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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE TWENTY-THIRD OF FEBRUARY 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Creator of the universe, watch over us and keep us in the light of your presence. May our praise continually blend with that of all creation, until we come together to the eternal joys which you promise in your love, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

CANTICLE

Christian, do you see them on the holy ground,
how the powers of darkness rage your steps around?
Christian, up and smite them, counting gain but loss,
in the strength that comes by the holy cross.

Christian, do you feel them, how they work within,
striving, tempting, luring, goading into sin?
Christian, never tremble; never be downcast;
gird you for the battle, watch and pray and fast.

Christian, do you hear them, how they speak you fair?
Always fast and vigil? Always watch and prayer?
Christian, answer boldly, "While I breathe I pray."
Peace shall follow battle, night shall end in day.

Well I know your trouble, O my servant true;
you are very weary, I was weary, too;
but that toil shall make you some day all my own,
at the end of sorrow shall be near my throne.

( Andrew of Crete )

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, as a tax adviser, to support his wife, Magdalena, and five children. 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 Hans and Sophie enthusiastically joined the Hitler Youth. They believed that Adolf Hitler was leading Germany and the German people back to greatness. Gradually though, they began to realise 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 Roman 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

Let us now call to mind our sin and the infinite mercy of God.

God the Father, have mercy upon us.
God the Son, have mercy upon us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy upon us.
Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, have mercy upon us.

From all evil and mischief; from pride, vanity, and hypocrisy;
from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all evil intent,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sloth, worldliness and love of money;
from hardness of heart and contempt for your word and your laws,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sins of body and mind;
from the deceits of the world, the flesh and the devil,
good Lord, deliver us.

In all times of sorrow; in all times of joy;
in the hour of death, and at the day of judgement,
good Lord, deliver us.

By the mystery of your holy incarnation;
by your birth, childhood and obedience;
by your baptism, fasting and temptation,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your ministry in word and work;
by your mighty acts of power;
and by your preaching of the kingdom,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your agony and trial;
by your cross and passion;
and by your precious death and burial,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your mighty resurrection;
by your glorious ascension;
and by your sending of the Holy Spirit,
good Lord, deliver us.

Give us true repentance; forgive us our sins of negligence and ignorance and our deliberate sins; and grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to your holy word.

Holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal, have mercy upon us.
Make our hearts clean, O God; and renew a right spirit within us.

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who stand up to tyranny and oppression no matter the personal cost and that we may have the courage and inclination to do so too.

... for the people of Brunei and the people of Guyana, who celebrate their national day today.

... for the children of Ghouta. DETAILS

... for the children of South Sudan. DETAILS

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From "Letters and Papers from Prison" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

If we look more closely, we see that any violent display of power, whether political or religious, produces an outburst of folly in a large part of mankind; indeed, this seems actually to be a psychological and sociological law: the power of some needs the folly of others. It is not that certain human capacities, intellectual capacities for instance, become stunted of destroyed, but rather that the upsurge of power makes such an overwhelming impression that men are deprived of their independent judgment, and give up trying to assess the new state of affairs for themselves.

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

THURSDAY THE TWENTY-SECOND OF FEBRUARY 2018
* Eric Liddell *

OPENING PRAYER

How great is your goodness, dear Lord.
Blessed are you for ever.

May all created things praise you, O God, for loving us so much that we can truthfully speak of your fellowship with mankind, even in this earthly exile; and however virtuous we may be, our virtue always depends on your great warmth and generosity, dear Lord.

Your bounty is infinite.
How wonderful are your works!

( Teresa of Avila )

CANTICLE

There is a race for us to run and a way for us the race to win.
To all those who have begun, God has spoken, “Look away to Him!

Look away from all around; look away from all the strife and din;
look away where peace is found; look away from everything to him.

Look away from fickle soul: look away from failing self within;
look away toward the goal; look away from everything to him.

Look away from all the past: look away from both the good and sin;
to the living one hold fast: look away from everything to him.

Look away into his face, he who will finish what he did begin.
O what grace to run the race, we obtain by looking off to him.

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 and the faith of the staff and teachers there 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.

After 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

Let us now call to mind our sin and the infinite mercy of God.

God the Father, have mercy upon us.
God the Son, have mercy upon us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy upon us.
Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, have mercy upon us.

From all evil and mischief; from pride, vanity, and hypocrisy;
from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all evil intent,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sloth, worldliness and love of money;
from hardness of heart and contempt for your word and your laws,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sins of body and mind;
from the deceits of the world, the flesh and the devil,
good Lord, deliver us.

In all times of sorrow; in all times of joy;
in the hour of death, and at the day of judgement,
good Lord, deliver us.

By the mystery of your holy incarnation;
by your birth, childhood and obedience;
by your baptism, fasting and temptation,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your ministry in word and work;
by your mighty acts of power;
and by your preaching of the kingdom,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your agony and trial;
by your cross and passion;
and by your precious death and burial,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your mighty resurrection;
by your glorious ascension;
and by your sending of the Holy Spirit,
good Lord, deliver us.

Give us true repentance; forgive us our sins of negligence and ignorance and our deliberate sins; and grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to your holy word.

Holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal, have mercy upon us.
Make our hearts clean, O God; and renew a right spirit within us.

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for Christian athletes.

... that we may never be tempted to consider ourselves greater than God or regard any endeavour of our own to be more important than the work of God.

... for the children of missionaries, clergy and church workers.

... for those living with brain tumours; that any surgery or other treatment they receive will be successful. DETAILS

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

... for victims of domestic violence.

... for those killed or injured when a coach veered off the Pan-American Highway near in the southern Arequipa province of Peru and plummeted three hundred and thirty feet down a rocky river bank; for all victims of recent road traffic accidents. DETAILS

... for people suffering from depression; that they may find the right medication or other treatment to make them well.

... for those facing redundancy from work.

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From "An Altar in the World" by Barbara Brown Taylor:

At least one day in every seven, pull off the road and park the car in the garage. Close the door to the toolshed and turn off the computer. Stay home, not because you are sick but because you are well. Talk someone you love into being well with you. Take a nap, a walk, and hour for lunch. Test the premise that you are worth more than you can produce, that even if you spent one whole day of being good for nothing you would still be precious in God’s sight. And when you get anxious because you are convinced that this is not so, remember that your own conviction is not required. This is a commandment. Your worth has already been established, even when you are not working. The purpose of the commandment is to woo you to the same truth.

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.

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Billy Graham ( may he rest in peace and rise in glory )

The preacher Billy Graham was a man of great faith and integrity. During his long life he brought many people to the point where they were overwhelmingly aware of God's love for them and he never let any of them down or gave them cause to doubt his sincerity.

