in their nation.

... for those killed or injured by avalanches in northern Pakistan over the weekend. DETAILS

... for those suffering from mental health problems in particular those who are suicidal or in danger of dying because of self neglect or because they are not receiving the care they need.

... for the people of Romania as they continue to protest against corruption in their government. DETAILS

... for children who are beset by worries.

... for those who have been abused by priests, ministers, religious and other members of the world's churches in particular children who were sexually abused.

... for African farmers whose livelihoods are threatened by the spread of the fall armyworm pest. DETAILS

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "No Compromise with Slavery" by William Lloyd Garrison:

I know that God reigns, and that the slave system contains within itself the elements of destruction. But how long it is to curse the earth, and desecrate his image, he alone foresees. It is frightful to think of the capacity of a nation like this to commit sin, before the measure of its iniquities be filled, and the exterminating judgments of God overtake it. For what is left us but "a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation?" Or is God but a phantom, and the eternal law but a figment of the imagination? Has an everlasting divorce been effected between cause and effect, and is it an absurd doctrine that, as a nation sows, so shall it also reap?

"Wherefore, hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men that rule this people:

"Because ye have said, 'We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us; for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves.'

"Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, 'Judgment will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place: And your covenant with death shall be annulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.'"

What then is to be done? Friends of the slave, the question is not whether by our efforts we can abolish slavery, speedily or remotely (for duty is ours, the result is with God) but whether we will go with the multitude to do evil, sell our birthright for a mess of pottage, cease to cry aloud and spare not, and remain in Babylon when the command of God is, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."

Let us stand in our lot, "and having done all, to stand." At least, a remnant shall be saved. Living or dying, defeated or victorious, be it ours to exclaim, "No compromise with Slavery! Liberty for each, for all, forever! Man above all institutions! The supremacy of God over the whole earth!"

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, we thank you for your prophets William Lloyd Garrison and Maria Stewart, who testified that we are made not by the colour of our skin but by the principle formed in our soul. Fill us, like them, with the hope and determination to break every chain of enslavement, and to build that community of justice and love which is founded on Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

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Holy Communion For The Fifth Sunday After The Epiphany

In the sacrament of holy communion we are in the presence of Jesus Christ and his glory shines upon us. Let us enjoy that glory together and welcome it into ourselves so that we may shine as lights in the darkness of the world bringing others into the communion of those who have been saved.

At Saint Laika's everyone is welcome to take communion and be in communion, with each other and with God. There are no exceptions. So, come, join us.

If you want to physically partake of communion you will require a small piece of bread and a small amount of drink (preferably made from grapes and containing alcohol). How you view the nature of this part of the service is completely up to you.

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To stream the service direct from this page without having to use the iTunes' facility, click on the arrow on the left of the player below.

Join in with us as we worship God by CLICKING HERE for the order of service, credits and details of the music featured. The words in bold type are the ones we say together.

Trump Is Bad Not Mad

It appears that, after "Nazi," the worst insult American liberals can throw at their new president is that he is mentally ill.

If there was a top ten list of bigoted, insensitive and ignorant invective then this would surely be right up near the very top of it. Years of work by people who are not bigoted, insensitive and ignorant to try and educate the general public about mental illness and attempting to eradicate the wrong-headed mythology that surrounds it and those who live with it is now substantially out of the window. A hundred horror films called "Asylum" or derivatives thereof could not do as much damage to the lives of those of us who do suffer from mental health problems anywhere near as much. Heck, it's almost as bad as belittling someone with the appellation of "spastic" or "spaz" or "retard" which, now I come to mention it, Americans do all the time without flinching with shame. Yet, white, liberal Americans regard the use of the word "nigger" as a felony greater than holocaust denial or suggesting that abortion might not be morally acceptable in some cases. Bunch of hypocrites!

