Of Course, I Could be Wrong

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE NINETEENTH OF OCTOBER, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ open all our eyes, that we may see that blessed hope to which we are called; that we may altogether glorify the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent down to us from heaven; to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit be rendered all honour and glory to all eternity. Amen.

( John Jewell, 1522-1571 )

CANTICLE

Watched by the world’s malignant eye,
who load us with reproach and shame;
as servants of the Lord most high,
as zealous for His glorious name,
we ought in all his paths to move,
with holy fear and humble love.

That wisdom, Lord, on us bestow,
from every evil to depart;
to stop the mouth of every foe,
while, upright both in life and heart,
the proofs of godly fear we give,
and show them how the Christians live.

( Charles Wesley, 1707–1788 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Henry Martyn: diffusing the gospel of peace

Henry Martyn was a young man who felt a calling to be a missionary. His life left a bigger impact on global Christianity than the shortness of his life (he lived for just thirty-one years) might lead one to believe.

Henry was born in Truro, Cornwall in 1781. He had intended to practice law, but he was captivated by a sermon he heard on missionary work in India, and so he changed course, got himself ordained as a priest in the Church of England and set off to India in 1805. On his way around the Cape of Good Hope, Africa’s southernmost tip, he was caught up in the British takeover of the colony from the Dutch. He tended to dying soldiers and was repulsed by the horror of war.

He wrote in his diary: “I prayed that England whilst she sent the thunder of her arms to distant regions of the globe, might show herself great indeed, by sending forth the ministers of her church to diffuse the gospel of peace.”

He arrived in India in 1806 and spent the next several years establishing churches and schools and, because he was gifted with an innate understanding of languages, worked on translating "The New Testament" and "The Book of Common Prayer" into Urdu, the local Hindustani language, and into Persian.

In 1811 he travelled to southern Iran where he perfected his Persian "New Testament" and engaged in theological discussions with Muslims, Jews and Armenians, the first English priest ever to break that new ground.

Stricken with fever, he began making his way overland to the Mediterranean, where he hoped to catch a ship back to England. However he made it only as far as Armenia where he died on the sixteenth of October, 1812. He was given Christian burial by the clergy of the Armenian Church.

Scripture. In the forty-ninth chapter of "Isaiah," at verses five and six, we read:

And now the Lord says, "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for translators of the scriptures, that their work may lead to many reading the good news about Jesus Christ and accepting him as their saviour.

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

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

... for Chris and all who are undergoing surgery today.

... 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 Henry Martyn:

To walk in Christ is to remember always that we have thus, in the person of Christ, all the powers of the Godhead and all the sympathies. of the Manhood interested about us and attached to us; that Christ being with us as God, it is the infinite'strength of the Almighty that defends, unerring wisdom that guides and everlasting love that comforts us; that, as Man, we have in him one that is experimentally acquainted with our sorrows, trials, and temptations, and disposed to sympathise with us.

To walk in Christ is so to acknowledge him in these relations, as to place an unbounded confidence in him. If it be the pressure of present affliction, whether temporal or spiritual, that is our trial, we should assure ourselves that it is permitted or appointed by him, regulated by him in its duration and degree; and a that it shall eventually forward our sanctification; and that, in the meantime, grace shall be given us to bear it patiently. If future difficulties foreseen, anxiety about our being faithful in such and such circumstances, be the cause of distress (and our creative fancy is ever inventing something or other to terrify us) all such disquieting fears are to be removed by leaving these: difficulties with Christ as the sheep looks to the shepherd for food.

CLOSING PRAYERS

O God of the nations, you gave to your faithful servant Henry Martyn a brilliant mind, a loving heart and a gift for languages, that he might translate the scriptures and other holy writings for the peoples of India and Persia. Inspire in us a love like his, eager to commit both life and talents to you who gave them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

A complete ban on gun ownership in the United States would drastically reduce the number of mass shootings that take place, but it would also help prevent the Democratic Party shooting itself in the foot every time they gain even the slightest political advantage over the Republicans, and that has to be a good thing.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE EIGHTEENTH OF OCTOBER, 2018
* Luke *

OPENING PRAYER

O God, who by your almighty word does enlighten every person who comes into the world, enlighten, we beseech you, the hearts of us, your servants, by the glory of your grace, that we may ever think such things as are worthy and pleasing to your Majesty and love you with a perfect heart, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

( Alcuin of York, 735-804 )

CANTICLE

Saviour, who did healing give, still in power go before us;
you through death did bid men live, unto fuller life restore us;
strength from you the fainting found, deaf men heard, the blind went seeing;
at your touch was banished sickness and the leper felt new being.

You did work your deeds of old through the loving hands of others;
still your mercies manifold bless men by the hands of brothers;
angels still before your face go, sweet health to brothers bringing;
still, hearts glow to tell his praises with whose name the Church is ringing.

Loved physician, for his word lo, the gospel page burns brighter;
mission servant of the Lord, painter true, and perfect writer;
Saviour, of your bounty send such as Luke of gospel story,
friends to all in body’s prison till the sufferers see thy glory.

( Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, 1851–1920 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Luke: gospel writer.

Luke, the author of the third gospel, and the "Book of Acts," has left us a marvellous testimony about the way God moved the earth into a new time, a time of the Spirit, a time for confidence in the midst of difficulties, a time for trust in God for salvation here and later in the “kingdom.” There is no record that he ever met Jesus personally, but he was clearly much inspired by hearing about him from those who had known him.

He was one of Paul’s fellow missionaries in the early spread of Christianity through the Roman world. He was fluent in the Greek language of his day; the text of his gospel is clearly the most polished Greek in the "New Testament." So the church has come to believe that his purpose in writing was that Gentiles might learn about the Lord.

The infancy narratives about Jesus and John the Baptist show his careful attention to themes from the Hebrew "Bible." He includes in his work six miracles and eighteen parables not recorded in the other gospels. The picture of Christ that he paints is of a grace-filled saviour, full of forgiveness and motivated by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the "Acts of the Apostles" he writes, not a history of the early church, but a salvation history, which shows how God’s Holy Spirit was active in the struggles of the apostles and their triumphs over persecution, in their preaching of the good news, in the conversion and baptism of other disciples, who would extend the Church into the future.

For myself, the story of the “good thief” epitomises the Jesus Luke wants us to know. And so I commend it to you as our scripture for today.

Scripture. At the twenty-third chapter of Luke, beginning at verse thirty-nine, we read:

One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!"

But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong."

Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

Jesus replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for doctors, surgeons, artists, painters, notaries and all people, places and institutions which claim Luke as their patron.

... that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we may bring healing and good news to the world and to its people.

... for those in hospital recovering from surgery.

... for those killed or injured when an eighteen-year-old student set off a bomb in the canteen and then ran through the Kerch technical college in Crimea firing at fellow pupils before killing himself. DETAILS

... for those forced from their homes and struggling to survive due to a severe drought in northern and western Afghanistan. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From a homily by Gregory the Great:

Our Lord and Saviour sometimes gives us instruction by words and sometimes by actions. His very deeds are our commands and whenever he acts silently he is teaching us what we should do. For example, he sends his disciples out to preach two by two, because the precept of charity is twofold – love of God and of one’s neighbour.

The Lord sends his disciples out to preach in twos in order to teach us silently that whoever fails in charity toward his neighbour should by no means take upon himself the office of preaching.

Rightly is it said that he sent them ahead of him into every city and place where he himself was to go. For the Lord follows after the preachers, because preaching goes ahead to prepare the way, and then when the words of exhortation have gone ahead and established truth in our minds, the Lord comes to live within us.

To those who preach Isaiah says, "Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God."

And the psalmist tells them, "Make a way for him who rises above the sunset."

The Lord rises above the sunset because from that very place where he slept in death, he rose again and manifested a greater glory. He rises above the sunset because in his resurrection he trampled underfoot the death which he endured. Therefore, we make a way for him who rises above the sunset when we preach his glory to you, so that when he himself follows after us, he may illumine you with his love.

Let us listen now to his words as he sends his preachers forth: "The harvest is great but the labourers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest."

That the harvest is good but the labourers are few cannot be said without a heavy heart, for although there are many to hear the good news there are only a few to preach it. Indeed, see how full the world is of priests, but yet in God’s harvest a true labourer is rarely to be found; although we have accepted the priestly office we do not fulfil its demands.

Think over, my beloved brothers, think over his words: "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest."

Pray for us so that we may be able to labour worthily on your behalf, that our tongue may not grow weary of exhortation, that after we have taken up the office of preaching our silence may not bring us condemnation from the just judge.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke to set forth in his gospel the love and healing power of your son: graciously continue in your church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE TWELFTH OF OCTOBER, 2018
* Elizabeth Fry and Edith Cavell *

OPENING PRAYER

My dearest Lord, be a bright flame before me, be a guiding star above me, be a smooth path beneath me, be a kindly shepherd behind me, today and ever more. Amen.

