Of Course, I Could be Wrong

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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

Okay, he's probably started WWIII but good on him for sticking it to the Chinese. They are the most passive aggressive nation on earth. They do exactly what they want to do without taking into consideration anybody else let alone consulting other countries first and then we get the over the top claims that they are deeply wounded whenever anybody dares to criticise them. You can only get away with playing the honour card if you are honourable in the first place and the Chinese government most certainly is not.

I think the Donald should ring up the Dalai Lama and invite him round for a Cantonese meal at the White House.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE FIFTH OF DECEMBER, 2016
* NELSON MANDELA *

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OPENING PRAYER

Disturb us, O Lord
when we are too well-pleased with ourselves
when our dreams have come true
because we dreamed too little,
because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, O Lord
when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the water of life
when, having fallen in love with time,
we have ceased to dream of eternity
and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of heaven to grow dim.

Stir us, O Lord
to dare more boldly, to venture into wider seas
where storms show your mastery,
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.

In the name of him who pushed back
the horizons of our hopes
and invited the brave to follow. Amen

( Desmond Tutu )

PSALM SEVENTEEN

Deliver me, O Lord, by your hand.

Hear my just cause, O Lord; consider my complaint;
listen to my prayer, which comes not from lying lips.
Let my vindication come forth from your presence;
let your eyes behold what is right.

Weigh my heart, examine me by night,
refine me, and you will find no impurity in me.
My mouth does not trespass for earthly rewards;
I have heeded the words of your lips.
My footsteps hold fast in the ways of your commandments;
my feet have not stumbled in your paths.

I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me;
incline your ear to me, and listen to my words.
Show me your marvellous loving-kindness,
O Saviour of those who take refuge at your right hand
from those who rise up against them.

Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me under the shadow of your wings,
from the wicked who assault me,
from my enemies who surround me to take away my life.
They have closed their heart to pity
and their mouth speaks proud things.
They press me hard, they surround me on every side,
watching how they may cast me to the ground
like a lion that is greedy for its prey,
like a young lion lurking in secret places.

Arise, Lord; confront them and cast them down;
deliver me from the wicked by your sword.
Deliver me, O Lord, by your hand
from those whose portion in life is unending,
whose bellies you fill with your treasure,
who are well supplied with children
and leave their wealth to their little ones.

As for me, I shall see your face in righteousness;
when I awake and behold your likeness,
I shall be satisfied.

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.

Deliver me, O Lord, by your hand.

Generous Lord,
deliver us from all envious thoughts,
and when we are tempted by the desire for wealth,
let us see your face;
for your abundance is enough to clothe our lack;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Nelson Mandela: teaching people to love

president-nelson-mandelaToday Saint Laika’s remembers Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who died on this day in 2013. It is somewhat intimidating to try to say something meaningful in a short devotion. I suppose at the bottom of it all there was Mandela’s willingness to suffer for his beliefs, and his willingness to forgive those who caused his suffering, so that his beliefs could take root and grow.

Apartheid was a system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation by the National Party governments, the ruling party from 1948 to 1994, under which the rights, associations, and movements of the majority black inhabitants were curtailed by the minority white government. From 1960 to 1983, three and a half million non-white South Africans were removed from their homes, and forced into segregated neighbourhoods, in one of the largest mass removals in modern history. The government segregated education, medical care, beaches, and other public services, and provided black people with services that were often inferior to those of white people.

Confronted by this dehumanising system, Mandela fought against it in both non-violent and violent ways. He was a leader in the Defiance Campaign against Unjust Laws sponsored by the African National Congress in 1952. Working as a lawyer he was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities. In 1962, he was arrested, convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the state, and sentenced to life imprisonment. He served twenty-seven years of that sentence. From prison he became a symbol for the anti-apartheid struggle. The world took notice and South Africa became increasingly isolated. An international campaign lobbied for his release, which was granted in 1990 amid escalating civil strife. Mandela joined negotiations with Nationalist president, F. W. de Klerk, to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections in 1994. In those elections he became South Africa’s first black president. Under his leadership a new constitution was promulgated. He established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to heal the wounds of racism.

He introduced measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty, and expand healthcare services. He declined to run for a second term. He retired and became an elder statesman, focusing on charitable work in combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Quote: “People must learn to hate and if they can learn to hate, then they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Scripture. In the fifth chapter of "Matthew," verses forty-six to forty-eight, we read:

"For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect."

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INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the people of South Africa, that their politicians may give up their corrupt ways and return to the just ways of Nelson Mandela and the founders of democracy in their land.

... for an end to apartheid and segregation wherever it exists in our world.

... for prisoners of conscience and all who have been imprisoned unfairly.