The (very telling) irony is that the "mentally ill" accusations have been picked up by right wing, reactionary newspapers in England, for example the "Daily Mail." I expect such under-researched, populist nonsense from our tabloids. Sadly, I am coming to also expect it from supposedly enlightened, well-educated left wing people, both enemies and friends.

I know they want to hurt Donald Trump and get rid him out of the White House as soon as possible, but they can do that without using me and my much-maligned co-sufferers as their weapon of choice.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE THIRD OF FEBRUARY, 2017
* THE DORCHESTER CHAPLAINS *

OPENING PRAYER

God was with the people of Israel when they left Egypt.
God is with us now.

God gave the people hope as they traveled through the desert.
God gives us the courage to step out in faith.

God is with us wherever we go.
Come, let us worship the Lord.

Holy God, your power fills the universe with light and love.
Your tender hand caresses those who are suffering and wounded.
You welcome strangers and care for the lonely.
We are awed by the amazing extent of your compassion.
Meet us where we are.
Speak to us in ways that we understand.
Come to us, O God, in our time of worship.
Still our hearts and minds.
Renew our spirits and fill us with the life that only you can offer. Amen.

( Richard J. Fairchild )

PSALM THIRTY-SIX ( abridged )

With you, O God, is the well of life.

Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens
and your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness stands like the strong mountains,
your justice like the great deep;
you, Lord, shall save both man and beast.

How precious is your loving mercy, O God!
All mortal flesh shall take refuge
under the shadow of your wings.
They shall be satisfied with the abundance of your house;
they shall drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the well of life
and in your light shall we see light.

O continue your loving-kindness to those who know you
and your righteousness to those who are true of heart.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

With you, O God, is the well of life.

O God, the well of life,
make us bright with wisdom,
that we may be lightened with the knowledge of your glory
in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

The Dorchester Chaplains: going down with the ship

A priest, two ministers, and a rabbi walk onto a ship… Sounds like the beginning of a joke, yet the wonder of the Dorchester Chaplains is the way four men, in an attempt to save others, bravely gave up their life jackets, joined arms, said prayers, and sang hymns as they went down with the ship.

The ship was the Dorchester, a civilian cruise ship, pressed into military service and refitted as a troop transport ship. A liner designed for three hundred and fourteen passengers and ninety crew would now be able to carry slightly more than nine hundred passengers and crew.

The Dorchester set out from New York on the twenty-third of January, 1943, en route to Greenland, carrying the four chaplains and approximately nine hundred others. During the early morning hours of the third of February, 1943, at five minutes past midnight., the vessel was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Newfoundland. The torpedo knocked out the Dorchester's electrical system, leaving the ship dark. Panic set in among the men on board, many of them trapped below decks. The chaplains sought to calm the men and organise an orderly evacuation of the ship, and helped guide wounded men to safety. As life jackets were passed out to the men, the supply ran out before each man had one. The chaplains removed their own life jackets and gave them to others.

One of the survivors recorded what he saw from his life boat: “I looked back. The flares had lighted everything. The bow came up high and she slid under. The last thing I saw, the Four Chaplains were up there praying for the safety of the men. They had done everything they could. I did not see them again. They themselves did not have a chance without their life jackets.”

Other survivors reported hearing English prayers, mixing with Hebrew prayers, and the Latin of the Catholic prayers, as the ship went down. Some two hundred and thirty of the men aboard the ship were rescued. Life jackets offered little protection from hypothermia, which killed most men in the water. Nevertheless the sacrifice of the four chaplains would be remembered as one of the most touching stories of the Second World War. Lieutenant George L. Fox, Methodist; Lieutenant Alexander D. Goode, Jewish; Lieutenant John P. Washington, Catholic; and Lieutenant Clark V. Poling, Reformed, were honoured posthumously with the Four Chaplains Medal approved by a unanimous act of the United States Congress on the fourteenth of July, 1960.

Scripture. In the fifteenth chapter of "John," we find these words of Jesus in verses twelve and thirteen:

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who have given their lives for others.