( Columba, 521-597 )

CANTICLE

Walk in the light: so shall you know that fellowship of love
his Spirit only can bestow who reigns in light above.

Walk in the light: and sin abhorred shall never defile again;
the blood of Jesus Christ, your lord, shall cleanse from every stain.

Walk in the light: and you shall find your heart made truly his
who dwells in cloudless light enshrined, in whom no darkness is.

Walk in the light: and you shall own your darkness passed away,
because that light has on you shone in which is perfect day.

Walk in the light: and even the tomb no fearful shade shall wear;
glory shall chase away its gloom, for Christ has conquered there.

Walk in the light: and yours shall be a path, though thorny, bright;
for God, by grace, shall dwell in you, and God himself is light.

( Bernard Barton, 1784–1849 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Elizabeth Fry: the "angel” of prisons
Edith Cavell: more than a patriot

Today Saint Laika’s remembers two amazing women, servants of God, whose compassion saved lives. We have become accustomed to women taking their place alongside men, equal partners in the public square, but these women broke ground as they lived in times where the role of women in public was defined more by home and family.

Betsy Fry was born in 1780, into a family of Quakers in Norwich, England. At age eighteen, moved by the preaching of William Savery, an American Quaker, she took an interest in the poor, the sick, and the prisoners. She collected old clothes for the poor, visited those who were sick in her neighbourhood and started a Sunday school in the summer house to teach children to read. She visited Newgate Prison and was horrified by the condition of both prison and prisoner. The women's section was overcrowded with women and children, some of whom had not even received a trial. They did their own cooking and washing in the small cells in which they slept on straw. She went on to found a prison school for the children who were imprisoned with their parents. She began a system of supervision and required the women to sew and to read the "Bible." In 1817 she helped found the Association for the Reformation of the Female Prisoners in Newgate. This led to the eventual creation of the British Ladies' Society for Promoting the Reformation of Female Prisoners, the first nationwide women's organisation in Britain. She also helped the homeless, establishing a nightly shelter in London and in 1824, in Brighton, she started the Brighton District Visiting Society, arranging for volunteers to visit the homes of the poor and provide help and comfort to them.

She died on the twelfth of October, 1845.

Edith Louisa Cavell was a British nurse during the First World War. She saved the lives of soldiers from both sides without discrimination. She had the opportunity to help some two hundred Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium, for which she was arrested and taken to Germany where she was found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. Despite international pressure for mercy, she was shot by a German firing squad. Her execution received worldwide condemnation and extensive press coverage.

The night before her execution, she told the Reverend Stirling Gahan, the Anglican chaplain who had been allowed to see her and to give her Holy Communion, "Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone."

These words are inscribed on her statue in Saint Martin's Place, near Trafalgar Square in London.

Her final words to the German Lutheran prison chaplain, Paul Le Seur, were recorded as, "Ask Father Gahan to tell my loved ones later on that my soul, as I believe, is safe, and that I am glad to die for my country."

She died on thy twelfth of October, 1915.

Scripture. In the "First Letter of Peter," chapter four, at verses nine and ten we read:

Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for prisoners and those who provide for their welfare.

... for women prisoners who are pregnant, incarcerated with a young child or separated from their children.

... for the children of prisoners, that they may not have to suffer because of the crimes of a parent.

... for nurses working in war zones or looking after casualties of war.

... for prisoners of war and political prisoners, in particular, those sentenced to death or fearful for their lives.

... for those who are blind or suffer from severe visual impairment and for those who assist them; for eye surgeons and those who are seeking cures for blindness and poor sight; for the charities that exist to help the blind, especially those that train dogs to work with blind people. DETAILS

... for the people of Equatorial Guinea and Spain who celebrate their national days today.

... for those who were killed, injured or made homeless when Cyclone Titli slammed into India’s eastern seaboard earlier today and for those similarly affected as Hurricane Michael made its way through Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Florida in the United States.

... 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 Elizabeth Fry:

Are there not many here present whose desires are raised up to the living God and to his kingdom of everlasting rest and peace, who are ready to adopt this language, "Oh Lord revive your work in the midst of the years" and are there not among you some of the bowed down, of the broken-hearted, some who have many trials of faith and of patience, some of those conflicts which are much hidden from the eye of man? Oh, my friends, remember that we have to deal with a compassionate Father, who pities his children, who knows our frame, who remembers that we are dust, who sees us not as man sees, who judges us not according to appearance but according to the heart. Oh, my friends, whatever be the trials of your faith and of your patience, I sympathise with you; I desire that you may be upheld, that you may be strengthened, that you may find the grace of your Lord to be sufficient for you; and if we poor frail, feeble, unworthy mortals can feel as we do at seasons one for another, oh, what consolation is it to remember, that he who is infinite in mercy, infinite in love, and infinite in power also feels for us; we have a high priest who is touched with the sense of our infirmities. Oh, my friends, however many of you may be cast down for a season, however you may not know any peace, oh, trust in the Lord and stay yourselves on your God, for his tender mercies are over all his works. Oh, remember, that the very hairs of your head are all numbered; remember that not a sparrow falls to the ground without him and you are of much more value than many sparrows. Were not these expressions made use of by our blessed Lord for the encouragement of his poor little tender ones, those who are brought very low before him? How consoling is it to remember that there is no desire however feeble after himself but he regards it, he is willing to strengthen it, and it rises before him even as a pure and acceptable sacrifice, therefore you humble, broken-hearted, contrite and afflicted ones, lift up your hearts and put your trust in him who suffered for you, who was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Oh, how he did bear our sorrows; what an encouragement is it for us to remember this in all our tribulations, of whatever nature they may be, that the Lord can make all our trials, as well as all our blessing, work together for our good.

Oh, may the language of our hearts increasingly be unto the Lord, "that which I know not, teach me; if I have done iniquity, I will do so no more."

Oh, may we be strengthened to walk closer to God, to cleave very close unto him in spirit, to follow the Lamb our saviour wherever he leads us, to make it the first business of our lives to be conformed to his will and to live to his glory, whether we pass through heights or depths, whether prosperity or adversity be our portion, although our years pass away as a tale that is told, the blessings of the Most High will rest upon us, and through his unbounded love and through his unmerited mercy in Christ Jesus, we may indeed humbly trust that when this passing scene is closed to our view, an entrance will be granted unto us, even abundantly ministered unto us, into the everlasting kingdom of our lord and saviour, Jesus Christ.

Indeed it is well for us, my friends, to enquire, "What do you owe to your Lord?"

Ah, dear friends, is it not well for us to do this when we reflect on what he has done for us, even he who was wounded for our transgressions, who was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace, we may remember, was on him, and by his stripes we are healed. It is well for us to remember what he has been from time to time doing for us in the visitations of his love unto our souls; how often have the proofs of his love been extended towards us to gather us and keep us within his sacred enclosure, even the revelation of the will of God through Jesus Christ our lord, our hope of glory. Oh, then seeing, my brethren and sisters, that the work is a progressive one, the enquiry arose in the secret of my heart, is our salvation nearer than when we first believe? What do we owe unto the Lord? what can we rightly perform that he may be pleased to receive at our hands? And the language of the Psalmist came before the view of my mind with renewed instruction, whilst I have been led to believe that he, the Lord Almighty who dwells on high, is calling us up to go forward, to look not behind, to tarry not in the plain.

"Who shall ascend unto the hill of the Lord, and who shall stand in his holy place? He that has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully; he shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation."

CLOSING PRAYERS

Almighty God, you filled your servants Betsy and Edith with compassion for those in need and with courage in the face of danger. Help us, following their example, to care about those in need today, and to work with imagination and skill to improve their lot; 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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The Day After

World Mental Health Day yesterday appears to have been a complete waste of time. I woke up this morning and absolutely nothing has changed. I got five "likes" for my Facebook post on the matter, which pretty much sums up the public's lack of concern about the discrimination those of us who suffer from mental health problems face every day of our lives.

It’s Coming Out Day

In some tastefully renovated, American neighbourhoods, it is traditionally believed that if a gay man opens his front door today, pops his head out and sighs, "Oh, dear," and then goes back inside and shuts the door, it is going to be a long, cold winter.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE ELEVENTH OF OCTOBER, 2018
* Philip the Deacon *

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, give us weak eyes for things which are of no account
and clear eyes for all your truth. Amen.

( Søren Kierkegaard, 1813-1855 )

CANTICLE

O the precious gospel story, how it tells of love to all;
how the Saviour in compassion, died to save us from the fall;
how he came to seek the lost ones and to bring them to his fold;
let us hasten to proclaim it, for the story must be told.

O the blessed gospel story of his meek and lowly birth
and the welcome of the angels when they sang good will to earth;
of the cross, on which he suffered, as by prophets seen of old;
of his death and resurrection, let the story now be told.

O the wondrous gospel story; there is life in every word;
there is hope and consolation, where the message sweet is heard;
let us tell it to the weary and its beauties all unfold;
it is the only guide to heaven and the story must be told.