... for those who fight for freedom, democracy and justice within their own lands.

... for an end to the growing racial segregation in the United Kingdom. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured in a warehouse fire in Oakland, California DETAILS and in a hotel fire in Karachi, Pakistan DETAILS; for those still missing; for friends and family of the victims.

... for the three people murdered by a gunman as they left a restaurant in Imatra, Finland and for their family and friends. DETAILS

... for agency workers.

... 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 "Meditations for Every Day" by Father Andrew SDC:

When our Lord came to this earth in what St Paul calls the fullness of time, it was not only the right psychological moment, when the world was united in the great Roman empire, speaking more or less the same language, and at peace, so that travellers could travel in comparative safety. All this made it an extraordinarily good moment for the dissemination of a great gospel, but it was also the moment of the worlds great need. The old pagan religions had altogether ceased to satisfy, pagan morality had become extraordinarily corrupt, and just when the world was groping in darkness and stricken with wounds, Christ came. The world needed him, and God in the Incarnation found a way to come to the world.

As we think of the present state of the world from the point of View of an ordinary man, it is not at all a hopeful situation, but, from the point of view of a Christian, we know that mans extremity is Gods opportunity, and God himself will come in his own way. We are not sufficient for the situation, but God certainly is, and he will give us the power to behave in such a way as to give him glory and reveal love to our neighbour. There is no sort of guarantee that life will mechanically develop into beauty, that you and I left to ourselves will evolve into sanctity. Our hope is not in ourselves but in him. In his own hidden way he enters into our life, in the midst of our darkness, pain, and temptation. Let us not doubt that he is sufficient for our situation, that he is saving us, perhaps all unknown to ourselves, as he was the worlds saviour though the world knew him not.

CLOSING PRAYER

Eternal God, when we are confronted by systemic evil, racial hatred, and injustice, inspire us to action through the life of your servant Nelson Mandela, who was willing to give his own life for the betterment of his people. Strengthen us by the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, 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.

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Saint Laika Advent Appeal Update

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A huge MadPriest thank you to Jonathan, Tim, Ingrid, Suzanne, Lois, Michelle, Barbara, Brian, Michael and David whose fantabulous generosity has led to the fact that we have already raised two hundred and fifty-nine pounds ninety-nine pence in our advent appeal this year. We have three weeks left in which to raise another seven hundred and forty pounds one penny and if the response so far is anything to go by we should do that with time to spare.

The donations I receive from the friends of Saint Laika's are my only source of income and the work I do at Saint Laika's is my main priestly vocation. In order to keep my head above water and my ministry available to all free of charge I have to run two appeals every year and this, dear people, is the second of them.

Please consider making a donation this year, no matter what amount. I am hoping to raise a thousand pounds or more. We have never reached our target before. Maybe, as this has been a year of surprises, this time we will.

Please click on the PayPal widget below to make your donation.

You do not need your own PayPal account in order to donate.




Thank you.

God loves you. I love you.

This cute puppy loves you.

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A Case Of Unmistakable Hypocrisy

A while back I covered at a couple of churches in a local team ministry whilst the team rector was in hospital. When the rector returned to work she sent me a really snotty email stating that she would only use me to cover services "in an emergency" because there were plenty of retired priests who were only too happy to offer their services for nothing? I emailed her back telling her that I charged the £24.50 (not a fortune by any means) per service because I was an unemployed stipendiary priest. I also explained to her that I had been sacked by the Church of England because I had suffered from depression so severe that I needed treatment in hospital. I never heard back from her.

I have just discovered that the rector who would not help a person who was unemployed because of past mental illness is the chair of a local charity that exists to promote mental wellbeing. On the about page on their website it states the following:

"County Durham and Darlington have some of the highest levels of worklessness, with mental health cited as the number one cause. The practical activities will allow participants to remove themselves from familiar and anxiety-making surroundings. By focussing on a new practical challenge, participants will improve their confidence and self-esteem. We use the local natural environment to support physical, mental & emotional wellbeing and encourage participation as a pathway to physical activity and as an antidote to social isolation."

The priest I am referring to is a shameless hypocrite but she is not unusual in a church where charity is seen as a stepping stone to a top job in the church, celebrity and even a cathedral canonship rather than something one does quietly and conscientiously because we were created in the image of God.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE SECOND OF DECEMBER, 2016
* JEAN DONOVAN AND THE SALVADORAN MARTYRS *

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OPENING PRAYER

God of hope, who brought love into this world,
be the love that dwells between us.
God of hope, who brought peace into this world,
be the peace that dwells between us.
God of hope, who brought joy into this world,
be the joy that dwells between us.
God of hope, the rock we stand upon,
be the centre, the focus of our lives,
this Advent time and always. Amen.