Sadly, the behaviour of other famous evangelists, those who were in it for the money, the power and the sex, devalued his profession and may have made people suspicious of him when he was nothing like those rotten apples. But long after the names of the phoneys have been forgotten people will remember Billy and the Church will pray that God will send more like him to take the good news of Jesus Christ out into the world whilst having that same good news embedded in their own lives.

"During a 1953 rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Graham tore down the ropes that organisers had erected to separate the audience into racial sections. He recounted in his memoirs that he told two ushers to leave the barriers down 'or you can go on and have the revival without me.' He warned a white audience, 'we have been proud and thought we were better than any other race, any other people. Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to stumble into hell because of our pride.'" ( Wikipedia )

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE TWENTY-FIRST OF FEBRUARY 2018
* John Henry Newman *

OPENING PRAYER

Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly, that my life may only be a radiance of yours. Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel your presence in my soul. Amen.

( John Henry Newman )

CANTICLE

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
the distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou should lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long thy power has blessed me, sure it still will lead me on.
Over moor and fen, over crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
and with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
have loved long since, and lost awhile.

Meantime, along the narrow rugged path, thyself has trod,
lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith, home to my God;
to rest forever after earthly strife
in the calm light of everlasting life.

( John Henry Newman )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

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

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 an evangelical Calvinism.

In 1825 he was ordained a priest in the Church of England. In 1827 he suffered a nervous breakdown brought on by overwork and his family’s continuing financial distress. This was compounded in 1828 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 and became a member of the Congregation of the Oratory. He then returned to England and established a house of the Oratory in Binghampton, 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

Let us now call to mind our sin and the infinite mercy of God.

God the Father, have mercy upon us.
God the Son, have mercy upon us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy upon us.
Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, have mercy upon us.

From all evil and mischief; from pride, vanity, and hypocrisy;
from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all evil intent,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sloth, worldliness and love of money;
from hardness of heart and contempt for your word and your laws,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sins of body and mind;
from the deceits of the world, the flesh and the devil,
good Lord, deliver us.

In all times of sorrow; in all times of joy;
in the hour of death, and at the day of judgement,
good Lord, deliver us.

By the mystery of your holy incarnation;
by your birth, childhood and obedience;
by your baptism, fasting and temptation,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your ministry in word and work;
by your mighty acts of power;
and by your preaching of the kingdom,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your agony and trial;
by your cross and passion;
and by your precious death and burial,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your mighty resurrection;
by your glorious ascension;
and by your sending of the Holy Spirit,
good Lord, deliver us.

Give us true repentance; forgive us our sins of negligence and ignorance and our deliberate sins; and grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to your holy word.

Holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal, have mercy upon us.
Make our hearts clean, O God; and renew a right spirit within us.

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that the different denominations of the Church may come to understand and value each other.

... that the universities of the world may be places where all knowledge is valued; where students may be free to study without interference from ideologues and vested interests.

... for the laity of the churches; that they may be allowed to contribute fully to the decision making processes of their denomination.

... that we never be arrogant in our sectarian allegiance.

... for victims of knife crime and gang violence.

... for stricter gun control in the USA and the eradication of gun ownership throughout the world.

... for the five police officers and a soldier who were shot dead during a raid on a police station in South Africa's Eastern Cape province. DETAILS

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From "Meditations on Christian Doctrine" by John Henry Newman:

God has created all things for good; all things for their greatest good; everything for its own good. What is the good of one is not the good of another; what makes one man happy would make another unhappy. God has determined, unless I interfere with his plan, that I should reach that which will be my greatest happiness. He looks on me individually, He calls me by my name, He knows what I can do, what I can best be, what is my greatest happiness, and he means to give it me.

God knows what is my greatest happiness, but I do not. There is no rule about what is happy and good; what suits one would not suit another. And the ways by which perfection is reached vary very much; the medicines necessary for our souls are very different from each other. Thus God leads us by strange ways; we know he wills our happiness, but we neither know what our happiness is, nor the way. We are blind; left to ourselves we should take the wrong way; we must leave it to him.

Let us put ourselves into his hands, and not be startled though he leads us by a strange way, a mirabilis via, as the Church speaks. Let us be sure he will lead us right, that he will bring us to that which is, not indeed what we think best, nor what is best for another, but what is best for us.

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.

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE TWENTIETH OF FEBRUARY 2018
* Frederick Douglass *

OPENING PRAYER

Glorious Lord, I give you greeting!
Let the church and the chancel praise you.
Let the plain and the hillside praise you.
Let the dark and the daylight praise you.
Let the birds and the honeybees praise you.
Let the shorn stems and the shoots praise you.
Let the male and the female praise you.
Let the seven days and the stars praise you.
Let the air and the ether praise you.
Let the books and the letters praise you.
Let the fish in the swift streams praise you.
Let the thought and action praise you.
Let the sand-grains and the earth-clods praise you.
And I shall praise you, Lord of glory:
glorious Lord, I give you greeting! Amen.

CANTICLE

As oft, with worn and weary feet, we tread earth’s rugged valley o’er,
the thought, how comforting and sweet: Christ trod this very path before!
Our wants and weaknesses he knows, from life’s first dawning to its close.

Does sickness, feebleness or pain or sorrow in our path appear?
The recollection will remain, more deeply did he suffer here:
his life, how truly sad and brief, filled up with suffering and with grief.

If Satan tempt our hearts to stray and whisper evil things within,
so did he, in the desert way, assail our Lord with thoughts of sin,
when worn and in a feeble hour the tempter came with all his power.

Just such as I, this earth he trod, with every human ill but sin;
and though indeed the very God, as I am now so he has been.
my God, my Saviour, look on me, with pity, love and sympathy.

( James Edmeston )

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 he 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. He 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

Let us now call to mind our sin and the infinite mercy of God.

God the Father, have mercy upon us.
God the Son, have mercy upon us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy upon us.
Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, have mercy upon us.

From all evil and mischief; from pride, vanity, and hypocrisy;
from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all evil intent,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sloth, worldliness and love of money;
from hardness of heart and contempt for your word and your laws,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sins of body and mind;
from the deceits of the world, the flesh and the devil,
good Lord, deliver us.

In all times of sorrow; in all times of joy;
in the hour of death, and at the day of judgement,
good Lord, deliver us.

By the mystery of your holy incarnation;
by your birth, childhood and obedience;
by your baptism, fasting and temptation,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your ministry in word and work;
by your mighty acts of power;
and by your preaching of the kingdom,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your agony and trial;
by your cross and passion;
and by your precious death and burial,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your mighty resurrection;
by your glorious ascension;
and by your sending of the Holy Spirit,
good Lord, deliver us.

Give us true repentance; forgive us our sins of negligence and ignorance and our deliberate sins; and grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to your holy word.

Holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal, have mercy upon us.
Make our hearts clean, O God; and renew a right spirit within us.

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for an end to slavery and forced labour whatever form they take.