... for military chaplains.

... for sailors and all in peril on the sea.

... for the people of Ukraine now that fighting between pro-Russia insurgents and government forces has flared up again; for those who been killed or injured and for all in Eastern Europe and elsewhere who fear Russian expansionism. DETAILS

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Fellowship with God" by William Temple:

Priesthood becomes evil just when it is thought of as belonging to the ordained ministry exclusively, instead of representatively. In every right priestly act, the agent is Christ himself; and the body of Christ on earth is not the clergy but the whole Church, which exercises certain of its priestly functions through the organs which exist for that purpose; but the act is the act of the whole body.

We are then all of us called to be priests unto our God. The special activity of a priest is usually sacrifice; but our part in the Christian sacrifice must claim our whole attention on another occasion. To-day let us ask ourselves if we take seriously this ministry that is ours.

Do we try to bring the healing love of Christ into all our dealings with men? Do we carry with us the spirit of God's pardon, ending alienation and bitterness and resentment? Do we seek by self-examination and communion with God in Christ to deepen our insight so that men find in us the sympathy and wisdom of Jesus? Are we the friends of the outcast, the upholders of the oppressed? Do we proclaim the kingdom of God and act adventurously as those who believe in its reality?

Christ has in great measure entrusted his cause in the world to us. He yearns for his love to men to be declared; are you declaring it? He hums with anger against pride and self-complacency and the search for riches; are you condemning these things in yourself and others? He died to bring his gospel true; are you doing anything or suffering anything to teach men the reality of God's fatherhood and sovereignty?

We are called to be a kingdom and priests unto our God; woe be to us if we are negligent in our priesthood or traitorous citizens of his kingdom.

CLOSING PRAYER

Holy God, you inspired the Dorchester chaplains to be models of steadfast sacrificial love in a tragic and terrifying time: Help us to follow their example, that their courageous ministry may inspire chaplains and all who serve, to recognise your presence in the midst of peril; through Jesus Christ our saviour, 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.

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE SECOND OF FEBRUARY, 2017
* CANDLEMAS *

OPENING PRAYER

Dear Lord,
give us the eyes of faith
to see you in the world.
Where fear closes our eyes, help us.
Where tears blind us, heal us.
Set us free to see your love at work in the world.
Amen.

CANTICLE

Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:
your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people;
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Candlemas: “a blessed light does shine”

Today Saint Laika’s celebrates Candlemas, otherwise known as the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. Candlemas refers back to the custom of more than a thousand years in the pre-electrified western world, of bringing candles to church to be blest by the priest, then taking them home to be used as a focal point against the darkness of the night.

We live in artificial light. We have become used to candles setting a mood for romance or relaxation, or scented candles for “aromatherapy.” Nothing gets us back to basics in western New York where I live, than a good old fashioned power outage, the kind that may last for an hour or for hours, when all our technology fails us, and folks trip over things in the dark to find a flashlight, or a few good old candles.

How comforting for those ancients who actually had to live in darkness and in light to have the blessed candles as a sign and token of God’s protection. Church candles, made of beeswax and smelling of honey. A reminder that God is in our homes and a sure protection in times of trouble. The cadences of the old compline prayer would have brought them comfort as they lit their candles:

“Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all the perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thine only son, our saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Candlemas reminds us that in Jesus Christ, a light has entered the world that darkness cannot overcome. In the words of aged Simeon who met the infant Jesus in the Lord’s temple one day, Jesus is “a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of his people, Israel.” That light is still with us, within us, around us. May your eyes always be drawn to that light.

Scripture. In "Psalm Forty-Three," verses three and four, we read:

"O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. 4 hen I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the light to shine in the darkness.

... for an end to discrimination against people with mental health problems. DETAILS

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From a sermon by Sophronius:

In honour of the divine mystery that we celebrate today, let us all hasten to meet Christ. Everyone should be eager to join the procession and to carry a light.