PSALM SIXTEEN

The Lord is at my right hand; I shall not fall.

Preserve me, O God, for in you have I taken refuge;
I have said to the Lord, 'You are my lord,
all my good depends on you.'

All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land,
upon those who are noble in heart.

Though the idols are legion that many run after,
their drink offerings of blood I will not offer,
neither make mention of their names upon my lips.

The Lord himself is my portion and my cup;
in your hands alone is my fortune.

My share has fallen in a fair land;
indeed, I have a goodly heritage.

I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel,
and in the night watches he instructs my heart.

I have set the Lord always before me;
he is at my right hand; I shall not fall.

Wherefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices;
my flesh also shall rest secure.

For you will not abandon my soul to Death,
nor suffer your faithful one to see the Pit.

You will show me the path of life;
in your presence is the fullness of joy
and in your right hand are pleasures 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.

The Lord is at my right hand; I shall not fall.

Give to us, Lord Christ,
the fullness of grace,
your presence and your very self,
for you are our portion and our delight,
now and for ever. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Jean Donovan and the Salvadoran Martyrs

Civil war raged in the small Central American country of El Salvador, from 1979 through 1992. There was extreme violence from both sides, including the deliberate terrorising and targeting of civilians by death squads, the recruitment of child soldiers, and other violations of human rights, mostly by the military. An unknown number of people "disappeared" during the conflict and the UN reports that more than seventy-five thousand were killed.

The heroic work of Roman Catholic sisters and lay missionaries threw them into the middle of the conflict. They provided help to refugees and the poor. They provided shelter, food, transportation to medical care, and they buried the bodies of the dead left behind by the death squads. They were in danger, yet they stayed among the people, and did their best to minister to their needs.

They had an ally in Bishop Oscar Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador’s capitol. In February 1980 he wrote to US President Jimmie Carter, begging him to stop sending the ruling junta financial and military aid. A month later Romero was gunned down while celebrating mass.

9077249Afterward, Jean Donovan wrote to a friend about the deteriorating conditions in El Salvador:

"The Peace Corps left today and my heart sank low. The danger is extreme and they were right to leave. Now I must assess my own position, because I am not up for suicide. Several times I have decided to leave El Salvador. I almost could, except for the children, the poor, bruised victims of this insanity. Who would care for them? Whose heart could be so staunch as to favour the reasonable thing in a sea of their tears and loneliness? Not mine, dear friend, not mine.”

In the afternoon of the second of December, Donovan and Sister Dorothy Kazel picked up two Maryknoll missionary sisters, Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, from the airport after the pair arrived from attending a Maryknoll conference in Managua, Nicaragua. Five members of the National Guard of El Salvador, out of uniform, stopped the vehicle they were driving after they left the airport in San Salvador. Donovan and the three sisters were taken to a relatively isolated spot where they were beaten, raped, and murdered by the soldiers. Their bodies were thrown into a shallow mass grave.

Scripture. In the first chapter of "Lamentations," at verse sixteen we read:

For these things I weep; my eyes flow with tears; for a comforter is far from me, one to revive my courage; my children are desolate, for the enemy has prevailed."

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INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who work within war zones providing care to civilians.

... for victims of rape.

... for sufferers from Parkinson's disease.

... for those living with HIV or AIDS.

... for the victims of the wildfires raging in Tennessee 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 Coming of God" by Sister Maria Boulding:

Every year in the weeks before Christmas the Christian Church celebrates the season called Advent, the Coming of the Lord. It is a poetic, mysterious and very beautiful time, during which the prayers and longings of the prophets and psalmists and anonymous poor people of the Old Testament come into their own. We are invited to identify with the people who waited for Christ during that long night watch, and certainly the poetic elements, combined with the darkness and stars for those who live in the north, make it easy. Nevertheless, we could be dogged by a feeling of unreality, a suspicion that there is something artificial about pretending to look forward to Christ's coming when we know that he has come already.

He has come, certainly, and that historic moment of his human birth cannot be repeated. The clock cannot be put back. The first Christmas was a gift from God which has changed human life and history, inserting into the heart of our affairs the love which gives them meaning. But the Advent we keep is not a poetic make-believe, or a nostalgic historical pageant, or even an exercise in remembering our roots, although this might have value. The coming of God in Christ still continues, and will be consummated in a coming and a gift beyond the stretch of our hope. We
are an Advent people. The season of Advent celebrates in symbolic form a reality of our own lives and of all mens destiny with God, because he who came in weakness in Bethlehem is he who will come again.