... for racial and gender equality throughout the world and for those who are campaigning for it.

... for the ending of all social inequality and injustice in our world. DETAILS

... for civilians killed or injured when Syrian government forces bombarded the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area outside Damascus. DETAILS

... for those in the path of ex-cyclone Gita and all affected by adverse weather conditions at this time. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured when a rubbish dump collapsed in the Mozambique's capital, Maputo; for all whose poverty forces them to live and scavenge among the garbage dumps of the world. DETAILS

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From "My Opposition to War" by Frederick Douglass:

I am opposed to war, because I am a believer in Christianity. I am opposed to war, because I am a lover of my race. The first gleam of Christian truth that beamed upon my dark mind, after having escaped the clutches of those who held me in slavery, was accompanied by the spirit of love. I felt at that moment as if I were embracing the whole world in the arms of love and affection. I could not have injured one hair of the head of my worst enemy, although that enemy might have been at that very time imbruing his hands in the blood of a brother or a sister. I believe all who have experienced this love, who are living in the enjoyment of this love, feel this same spirit, this same abhorrence of injuring a single individual, no matter what his conduct happens to be.

I believe, if there is one thing more than another that has brought a reproach upon the Christian religion, it is the spirit of war. Why, a little while ago, in the Congress of the United States, a member arose and proposed the appropriation of a large sum to the support of the chaplaincy in the navy. Our Congress is made up of various materials; among the number there is an infidel, the son of Robert Owen. That infidel, Mr. Owen, rose in his place at once, and opposed the proposition to support the chaplaincy; and on what ground, do you suppose? He did it, he said, on patriotic grounds.

He was opposed to the introduction of the Scriptures in the navy, for, he said, "If the principles of Christianity, if the doctrines inculcated in the New Testament are carried out in the lives of our soldiers, they would do the very opposite to that for which we enlist them in the service. Instead of shooting their enemies, they would love them; instead of butchering them, they would bind up their wounds; instead of blowing them into atoms, they would seek to preserve their lives."

He added, "I am utterly and unequivocally opposed to any support being given to the chaplaincy. They would preach the doctrines of the New Testament."

What a stain, what a blot: an infidel rising up and rebuking ministers claiming to be ministers of the God of love; rebuking them for their delinquency, and preaching a higher Christianity than those to whom he has been accustomed to look.

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.

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Leveret

I have wanted to see the folk trio, Leveret, in concert for years. Tonight I got my chance as they played a gig at the Sage in Gateshead and what a brilliant concert it was. I have their albums and, in my opinion, they are the pinnacle of English folk music at this moment in time. They are very talented musicians but they also have a whole lotta soul. I can listen to them for hours and often have done.

To make tonight even more special they were joined on stage by Emma Reid, a fiddler who has created a fusion of English and Swedish folk music. How she manages to play a Hardanger style drone at the same time as the melody on an ordinary fiddle is beyond me. But that's what she did. Even Sam Sweeney looked completely gobsmacked at her playing.

Supporting them was the National Youth Folk Ensemble, a group of young folk musicians (aged fourteen to eighteen) who the Leveret chaps and Emma had been tutoring all this past week in Allendale. Their playing was very lovely but even more impressive were their composing skills.

Excellent.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE FIFTEENTH OF FEBRUARY 2018
* Thomas Bray *

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty God, make us faithful witnesses in the mission of your church. Help us to seek justice, work for healing and salvation of our nations. Renew and empower us with your Holy Spirit for the establishment of your kingdom throughout our world, so diverse in tongue and race; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

CANTICLE

Awhile in spirit, Lord, to thee into the desert we would flee;
awhile upon the barren steep our fast with thee in spirit keep.

Awhile from thy temptation learn the daily snares of sin to spurn,
and in our hearts to feel and own man liveth not by bread alone.

O thou once tempted like as we, thou knowest our infirmity;
be thou our helper in the strife, be thou our true, our inward life.

And while at thy command we pray, "Give us our bread from day to day,"
may we with thee, O Christ, be fed, thou Word of God, thou living bread.

( Joseph F. Thrupp )

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 if you were to visit their website you would see the 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 schools and had secured the right for the Church of England to exist in Roman Catholic Maryland.

He was called home in 1700 to defend his work before Parliament, which had been receiving complaints against Bray’s work by Maryland Quakers.

In 1701, back in England, he established the SPG (Society for the Propagation of the Gospel), a missionary society concerned with carrying on the missionary work of the church. It also continues in existence to this day.

The society arrived 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, 1730, he served as a 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

Let us now call to mind our sin and the infinite mercy of God.

God the Father, have mercy upon us.
God the Son, have mercy upon us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy upon us.
Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, have mercy upon us.

From all evil and mischief; from pride, vanity, and hypocrisy;
from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all evil intent,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sloth, worldliness and love of money;
from hardness of heart and contempt for your word and your laws,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sins of body and mind;
from the deceits of the world, the flesh and the devil,
good Lord, deliver us.

In all times of sorrow; in all times of joy;
in the hour of death, and at the day of judgement,
good Lord, deliver us.

By the mystery of your holy incarnation;
by your birth, childhood and obedience;
by your baptism, fasting and temptation,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your ministry in word and work;
by your mighty acts of power;
and by your preaching of the kingdom,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your agony and trial;
by your cross and passion;
and by your precious death and burial,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your mighty resurrection;
by your glorious ascension;
and by your sending of the Holy Spirit,
good Lord, deliver us.

Give us true repentance; forgive us our sins of negligence and ignorance and our deliberate sins; and grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to your holy word.

Holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal, have mercy upon us.
Make our hearts clean, O God; and renew a right spirit within us.

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for missionaries and all who promote the Christian faith; for the USPG and the SPCK.

...  on International Child Cancer Day, for children living with cancer; for members of their families and their friends; for those who care for them; for those who are seeking ways to prevent and combat cancer in children. DETAILS

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

... for those killed or injured when a young man opened fire on the pupils and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

... for young people who feel excluded from society, who feel like outcasts in their communities.

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From "Towards Promoting All Necessary and Useful Knowledge, Both Divine and Human" 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 although 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.

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE FOURTEENTH OF FEBRUARY 2018
* Ash Wednesday *

OPENING PRAYER

Gracious God, today begins a period of inner reflection and examination. The days stretch before me and invite me inward to that silent, holy space that holds your Spirit. This special time beckons me to see my life through Christ's eyes and the truth and reality of your love incarnate. Give me the grace to enter the space of these days with anticipation of our meeting. And, when I open my soul to your presence, let your loving kindness flow over me and seep into my heart. I ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.

CANTICLE

I will arise and go to Jesus, he will embrace me in his arms;
in the arms of my dear Saviour, O there are ten thousand charms.

Come, you sinners, poor and needy, weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus, ready, stands to save you, full of pity, love and power.

