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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE FIFTEENTH OF JUNE, 2018
* Evelyn Underhill *

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord Christ, who in this difficult world was tempted in all things, as I am, yet fell into no sin, look pitifully, I pray you, upon me. Guide me with your adorable wisdom. Teach me in everything and in every hour what I ought to do. You alone know both that I suffer and what I need. To you, that perfect path that I should walk is known. Show it to me and teach me how to walk it. Keep me, O Saviour, in body, mind, and spirit, for into your strong and gentle hands I commit myself.

Give me, O Lord, I beseech you, courage to pray for light and to endure the light here, where I am on this world of yours, which should reflect your beauty but which we have spoiled and exploited. Cast your radiance on the dark places, those crimes and stupidities I like to ignore and gloss over. Show up my pretensions, my poor little claims and achievements, my childish assumptions of importance, my mock heroism. Take me out of the confused half-light in which I live. Enter and irradiate every situation and every relationship. Show me my opportunities, the raw material of love, of sacrifice, of holiness, lying at my feet, disguised under homely appearance and only seen as it truly is, in your light. Amen.

( Evelyn Underhill )

CANTICLE

You gates of peace and joy untold, you gates of righteousness, unfold,
that I may enter in and raise a song of thankfulness and praise.

Within your gates, O God of grace, your saints shall find a dwelling place;
my thanks and praise to you I bear, my saviour, who has heard my prayer.

What wondrous things the Lord has wrought! The stone the builders set at naught,
established by no human hand, the chiefest cornerstone does stand.

In this the day the Lord has made to him be joyful honours paid;
let us your full salvation see, O Lord, send now prosperity.

Hosanna! Praise to him proclaim who comes now in Jehovah’s name!
May blessing from God’s dwelling place descend on us in boundless grace.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Evelyn Underhill : Martha and Mary combined

Today Saint Laika’s is remembering Evelyn Underhill who was born on the sixth of December, 1875. In 1907 she married Hubert Stuart Moore, a barrister, whom she had known since childhood. They had many interests in common in country life and country lore, and in a love of cats. Initially she considered herself an agnostic, but she was drawn to the Roman Catholic church. This ecclesial wrestling eventually led to her commitment to the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Church of England.

She published one of her most famous works “Mysticism” in 1911. She was convinced that the mystical life is not only open to a saintly few, but to anyone who cares to nurture it and weave it into everyday experience. Overall she authored numerous works on religion and spiritual practice.

She was fond of quoting Saint Teresa's saying that "to give Our Lord a perfect service Martha and Mary must combine."

Her days consisted of writing in the morning and in the afternoon she would visit the poor and devote time to the practice of spiritual direction. During the First World War she worked in naval intelligence for the British Admiralty, but after the war, developed into an articulate adherent of pacifism. Her widely read book “Worship” was published in 1936. In 1939 she was awarded the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by the University of Aberdeen.

Her love of souls coupled with the determination to help them to grow at God's pace and not at their own or hers, won her the love and trust of all who sought her help and counsel.

She died on the fifteenth of June, 1941.

Quote: "God is always coming to you in the sacrament of the present moment. Meet and receive him there with gratitude in that sacrament.

Scripture: In "Psalm Thirty-Seven," verses three to five, we read:

Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that we may develop more spiritual depth in our lives.

... that we may be Christian in both action and word.

... that we may always live fully in both the kingdom of God and the world, citizens of both.

... 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 "Mysticism" by Evelyn Underhill:

What is the Unitive Life? We have referred to it often enough in the course of this inquiry. At last we are face to face with the necessity of defining its nature if we can. Since the normal man knows little about his own true personality and nothing at all about that of Deity, the orthodox description of it as “the life in which man’s will is united with God,” does but echo the question in an ampler form, and conveys no real meaning to the student’s mind.

That we should know, by instinct, its character from within (as we know, if we cannot express, the character of our own normal human lives) is of course impossible. We deal here with the final triumph of the spirit, the flower of mysticism, humanity’s top note: the consummation towards which the contemplative life, with its long slow growth and costly training, has moved from the first. We look at a small but ever-growing group of heroic figures, living at transcendent levels of reality which we immersed in the poor life of illusion, cannot attain: breathing an atmosphere whose true quality we cannot even conceive. Here, then, as at so many other points in our study of the spiritual consciousness, we must rely for the greater part of our knowledge upon the direct testimony of the mystics; who alone can tell the character of that “more abundant life” which they enjoy.