Constantly he comes. He came as a man into our human situation, accepted human experience as his own and loved it through to the bitter end, in order that what was bitter might be turned into sweetness and human experience become an expression of his sacrificial, redeeming love. He has transformed it from the inside, and offered us the possibility of allowing him to transform it in our lives too. The one historical unique birth at Bethlehem makes possible his birth in the many lives of those who will receive him, to whom he gives the power to become children of God. He is born in us continually as our minds, our actions, our reactions, our relationships, our experience and our prayer are Christified. But this is a lifetimes task, and we need to pray constantly from the still pre-Christian areas in us, "Come, Lord Jesus."

The particular experience of the chosen people, Israel, was like a sacrament, a symbolic expression created by God of the response and readiness that he needed in order to make his ultimate gift. In Israel the long preparation of mankind was focused. This is why we are invited to identify with Israel-the-symbol during the annual celebration of Advent. What is being expressed in this symbolic way is a reality of human life, and human life not simply for a special season of a few weeks each year, but all the time. Our lives are an Advent, a time of waiting, listening and hoping, a time of openness to the unimaginable gift of God. Israel was a focus; the Christian Church is a focus. But so are you.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, you gave grace to Jean Donovan, Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford, and Maura Clarke, to serve your poor ones in El Salvador, even at the cost of their lives. Inspire us by their sacrifice, to serve the needs of the poor in our own place and time; 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

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

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The Great Saint Laika Advent Appeal 2016

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Yes, folks!

It's that time of year again.

The time of year when the big bills start arriving at Saint Laika's HQ at exactly the same time that I have to find the money for Mrs MP's Christmas present and a little bit of festive cheer. For example, I have just paid out over seventy pounds for web hosting so that Saint Laika's can continue for another year.

The donations I receive from the friends of Saint Laika's are my only source of income and the work I do at Saint Laika's is my main priestly vocation. In order to keep my head above water and my ministry available to all free of charge I have to run two appeals every year and this, dear people, is the second of them.

Please consider making a donation this year, no matter what amount. I am hoping to raise a thousand pounds or more. We have never reached our target before. Maybe, as this has been a year of surprises, this time we will.

Please click on the PayPal widget below to make your donation.

You do not need your own PayPal account in order to donate.

Thank you.





God loves you. I love you.

This cute puppy loves you.

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Raymond Burke Rebukes Pope

I see that Roman Catholicism's most proud and arrogant cardinal, Raymond Burke, has decided that he is more infallible than the pope. Francis I has recently stated that his predecessor's allowance of the Latin mass to be said in parish churches without the permission of the local bishop was a "fair and magnanimous gesture to meet a certain mentality of some groups and people who had nostalgia," but that its use is an exception. Burke has publicly slapped down his boss by insisting he is wrong. Unsurprisingly (as they were birds of a feather) the squat cardinal considers the words of the pope who ran away as more binding than the words of the present pontiff who is as different to Burke as you can possibly get. The irony is that if Ratzinger was still in charge and Burke contradicted him, Burke would have been disappeared to a hermitage in the deepest, darkest forests of Eastern Europe immediately and without even the slightest possibility of parole.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE FIRST OF DECEMBER, 2016
* NICHOLAS FERRAR *

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OPENING PRAYER

Jesus, by your wounded feet,
guide me through this life.

Jesus, by your nailed hands,
use mine for deeds of love.

Jesus, by your pierced side,
cleanse my desires.

Jesus, by your crown of thorns,
destroy my pride.

Jesus, by your broken heart,
fill mine with love for you. Amen.

( Richard Crawshaw )

CANTICLE

You died the hour you used to rise for prayer.
In that rich hush beneath all other sounds,
you rose at one and took the midnight air
rising and falling on the wings and rounds
of psalms and silence. The December stars
shine clear above the Giddings, promised light
for those who dwell in darkness. Morning stirs
the household. From the folds of sleep, the late
risers wake to find you gone, and pray
through pain and grief to bless your journey home;
those last glad steps in the right good old way
up to the door where Love will bid you welcome.
Love draws us too, towards your grave and haven,
we greet you at the very gate of Heaven.

( Malcolm Guite )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Nicholas Ferrar: deacon, spiritual explorer

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Nicholas Ferrar, the founder of one of the most remarkable experiments in Christian community living in the history of Anglicanism. An English academic, courtier and businessman, he gave up his successful careers, was ordained a deacon and retreated with his extended family to the manor of Little Gidding in Huntingdonshire, where they lived in community.