( Fanny Crosby, 1820–1915 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Philip the Deacon: snatched away by the Lord

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Phillip the Deacon, early minister of the gospel. In the sixth chapter of "Acts," we read that the apostles commissioned seven men in the congregation at Jerusalem to supervise the church's ministry to the needs of its widows and other poor. This is generally considered to be the beginning of the office of deacon in the Church, although the scriptures do not use this term in referring to the original seven men. Two of these have gained lasting fame. One was Stephen, who became the Church's first martyr. The other was Philip, whose story we find in "Acts," chapter eight, verses five to forty.

After the death of Stephen, there was a general persecution of the Church at Jerusalem and many Christians fled to escape it. Philip fled to Samaria, where he preached the gospel to the Samaritans, a group who had split off from the Jewish people about six centuries earlier, had intermarried with other peoples and were considered outsiders by most Jews. They received the message with eagerness and soon Peter and John came to Samaria to bless the new converts.
 After this, Philip was sent by God to walk along the road from Jerusalem southwest to Gaza, where he met a eunuch of the Queen of Ethiopia returning home after worshipping in Jerusalem. The man was reading from "Isaiah," chapter fifty-three ("He was wounded for our transgressions"), and Philip told him about Jesus and persuaded him that the words were a prophecy of the saving work of Jesus. The man was baptised, and went on his way rejoicing, while Philip went north to Caesarea, the major seaport of Israel, and its secular capital.

When Paul (accompanied by Luke) was going up to Jerusalem for the last time, he paused at Caesarea and spent several days with Philip. This may be the source of some of the information Luke used in writing the early chapters of Acts. We are told that Philip had four daughters who prophesied.

It is good to remember that Luke was not writing history when he wrote the "Book of Acts." A story like this is easy to over-romanticise. Luke wanted Christians to be encouraged by the vigorous manifestations of the Holy Spirit which guided the followers of Jesus in these early years. But we ought to honour people like Philip for the persistence of their faith when having faith in Jesus led to constant disruptions in their social relationships and family life. It was on such hard work and commitment to the cause that the Christian church emerged out of Israel and spread to all the towns and villages of the Roman empire.

Scripture. In the eighth chapter of "Acts," after Philip had baptised the Ethiopian we read in verses thirty-nine and forty:

When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus and, as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for evangelists and itinerant preachers; for all who leave their homes to spread abroad the good news of Jesus Christ.

... for the Christians of Ethiopia, that they may stay strong in their ancient faith and continue to proclaim the gospel of Christ in their nation.

... that the Holy Spirit may enable us to communicate our Christian faith to others with conviction and persuasiveness.

... for girls throughout the world, that they may be free from the gender-based inequalities that presently prevent them from realising their potential and pursuing their hopes and dreams. DETAILS

... for an end to the taboos and bigotry surrounding sexuality and gender identification so that all LGBT people, wherever they live, can openly be themselves. DETAILS

... for Jason and all whose property was damaged by Hurricane Michael.

... for those killed, injured or made homeless by a flash flood on the Spanish island of Majorca. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured when an overloaded bus travelling from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, to Kisumu, in the west, veered off the road. 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 "Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel)" by Pope Francis:

Lastly, we cannot forget that evangelisation is first and foremost about preaching the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him. Many of them are quietly seeking God, led by a yearning to see his face, even in countries of ancient Christian tradition. All of them have a right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone. Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, they should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet. It is not by proselytising that the Church grows, but by attraction.

John Paul II asked us to recognise that “there must be no lessening of the impetus to preach the Gospel” to those who are far from Christ, “because this is the first task of the Church." Indeed, “today missionary activity still represents the greatest challenge for the Church” and “the missionary task must remain foremost."

What would happen if we were to take these words seriously? We would realise that missionary outreach is paradigmatic for all the Church’s activity. Along these lines the Latin American bishops stated that we “cannot passively and calmly wait in our church buildings;" we need to move “from a pastoral ministry of mere conservation to a decidedly missionary pastoral ministry”. This task continues to be a source of immense joy for the Church:

“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Lk 15:7)

CLOSING PRAYERS

Holy God, no one is excluded from your love and your truth transforms the minds of all who seek you: as your servant Philip was led to embrace the fullness of your salvation and to bring the stranger to baptism, so give us all the grace to be heralds of the gospel, proclaiming your love in Jesus Christ our saviour, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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World Mental Health Day 2018

Today is World Mental Health Day.

Eight years ago I was sacked from my job as a parish priest by a Church of England bishop because I had suffered from clinical depression. I was recovering well and perfectly capable of carrying out all my priestly duties but the bishop believed that any person who suffered from mental health problems should never be a parish priest. My dismissal followed eight years of bigotry and prejudice from the Church hierarchy that would have been illegal if I had been working for a secular organisation.

Throughout the world, in all occupations and institutions, people who have mental health problems face ignorance, hatred and prejudice every day of their lives. As my own experience proves, this happens even within the faith traditions, even within the Christian church which claims that it welcomes everyone.

Please pray for people who have mental health problems, please pray for me and for an end to the taboos and hatred that exclude the mentally ill from being full members of our communities and prevent us from following our callings.

Lip Service

Today is World Mental Health Day.

It is just a charade. We had one last year and the year before that but I still haven't been offered my job back. In fact, nobody from the Church has even been in touch to ask after my wellbeing. That shows how much they really care.

But there will be Church of England bishops and priests going on about how much they value people who suffer from mental health problems and how they want to make them feel welcome in their churches. They are all hypocrites.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

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WEDNESDAY THE TENTH OF OCTOBER, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Shine into our hearts, O loving Master, by the pure light of the knowledge of yourself, and open the eyes of our mind to your teaching, that in all things we may both think and act according to your good pleasure: and meditating of those things that are holy, may continually live in your light. Amen.

( Dawn Office of the Eastern and Leonine Churches )

CANTICLE

Wake the song of jubilee, let it echo over the sea!
Now is come the promised hour, Jesus reigns with sovereign power.
All you nations, join and sing, Christ of lords and kings is King.
Let it sound from shore to shore, Jesus reigns forevermore.

Now the desert lands rejoice and the islands join their voice;
yes, the whole creation sings, Jesus is the King of kings.
See the ransomed millions stand, palms of conquest in their hands,
this before the throne their strain, hell is vanquished, death is slain.

Blessing, honour, glory, might are the conqueror’s native right;
thrones and powers before him fall, Lamb of God and Lord of all.
Time has nearly reached its sum; all things with the bride say, "Come."
Jesus, whom all worlds adore, come, and reign forevermore.

( Leonard Bacon, 1802–1881 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

History and myth among Muslims and Christians in the eighth century

Which paradigms of history and society guide us in our understanding of the world and its ways? This is the essential post-modern question. What set of truths guide you as you make your way through the world?

For the fanatical edge of the Muslim world, it is their belief in the superiority of Islam and its eventual triumph over all other religions that guides their actions. In my youth, one paradigm was Christopher Columbus discovering a “new world” in 1492. Many today view his journey through the lens of the repression of native peoples. Hero or chump?

On the tenth of October, 732 AD, Muslim troops coming up from Spain, led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, waged a battle against Frankish troops, who were under the leadership of Charles Martel, near the town of Poitiers, France. In that battle, the Muslim forces were defeated, Al Ghafiqi was killed, and the Franks succeeded in driving Muslims back across the Pyrenees where they continued to build a Moorish civilisation centred around the city of Cordoba.

As a result of his prowess, the Church conspired with Martel to strip the kingship of the Frankish people from the Merovingian kings and give it to his family. Martel's son was Pepin and his grandson was Charlemagne.

Folks of a certain age were taught that the Battle of Poitiers (a.k.a. the Battle of Tours) was a “turning point in history.” It was the battle that “saved Western Europe for Christianity.” The famous historian Edward Gibbon was of this view. Other contemporary historians play down this view. Many argue that the Battle of Poitiers is a myth created to represent western culture’s superiority over others. Some argue that the western expansion of Islam had reached, at the Pyrenees, a natural end, others view the Battle as a simple exercise of raw political power as Martel’s force sought to impose their will on the Frankish peoples.

As we move day by day through our contemporary world, and we see daily what appears to be a clash between radical Islam and the west, it’s important to remind ourselves of the power of myths to shape our understanding of events. It is also good to remember that ever since Saint Paul wrote in "Galatians," chapter four, verse seven, that Jesus was born “in the fullness of time,” that time is not a matter of indifference to God. As you view the escalating Christian-Muslim violence today, your paradigm might lead you to believe that even now Christ is raising up a new champion to fight for the “true” religion, or it might lead you to a weeping Christ, distraught that once again God’s children resort to bloodshed as a means of sorting out their problems with one another.

Scripture. In "Psalm Ninety," verses ten to twelve we read:

The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong; even then their span is only toil and trouble; they are soon gone and we fly away. Who considers the power of your anger? Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due to you. So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for an end to all religious wars and sectarian violence; that terrorism in the name of religion may cease.