Yet we are not wholly dependent on this source of information. It is the peculiarity of the Unitive Life that it is often lived, in its highest and most perfect forms, in the world; and exhibits its works before the eyes of men. As the law of our bodies is “earth to earth” so, strangely enough, is the law of our souls. The spirit of man having at last come to full consciousness of reality, completes the circle of Being; and returns to fertilise those levels of existence from which it sprang. Hence, the enemies of mysticism, who have easily drawn a congenial moral from the “morbid and solitary” lives of contemplatives in the earlier and educative stages of the Mystic Way, are here confronted very often by the disagreeable spectacle of the mystic as a pioneer of humanity, a sharply intuitive and painfully practical person: an artist, a discoverer, a religious or social reformer, a national hero, a “great active” amongst the saints. By the superhuman nature of that which these persons accomplish, we can gauge something of the super-normal vitality of which they partake. The things done, the victories gained over circumstances by Saint Bernard or Saint Joan of Arc, by Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Ignatius Loyola, Saint Teresa, George Fox, are hardly to be explained unless these great spirits had indeed a closer, more intimate, more bracing contact than their fellows with that Life “which is the light of men.”

We have, then, these two lines of investigation open to us: first, the comparison and elucidation of that which the mystics tell us concerning their transcendent experience, secondly, the testimony which is borne by their lives to the existence within them of supernal springs of action, contact set up with deep levels of vital power. In the third place, we have such critical machinery as psychology has placed at our disposal; but this, in dealing with these giants of the spirit, must be used with peculiar caution and humility.

The Unitive Life, though so often lived in the world, is never of it. It belongs to another plane of being, moves securely upon levels unrelated to our speech; and hence eludes the measuring powers of humanity. We, from the valley, can only catch a glimpse of the true life of these elect spirits, transfigured upon the mountain. They are far away, breathing another air: we cannot reach them. Yet it is impossible to over-estimate their importance for the race. They are our ambassadors to the Absolute. They vindicate humanity’s claim to the possible and permanent attainment of Reality; bear witness to the practical qualities of the transcendental life. In Eucken’s words, they testify to “the advent of a triumphing Spiritual Power, as distinguished from a spirituality which merely lays the foundations of life or struggles to maintain them” to the actually life-enhancing power of the Love of God, once the human soul is freely opened to receive it.

CLOSING PRAYER

O God, grant that your church, taught by your servant Evelyn Underhill, guarded evermore by your power, and guided by your Spirit into the light of truth, may continually offer to you all glory and thanksgiving and attain with your saints to the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have promised us by our Saviour 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.

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

When I am in charge (and it's only a matter of time, I mean, Donald Trump got the job and who would have thought that could happen?) I am going to insist that ordinands spend a year studying the philosophical method and then a year studying the scientific method before they even start to learn any theology.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE FOURTEENTH OF JUNE, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, as your mercies do surround us, so grant that our return of duty may abound; and let this day manifest our gratitude by doing something well-pleasing unto you; through Jesus Christ our Lord Amen.

( Edward Lake )

CANTICLE

You faithful souls, who Jesus know, if risen indeed with him you are,
superior to the joys below, his resurrection’s power declare;
your faith by holy tempers prove, by actions show your sins forgiven,
and seek the glorious things above and follow Christ your head to Heaven.

There your exalted saviour see seated at God’s right hand again,
in all his father’s majesty, in everlasting pomp to reign:
to him continually aspire, contending for your native place,
and emulate the angel choir, and only live to love and praise.

( Charles Wesley )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

G K Chesterton: prince of paradox

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was an English writer, poet, philosopher, lay theologian and Christian apologist. He was eccentric, whimsical, absent-minded, yet a prolific writer. He created the Father Brown detective mysteries. Two of his most serious works were “Orthodoxy” and “The Everlasting Man.” People often called him the “prince of paradox” which Chesterton described as “truth standing on its head to gain attention.”