1250667541_%e1%84%81%e1%85%ae%e1%84%86%e1%85%b5%e1%84%80%e1%85%b5_2009-6-_25-7-_14_%e1%84%8b%e1%85%a7%e1%86%bc%e1%84%80%e1%85%ae%e1%86%a8%2c_%e1%84%91%e1%85%b3%e1%84%85%e1%85%a1%e1%86%bc%e1%84%89Nicholas Ferrar was born in London on the twenty-second of February 1593. His family was wealthy, having gotten involved in the London Virginia Company, which oversaw the commerce and trade with the Virginia Colony in North America. He had an aptitude for learning. He was brought up in a devout Anglican home. After college, at what was then Clare Hall in Cambridge, Nicholas travelled to Europe, taking a position as a courtier to Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia. When he left her service he continued to travel for a while before returning to England in 1618. He set to work as one of the directors of the Virginia Colony, but when the Company was forced to dissolve in 1624, Nicholas made a life-changing decision.

At the age of thirty-three, Nicholas abandoned his successful political and commercial career to move to found a community of prayer. He bought the deserted manor and village of Little Gidding in Huntingdonshire, a few miles off the Great North Road, with the support of his mother, Mary Ferrar, and his brother John.

Mary Ferrar and the extended family and household (about thirty to forty people) moved into the manor house, and Nicholas became the leader and spiritual director of the community. In 1626 he was ordained a deacon in the Church of England.

In contemporary Anglican life, religious communities are fairly common, but this was two hundred years before the Oxford Movement would attempt to restore pre-reformation practices to the English church. The offices of morning and evening Prayer are two of the greatest contributions of the Anglican Church to the English language and Ferrar’s community prayed them each day. Someone from the family was engaged in prayer continuously, and so the entire "Book of Psalms" was prayed in the course of each day.

They fasted with great rigour, and in other ways embraced voluntary poverty, so that they might have as much money as possible for the relief of the poor. They also looked after the health and education of the local children. Ferrar died on the fourth of December, 1645. Civil unrest in England brought the Puritans to power. The king was killed and Oliver Cromwell ruled as regent. Unfortunately, the Puritans broke up the community shortly after Ferrar’s death, and their experiment in Anglican community came to an end.

Scripture. In the "Letter to Galatians," chapter six, verses nine and ten we read:

"So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith."

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INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those whose vocation is to pray for the world.

... for non-monastic Christian religious communities.

... for the homeless.

... 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 "Little Gidding" by T. S. Eliot:

Midwinter spring is its own season
sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
suspended in time, between pole and tropic.
When the short day is brightest, with frost and fire,
the brief sun flames the ice, on pond and ditches,
in windless cold that is the heart's heat,
reflecting in a watery mirror
a glare that is blindness in the early afternoon.
And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or brazier,
stirs the dumb spirit: no wind, but pentecostal fire
in the dark time of the year. Between melting and freezing
the soul's sap quivers. There is no earth smell
or smell of living thing. This is the spring time
but not in time's covenant. Now the hedgerow
is blanched for an hour with transitory blossom
of snow, a bloom more sudden
than that of summer, neither budding nor fading,
not in the scheme of generation.
Where is the summer, the unimaginable Zero summer?

If you came this way,
taking the route you would be likely to take
from the place you would be likely to come from,
if you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges
white again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness.
It would be the same at the end of the journey,
if you came at night like a broken king,
if you came by day not knowing what you came for,
it would be the same, when you leave the rough road
and turn behind the pig-sty to the dull facade
and the tombstone. And what you thought you came for
is only a shell, a husk of meaning
from which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
if at all. Either you had no purpose
or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
and is altered in fulfilment. There are other places
which also are the world's end, some at the sea jaws,
or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city -
but this is the nearest, in place and time,
now and in England.

If you came this way,
taking any route, starting from anywhere,
at any time or at any season,
it would always be the same: you would have to put off
sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
or carry report. You are here to kneel
where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
than an order of words, the conscious occupation
of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.
and what the dead had no speech for, when living,
they can tell you, being dead: the communication
of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.
Here, the intersection of the timeless moment
is England and nowhere. Never and always.

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord God, make us so reflect your perfect love; that, with your deacon Nicholas Ferrar and his household, we may rule ourselves according to your Word, and serve you with our whole heart; 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

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

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Us And Them

I have British friends and I have American friends. Most of my friends are liberal left in outlook. There are many similarities between my British liberal left friends and my American liberal left friends. For example they are in similar professions and have similar interests. However, the Brexit and US presidential votes have shown clearly that there is one huge difference between the Brits and the Americans and it is a difference that, as a Brit, I find hugely embarrassing.

The day after Donald Trump won the presidential race my American friends were in despair and the overall thing that concerned them was how Trump being in the White House would impact negatively on the minorities, the sick and disabled, the poor and the immigrants in their country.