Come, you thirsty, come, and welcome, God’s free bounty glorify;
true belief and true repentance, every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, you weary, heavy laden, lost and ruined by the fall;
if you tarry till you’re better, you will never come at all.

View him prostrate in the garden; on the ground your maker lies.
on the bloody tree behold him; sinner, will this not suffice?

Lo! the incarnate God ascended, pleads the merit of his blood:
venture on him, venture wholly, let no other trust intrude.

Let not conscience make you linger, not of fitness fondly dream;
all the fitness he requires is to feel your need of him.

I will arise and go to Jesus, he will embrace me in his arms;
in the arms of my dear Saviour, O there are ten thousand charms.

( Joseph Hart )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Ash Wednesday: remembering our dust

Today is Ash Wednesday. For Christians living in the West, it marks the beginning of Lent, a season of penance and preparation before the great celebration of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday.

This day takes its meaning from the story of the creation of Adam in the book of "Genesis."

"Genesis," chapter two, verse seven relates: “Then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.”

Later, as Adam and Eve are being expelled from the Garden of Eden after they sinned, God declares to Adam: “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

An echo of this lives on in the Church’s burial service, where, at the cemetery, we commend the body of the deceased to the ground with the words: “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”

And so, on Ash Wednesday, in solemn services full of church liturgy, or in simpler short services, or even on street corners, train stations, or parking lots, Christians come forward and receive ashes on their foreheads while they hear the words, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Followers of Christ understand the corrupting power of sin in and around us all. We intend to do what is right, but instead, we do what is wrong. There is a continual need for us to repent, to turn back to God, to change our ways. Lent offers the followers of Jesus a time and a way to come back to God when we have strayed, or to renew our discipleship with Jesus, as he moves closer and closer to his suffering and death.

Ash Wednesday helps us come to terms with our identity as sinners, and to remember that it was said of Jesus:”This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

May all who observe Lent, experience the close presence of the Lord, in the forgiveness of their sins.

Scripture. At the beginning of "Psalm Fifty-One," we find this prayer:

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

INTERCESSIONS

Let us now call to mind our sin and the infinite mercy of God.

God the Father, have mercy upon us.
God the Son, have mercy upon us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy upon us.
Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, have mercy upon us.

From all evil and mischief; from pride, vanity, and hypocrisy;
from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all evil intent,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sloth, worldliness and love of money;
from hardness of heart and contempt for your word and your laws,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sins of body and mind;
from the deceits of the world, the flesh and the devil,
good Lord, deliver us.

In all times of sorrow; in all times of joy;
in the hour of death, and at the day of judgement,
good Lord, deliver us.

By the mystery of your holy incarnation;
by your birth, childhood and obedience;
by your baptism, fasting and temptation,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your ministry in word and work;
by your mighty acts of power;
and by your preaching of the kingdom,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your agony and trial;
by your cross and passion;
and by your precious death and burial,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your mighty resurrection;
by your glorious ascension;
and by your sending of the Holy Spirit,
good Lord, deliver us.

Give us true repentance; forgive us our sins of negligence and ignorance and our deliberate sins; and grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to your holy word.

Holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal, have mercy upon us.
Make our hearts clean, O God; and renew a right spirit within us.

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From "The Word in the Wilderness" by Malcolm Guite:

Receive this cross of ash upon your brow
brought from the burning of Palm Sunday's cross;
the forests of the world are burning now
and you make late repentance for the loss.
But all the trees of God would clap their hands,
the very stones themselves would shout and sing,
if you could covenant to love these lands
and recognise in Christ their lord and king.
He sees the slow destruction of those trees,
he weeps to see the ancient places burn,
and still you make what purchases you please
and still to dust and ashes you return.
But hope could rise from ashes even now
beginning with this sign upon your brow.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty and Everliving God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and honest hearts, so that, truly repenting of our sins, we may receive from you, the God of all mercy, full pardon and forgiveness; through 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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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

I notice that a lot of peeps are taking the opportunity of Lent to withdraw from Facebook for a while. That's great. What is not so great is when they attempt to sell their decision to the rest of us as being part of their Lenten discipline.

Bollocks, it is!

They are giving up Facebook because they know that they are going to be a lot happier while they are no longer leashed to the monster. Lent is a good excuse and I am sure God does not mind in the slightest that his days of fasting are being used to provide an incentive for social media addicts to go cold turkey. But giving up Facebook is not a penance so do not pretend it is.

#wasntbornyesterday

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE THIRTEENTH OF FEBRUARY 2018
* Absalom Jones *

OPENING PRAYER

Glory to the Father, who has woven garments of glory for the resurrection; worship to the Son, who was clothed in them at his rising; thanksgiving to the Spirit, who keeps them for all the saints; one nature in three, to God be praise. Amen.

( Syrian Orthodox Church )

CANTICLE

After the toil and trouble,
there comes a day of rest;
after the weary conflict,
peace on the Saviour’s breast;
after the care and sorrow,
the glory of light and love;
after the wilderness journey,
the Father’s bright home above.

After the night of darkness,
the shadows all flee away;
after the day of sadness,
hope sheds her brightest ray;
after the strife and struggle,
the victory is won;
after the work is over,
the Master’s own word, "Well done."

After the hours of chastening,
the spirit made pure and bright;
after the earth’s dark shadow,
clear in the light of Light;
after the guiding counsel,
communion full and sweet;
after the willing service,
all laid at the Saviour’s feet.

After the pain and sickness,
the tears are all wiped away;
after the flowers are gathered,
no more of earth’s decay;
after the deep heart sorrow,
an end of every strife;
after the daily crosses,
a glorious crown of life.

( "Gospel Hymns No. 6" )

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 in the United States.

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 blacks to join the church, that the 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 U.S. 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 people within our churches who are from ethnic minorities.

... for an end to racial hatred and prejudice, in particular, that which is found in our churches.

... for an end to institutional racism, in particular, that which permeates Christian institutions.

... for those who take care of the sick; for the safety of those who risk their own health in doing so.

... on this World Radio Day, for those who work in the radio industry. DETAILS

... for people living with Parkinson's disease.

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From a thanksgiving sermon by Absalom Jones, preached on the first of January, 1808, in Saint Thomas's Church, Philadelphia: on account of the abolition of the African slave trade, on that day, by the Congress of the United States:

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 today, and forever.

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 seaports. 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 countrymen 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 forever by a public sale. For this signal interposition of the God of mercies, on 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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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

I think the fact that the world's most successful capitalist is investing in the campaign to overturn the UK's decision to leave the EU is proof enough of what the EU is really about - the protection and enrichment of the rich and big business. The foot soldiers of the remain campaign are middle-class liberals who say they are against the system but who are not prepared to take any risks to change it if there is any chance that they might end up worse off financially.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE NINTH OF FEBRUARY 2018

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord, whose mercy reaches to the heavens, whose faithfulness knows no end: let the greatness of your love be known to us, that we may worship you with wonder, joy and thanksgiving. Amen.