... that in God's time the gospel of Jesus Christ will be embraced willingly and freely by all the people, unforced, without bribery and with no strings attached.

... for Christians and adherents of other faiths in the Middle East, who have been victims of ethnic cleansing or forced from their homelands in recent years.

... for all who live with mental ill health and for an end to the stigma attached to mental illness. DETAILS

... for the people of the Republic of China, Fiji and North Korea, who celebrate their national days 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 "The American Democrat" by James Fenimore Cooper:

In America, the taint of sectarianism lies broad upon the land. Not content with acknowledging the supremacy of the Deity and with erecting temples in his honour where all can bow down with reverence, the pride and vanity of human reason enter into and pollute our worship and the houses that should be of God and for God, alone, where he is to be honoured with submissive faith, are too often merely schools of metaphysical and useless distinctions. The nation is sectarian, rather than Christian.

Religion's first lesson is humility; its fruit, charity. In the great and sublime ends of Providence, little things are lost, and least of all is he imbued with a right spirit who believes that insignificant observances, subtleties of doctrine and minor distinctions, enter into the great essentials of the Christian character. The wisest thing for him who is disposed to cavil at the immaterial habits of his neighbour, to split straws on doctrine, to fancy trifles of importance and to place the man before principles, would be to distrust himself. The spirit of peace is not with him.

CLOSING PRAYERS

O God, it is your will to hold both heaven and earth in a single peace. Let the design of your great love shine on the waste of our wraths and sorrows, and give peace to your Church, peace among nations, peace in our homes and peace in our hearts; 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

For previous services CLICK HERE.

TUESDAY THE NINTH OF OCTOBER, 2018
* Wilfred Grenfell and Vida Dutton Scudder *

OPENING PRAYER

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

( Alcuin of York, 735-804 )

CANTICLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

( Fanny Crosby, 1820–1915 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

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

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

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

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

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

She died on this day in 1954

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

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

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

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

... for immigrants and first peoples.

... for postal workers. DETAILS

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

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

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLOSING PRAYERS

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

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE EIGHTH OF OCTOBER, 2018
* William Dwight Porter Bliss and Richard T. Ely *

OPENING PRAYER

O God, who in the work of creation commanded the light to shine out of darkness: we pray that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ may shine into the hearts of people everywhere dispelling the darkness of their ignorance and unbelief and revealing to them the knowledge of your glory in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

CANTICLE

We are waiting, blessed Saviour, we are watching for the hour
when in majesty descending, you shall come in mighty power;
then the shadows will be lifted and the darkness rolled away,
and our eyes behold the splendour of the glorious crowning day.

We are waiting, blessed Saviour, we are watching not in vain
for the cloud that bore you upward and will bring you back again.
Then, among your ransomed people, we shall tread the shining way
and our eyes behold the splendour of the glorious crowning day.

We are waiting, blessed Saviour, for a union, heart to heart,
with our dear ones over the river, where we never more shall part;
then our sorrows, in a moment, like a dream will pass away,
when our eyes behold the splendour of the glorious crowning day.

( Fanny Crosby, 1820–1915 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

William Dwight Porter Bliss and Richard T. Ely: Economic Justice? In Church?

Today Saint Laika’s remembers two servants of God, who tried to move Christ’s church through the confusing theories of economics to find a way for the Church to lead and speak with authority to wealthy and poor alike.

Richard Theodore Ely was born in 1854 in Ripley, New York. After receiving his doctorate in economics at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, he taught at Johns Hopkins University and then at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Ely rejected the extremes of both capitalism and socialism.

When accused of being a socialist, he stated in his defense, “I condemn alike that individualism that would allow the state no room for industrial activity, and that socialism which would absorb in the state the functions of the individual.”

What was needed instead, he argued, was a proper and healthy balance between public and private enterprise. He favoured competition with regulation that would raise the moral and ethical level of economic practice. He claimed that the Gospel was social rather than individualistic in nature and he consistently called the Episcopal Church to work toward the reform of capitalism for the sake of the rights and dignity of the American worker. Ely’s principles were highly influential on his friend Walter Rauschenbusch, one of the major figures in the Social Gospel Movement.

Like R.T. Ely, William Dwight Porter Bliss believed that the church was called to work for economic justice, the principles of which were grounded in the Gospel. Originally ordained a Congregationalist minister, in 1887 he became an Episcopal priest. He served parishes in Massachusetts, California, and New York before organising the first Christian Socialist Society in the United States in 1899. Bliss consistently claimed that economic justice, for which all Christians were responsible, was “rooted and grounded in Christ, the liberator, the head of humanity.” Among his written works are "The Encyclopedia of Social Reform" (1898) and "The Hand-Book of Socialism" (1895).

In the second chapter of the "Book of Acts," at verses forty-four and forty-five, we read:

All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for a fair and compassionate sharing of the wealth of the world among all its peoples.

... for an end to the capitalism that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer and ignores the needs and welfare of the earth and all its peoples.

... that the Church will imitate its Lord, in being a friend to the poor and a caller to account of the rich.

... that we will not be short of the necessary things and not tempted to pursue unnecessary wealth at the expense of others.

... that the people of the world will find the willpower to do what is necessary to halt global warming and climate change. DETAILS

... for the twenty people killed and those who were injured when a stretch limousine veered off the road and crashed into a tree in Schoharie County, New York State, on Saturday afternoon; for all who have been involved in road traffic accidents recently. DETAILS

... for the thirty-six Indian schoolgirls who had to be treated in hospital after they were attacked by a large crowd of teenage boys and their parents because they complained of sexual harassment; for an end to the widespread and horrific physical abuse of women in India. 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 "What is Christian Socialism?" by William Dwight Porter Bliss:

Christian socialism is religious first. It does not believe that society can be “made new by arrangements;” it believes that it is to be regenerated “by finding the law and
ground of its order and harmony, the only secret of its existence in God.” These words of Maurice state the view of all Christian socialists.

Men say, “ business is a fight,” “if any man is not well off, he should go in for self and make money.”

Christian socialists call this "mammonism," the opposite of brotherhood, the opposite of love, the opposite of Christianity. And the cause of this they say is that men have forgotten God; or if they remember God in creeds, that they have ignored him in their deeds.

“The beginning and the end of what is the matter with us in these days,” said Carlyle, “is that we have forgotten God.”

If we had remembered him we should never have forgotten that men are brothers. The thing society needs to do, say Christian socialists, is to return to God. We need religious socialism.

“There can be no brotherhood without a common Father.”

The law of love must become the law of trade. The Golden Rule must be made the rule for gold.

“Competition,” said Maurice, “is put forth as the law of the universe. This is a lie. The time is come to declare it is a lie by word and deed.”

It is not a matter of rhetoric, but of deepest conviction, that Christian socialists take the name of Christian.

“Oh, my Italy,” cried Savanarola, “nothing can save you but Christ,” and Christian socialists of ever land and every age repeat the same.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Blessed God, whose Son Jesus came as servant to all: we thank you for William Bliss and Richard Ely, whose dedication to principles of economic justice led them to be bold reformers of the world and the Church; and we pray that we, with them, may find our true happiness through self-sacrifice in service of your reign, where all the hungry are fed and the downtrodden are raised up through Jesus Christ our Liberator; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE FIFTH OF OCTOBER, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty God, we invoke you, the fountain of everlasting light, asking you to send forth your truth into our hearts and to pour out among us the glory of your brightness, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

( "Sarum Breviary" 1085 )

CANTICLE

Come, Holy Ghost, and touch my tongue as with a living flame;
I want the sanctifying grace my saviour bids me claim.

Come, Holy Ghost, with sacred fire baptise this heart of mine;
break every earthly idol down and all its dross refine.

I want a self-renouncing will, that owns his sweet control,
and through my life, I want his love a ceaseless flood to roll.

Come, Holy Ghost, the blood apply as you have never before,
that I may shout my saviour’s praise henceforth and evermore.

( Fanny Crosby, 1820–1915 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Eileen Egan: relief worker, peace activist

Eileen Egan was a devoted Catholic, who spent her days as an active member of Catholic Relief Services and still found the time to pursue her passion for peacemaking which led her to found the American PAX Association, which later morphed into PaxChristi—USA.

After a career in Journalism, she became the first professional layperson on the staff of Catholic Relief Services in 1943. Through her work with CRS she travelled the world, meeting the needs of many. She worked with Polish refugees in Mexico, Holocaust survivors in Barcelona and, later, she worked among the Palestinian refugees in Gaza, Chinese dissidents in Hong Kong and displaced civilians in Southeast Asia.

She combined CRS's practical work of providing economic assistance, food, housing and transportation to war victims with speaking, writing and demonstrating against the causes of war. In 1962 she co-founded the American Pax Society. Later, in the early 1970’s, it became Pax Christi USA.