The day after the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union my British friends were in despair and the overall thing that concerned them was how Brexit would impact negatively on their wealth and on their earnings. Yes, there were a few who were upset at the idea that the door would be closed on unrestricted immigration and a few worried about the possible loss of human rights but, on the whole, it was all about the money.

The irony is that, according to popular opinion outside of the USA and maybe even within the USA, it should have been the other way round. Americans are supposed to be the selfish, survival of the fittest capitalists whilst the Brits are supposed to care for each other and believe that there are far more important things in life than money. The truth is that Americans are a passionate race whatever their politics. They are idealists who find it very difficult to be cynical for any length of time. The Brits, on the other hand, are cynics par excellence to the point of just not giving a damn about anyone else but themselves. Any pangs of conscience can always be appeased by sending a few quid to Children in Need once a year.

An Advent Service Of The Light 2016

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A service celebrating the coming Christ as the light of the world, the sun of righteousness, the one who, in dying for our sins and then being raised from the dead, leads us out of darkness into everlasting life. Comes complete with lots of great music from all over the shop.

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.

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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

I'm wondering if advertising has changed how we view the truth. We know that adverts are exaggerated in what they claim for the product, at best. Do we view all "statements of fact" in the same way and are politicians and the media now operating on the advertising paradigm because they have identified it as the way the electorate assume information will be given to them?

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE THIRTIETH OF NOVEMBER, 2016
* ANDREW *

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OPENING PRAYER

Keep us, O Lord, from all pettiness.
Let us be large in thought, in word, and in deed.
Let us be done with fault-finding, and leave off all self-seeking.
May we put away all pretence and meet each other,
face to face, without self-pity, and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgment, and always generous.
Let us take time for all things.
Make us grow calm, serene, and gentle.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses,
straight forward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realize that it is the little things of life
that create differences;
that in the big things of life we are as one.
O Lord God, let us not forget to be kind.

( Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots )

CANTICLE

Great Saint Andrew, friend of Jesus,
lover of his glorious cross,
early by his voice effective
called from ease to pain and loss;
strong Saint Andrew, Simon’s brother,
who with haste fraternal flew,
fain with him to share the treasure
which, at Jesus’ lips, he drew.

Blest Saint Andrew, Jesus’ herald,
true apostle, martyr bold,
who, by deeds his words confirming,
sealed with blood the truth he told.
Ne’er to king was crown so beauteous,
ne’er was prize to heart so dear,
as to him the cross of Jesus
when its promised joys drew near.

Loved Saint Andrew, Scotland’s patron,
watch thy land with heedful eye,
rally round the cross of Jesus
all her storied chivalry!
To the Father, Son, and Spirit,
fount of sanctity and love,
give we glory, now and ever,
with the saints who reign above.

( Frederick Oakeley )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Saint Andrew, “the Peter before Peter”

Today, Saint Laika’s remembers Andrew the apostle, brother of Saint Peter. Andrew, according to John’s gospel, was the one to bring his brother Simon Peter to Jesus, leading John Chrysostom to call Andrew “the Peter before Peter.” In fact John had a warm regard for Andrew. Not only did he bring his brother to Jesus, but in "John," chapter six, he was the one to bring the lad with the five barley loaves and two fish to Jesus, and in "John," chapter twelve, together with Philip, he is the one who brings the Greeks to see Jesus.

andrew300His brother Peter went on to become the leader of the Twelve, and Andrew seems to fade into the background. In the fourth century, when the Emperor Constantine moved the capitol of the empire to Constantinople, the patriarch there dedicated the patriarchate to St. Andrew. Several centuries after his death, relics of Saint Andrew were brought to Scotland to a place once known as Fife, but now known as Saint Andrews.

The western church has always kept his festival near the beginning of Advent. He makes a wonderful complement to the other great Advent saint, John the Baptist. Andrew was John’s disciple first, before he met Jesus. Perhaps Andrew started the movement of disciples away from John to Jesus, leading John to comment in "John," chapter three, “He must increase, I must decrease.”

In any case, there is much to be gained from Andrew. His desire to lead others to Jesus is a virtue we all can cultivate. Saint Laika’s Sunday podcast is partly that, a desire to introduce to Jesus, people who might not otherwise get the opportunity. And Andrew’s self-effacing humility is again something for us to remember in our own spiritual efforts: It’s not about me. May my actions point to Christ.

Scripture: In the tenth chapter of "Romans," at verses fourteen and fifteen we read:

"But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent?"

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INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the people of Scotland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine, for fishermen and singers and all who claim Saint Andrew as their patron.

... for the people of Barbados who are celebrating their Independence Day today.