As a young man, Chesterton had been fascinated with spiritualism and the occult, but his faith grew stronger over the years, as he devoted himself to the defence of what he called “orthodoxy,” which was for him, among other things, an acknowledgement of the mystery and paradox of Christian faith in an age of increasing skepticism.

Chesterton converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, and was a passionate defender of the Christian faith. He was in part responsible for C.S. Lewis’s own conversion to Christianity.

He died on the fourteenth of June, 1936.

Chesterton was at his best with short quotes and one liners. Here are a few:

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

“The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.”

“Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.”

Scripture. In the "Book of Ecclesiastes," chapter nine, verses eleven and twelve we read:

Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favour to the skilful; but time and chance happen to them all. For no one can anticipate the time of disaster. Like fish taken in a cruel net and like birds caught in a snare, so mortals are snared at a time of calamity, when it suddenly falls upon them.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that we may more fully understand God and find the words to help others understand God too.

... for those receiving blood transfusions. DETAILS

... for the people of the Falkland Islands who celebrate their national day today.

... for those facing redundancy from work due to "job cuts."

... for the people of Yemen as the civil war in their land escalates. DETAILS

... for those who have been sexually abused by priests in Chile; pray that those who committed such crimes, enabled them or covered them up, are brought to account. DETAILS

... 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 Everlasting Man" by G. K. Chesterton:

We have all heard people say a hundred times over, for they seem never to tire of saying it, that the Jesus of the New Testament is indeed a most merciful and humane lover of humanity, but that the Church has hidden this human character in repellent dogmas and stiffened it with ecclesiastical terrors till it has taken on an inhuman character. This is, I venture to repeat, very nearly the reverse of the truth. The truth is that it is the image of Christ in the churches that is almost entirely mild and merciful. It is the image of Christ in the Gospels that is a good many other things as well. The figure in the Gospels does indeed utter in words of almost heart-breaking beauty his pity for our broken hearts. But they are very far from being the only sort of words that he utters. Nevertheless they are almost the only kind of words that the Church in its popular imagery ever represents him as uttering. That popular imagery is inspired by a perfectly sound popular instinct. The mass of the poor are broken, and the mass of the people are poor, and for the mass of mankind the main thing is to carry the conviction of the incredible compassion of God. But nobody with his eyes open can doubt that it is chiefly this idea of compassion that the popular machinery of the Church does seek to carry. The popular imagery carries a great deal to excess the sentiment of "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild." It is the first thing that the outsider feels and criticises in a Pieta or a shrine of the Sacred Heart. As I say, while the art may be insufficient, I am not sure that the instinct is unsound. In any case there is something appalling, something that makes the blood run cold, in the idea of having a statue of Christ in wrath. There is something insupportable even to the imagination in the idea of turning the corner of a street or coming out into the spaces of a marketplace, to meet the petrifying petrifaction of that figure as it turned upon a generation of vipers, or that face as it looked at the face of a hypocrite. The Church can reasonably be justified therefore if she turns the most merciful face or aspect towards men; but it is certainly the most merciful aspect that she does turn. And the point is here that it is very much more specially and exclusively merciful than any impression that could be formed by a man merely reading the New Testament for the first time. A man simply taking the words of the story as they stand would form quite another impression; an impression full of mystery and possibly of inconsistency; but certainly not merely an impression of mildness. It would be intensely interesting; but part of the interest would consist in its leaving a good deal to be guessed at or explained. It is full of sudden gestures evidently significant except that we hardly know what they signify, of enigmatic silences; of ironical replies. The outbreaks of wrath, like storms above our atmosphere, do not seem to break out exactly where we should expect them, but to follow some higher weather chart of their own. The Peter whom popular Church teaching presents is very rightly the Peter to whom Christ said in forgiveness, "Feed my lambs." He is not the Peter upon whom Christ turned as if he were the devil, crying in that obscure wrath, "Get thee behind me, Satan." Christ lamented with nothing but love and pity over Jerusalem which was to murder him. We do not know what strange spiritual atmosphere or spiritual insight led him to sink Bethsaida lower in the pit than Sodom. I am putting aside for the moment all questions of doctrinal inferences or expositions, orthodox or otherwise; I am simply imagining the effect on a man's mind if he did really do what these critics are always talking about doing; if he did really read the New Testament without reference to orthodoxy and even without reference to doctrine. He would find a number of things which fit in far less with the current unorthodoxy than they do with the current orthodoxy. He would find, for instance, that if there are any descriptions that deserved to be called realistic, they are precisely the descriptions of the supernatural. If there is one aspect of the New Testament Jesus in which he may be said to present himself eminently as a practical person, it is in the aspect of an exorcist. There is nothing meek and mild, there is nothing even in the ordinary sense mystical, about the tone of the voice that says "Hold thy peace and come out of him." It is much more like the tone of a very business-like lion-tamer or a strong-minded doctor dealing with a homicidal maniac.