Our lighted candles are a sign of the divine splendour of the one who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of his eternal light. Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ.

The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought him to those who lay in darkness. We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the true light as we hasten to meet him.

The light has come and has shone upon a world enveloped in shadows; the Dayspring from on high has visited us and given light to those who lived in darkness. This, then, is our feast, and we join in procession with lighted candles to reveal the light that has shone upon us and the glory that is yet to come to us through him. So let us hasten all together to meet our God.

The true light has come, the light that enlightens every man who is born into this world. Let all of us, my brethren, be enlightened and made radiant by this light. Let all of us share in its splendour, and be so filled with it that no one remains in the darkness. Let us be shining ourselves as we go together to meet and to receive with the aged Simeon the light whose brilliance is eternal. Rejoicing with Simeon, let us sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God, the Father of the light, who sent the true light to dispel the darkness and to give us all a share in his splendour.

Through Simeon’s eyes we too have seen the salvation of God which he prepared for all the nations and revealed as the glory of the new Israel, which is ourselves. As Simeon was released from the bonds of this life when he had seen Christ, so we too were at once freed from our old state of sinfulness.

By faith we too embraced Christ, the salvation of God the Father, as he came to us from Bethlehem. Gentiles before, we have now become the people of God. Our eyes have seen God incarnate, and because we have seen him present among us and have mentally received him into our arms, we are called the new Israel. Never shall we forget this presence; every year we keep a feast in his honour.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty and everliving God, we humbly pray that, as your only-begotten son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by Jesus Christ our lord; who lives and reigns with you and 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

CLICK HERE, then click on "Begin" and follow the instructions on each page.

The Mentally Ill: Nutters For Every Occasion

One of the things I hate most about the situation I am in because of my past depression is the fact that I cannot enjoy other people’s success and happiness. In fact, hearing somebody else’s good news just plummets me into depression. There is some straightforward jealousy in it but it is mainly because it is a reminder of the lack of opportunity for success that I am stuck with. I see other people making something of their lives and I know that I will never be allowed to do the thing in life that I wanted to do with all my heart.

This Donald Trump thing has been painful for me as well. I see all these millions of people caring about people they don’t know and I have never found one person who could help change my life around who is willing to even begin to help me.

Matters have been made worse by the way even so-called liberals and progressives in the United States have decided that Donald Trump must be mentally ill because he has extremely poor self-control and is, well, plain nasty. Of course, being a horrid person is not a mental illness. He may have a personality disorder or two but that is his personality not his brain chemistry. The problem seems to be that the Americans have a book that lists all behaviours that are considered abnormal (being gay was in it until recently). The general public just assume that every abnormality mentioned is a mental illness but that is not the case. Mental illness is treatable with medication whilst personality disorders are untreatable because they are just how some people are.

Here is a photograph (taken from Facebook) showing what liberal Americans think mentally ill people look like.

You can see, no doubt, why I am so down at the moment. To me, this displays the same level of ignorance as claims that gay people and paedophiles are the same and it hurts. Worse than that it shows how futile the battle is to include the mentally ill in society rather than stigmatising us as psychopaths who should be locked away behind closed doors until we die for everyone's safety.

Furthermore, I now realise that the reason I have received no help whatsoever from ordained colleagues in the Church of England is because, whatever they may say in public (a photograph of Rowan Williams, when he was archbishop, signing a declaration that the Church would be more caring of those with mental health problems springs to mind) is because not one of them believes a person who has or has had mental health issues should be allowed to be a practicing priest or hold any other meaningful post for that matter.

I have no fight left in me. I am not going to change anybody's mind about me personally or mental health matters in general. I am giving up my personal Facebook page today although I will be keeping this longstanding blog and the Saint Laika ministry going because there are people out there who find the spiritual stuff helpful even if they cringe at me constantly going on about my mental health and employment problems.