... for victims of blackmail.

... for the victims of the wildfires, that have killed three people and injured fourteen,around Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

... 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

A sermon of John Chrysostom on St John's gospeL:

After Andrew had stayed with Jesus and had learned much from him, he did not keep this treasure to himself, but hastened to share it with his brother.

Notice what Andrew said to him, "We have found the Messiah, that is to say, the Christ."

Notice how his words reveal what he has learned in so short a time. They show the power of the master who has convinced them of this truth. They reveal the zeal and concern of men preoccupied with this question from the very beginning. Andrew’s words reveal a soul waiting with the utmost longing for the coming of the Messiah, looking forward to his appearing from heaven, rejoicing when he does appear, and hastening to announce so great an event to others. To support one another in the things of the spirit is the true sign of good will between brothers, of loving kinship and sincere affection.

Notice, too, how, even from the beginning, Peter is docile and receptive in spirit. He hastens to Jesus without delay.

"He brought him to Jesus," says the evangelist.

But Peter must not be condemned for his readiness to accept Andrew’s word without much weighing of it. It is probable that his brother had given him, and many others, a careful account of the event; the evangelists, in the interest of brevity, regularly summarise a lengthy narrative. Saint John does not say that Peter believed immediately, but that "he brought him to Jesus" Andrew was to hand him over to Jesus, to learn everything for himself. There was also another disciple present, and he hastened with them for the same purpose.

When John the Baptist said, "This is the Lamb, and he baptises in the Spirit," he left the deeper understanding of these things to be received from Christ. All the more so would Andrew act in the same way, since he did not think himself able to give a complete explanation. He brought his brother to the very source of light, and Peter was so joyful and eager that he would not delay even for a moment.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, who gave such grace to your apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give unto us, who are called by your Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; 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.

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Terry Allen

I doubt that there are many people in the world who have a better collection of Americana records than myself. However, there are still some gaps in my library that are there mainly because the albums are just not out there to purchase in CD or digital form at an affordable price. The other week one of those missing masterpieces turned up on the market and it did so in style. Even though I have seen Terry Allen in concert (twenty odd years ago in Sunderland of all places) I have never owned his greatest work, "Lubbock (On Everything)." It was released back in 1979 when I was still mostly into punk rock and northern soul. By the time I became away of Mister Allen's genius it was impossible to obtain the album in the U.K. The good news is that it has now been rereleased in a twenty track deluxe edition. I have purchased it, of course, and it is every bit as good as I had been led to believe. I would like to show you a video of Terry Allen singing "Truckload of Art" off the album which is an alt.country classic but there is no performance video of it on YouTube. So here is the opening track, "Amarillo Highway" which is also very good.

If you decide to buy this record yourself I would be extremely grateful if you would do so via my Amazon portal. It will not cost you any extra and I will earn a bit of commission on your purchase. The same is true for any purchase you make from Amazon through my agency. Just CLICK HERE and follow the instructions.

Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

I see the British government is trying to make it illegal for internet porn sites to show certain types of sexual activities to the British public. As the list of proscribed activities is to include spanking and other forms of flagellation I really can't see the bill getting through the House of Lords.

Better Than A Body Part

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From The Catholic Herald:

The hair shirt worn by St Thomas More as he contemplated a martyr’s death in the Tower of London has been enshrined for public veneration. The folded garment made from goat’s hair is encased above an altar in Buckfast Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in south-west England.

Benedictine Abbot David Charlesworth believes it is of greater significance than a body part because it was directly linked to the religious convictions of the saint.

Yuk. It makes me itch just thinking about it.

Flash Company

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It looks like Pope Francis has been outflashed by Mother Teresa. I'm sure it won't bother him, he's a very humble man. Pope John Paul II, on the other hand, is simply livid.

"How dare she?" he is claimed to have said. "She was always a holier than thou goody goody!"

From Our South African Correspondent

Proving (beyond doubt) that black men can be complete tossers just as convincingly as a certain rich, white, American male, here is an extract from an opinion piece by Savious Kwinika, posted by CAJNews, whose company motto is "setting journalism standards for Africa" (and I have a dreadful feeling that they probably are). The title of the essay is "Africa: Women Weakest Link in Deceit By Satan."

The message I'm carrying is about women being easily deceived by things that look enticing but leading to destruction.