CLOSING PRAYER

O God of earth and altar, you gave G. K. Chesterton a ready tongue and pen and inspired him to use them in your service: mercifully grant that we may be inspired to witness cheerfully to the hope that is in us; through Jesus Christ our saviour, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

Jesus did not come to tell humankind that God works in mysterious ways. He came to spell out to us, clearly and simply, exactly how God does work. Do not confuse ignorance with beyond understanding. We have no idea what gravity actually is but that does not mean gravity is being deliberately abstruse.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE THIRTEENTH OF JUNE, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Loving Father, thank you for the example of Jesus who cried, "Father forgive," on the cross. Help me to be one that freely and willingly prays forgiveness over those who are my enemies, and those who, for whatever reason, dislike or try to harm me.

Forgive my enemies Lord and all those who have tried to harm me. Look down in pity on all those who I term "enemies" and give me the grace to show them the love of Christ in my actions and attitudes towards them. Keep my thoughts from becoming resentful or seeking revenge but rather release in my heart the peace that only comes from casting all my cares on you.

Give me the grace, not only to truly forgive my enemies but also to bless those who persecute me for in so doing I see a dim reflection of your enormous grace towards me for which I praise and thank you in Jesus blessed name. Amen.

CANTICLE

Remember Christ, our saviour who paid the debts you owed
to God the heavenly Father and to you mercy showed.
When others sin against you be ready to forgive.
Since you have been forgiven with them in peace now live.

Go first to find your brother, your sister or your friend.
do not reveal to others the hurt you need to mend.
Confront in humble spirit the one whose sin caused pain
that he might seek forgiveness and you a friend regain.

When bitter anger tempts you to nurse your broken heart
with brooding thoughts of hatred and vows of vengeance start.
Pray to the lord of pardon for power to release
each selfish act against you that rage might in you cease.

O Father, Son, and Spirit, O patient Trinity,
who lifts from us sin’s burden and from its debt sets free,
grant us the will to pardon all those who us offend
that we might enter heaven with them when ages end.

( Robert E. Smith )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Cosme Spezotto, OFM: following the God of the poor in El Salvador

The faith and commitment of so many Christians who suffered and died in Central and South America is only beginning to be understood.

Such is the case of Father Cosme Spezotto, a Franciscan from Italy, who was assassinated in El Salvador on the fourteenth of June, 1980. He had been praying at the church of San Juan Nonualco, where he had served for many years.

An Italian by birth, he arrived in El Salvador in 1950 and spent his life in service of the poor until his martyrdom. He served his flock in a ministry that was both traditional and innovative. He visited the sick, brought in the cultivation of grapes, helped some villagers construct dignified houses and buried the dead. He denounced the grave injustices committed by the Salvadoran armed forces, and that was to prove his undoing.

In May of 1980 he entered a hospital for a liver problem and was found to suffer from leukaemia. While hospitalised he had received three death threats warning him never to go back to his parish church. But he went back anyway, even though suffering from leukaemia, and there he was martyred by members of the police, who made good on their threats.

After his death this note was found among his possessions, and it reveals so clearly the deep faith of many who put Christ above personal safety.

“I have a feeling that at one time or another, fanatical persons can take away my life. I ask the Lord that at the opportune moment he give me the strength to defend the rights of Christ and his Church. To die a martyr would be a grace I don’t deserve. To wash away with the blood, poured out by Christ, all my sins, defects, and weaknesses of my past life would be a gracious and gratuitous gift of God.”

He forgave his executioners as he was gunned down. His final words, according to Father Filiberto del Bosco, were "pardon ... pardon" as the priest gave him the last rites.