As early as 1955 she met Mother Teresa in Calcutta and publicised her work in the West. She introduced Dorothy Day to Mother Teresa in 1970. One of her major accomplishments was the 1987 recognition of conscientious objection as a fundamental human right by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. After a lifetime of service, she died on the seventh of October, 2000 at the age of eighty-eight.

Quote: “You can take course after course of so-called theology and never hear the message at the heart of Christianity—the message of Jesus, which is indiscriminate love.”

Scripture. In "The Letter of James," chapter three, at verses seventeen and eighteen, we read:

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who work to bring about peace in the world.

... for the victims of war and those who care for them.

... for teachers. DETAILS

... for the six divers who died whilst attempting to save a teenage boy who had fallen into a disused mining pool in Malaysia and for all who routinely risk their own lives rescuing other people from dangerous situations. 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 "Peace Be with You" by Eileen Egan:

For Christians in the first days of the new community of the church. it was
shiningly. overpoweringly clear that the Lord's Supper was indeed the mystery
of peace.

In Jerusalem, where Bishop James and the presbyters he chose presided at the
sacramental meal, people who had formerly been enemies joined at the common table, above all, Jews and Samaritans. In Ephesus, where Timothy had been placed as bishop by Saint Paul, Christian Greeks sat beside Christian Jews and
Christian Romans. In Crete, traders of the Mediterranean world joined with local Cretans and Greeks in a church community led by Titus, upon whom the hands of Saint Paul had been laid. Antioch's lively intellectual life attracted a large variety of peoples. Greeks could take part in the sacrifice beside a Roman rhetorician, and he beside a rough-mannered, hirsute Goth, as long as he was not an Arian.

A revolution of peace was occurring in the hearts of men and women in communities from Asia Minor, across Jerusalem to Gaul, Rome, Egypt, and Spain.
Those who partook of the body and blood of Jesus could not be the ones to
participate in the destruction of the bodies and the shedding of the blood of
members of the human family, members made in the image of God himself.

The Christians had a new way of viewing the human family, seeing all in the
new light of the incarnation. Christians were reminded of their special dignity
as “temples of the Holy Spirit.”

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Cor. 6:19).

CLOSING PRAYERS

O God, who is the unsearchable abyss of peace, the ineffable sea of love, the fountain of blessings and the bestower of affection, who sends peace to those that receive it; open to us this day the sea of your love and water us with plenteous streams from the riches of your grace and from the most sweet springs of your kindness. Make us children of quietness and heirs of peace, enkindle in us the fire of your love; sow in us your fear; strengthen our weakness by your power; bind us closely to you and to each other in a firm and indissoluble bond of unity. Amen.

( Syrian Clementine Liturgy )

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 FOURTH OF OCTOBER, 2018
* Francis of Assisi *

OPENING PRAYER

Most High, glorious God, enlighten the shadows of my heart and grant me a right faith, a certain hope and perfect charity, sense and understanding, Lord, so that I may accomplish your holy and true command. Amen.

( Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226 )

CANTICLE

Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
yours are the praises, the glory, the honour,
and all blessing.

To you alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendour.
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Moon
and the stars, in heaven you formed them
clear and precious and beautiful.

Praised be you, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene,
and every kind of weather through which
you give sustenance to your creatures.

Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

Praised be you, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night and he is beautiful
and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains us and governs us and who produces
varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.

Praised be you, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.

Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by you, Most High, they shall be crowned.

Praised be you, my Lord,
through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.

woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will
find in your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.

Praise and bless my Lord,
and give him thanks
and serve him with great humility

( Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Francis of Assisi: Does anyone really know who you are?

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Francis of Assisi, a twelfth-century beggar and visionary who has been appropriated in more modern times by (take your pick) the hippies, environmentalists, pet-lovers. The challenge today is to discover who Francis was, and what motivated his outstanding devotion to God.

We know Francis was born to a wealthy family of silk merchants in 1182. We know his early years were spent in revelry and vain attempts to win military glory. Less certain is the reason for his change of heart and his spiritual fervour. Some say it was his fear of engaging in battle, some say it was a severe illness, others still that he had been taken prisoner in one of his military excursions and spent a year in captivity.

By the year 1205, he had pretty much abandoned his former way of life and his wealthy, fun-seeking friends. He began to speak of “Lady Poverty.”

He said he had a mystical vision of Jesus Christ in the country chapel of San Damiano, just outside of Assisi, in which an icon of Christ Crucified said to him, "Francis, Francis, go and repair my house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins." At first he understood that in a literal way, and began to repair the church of San Damiano. Later he would interpret the vision as a call to bring the entire church to renewal and repentance.

He heard a sermon sometime in 1209 on "Matthew," chapter ten, verse nine, in which Christ tells his followers they should go forth and proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven was upon them, that they should take no money with them, nor even a walking stick or shoes for the road.

He was determined to form a group of men into a “mendicant” order. Unlike monks, who supported themselves by farming or teaching, Francis’ friars begged for their food and lived in poverty. They were officially recognised by Pope Innocent III. Also in 1209 an order of nuns was begun who also followed the rule of Francis, known initially as the Poor Ladies, and later, the Poor Clares, after their founder Clare of Assisi.

As the years went on, Francis took less day-to-day responsibility for the administration of his “little brothers.” as they were called. Even during his lifetime, they relaxed the strictness of his rule. His intense personal piety expressed itself in joy, even in the midst of great suffering. His love of the earth and of all creation stands as a call to mission in these days when the earth has been ravaged by pollution and greenhouse gasses. Francis died in 1226AD

Scripture. In the sixth chapter of "Galatians," at the fourteenth verse, we read:

May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the world and all its creatures.

... for Franciscans throughout the world.

... for ecologists, merchants, animal welfare workers, those who campaign against cruelty to animals and all people, places and institutions which claim Francis of Assisi as their patron.

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

... for those mourning the death of loved ones killed by the tsunami that engulfed the city of Palu on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia; for those whose loved ones are still missing.

... 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 letter from Francis of Assisi to all the faithful:

It was through his archangel, Saint Gabriel, that the Father above made known to the holy and glorious Virgin Mary that the worthy, holy and glorious Word of the Father would come from heaven and take from her womb the real flesh of our human frailty. Though he was wealthy beyond reckoning, he still willingly chose to be poor with his blessed mother. And shortly before his passion he celebrated the Passover with his disciples.

Then he prayed to his Father saying, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup be taken from me."

Nevertheless, he reposed his will in the will of his Father. The Father willed that his blessed and glorious son, whom he gave to us and who was born for us, should through his own blood offer himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross. This was to be done not for himself through whom all things were made, but for our sins. It was intended to leave us an example of how to follow in his footsteps. And he desires all of us to be saved through him, and to receive him with pure heart and chaste body.

O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord himself said in the gospel, "You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul; and your neighbour as yourself."

Therefore, let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind.

This is his particular desire when he says, "True worshippers adore the Father in spirit and truth."

For all who adore him must do so in the spirit of truth.

Let us also direct to him our praises and prayers saying, "Our Father, who art in heaven," since we must always pray and never grow slack.

Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neighbours as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father’s children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Most high, omnipotent and good Lord, grant your people grace gladly to renounce the vanities of this world that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in your whole creation with perfect joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika

TUESDAY THE SECOND OF OCTOBER, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

May God have mercy on those who lead the way and those who come behind and those who fulfil their vows and those who seek to fulfil them, with his grace and bounty, his great benefits and favours. For he is the best object of petition and the noblest object of hope; and God is the best protector and the most merciful of those who show mercy, and the best of friends and the best of heirs and the best replacer of what has been consumed and provider for those devoted who sow and till the soil of good works. Amen.

( Jelaluddin Rumi, 1207-1273 )

CANTICLE

"Who lifts up the spirit, say, who is he
who gave, in the beginning, this life to me?

"Who hooded, like a falcon's, awhile mine eyes,
but presently shall loose me to hunt my prize?"

As salt resolved in the ocean I was swallowed in God's sea,
past faith, past unbelieving, past doubt, past certainty.

Suddenly in my bosom, a star shone clear and bright;
all the suns of heaven vanished in that star's light.

Flowers every night blossom in the sky;
peace in the infinite; at peace am I.

Sighs a hundredfold from my heart arise;
my heart, dark and cold, flames with my sighs.

He that is my souls' repose round my heart encircling goes,
round my heart and soul of bliss he encircling is.

Laughing from my earthy bed like a tree I lift my head,
for the fount of living mirth washes round my earth.

If life be gone, fresh life to you God offers,
a life eternal to renew this life of death.

The fount of immorality in love is found;
then come, and in this boundless sea of love be drowned.

( Jelaluddin Rumi, 1207-1273 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Rumi: mystic, seeker of God’s love
(transferred from Sunday)

Jalal al-Din Rumi was a thirteenth-century Sunni Muslim theologian, mystic, and poet whose vision of God transcended his own faith tradition and spoke and continues to speak to seekers after truth, seekers after God, of many religious traditions.