Jehovah God said many churches today across Africa and beyond are being controlled by the devil and demons hiding in Jehovah God's name yet majority of women cannot easily discern, sense, recognise or distinguish. As a result, majority women without the spirit of discernment, sophistication, enlightenment and sensitivity have fallen prey to demonic tricks of false prophets, pastors and bishops. In the process, majority of such women exerted pressure to their spiritually sensitive husbands to act in a way that would please such false prophets, pastors, bishops and evangelists while compromising Jehovah God's will. Usually such pastors and so-called prophets are doing what they do for their personal or selfish interests, which is against the Almighty God. Many false male prophets, bishops, pastors and so-called evangelists lure unsuspecting women into their churches to pretend they are being used by Jehovah God to perform miracles and help them find husbands or be healed. Such false prophets perform so-called miracles using magic, occultism, wizardry, sorcery, voodoos, spells and the invocation of spirits to hoodwink unsuspecting majority women.

Maybe some would question why I am targeting women alone as if men can't be deceived?

Majority of men are, stereotypically, as cool as cucumbers as opposed to women! Most men are shrewd and not deceived easily as opposed to women. More-so, men are like Jehovah Himself, though to some extent are not completely exempt from tricks by the devil, but very few men get deceived easily as compared to majority women in the world today.

Each time I drive through Johannesburg, sometimes I feel like grabbing a nearby whip and whack these women in some churches where they are easily deceived by such false prophets, pastors and so-called "men of God".

What Kate Did Next

The "Daily Mirror" is claiming that the reason the Gogglebox star, Reverend Kate Bottley and her husband have not appeared on the show recently is because they are taking time off to support their daughter through her GCSEs.

However, I wonder if this is the full story. I have noticed that, with the exception of Scarlett Moffatt (who's dismissal from the series would probably lead to a big drop in viewer numbers) when a member of the Gogglebox panel starts to profit from their appearance on the show they tend to disappear from the programme very quickly. The alcohol swigging rich couple being a prime example of this phenomenon.

20357871634_4e67e798e2The Reverend Bottley has certainly profited from the show. She is now seen on the same stage with those other two clerical celebrities, Giles Fraser and the bloke from the Communards, she landed her own TV documentary, she's the popular media's new go to for God quotes and I have even come across her endorsing charity campaigns.

But I shall miss the dog and her husband who stoically and silently sat beside our Kate as she judged the world from her sofa.

Trump Blows Chance Of John The Baptist Gig

r-mendel-kessinPresident-elect Donald Trump’s failure to thank God in his acceptance speech could be the fatal mistake which costs him the opportunity to usher in the Messiah, rabbinic scholar and international speaker Rabbi Mendel Kessin said last week. He compared Trump’s first post-election mistake to King Hezekiah’s massive blunder after the supernatural defeat of his foe Sennacherib.

Rabbi Kessin sees the hand of God in Trump’s unlikely election.

“It’s the greatest upset in American history. Clearly it was God. There is no other explanation. How could you not give credit to God Himself? The man had nothing to run on. No credentials. Nothing. How do you not thank God in your victory speech?”

MadPriest Gets Wrist Slapped ( Twice )

You might be surprised to read this but it is rare for me to have a comment removed from somebody else's webpage or Facebook wall. I tend to put any abusive stuff on my own blog. However, today I have been censored twice. Firstly, by no less than Durham's diocesan secretary who unilaterally decided that me banging on about episcopal abuse of the Church of England's exemption from employment legislation was not appropriate content for the diocesan clergy forum. Secondly, by the Guardian newspaper who decided that my response to an atheist art critic's condemnation of modern stained glass in cathedrals and churches (because the church is dying and people only go into them to look at Victorian stained glass) was personal abuse.

Maybe it was but "You'll be getting a teetotaller to write your wine column next" was a lot funnier and more bitingly accurate than the usual arrogant hipsterism that is the house comedic style of the liberal press nowadays.

Holy Communion At Saint Laika’s
The Feast Of Christ The King

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Jesus Christ is king. But he is not like our modern day monarchs, who live remote from their people behind high walls and protected from any unwanted intimacy with their subjects by state of the art security and men with guns. No, Jesus is very much old school. He lives with his people. He lives among his people, inviting them all into the great hall of his kingdom to drink and dine with him. We get a foretaste of this eternal, joyful feast when we gather, in Christ’s presence, to take part in the sacrament of holy communion, to eat and drink together in anticipation of our lord and saviour’s glorious reign, on earth as it is in heaven.

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.

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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

I think you'll find that Donald Trump despises everyone (except himself). Trying to outdo each other about who he hates the most is only going to result in the weakening of any concerted attempt to oppose his agenda. It is also exactly what he wants his opponents to do. If anyone is going to be the world's best ever at applying the policy of "divide and conquer" it is going to be Donald Trump.

Jean Rohe

If you are American and if you are depressed about the direction your country has taken of late, I would strongly suggest you watch this video. If it doesn't persuade you to pick yourself up off the ground and get back on the horse then nothing will.

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