The thing is, at the end of the day, for all intents and purposes, you are what other people think you are not what you know yourself to be. You can't do anything about it, so why bother?

If you wish to read up on how I got to be where I now am CLICK HERE and check out my story.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE FIRST OF FEBRUARY, 2017
* CHRISTIAN VICTIMS OF PERSECUTION *

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty God, who has taught us through your son Jesus Christ that those who follow him may be persecuted; strengthen, comfort and encourage all those who suffer harassment, violence, imprisonment and even death for being followers of Jesus. We pray for those who persecute your people; may their hearts be turned towards you through the faithful witness of those they persecute. Protect members of the families and church communities of those who are persecuted and bless the work of those who support the suffering. Through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

CANTICLE

Salvation belongs to our God,
who will guide us to springs of living water.

Behold, a great multitude
which no one could number,
From every nation,
from all tribes and peoples and tongues,
standing before the throne and the Lamb.

They were clothed in white robes
and had palms in their hands,
and they cried with a loud voice, saying,
"Salvation belongs to our God
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb."

These are they
who have come out of the great tribulation,
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb;
Therefore they stand before the throne of God,
whom they serve day and night within the temple.

And the One who sits upon the throne
will shelter them with his presence.
They shall never again feel hunger or thirst,
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.

For the Lamb at the heart of the throne
will be their shepherd,
he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

To the One who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honour and glory and might,
for ever and ever. Amen.

Salvation belongs to our God,
who will guide us to springs of living water.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Christian Victims of Religious Persecution: "the ecumenism of blood”

Today Saint  Laika’s remembers all Christian victims of religious persecution. It is truly sobering to realise that in the long history of the Christian church, one thread that ties us together from the first to the twenty-first century is the bright red thread of the blood of the martyrs who gave up their lives but not their faith in Jesus Christ.

At the Ecumenical Vesper Service held just two years ago at Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls Church in Rome, Pope Francis noted: “And in this moment of prayer for unity, I would like to remember our martyrs today. They give witness to Jesus Christ and are persecuted and murdered for being Christians, without any distinction of their faith by their persecutors. They are Christians and thus persecuted. This is, my brothers and sisters, the ecumenism of blood. “

Saint Stephen was the first to die because he believed that Jesus was the Messiah. As the stones began to fly, he saw heaven opened and the Jesus at the right hand of God. Just a few days ago we remembered Agnes, a little girl whose shocking death for Christ at age twelve helped bring an end to the pagan rule that murdered her. They have places on our Christian calendar and scripture readings assigned for their proper remembrance.

Martyrs today have different names. Think of Shahbaz Bhatti, a Pakistani Catholic who was the cabinet minister for minority religions in the Pakistani government, who was assassinated on the second of March, 2011. Peter To Rot from Papua, New Guinea, a lay minister was murdered by a Japanese occupation force in World War II for rejecting the practice of polygamy among his people. Manche Masemola, a sixteen year old girl from South Africa was murdered by her own parents for seeking baptism at an Anglican mission in 1928.

Yes, yes, to our shame Christians have sullied this witness by killing each other for sectarian purposes, as if Christ could ever be pleased to see his church with blood on her hands. We cannot and must not deny our own sinfulness. But today we remember those who paid with their life for the privilege of being joined to Christ.

Scripture. In the sixth chapter of the "Book of Revelation," at verses nine through eleven, John sees this vision:

"When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given; they cried out with a loud voice, ‘Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?’ They were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number would be complete both of their fellow-servants and of their brothers and sisters, who were soon to be killed as they themselves had been killed."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those throughout the world who risk their lives and liberty for being followers of Jesus Christ.

... for an end to all violence and oppression in the name of religion.

... for members of the Islamic faith affected by Donald Trumps edict banning their travel to the United States.