Each religious tradition has saints who managed to see the unity of God in the midst of many religious traditions. One may think of Mohandas Ghandi, the Hindu, or Francis of Assisi, a near contemporary of Rumi who travelled to Egypt to meet with the sultan, al-Kamil.

Rumi was born in Afghanistan on the twentieth of September, 1207. His father was a noted Muslim theologian and Rumi was raised to be a scholar and teacher. After being sent to Aleppo and Damascus to finish his religious training, he took over his father’s post in Konya. He made fast friends with mystic Shams al-Din Tabrizi who introduced him to poetry and to mysticism. His friendship with Shams affected him and turned his life toward writing poetry, chanting and performing dance, in particular, the circling dances set to music that became known as the whirling dervish. He quickly gained a reputation as an ecstatic visionary and devoted the rest of his life to writing and worship.

He said, “Whosoever knows the power of the dance, dwells in God.”

His fame during his own lifetime was notable and his death was widely mourned. He remains one of the world’s most popular poets. His resonance with contemporary readers can be traced in part to his vivid, simple imagery, his use of the second person and insistence on direct address, and to his optimism of the attainment of union with God.

His mystical vision of God led him to the practice of Sufism, that mystical movement within Islam which suggested that mortals could attain a direct experience of God through the practice of remembering prayer (dhikr) and the whirling dance.

Some quotes from Rumi that will help you get a feel for his religious faith:

“What you seek, is seeking you.”

“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”

“If all you can do is crawl, start crawling!”

“Love is the endless ocean of God.”

Scripture. In the "Second Book of Samuel," chapter six, verses fourteen and fifteen we read:

David danced before the LORD with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that solutions to all humankind's disputes, whether between individuals, groups or nations, may be settled without any threat or use of violence. DETAILS

... for peace and mutual understanding between all seekers after the God of love and mercy.

... for poets, singers and dancers, who use their crafts to lead people into the presence of God.

... for the adherents of the Sufi expression of Islam, that their song of love may conquer all songs of hatred.

... for the seventeen million people in the world who live with cerebral palsy; pray for the family members and friends and for all who care for them; pray for those who are seeking treatments and a cure for the condition. DETAILS

... for ballet dancers and all involved in the performance of dance. DETAILS

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

... for married couples.

... for the survivors of the Indonesian tsunami, that they may receive the help they need; for all working to provide that help.

... for the women of Iraq who are being murdered or threatened with murder because they have become successful or offended fundamentalists in their country. 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 "God Laughs And Plays" by David James Duncan:

In reclaiming a word like “evangelical" from those who think they own it, we risk making some people mad. But there are reasons to take this risk. Fundamentalist Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews are armed, so they each believe, with the One True Book. But they are four different books, and the four faiths are also each armed with nuclear weapons. No form of fundamentalism from the Ayatollahs' to John Paul II's can defuse this fatal impasse, because every fundamentalism believes it owns the One Book, One God, and sole faith. At the same time, no secular philosophy addresses the fact that we're born alone and die alone, and naturally seek the solace of divine truth amid our mortal suffering. Though the faith traditions offer this solace, I would argue that they are able to do so only quietly, and only humbly - and the recent fusion of fundamentalism and politics is destroying this quiet humility. This is why I feel the great religious traditions stand in need not of a secular turning away, but of a compassion rebellion against the “certainties" of cocksure zealots claiming to own each tradition. The fundamentalists of every faith remain blind to the truth that ”the sigh within the prayer is the same in the heart of the Christian, the Muhammadan, and the Jew." I have seen this unity with my eyes, heard it with my ears, felt it with all my being. Let those who haven't grumble, if they so choose. The world's major faiths are nor identical, but they are alike enough in ultimate aim that those striving to love, emulate, and honour Jesus, Muhammad, Rama, Shakyamuni, and Abraham have, in many times and places, proven themselves able to live side by side in peace. I consider it evangelical and Christian, in the gospel-born sense of these words, to serve this fragile peace.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Almighty God, you are the lord of all, you love all people and all creation worships you. We bless you today for the witness of Rumi, who found you in the dance and understood your lordship over all the earth. Help us, in these days, to be open to your presence as it manifests itself in all the religions of the world and help us, as followers of Jesus, to welcome all who seek your favour, 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

MONDAY THE FIRST OF OCTOBER, 2018
* Anthony Ashley Cooper and Mother Marie-Joseph Aubert *

OPENING PRAYER

Set our hearts on fire with love to you, O Christ our God, that in its flame we may love you with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul and with all our strength and our neighbours as ourselves, so that, keeping your commandments, we may glorify you, the giver of all good gifts. Amen.

( Eastern Orthodox Church, fifth century )

CANTICLE

Wait on the Lord, for whom have you on earth or in Heaven but he?
Over your soul a watch he keeps, wherever your path may be.

Wait on the Lord, wait patiently, and you shall in him be blessed;
after the storm, a holy calm and after your labour rest.

Wait on the Lord, wait cheerfully, and he will your youth renew;
wait on the Lord obediently, whatever he bids you do.

Wait on the Lord, wait lovingly, confide in his care your all;
those that abide in perfect peace no danger can ever befall.

Wait on the Lord, wait joyfully, for then shall your heart be strong;
Lo! by his hand he will lead you and you shall be filled with song.

( Fanny Crosby, 1820–1915 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Anthony Ashley Cooper: "poor man's earl"
Mother Marie-Joseph Aubert: divine Providence in New Zealand

Saint Laika’s starts off the month of October with a double commemoration. Two servants of God who cared for the poor and needy in their own unique way.

Anthony Ashley Cooper, or “Lord Ashley” as he preferred to be called was the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, born in 1801. He grew up in a loveless family and was affectionately cared for by his parents’ housekeeper, who was a model of Christian love for him. Most commentators on his life credit her with establishing his love for the poor and his activism on their behalf.

One of the major accomplishments of his life was the overhaul of the “Lunacy Laws” that committed people to insane asylums. The deplorable conditions in which these unfortunate people were held stripped them of every shred of human dignity. By his efforts conditions improved and inmates were treated with more care.

He was also instrumental in improving life for children by introducing a series of child labour laws. Because of Lord Ashley, companies were forbidden to send women and children into the mines where they would labour in the dark all day. He also got legislation passed to prohibit the use of children as “climbing boys” (children who spent their lives climbing into chimneys to act as chimney sweeps) and was instrumental in setting up schools for poor children where they could get a rudimentary education.

He died on the first of October, 1885. At his funeral, the streets were lined by the working poor, who called him the poor man’s earl.

Mother Marie-Joseph Aubert was born near Lyons, France in 1835. She felt a calling to join a religious order and to care for the sick. As a young woman, she was recruited by a missionary bishop and left France for New Zealand, where she would spend almost all of her life. She worked among the Maori people and cared for them.

She often ran afoul of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in New Zealand, who wanted to restrict her work to more traditional roles. One bishop ordered her to return to France.

She replied, “I have come here for the Maoris, I shall die in their midst.”

So for many years, she worked outside the convent as a laywoman until a different bishop invited her back to the mission work she loved. Her life was spent teaching the impoverished people, setting up clinics to improve their health and operating a home for the incurably ill. When government funds ran out, she simply said she would trust in divine providence.

She died on the first of October, 1926.

Scripture. In "Psalm One Hundred and Forty-Six," verses five to seven, we read:

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the poor and those who devote their lives to caring for them and improving their lives.

... for health and safety at work be adhered to throughout the world.

... for an end to all child labour and the exploitation of women in the workplace.

... for the elderly people of the world, that they may be valued and cared for by their families, communities and nations. DETAILS

... that all may have access to adequate shelter and that all may accept and fulfil their responsibility for conserving the world's habitats for the future generations of all its creatures. DETAILS

... for the people of the People's Republic of China, Cyprus, Nigeria and Tuvalu, who celebrate their national days today.

... for female scientists, that they may be respected, treated as equal to men in their places of work and allowed the same opportunities. DETAILS

... for the people of Indonesia affected by the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami; for the dead, the injured, the missing and all who have lost their homes and places of work; for the success of those searching for survivors, the medical and welfare services and all the aid agencies involved.

... for people with learning disabilities living in community homes and hospitals, that they may be safe, treated with respect and well cared for.

... for young people who are lonely.

... for victims of acid attacks and an end to this particularly nasty form of violence.

... 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

"On Loving God" by Bernard of Clairvaux:

To love our neighbour's welfare as much as our own: that is true and sincere charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned (I Tim. 1:5). Whosoever loves his own prosperity only is proved thereby not to love good for its own sake since he loves it on his own account. And so he cannot sing with the psalmist, "O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious" (Ps. 118:1). Such a man would praise God, not because he is goodness, but because he has been good to him: he could take to himself the reproach of the same writer, "So long as you do well to him, he will speak good of you" (Ps. 49:18).

One praises God because he is mighty, another because he is gracious, yet another solely because he is essential goodness. The first is a slave and fears for himself; the second is greedy, desiring further benefits; but the third is a son who honours his father. He who fears, he who profits, are both concerned about self-interest. Only in the son is that charity which seeks not her own (I Cor. 13:5).