( "New Every Morning" )

CANTICLE

This is my story, this is my song,
praising my saviour, all the day long.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
O what a foretaste of glory divine;
heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
angels descending bring from above
echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my saviour am happy and blest,
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with his goodness, lost in his love.

This is my story, this is my song,
praising my saviour, all the day long.

( Fanny Crosby )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

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

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.

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 when she spoke, in 1843, 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 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 hymn writers.

... for those who are blind and the poorly sighted.

... that we may know that God loves us and that Jesus is our saviour.

... for the people of southern Cameroon who have been caught up in the bloody crackdown on separatists in the region; for the more than forty thousand refugees who have fled into neighbouring Nigeria and those committed to helping them. DETAILS

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From "Mere Christianity" by C. S. Lewis:

Even the best Christian that ever lived is not acting on his own steam, he is only nourishing or protecting a life he could never have acquired by his own efforts. And that has practical consequences. As long as the natural life is in your body, it will do a lot towards repairing that body. Cut it and, up to a point, it will heal as a dead body would not. A live body is not one that never gets hurt, but one that can to some extent repair itself. In the same way a Christian is not a man who never goes wrong, but a man who is enabled to repent and pick himself up and begin over again after each stumble because the Christ-life is inside him, repairing him all the time, enabling him to repeat (in some degree) the kind of voluntary death which Christ himself carried out.

That is why the Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or, if they think there is not, at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because he loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the
sun shines on 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.

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What’s The Word?

Then the king will say to those at his right hand, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me." (Matthew 25: 35-36 NRSV)

Notice how those at the king's right hand did not pray for the king
when he was in need of help. Usually, that is all we do.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE EIGHTH OF FEBRUARY 2018
* Josephine Bakhita *

OPENING PRAYER

May the Lord be blessed for ever for the great gifts that he has continually heaped upon me and may all that he has created praise him. Amen.

( Teresa of Avila )

CANTICLE

Adored by the acclaiming crowd,
he falls a man, and not a god!
He falls (no sooner deified
than smote) a sacrifice to pride,
anticipates the final hour,
and worms their fellow worm devour.

The man who praise from man receives,
nor to his God the glory gives,
in him the just reward we see
of sacrilegious vanity;
and all which nature called her own
we now refer to God alone.

But chiefly, Lord, the gifts of grace
to your sole glory we confess,
afraid to rob you of your right,
and arrogate with vain delight,
or take the homage of the throng
which only does to you belong.

Whoever, like Lucifer, aspire,
and suffer men their grace to admire,
most humbled, when exalted most.
Of Christ alone we make our boast,
and own ( if we perfection name )
perfection is with Christ the same.

( Charles Wesley )

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 in 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, spent 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 all who have been forcibly removed from their homes.

... for those removed from their families.

... for hostages, the trafficked and the enslaved.

... for Christians coerced into renouncing their faith and forced to adhere to a different religion.

... that we may be changed by the circumstances of our lives into being more effective bearers of the love of Christ for those we live and work among.

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From "Mere Christianity" by C. S. Lewis:

Even the best Christian that ever lived is not acting on his own steam, he is only nourishing or protecting a life he could never have acquired by his own efforts. And that has practical consequences. As long as the natural life is in your body, it will do a lot towards repairing that body. Cut it and, up to a point, it will heal as a dead body would not. A live body is not one that never gets hurt, but one that can to some extent repair itself. In the same way a Christian is not a man who never goes wrong, but a man who is enabled to repent and pick himself up and begin over again after each stumble because the Christ-life is inside him, repairing him all the time, enabling him to repeat (in some degree) the kind of voluntary death which Christ himself carried out.

That is why the Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or, if they think there is not, at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because he loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the
sun shines on it.

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. Amen.
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 Sant Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE SEVENTH OF FEBRUARY 2018

OPENING PRAYER

O God, our true life, to know you is life, to serve you is freedom, to
enjoy you is a kingdom, to praise you is the joy and happiness of the
soul. I praise and bless and adore you. I worship you. I glorify you. I
give thanks to you for your great glory. I humbly ask you to live with
me, to reign in me, to make this heart of mine a holy temple, a fit
habitation for your divine majesty. Amen.

( Augustine of Hippo )

CANTICLE

According to thy gracious word,
in meek humility,
this will I do, my dying lord,
I will remember thee.

Thy body, broken for my sake,
my bread from heaven shall be;
the testamental cup I take,
and thus remember thee.

Gethsemane can I forget
or there thy conflict see,
thine agony, and bloody sweat,
and not remember thee?

When to the cross I turn my eyes
and rest on Calvary,
O Lamb of God, my sacrifice,
I must remember thee.

Remember thee, and all thy pains
and all thy love to me;
yea, while a breath, a pulse remains,
Will I remember thee.

And when these failing lips grow dumb
and mind and memory flee,
when thou shalt in thy kingdom come,
Jesus, remember me.

( James Montgomery )

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 the people of Grenada who celebrate their national day today.

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From "Mere Christianity" by C. S. Lewis:

All I am doing is to ask people to face the facts, to understand the questions which Christianity claims to answer. And they are very terrifying facts. I wish it was possible to say something more agreeable. But I must say what I think true. Of course, I quite agree that the Christian religion is, in the long run, a thing of unspeakable comfort. But it does not begin in comfort; it begins in the dismay I have been describing, and it is no use at all trying to go on to that comfort without first going through that dismay. In religion, as in war and everything else, comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth, only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.

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.

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE SIXTH OF FEBRUARY 2018
* William Lloyd Garrison and Maria Stewart *

OPENING PRAYER

This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.

( Book of Common Prayer )

CANTICLE

Accept my service, Lord; accept this heart of mine.
Lo! at your feet, I humbly pray, you will make me yours alone.

These hands of mine I bring you, Lord,
fill them with the humblest work for you;
these feet, oh guide them in the paths
that you shall choose for them and me.

These eyes to scan your handiwork,
and read the love reflected there;
these ears to hear the message sweet
which whispers of the Father’s care.

These lips, dear master, do I bring
for you to touch and tuneful make;
my thoughts, Lord, consecrate even these
to loving service for your sake.

Thus heart and soul, dear Lord, I bring,
and humbly ask you to renew
with each day’s needs the strength and grace,
to render faithful service true.

Accept my service, Lord; accept this heart of mine.
Lo! at your feet, I humbly pray, you will make me yours alone.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

William Lloyd Garrison and Maria Stewart:
overcoming “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, William 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, where she ultimately 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 all its forms; for the liberation of those who are enslaved.

... for equality between women and men at work and at home, and that all women, throughout the world, may be able to participate all aspects of the political process.