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Letters to an Imperfect Christian" by Samuel Rutherford:

Dear Christian, do not despair because of hardship and suffering. You cannot sneak quietly into heaven without a cross. Crosses form us into Christ’s image. They cut away the pieces of our corruption. So narrow is the entry to heaven that our knots, our bunches and lumps of pride, and self-love, and idol-love, and world-love must be hammered off us, so that we may go in, stooping low and creeping through that narrow and thorny entry. Lord, cut, carve, wound us; Lord, do anything to perfect your image in us and make us fit for glory! O, I owe so much to the file, hammer, and furnace! We need winnowing before we enter the kingdom of God.

If your Lord calls you to suffering, do not be dismayed, for he will provide a deeper portion of Christ in your suffering. The softest pillow will be placed under your head though you must set your bare feet among thorns. Do not be afraid of suffering for Christ, for he has a sweet peace for a sufferer. God has called you to Christ’s side, and if the wind is now in his face, you cannot expect to rest on the sheltered side of the hill.

All the saints have their own measure of winter before their eternal summer. Our pride must have winter weather to rot it. Grace grows best in winter and withers without adversity. Therefore, whatever God lays on us, let us endure it, for some people have one cross, some seven, some ten, some half a cross, yet all the saints have whole and full joy, and seven crosses have seven joys. Trust in God. His hand will direct us safely to the heavenly shore where we will find the weight of eternal glory. I am sure that if you knew what awaits you, or if you saw some glances of it, you would swim through the present floods of sorrow with gladness, spreading forth your arms out of desire to be at land.

When we shall come home and enter to the possession of our Brother’s fair kingdom, and when our heads shall find the weight of the eternal crown of glory, and when we shall look back to pains and sufferings, then shall we see life and sorrow to be less than one stride from a prison to glory. We shall see that our little inch of time spent suffering is not worthy of our first night’s welcome home to heaven. Therefore, take heart, and press on toward the goal.

I wonder many times that ever a child of God should have a sad heart, considering what their Lord is preparing for them. Set your heart upon heaven, and trouble not your spirit with this clay idol of the world, which is but vanity and has but the lustre of the rainbow in the air, which comes and goes with a flying March shower. Our crosses would not bite upon us, if we were heavenly minded. So fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).

If it were possible that heaven, or even ten heavens, were laid in the balance with Christ, I would regard even the smell of his breath better than them all. I am sure that he is the far best half of heaven. In fact, He is all heaven, and more than all heaven; and my testimony of him is that ten lives of black sorrow, ten deaths, ten hells of pain, ten furnaces of brimstone, and all intense torments, were all too little, if we could have Christ in return for our suffering. I would go through it all, if I could but gain Christ.

CLOSING PRAYER

Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth. Inspire us by their faithfulness, not to shun the way of the cross. Give us courage to bear full witness to Jesus’ victory over sin and death, who lives and reigns with you and 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

CLICK HERE, then click on "Begin" and follow the instructions on each page.

Unfit For Work

Last night, lying in my bed before I went to sleep, I realised something. I felt so stupid because it is so obvious.

The reason why not one person in the Church of England, no bishop, no archdeacon, no colleague, has ever made even the most perfunctory effort to help me get my job back is because they believe, like the bishop who sacked me, that I should not be a priest because of my mental health problems. My anger at the way I have been treated by the Church authorities and the way I keep on about it, far from making them feel guilty about what they have done to me, just reinforces their belief that they made the right choice in "letting me go."

All this time I have put their lack of support down to fear of mental illness and, in the case of my colleagues, fear that standing up for me would harm their own careers. But that was just over complicating things. The truth is that people do not think that those who have suffered from mental illness should be trusted in a place of employment other than for the most menial and highly supervised tasks even if, in public, they claim the opposite.

Perhaps they are right. Believing otherwise has only led to false hope and ultimately greater anguish. If I am to take the advice so often proffered by my Facebook friends I should accept that I am not fit for purpose so that I can be released from the unhappiness of false expectation.

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