Wherefore I take this saying, "The law of the Lord is an undefiled law, converting the soul" (Ps. 19:7) to be of charity; because charity alone is able to turn the soul away from love of self and of the world to pure love of God. Neither fear nor self-interest can convert the soul. They may change the appearance, perhaps even the conduct, but never the object of supreme desire. Sometimes a slave may do God's work; but because he does not toil voluntarily, he remains in bondage. So a mercenary may serve God, but because he puts a price on his service, he is enchained by his own greediness. For where there is self-interest there is isolation and such isolation is like the dark corner of a room where dust and rust befoul. Fear is the motive which constrains the slave; greed binds the selfish man, by which he is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed (James 1:14). But neither fear nor self-interest is undefiled, nor can they convert the soul. Only charity can convert the soul, freeing it from unworthy motives.

Next, I call it undefined because it never keeps back anything of its own for itself. When a man boasts of nothing as his very own, surely all that he has is God's and what is God's cannot be unclean. The undefiled law of the Lord is that love which bids men seek not their own, but every man another's wealth. It is called the law of the Lord as much because he lives in accordance with it as because no man has it except by gift from him. Nor is it improper to say that even God lives by law, when that law is the law of love. For what preserves the glorious and ineffable unity of the blessed Trinity, except love? Charity, the law of the Lord, joins the three persons into the unity of the Godhead and unites the holy Trinity in the bond of peace. Do not suppose me to imply that charity exists as an accidental quality of deity; for whatever could be conceived of as wanting in the divine nature is not God. No, it is the very substance of the Godhead; and my assertion is neither novel nor extraordinary, since Saint John says, "God is love" (I John 4:8).

One may therefore say with truth that love is at once God and the gift of God, essential love imparting the quality of love. Where the word refers to God the giver, it is the name of his very being; where the gift is meant, it is the name of a quality. Love is the eternal law whereby the universe was created and is ruled. Since all things are ordered in measure and number and weight, and nothing is left outside the realm of law, that universal law cannot itself be without a law, which is itself. So love though it did not create itself, does surely govern itself by its own decree.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Lord God, your son came among us to serve and not to be served and to give his life for the life of the world. Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help, Through us give hope to the hopeless, love to the unloved, peace to the troubled, and rest to the weary; 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

FRIDAY THE TWENTY-EIGHTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2018
* Shūsaku Endō *

OPENING PRAYER

Grant me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know, to love what I ought to love, to praise what delights you most, to value what is precious in your sight, to hate what is offensive to you. Do not suffer me to judge according to the sight of my eyes, nor to pass sentence according to the hearing of the ears of ignorant men; but to discern with a true judgment between things visible and spiritual and, above all, always to inquire what is the good pleasure of your will.

( Thomas à Kempis, c.1380-1471) )

CANTICLE

Wait, my soul, upon the Lord, to his gracious promise flee,
laying hold upon his word, as your days your strength shall be.

If the sorrows of your case seem peculiar still to be,
God has promised needful grace: as your days your strength shall be.

Days of trial, days of grief, in succession you may see;
this is still your sweet relief: as your days your strength shall be.

Rock of Ages, I am secure, with your promise, full and free,
faithful, positive and sure, as your days your strength shall be.

( William Freeman Lloyd, 1791-1853 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Shusaku Endo: love’s futility in a world of suffering

Today at Saint Laika’s, we remember Shūsaku Endō who died on the twenty-ninth of September 1996. He was a Japanese novelist, a Christian and someone who constantly challenged Japan’s culture through his novels.

Endō was born in Tokyo in 1923 and while still an infant moved with his family to Manchuria, where he gained first-hand experience of being a minority in an alien culture. His parents separated and later divorced and at age eleven he moved back to Japan with his mother and brother. Under the influence of his aunt the family was baptised and became Christians. At this time, Christians were less than one per cent of the Japanese population. When World War II broke out Endō suffered prejudice for his Christian faith, the faith of Japan’s Western “enemies.” After the war he completed his studies both in Japan and in France. In France, he contracted tuberculosis and was in and out of the hospital for three years.

Endō decided to write a life of Christ, so he journeyed to the Holy Land. It was a transformative journey for him. He was of the opinion that Christianity has a hard time taking root in Japan because Jesus was so often portrayed as suffering for us. In his “Life of Jesus”, he chose instead to show Jesus as a man who suffered along with us. Jesus had such love for others, Endō said, but it did him no good. Love is futile in a world of suffering.

The novel that is considered Endō's masterwork is “Silence” which tells the story of the Jesuit missionaries in seventeenth-century Japan who were imprisoned and tortured for their faith in Jesus Christ. The central character, Father Rodrigues, is forced to watch Japanese Christians being put to death for their faith. He, at first, stubbornly refuses to renounce his faith. His captors pledge that if he does so, all the other Christians will be spared. He is required to trample on an image of Christ. He is racked with guilt that his refusal to renounce his faith is causing the death of so many.

In a dream, Christ comes to him and speaks: “You may trample. You may trample. It was to be trampled on by men that I was born into this world. It was to share men’s pain that I carried my cross.”

Rodrigues tramples on the image of Christ and the others are freed. He lives the rest of his life in the ambiguity of having publicly renounced what he still privately believed.

Endō himself was a man of ambiguity. He was never quite accepted in Japan because of his Christian faith and he was never quite comfortable in his Christian faith either. He was continuously calling for a change in the way Christianity was being presented to the Japanese.

Scripture. In the third chapter of the "First Letter of John" at verses eighteen to twenty we read:

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for Christians in Japan, that God will inspire them to discover ways to make their faith relevant and understandable to the pople of their land.

... for writers of fiction.

... for those whose Christian faith makes them outsiders in their own communities.

... that we may have the courage to proclaim ourselves Christian even when doing so will have a negative impact on our lives.

... for those who ask questions when others are afraid to do so. DETAILS

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

... for whales and all creatures threatened by humankind's pollution. 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 "Silence" by Shūsaku Endō:

I, too, stood on the sacred image. For a moment this foot was on his face. It was on the face of the man who has been ever in my thoughts, on the face that was before me on the mountains, in my wanderings, in prison, on the best and most beautiful face that any man can ever know, on the face of him whom I have always longed to love. Even now that face is looking at me with eyes of pity from the plaque rubbed flat by many feet.

"Trample!" said those compassionate eyes. "Trample! Your foot suffers in pain; it must suffer like all the feet that have stepped on this plaque. But that pain alone is enough. I understand your pain and your suffering. It is for that reason that I am here."

"Lord, I resented your silence."

"I was not silent. I suffered beside you.”

CLOSING PRAYERS

Almighty God, we thank you for your gifts of grace given to your servant Shusaku Endo, who sought to present the truth of Christ in a world of brokenness and sin. May we be strengthened in our own faith as we become aware of his struggles. In the end, bring us to endless light and life with you. 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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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

Believing that all people who claim to be victims of sexual abuse are telling the truth is no different to believing all young, black men who are accused of drug dealing are guilty. In fact, it strikes me that there are distinct similarities between the generalities being banged out by some people responding to the "me too"movement (all men are) and the generalities peddled by white supremacy groups (all black people are).

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE TWENTY-SEVENTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2018
* Vincent de Paul *

OPENING PRAYER

O Almighty God, who pours out on all who desire it the spirit of grace and of supplication: deliver us, when we draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections we may worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

( William Bright, 1824-1901 )

CANTICLE

Where charity and love prevail, there God is ever found;
brought here together by Christ’s love, by love are we thus bound.

With grateful joy and holy fear God’s charity we learn;
let us with heart and mind and soul now love God in return.

Forgive we now each other’s faults as we our faults confess;
and let us love each other well in Christian holiness.

Let strife among us be unknown, let all contention cease;
be God’s the glory that we seek, be ours God’s holy peace.

Let us recall that in our midst dwells God’s begotten Son;
as members of his body joined, we are in Christ made one.

No race or creed can love exclude, if honoured be God’s name;
our family embraces all whose Father is the same.

( "Ubi Caritas," translated by Omer Westendorf, 1916-1997 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Vincent de Paul: “Hard and repulsive, but for the grace of God”

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Vincent de Paul, a Roman Catholic priest who lived from the sixteenth into the seventeenth century in and around Paris and left a legacy of caring for those in need that still is operating today.

Around these parts, when someone in need comes to our (Lutheran) door, and I have helped with what I can, I have been known to say, “Have you tried the Saint Vincent de Paul society, at the (neighbouring) Roman Catholic church?”

Very fitting, indeed, for living in the century after the Reformation, a less ecumenically friendly time, he instructed the members of his society that Protestants were to be treated as brothers and sisters, with respect and love, without patronage or condescension or contentiousness.