... for an end to the cruel and completely unnecessary practice of female genital mutilation. DETAILS

... for the people of New Zealand who celebrate their national day today.

... for the people of the Maldives who are experiencing political turmoil at this time; for the release of political prisoners; for the removal of President Abdulla Yameen and a return of democracy and proper legal process to the nation. DETAILS

... for Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who is critically ill; that the reformation of democracy in Zimbabwe may continue. DETAILS

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From "Religion and the Pure Principles of Morality, the Sure Foundation on Which We Must Build" by Maria Stewart:

All the nations of the earth are crying out for liberty and equality. Away, away with tyranny and oppression! And shall Afric's sons be silent any longer? Far be it from me to recommend to you, either to kill, burn, or destroy. But I would strongly recommend to you, to improve your talents; let not one lie buried in the earth. Show forth your powers of mind. Prove to the world, that:

"Though black your skins as shades of night,
your hearts are pure, your souls are white."

This is the land of freedom. The press is at liberty. Every man has a right to express his opinion. Many think, because your skins are tinged with a sable hue, that you are an inferior race of beings; but God does not consider you as such. He has formed and fashioned you in his own glorious image, and has bestowed upon you reason and strong powers of intellect. He has made you to have dominion over the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the fish of the sea. He has crowned you with glory and honour; has made you but a little lower than the angels and, according to the Constitution of these United States, he has made all men free and equal.

Then why should one worm say to another, "Keep you down there, while I sit up yonder; for I am better than you?"

It is not the colour of the skin that makes the man, but it is the principles formed within the soul.

Many will suffer for pleading the cause of oppressed Africa, and I shall glory in being one of her martyrs; for I am firmly persuaded, that the God in whom I trust is able to protect me from the rage and malice of my enemies and from them that will rise up against me; and if there is there is no other way for me to escape, he is able to take me to himself.

Never will virtue, knowledge and true politeness begin to flow, till the pure principles of religion and morality are put into force.

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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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

I have received an email suggesting that I sign up for a course on "machine learning." Now, I may be missing something here, but shouldn't they be sending these emails to the machines? What the heck is the point of inventing machines capable of learning and then expecting us to learn more stuff?

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE FIFTH OF FEBRUARY 2018
* Anne Hutchinson *

OPENING PRAYER

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen.

CANTICLE

Amazing grace ( how sweet the sound ) that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.

It was grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come:
It is grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease:
I shall possess, within the veil, a life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine;
but God, who called me here below, will be forever mine.

( John Newton )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Anne Hutchinson:
“calling leaders to account"

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Anne Hutchinson, a key figure in the development of religious freedom in England's American colonies and the history of women in ministry.

Anne was born in England, but migrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony with her husband in 1634. Her strong religious convictions were at odds with the established Puritan clergy in the Boston area, and her popularity and charisma helped create a theological schism that threatened to destroy the Puritans' religious experiment in New England. She was eventually tried and convicted, then banished from the colony with many of her supporters.

It started with Bible study which she led for women, but soon men became interested in her studies, too. Anne accused the Colony leadership of espousing a “covenant of works.” This was a covenant which suggested that eternal life was for the obedient, death was the fate of the disobedient. In contrast to this, Anne Hutchinson preached a “covenant of grace,” which promises eternal life for all those who have faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit bestows on all the ability to respond to God's grace with works of love and mercy. This is one of the classic divides, especially since Reformation times. Do we earn the right to eternal life by our obedience to God’s will, or are we given eternal life by a gracious God, who also gives us the ability to respond to his grace by doing works of mercy and love?

Before she was condemned and exiled from the colony, she responded to her male judges with a judgment of her own: “...you have no power over my body, neither can you do me any harm, for I am in the hands of the eternal Jehovah my Saviour, I am at his appointment, the bounds of my habitation are cast in heaven, and I do verily believe that he will deliver me out of your hands.”

She moved her family to Rhode Island with the encouragement of Roger Williams, another dissident thinker, exiled from Massachusetts. Later she would move her family again to the lands held by the Dutch, to what would later become the Bronx. She and several of her children were killed in an uprising of Native Americans in 1643.

She is honoured by Massachusetts with a State House monument calling her a "courageous exponent of civil liberty and religious toleration."

Scripture. In the fifth chapter of "Romans," verses three to five, we read:

We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that we may be confident that God has graciously forgiven our sins through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

... that we may have the moral strength and courage to remain obedient to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

... for those who are facing redundancy from work.

... for students who take on huge debts to obtain degrees that will be of little or no benefit to them.

... for Esmond Bradley Martin, the ivory trade investigator who has been murdered in Kenya; for his family and friends and all who will mourn his passing; for the safety of the animals he spent so much of his life working to protect; for all who risk their lives campaigning to make the world a better place for all its creatures. DETAILS

... for an end to political corruption particularly, at this time, in South Africa where the legacy of Nelson Mandela is being tarnished by the greed and criminality of those who should be protecting it. DETAILS

... for the engineer who died and all who were injured when an Amtrak train crashed into a stationary freight train in South Carolina DETAILS; for all those involved in accidents over this past weekend.

... for those injured in a chlorine attack on the town of Idlib in Syria; for an immediate end to all forms of chemical warfare. DETAILS

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From "Christ's First and Last Subject," a sermon (no. 329) by C. H. Spurgeon:

And as repentance is of gospel parentage, I make a second remark, it is also of gracious origin. Repentance was never yet produced in any man’s heart apart from the grace of God. As soon may you expect the leopard to regret the blood with which its fangs are moistened, as soon might you expect the lion of the wood to abjure his cruel tyranny over the feeble beasts of the plain, as expect the sinner to make any confession, or offer any repentance that shall be accepted of God, unless grace shall first renew the heart. Go and loose the bands of everlasting winter in the frozen north with your own feeble breath, and then hope to make tears of penitence bedew the cheek of the hardened sinner. Go ye and divide the earth, and pierce its bowels with an infant’s finger, and then hope that your eloquent appeal, unassisted by divine grace, shall be able to penetrate the adamantine heart of man.

CLOSING PRAYER

O God, we thank you for Anne Hutchinson, whose visions of the liberty of the soul illumined by the light of Christ made her a brave prophet of religious tolerance in the American colonies; and we pray that we also may follow paths of holiness and good conscience, guided by the radiance of Jesus Christ; 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

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

Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

The only justification for praying for something without doing something practical to help the situation is if you cannot possibly do anything to help. Praying for something instead of doing something to help when you could help is a cop-out, a way of appeasing your own conscience and making yourself feel all self-satisfied and righteous. You are washing your hands of the situation with empty words.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE SECOND OF FEBRUARY 2018
* Candlemas *

OPENING PRAYER

Lord Christ, set us on fire, burn from us all that dims your light; kindle an answering flame in the lives of those around us, that darkness may be driven back and glory stream into your world transforming it with light. Amen.

CANTICLE

In his temple now behold him,
see the long expected Lord;
ancient prophets had foretold him,
God has now fulfilled his word.
Now to praise him, his redeemed
shall break forth with one accord.

In the arms of her who bore him,
virgin pure, behold him lie,
while his aged saints adore him,
ever in faith and hope they die.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Lo, the incarnate God most high.

Jesus, by your presentation,
you, who did for us endure,
make us see our great salvation,
seal us with your promise sure.
And present us in your glory
To your father, cleansed and pure.

Prince and author of salvation,
be your boundless love our theme.
Jesus, praise to you be given
by the world you did redeem.
With the Father and the Spirit,
Lord of majesty supreme!

( Hen­ry J. Pye and Will­iam Cooke )

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 blessed 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 you, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all the perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your 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. Then 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 elderly.

... for those who are waiting.

... for protection from the dangers of winter.

... for light in the darkness.

... for men living with prostate cancer.

... for those injured during a mass brawl between Afghan and Eritrean migrants in the French port city of Calais. DETAILS

... for those facing redundancy from work.

... for the ninety migrants who drowned when a people smugglers' boat capsized off the Libyan coast. DETAILS

... for those who died when two army helicopters collided in southern France. DETAILS

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From a sermon by Sophronius of Jerusalem:

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.

If Her Hair Offends You, Tell Her To Cover It Up

Today is World Hijab Day on which women of all faiths and none are encouraged to cover that sinful, lust-inducing hair of theirs unless they are alone with their owner.

You will notice that those who applaud the removal of the grid escorts from Formula One races are noticeably quiet about this particular abuse and degradation of women. Obviously, it is a woman's right to choose to put whatever clothes on that she wants to in public but not a woman's right to choose what clothes to take off.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE FIRST OF FEBRUARY 2018
* Christian Victims of Religious Persecution *

OPENING PRAYER

O Father, my hope;
O Son, my refuge;
O Holy Spirit, my protection;
Holy Trinity, to you be glory. Amen.

( Joannikios )

CANTICLE

Enthroned amid the seraphim,
where countless roll the wheels of time,
celestial light, almighty power
burst forth in this afflictive hour!
Effulgent, shine upon our race;
your ancient mercies, Lord, retrace!

From superstition’s dark domain,
from persecution’s cruel reign,
when long ago a tender vine was brought,
with joys exuberantly fraught;
in regions wrapped in destiny,
it rose and bloomed, a lovely tree!

Its shade the mountains overspread;
Its root, by bubbling fountains, fed;
nor drought, nor desert, could arrest;
its branches filled the farthest west:
beside a thousand flowery banks,
its clusters swelled in glowing ranks.

Now torn and prostrate its defence,
despoiled of its magnificence,
the savage hunter treads it down;
it fades beneath a tyrant’s frown.
The sword destroys, the fire devours,
the Deity in darkness glowers!

Ah! why deserted of our God?
His vineyard, why a field of blood?
Return, O God of hosts, return!
Your ravaged, slaughtered church discern!
Behold, and victory impart!
Yours, ever yours, shall be our heart!

( "The Psalms, Newly Paraphrased for the Service of the Sanctuary" 1833 )

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 an ecumenical vesper service, held just three 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 calendars 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 who are persecuted for being followers of Jesus Christ, especially at this time for Christians living in parts of the world dominated by Islamic extremism and fundamentalism; for the Copts of Egypt, the Christians of the ancient churches of the Middle East, Christians persecuted by their neighbours in Pakistan, Christians threatened by terrorism in Nigeria and elsewhere, and Christians harassed by the state authorities in China.

... for the mentally ill and all suffering from mental health or personality problems.

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From "Healology" by Criss Jami:

On a social level, secularism is safe. As literally the world's most fundamental conformist, the secularist wants to call himself a revolutionary all in the same. In most parts of the present world, rebellion against Christianity is not really much of a rebellion if one is to consider "rebellion" something of a courageous sort or a bold act. Long ago Christ was crucified, and in some form or another, to this day, the scorn continues for "little Christs." The world hates Christians, and according to Christ, it is supposed to hate Christians. A true Christianity is a true rebellion; and for one to be "freed from Christianity" is for one to religiously conform to the pressures of the rest of the world, for one to be freed from freedom.

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 the 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.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE THIRTIETH OF JANUARY 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty God and Father, help us to be still in your presence, that we may know ourselves to be your people, and you to be our God, through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

CANTICLE

Great God, the heavens’ well-ordered frame
declares the glories of your name:
there your rich works of wonder shine;
a thousand starry beauties there,
a thousand radiant marks appear
of boundless power and skill divine.

From night to day, from day to night,
the dawning and the dying light
lectures of heavenly wisdom read;
with silent eloquence they raise
our thoughts to our creator’s praise,
and neither sound nor language need.

Yet their divine instructions run
far as the journeys of the sun,
and every nation knows their voice:
the sun, like some young bridegroom dressed,
breaks from the chambers of the east,
rolls round, and makes the earth rejoice.

Wherever he spreads his beams abroad
he smiles and speaks his maker God;
all nature joins to show your praise:
thus God in every creature shines;
fair is the book of nature’s lines,
but fairer is your book of grace.

( Isaac Watts )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

The trial of Giordano Bruno

In the inevitable skirmishes between scientific thought and medieval religion, the names of Copernicus and Galileo come first to mind, but on the twenty-seventh of January, 1593, Giordano Bruno walked into the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Rome to begin a seven-year trial which would end in his execution in February of 1600.

The Medieval Church had sought to control freedom of thought and expression by means of the Inquisition, and such tools as the Index of Forbidden Books. But the Reformation of the Church, begun in the early sixteenth century cracked the tight grip of the Roman Church on the lives of people. What makes Bruno an interesting character is that he challenged not just the Roman Church, but any institutional expression of Christianity that made claims to ultimate truth.

Born a Roman Catholic, Bruno entered the Dominican Order and was ordained as a priest in 1572. He was a speculative theologian and philosopher. He was willing to take a fresh look at any notion people thought was settled doctrine. By the time of his trial, Bruno had a perfect track record: he had been excommunicated by the Roman Catholics, the Calvinists and the Lutherans, and he would have been excommunicated by the Anglicans, except he left England and returned to the Continent before the charges could be filed.

He viewed as ideal the notion that all religious systems of thought should get along with each other in a spirit of tolerance and dialogue. He himself exalted philosophy over religion stating that religion is a tool to instruct and govern the ignorant, while philosophy was the discipline whereby the civilised could govern themselves.

His scientific views went beyond Copernicus. He not only understood that the Sun was the centre of our solar system but also taught that the stars were other suns which also had planets surrounding them. He thought that the universe was infinite, not finite, and believed that there were other worlds containing life out in the universe.