For Vincent, charity was a predominant virtue that was to be extended to all. He established charitable confraternities to serve the spiritual and physical needs of the poor and sick. He called upon the women of means in Paris to collect funds for his missionary projects particularly hospitals to serve the poor.

Vincent was by temperament a very irascible person. He said that except for the grace of God he would have been “hard and repulsive, rough and cross.” But he became tender and affectionate, very sensitive to the needs of others. He had an extraordinary capacity to connect with all types of people and to move them to be empowered by the gospel of Jesus. In the midst of the most distracting occupations, his soul was always intimately united with God. Though honoured by the great ones of the world, he remained deeply rooted in humility.

Alongside the order of priests he founded, there arose an order of nuns called the Daughters of Charity, devoted to nursing those who were sick and poor. Many babies were abandoned in Paris every year, and when Vincent saw some of them, he established an orphanage for them, and thereafter often wandered through the slums, looking in corners for abandoned babies, which he carried back to the orphanage.

He died on this day in 1660.

Scripture: in Saint Paul’s "First Letter to the Corinthians," chapter one, verses twenty-seven to twenty-nine we read:

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

... for all who are in need of charity, that there needs may be met.

... for abandoned children.

... for the safety of those travelling for pleasure. DETAILS

... for the telling and believing of the truth.

... 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 writings of Vincent De Paul:

Even though the poor are often rough and unrefined, we must not judge them from external appearances nor from the mental gifts they seem to have received. On the contrary, if you consider the poor in the light of faith, then you will observe that they are taking the place of the Son of God who chose to be poor.

Although in his passion he almost lost the appearance of a man and was considered a fool by the Gentiles and a stumbling block by the Jews, he showed them that his mission was to preach to the poor.

"He sent me to preach the good news to the poor."

We also ought to have this same spirit and imitate Christ’s actions, that is, we must take care of the poor, console them, help them, support their cause.

Since Christ willed to be born poor, he chose for himself disciples who were poor. He made himself the servant of the poor and shared their poverty. He went so far as to say that he would consider every deed which either helps or harms the poor as done for or against himself. Since God surely loves the poor, he also loves those who love the poor. For when one person holds another dear, he also includes in his affection anyone who loves or serves the one he loves. That is why we hope that God will love us for the sake of the poor. So when we visit the poor and needy, we try to understand the poor and weak.

We sympathise with them so fully that we can echo Paul’s words, "I have become all things to all men."

Therefore, we must try to be stirred by our neighbours’ worries and distress. We must beg God to pour into our hearts sentiments of pity and compassion and to fill them again and again with these dispositions.

It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. If a needy person requires medicine or other help during prayer time, do whatever has to be done with peace of mind. Offer the deed to God as your prayer. Do not become upset or feel guilty because you interrupted your prayer to serve the poor. God is not neglected if you leave him for such service. One of God’s works is merely interrupted so that another can be carried out. So when you leave prayer to serve some poor person, remember that this very service is performed for God. Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity. Since she is a noble mistress, we must do whatever she commands. With renewed devotion, then, we must serve the poor, especially outcasts and beggars. They have been given to us as our masters and patrons.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Loving God, we thank you for your servant Vincent de Paul, who gave himself to training clergy to work among the poor and provided many institutions to aid the sick, orphans and prisoners. May we, like him, encounter Christ in the needy, the outcast and the friendless, that we may come at length into your kingdom where you reign, one God, holy and undivided Trinity, 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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The Embarrassing Death Of Therese May

Therese May should admit to herself that she's never going to make it on the
comedy circuit. She completely died out there today. Not one laugh. Even the
dig at the Russians didn't raise a titter and the one Ruskie who had bought a
ticket slept through the whole performance. One thing is for certain, when it
comes to bringing the house down, she sure ain't no Donald Trump.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE TWENTY-SIXTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2018
* Wilson Carlile *

OPENING PRAYER

Here and now I give myself to you, and here and now you give yourself to me, and here and now I find your love within. Break through me, Lord, that others I may win; your wounded body and your lifeblood poured impel me forth to live and preach you, Lord.

( Wilson Carlile )

CANTICLE

Go, you workers in God’s vineyard, go, you heralds of the cross;
go, invite the lost to Jesus, go, you will not suffer loss.
Go, for God will give you courage, go, you will not be alone;
go, his arm will be around you, go, for him, to every home.

You may meet with many trials, you may sometimes meet rebuff;
you may find the way unpleasant, you must pray for grace enough.
You must work and do the bidding, you have his command to go;
you must never be discouraged, you will overcome the foe.

Grant us, Lord, your heavenly blessing, give your grace from up above;
house to house, for visitation, in your name we will go in love.
Brothers, sisters, friends and neighbours, pastors, teachers, students, all,
are united in this service, on us richest blessings fall.

( Lewis F. Lindsay, late nineteenth century )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Wilson Carlile: making war against sin and the devil

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Wilson Carlile, founder of the Church Army, priest, evangelist, a friend of the poor.

Wilson Carlile was born in 1847. As a child, music was a great delight to him. He was also good at languages. When he was sent to school in France at age fourteen, he quickly learned to speak French. In later life, he was also proficient at German and Italian. Upon his return from France he joined his grandfather’s business firm and by age eighteen, owing to his grandfather’s failing health, Carlile came to be mostly in control. Thus, at the beginning of the 1870s, he found himself a successful young businessman.

In 1873, a great depression began and continued with a few breaks until 1896. It brought poverty and distress to working people but also had immediate and disastrous effects on the business community. Carlile was among those severely affected by the depression. The prosperity which he had carefully built up suddenly failed. Mental strain led to a physical breakdown and for many weeks he was confined to his bed. All this time he had spent in acquiring material wealth and position, and all for nothing. He began to question the purpose of life. The answer he found changed his life

Quote. “I have seen the crucified and risen Lord as truly as if he had made himself visible to my bodily sight. That is for me the conclusive evidence of his existence. He touched my heart and old desires and hopes left it. In their place came the new thought that I might serve him and his poor and suffering brethren.”

He became associated with revivalist preacher Dwight L. Moody, from whom he learned much about the techniques of evangelism. Carlile was ordained as a priest in the Church of England. He began to hold mission revivals in the worst slums throughout England. Within the structure of the Church of England, he sought to use the working poor to draw others to Christ. By 1882 he had founded the “Church Army,” modelled, in part, on the recently founded “Salvation Army.” When asked why a Church Army, he replied that he was in a war against sin and the devil. With increasing support from a few bishops, the Army gradually gained the respect of the Church. By 1925, the Church Army grew to become the largest home mission society in the Church of England.

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

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the commissioned evangelists of the Church Army; for the success of the Church Army in their task of preaching the good news of God's kingdom.

... that all of us who believe in Christ may bring others to Christ.

... for all involved in family planning services. DETAILS

... for Ellie and all undergoing surgery 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 "The Soul Winner" by Charles Haddon Spurgeon:

What is the real winning of a soul for God? So far as this is done by instrumentality, what are the processes by which a soul is led to God and to salvation? I take it that one of its main operations consists in instructing a man that he may know the truth of God. Instruction by the gospel is the commencement of all real work upon men's minds.

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

Teaching begins the work, and crowns it, too.

The gospel, according to Isaiah, is, "Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live."

It is ours, then, to give men something worth their hearing; in fact, to instruct them. We are sent to evangelize, or to preach the gospel to every creature and that is not done unless we teach them the great truths of revelation. The gospel is good news. To listen to some preachers, you would imagine that the gospel was a pinch of sacred snuff to make them wake up, or a bottle of ardent spirits to excite their brains. It is nothing of the kind; it is news, there is information in it, there is instruction in it concerning matters which men need to know, and statements in it calculated to bless those who hear it. It is not a magical incantation, or a charm, whose force consists in a collection of sounds; it is a revelation of facts and truths which require knowledge and belief. The gospel is a reasonable system, and it appeals to men's understanding; it is a matter for thought and consideration, and it appeals to the conscience and the reflecting powers.

Hence, if we do not teach men something, we may shout, "Believe! Believe! Believe!" but what are they to believe? Each exhortation requires a corresponding instruction, or it will mean nothing.

"Escape!" From what? This requires for its answer the doctrine of the punishment of sin.

"Fly!" But whither? Then must you preach Christ, and his wounds; yea, and the clear doctrine of atonement by sacrifice.

"Repent!" Of what? Here you must answer such questions as, What is sin? What is the evil of sin? What are the consequences of sin?

"Be converted!" But what is it to be converted? By what power can we be converted? What from? What to?

The field of instruction is wide if men are to be made to know the truth which saves. "That the soul be without knowledge, it is not good," and it is ours as the Lord's instruments to make men so to know the truth that they may believe it, and feel its power. We are not to try and save men in the dark, but in the power of the Holy Ghost we are to seek to turn them from darkness to light.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Lord our God, we thank you for the courage and passion of Wilson Carlile who, after the example of your son, sought new ways to open your church to diverse leaders as beacons of the gospel of Christ. Quicken our hearts to give bold witness to Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

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