He had no trouble confessing the traditional doctrines of the Church such as the Holy Trinity, and the Incarnation, but insisted that all doctrines were historically conditioned.

He had been living in Venice when the Holy Inquisition caught up with him and demanded his extradition to Rome. At the end of his long and torturous trial, he was given a sentence of execution.

He calmly told the chief judge: “Perhaps your fear in passing judgment on me is greater than mine in receiving it.”

Scripture. In the ninth chapter of "Ecclesiastes," at the eleventh verse, we read:

Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favour to the skilful; but time and chance happen to them all.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for scientists, in particular, those who also believe in a creator God and those who are shunned by the scientific establishment because they question what is held to be true.

... for heretics, those who think outside of the box, those who question, those who are different and those who just do not fit in.

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From "Cause, Principle, and Unity" by Giordano Bruno:

Cause, principle, and one eternal
from whom being, life, and movement are suspended,
and which extends itself in length, breadth, and depth,
to whatever is in heaven, on earth, and hell;
with sense, with reason, with mind, I discern,
that there is no act, measure, nor calculation, which can comprehend
that force, that vastness and that number,
which exceeds whatever is inferior, middle, and highest;
blind error, avaricious time, adverse fortune,
deaf envy, vile madness, jealous iniquity,
crude heart, perverse spirit, insane audacity,
will not be sufficient to obscure the air for me,
will not place the veil before my eyes,
will never bring it about that I shall not
contemplate my beautiful sun.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, we ask forgiveness of you for all those who, out of love for you, used worldly power to kill others in your name. We thank you, for the ways you have inspired us to seek the deep truths of our life together in this universe, and we ask that as we contend for the truth, our behaviour toward others follows the example of our lord and saviour, Jesus Christ. 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.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE TWENTY-NINTH OF JANUARY 2018
* Andrei Rublev *

OPENING PRAYER

God, of your goodness, give me yourself; you are sufficient for me and anything less that I could ask for would not do you full honour. And if I ask anything that is less, I shall always lack something, but in you alone I have everything. Amen.

( Julian of Norwich )

CANTICLE

Above the trembling elements,
above life’s restless sea,
dear Saviour, lift my spirit up,
O lift me up to thee!

Great calmness there, sweet patience, too,
upon thy face I see;
I would be calm and patient, Lord,
O lift me up to thee!

I am not weary of thy work,
from earth I would not flee;
but while I walk and while I serve,
O lift me up to thee!

That I may bless my tender friends,
and those who love not me;
O, lift me high above myself,
dear Jesus, up to thee!

Whatever falls, of good or ill,
thy hand, thy care I see,
and while these varied dealings pass,
O lift me up to thee!

And when my eyes close for the last,
still this my prayer shall be:
dear Saviour, lift my spirit up,
and lift me up to thee!

( Ambrose of Milan )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Andrei Rublev, Made in the Image of God

Anyone with even a passing acquaintance with Eastern Orthodox worship knows the importance of icons. The humblest orthodox church sanctuary is a portal into heaven, where the earthbound worshipper is surrounded by the angels and the saints. Today we tell the story of Andrei Rublev, a figure of late fourteenth, early fifteenth century Russia, arguably the greatest iconographer in Russian history.

His name begins to appear in 1405 associated with icons and frescos that were in the Cathedral of the Annunciation in the Kremlin. Afterwards, his name is associated with icons in several other Russian cathedrals.

For Andrei, writing an icon was a spiritual exercise. It involved the ritual of preparing the surface, applying the painted and precious metal background and then creating the image, first outlining it in red. Throughout he would repeatedly say the “Jesus Prayer” (“Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me”). He was creating a window into the divine which he knew was always before him but which was invisible to the human eye. He knew he was able to create such an image of God because he himself was made in the image of God. His object was to be totally focused on receiving God’s love and loving in return.

He died peacefully in 1430.

His most famous icon is that of the Holy Trinity (see top of this post). It is based on an earlier icon known as the "Hospitality of Abraham.” Rublev removed the figures of Abraham and Sarah from the scene, and through a subtle use of composition and symbolism changed the subject to focus on the mystery of the Trinity.

Scripture. In the twenty-eighth chapter of "Genesis," Jacob awakens from a dream and exclaims:

"Surely the LORD is in this place and I did not know it!"

And he was afraid, and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for icon writers and other painters of "windows into the divine."

... for the people of Russia, especially as they approach another corrupt presidential election; that tyranny in their nation may cease one day soon.

... for those arrested in Russia over the weekend for speaking out against oppression in their land; for democracy in Russia; for all prisoners of conscience throughout the world.

... for gay people and other victims of human rights abuse in Chechnya. DETAILS

... for the transgender women of Indonesia; in particular for the twelve who were arrested in the Aceh province over the weekend, whose hair was forcibly cut and who have been made to wear men's clothes and subjected to "coaching" aimed at "making them real men." DETAILS

... for those killed or injured in three terrorist attacks in Kabul over the weekend.

... for those affected by floods in France and inclement weather elsewhere in the world.

... for those killed, injured or made homeless when fire swept through a slum in the Lang'ata area of Nairobi, Kenya, on Sunday evening DETAILS; for all who are forced by poverty to live in slums and shantytowns.

... for an end to the international arms trade.

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From "A Brush with God" by Peter Pearson:

The West, for many centuries, has been dominated by a highly rationalistic mindset that presumes to express and explain the nature of God through words. The East has only recently begun to express its understanding of God in those ways. For the most part, Eastern Christianity has always recognised that it can only say so much about God in finite, human ways before it must go silent before the mystery of the Infinite and Unspeakable. Instead of defining ultimate reality in theological concepts, the East has relied upon its artists, musicians, and poets to proclaim what can only be understood in the heart.

CLOSING PRAYER

Holy God, we bless you for the gift of your monk and icon writer Andrei Rublev, who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, provided a window into heaven for generations to come, revealing the majesty and mystery of the holy and blessed Trinity; who lives and reigns through ages of ages. 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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Passing Thought Of A Mad Priest

I wonder if the descendants of the survivors of global warming will look back and regard it as one of the best things that ever happened to the world.

The problem with plague, nuclear war and asteroid collision as methods of population control is that each one of them could easily end up wiping out everyone on the planet. Global warming will not do this. It will kill billions but there will come a point when the number of people left will not be sufficient to continue to pollute the atmosphere enough to maintain the lethal rises in temperature and things will gradually get back to normal.

Whoopee!

Why I Love Country Music

We've been to three concerts in the last week - a folk concert, a classical
concert and a country concert. I don't think I've ever done that before in
my life. Whatismore they were all brilliant. This video features "Memphis Rain,"
which is my favourite song by Aaron Lee Tasjan who we saw perform tonight.

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