Another martyr who identified himself with the God of the poor.

Scripture. In the "Letter to Hebrews," chapter twelve, verses three and four, we read:

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for an end to tyranny and oppression by the state; for an end to police brutality and corruption.

... for the strength to forgive those who trespass against us.

... for the people of the Falkland Islands who celebrate their national day today.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "My Life in Christ" by John of Kronstadt:

You see very clearly that it is extremely difficult, and without God’s grace and your own fervent prayer and abstinence, impossible, for you to change for the better.  You feel within yourself the action of a multitude of passions: of pride, malice, envy, greediness, the love of money, despondency, slothfulness, fornication, impatience, and disobedience; and yet you remain in them, are often bound by them, whilst the long-suffering Lord bears with you, awaiting your return and amendment; and still bestows upon you all the gifts of his mercy.

Be then indulgent, patient, and loving to those who live with you, and who also suffer from many passions; conquer every evil by good, and, above all, pray to God for them, that he may correct them; that he may turn their hearts to himself, the source of holiness.

Do not help the Devil to spread his kingdom. Hallow the name of your heavenly Father by your actions; help him to spread his kingdom on earth. "For we are labourers together with God."

Be zealous of the fulfilment of his will on earth, as it is in heaven. Forgive them that trespass against you with joy, as a good son rejoices when he has a chance of fulfilling the will of his beloved father.

CLOSING PRAYER

Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth. Inspire us with the memory of Father Cosme Spezotto, whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross. Give us the courage to bear witness with our own lives to your son’s victory over sin and death, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE TWELFTH OF JUNE, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord and master of my life, grant me not a spirit of sloth, meddling, love of power, and idle talk, but give to me, your servant, a spirit of sober-mindedness, humility, patience, and love. Yes, O Lord and king, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brother, since you are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen.

( Ephrem of Edessa )

CANTICLE

Receive, O Lord, in Heaven above our prayers and supplications pure;
give us a heart all full of love and steady courage to endure.

Thy holy name our mouths confess, our tongues are harps to praise your grace;
forgive our sins and wickedness, who in this vigil seek your face.

Let not our song become a sigh, a wail of anguish and despair;
in lovingkindness, Lord most high, receive tonight our evening prayer.

O raise us in that day, that we may sing, where all your saints adore,
praise to the Father, and to you and to the Spirit, evermore.

( Ephrem of Edessa )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Ephrem of Edessa: voice of Syrian Christianity
(transferred from Sunday)

While the early church was filled with saints of Greek and Latin origins, Saint Ephrem’s life speaks loudly about the early growth and spread of Christianity to the East. The present day Syrian Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East both claim Ephrem as a learned scholar, Bible commentator, theologian and hymn writer.

The great school at Edessa in the fourth century was led by Ephrem. He was one of the few Syrians who were able to attend the Council of Nicea. The theological struggle which erupted in the Syrian Church was over Christ’s humanity. Some Syrian Christians claimed that Christ had a single divine personality. These became the originators of the Syrian Orthodox Church. They were known as Monophysites (one nature). Others held that Christ had two distinct personalities: the divine Son of God and the human Son of Mary. These were the originators of the Assyrian Church of the East and were known at Dyphysites (two natures). Ephrem died before the conflict became full blown, and so is revered by both groups as well as by the Orthodox and Western Churches.

Scripture. In "The Letter to the Ephesians," chapter three, verse eight, we read:

Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the restoration of the Church throughout the East.

... for the Christians of the Eastern churches, in particular for those who live in nations now predominantly hostile to their faith.

... for respectful fellowship and communion between all who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

... for an end to child labour and exploitation throughout the world; for the welfare of those children who have to work; for an end to the inequality of wealth that makes child labour necessary for many families. DETAILS

... for the people of the Republic of the Philippines and the people of Russia, who celebrate their national days today.

... that the meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore will result in a less dangerous, more peaceful world.

... for Emmy, the nineteen-month-old daughter of former US Olympic skier, Bode Miller, who has died after falling into a swimming pool; for all families who mourn the accidental death of a child. 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 the homily, "On Admonition and Repentance" by Ephrem of Edessa:

This is the first commandment, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and your soul, and with your might according as you are able.

The sign that you love God, is this, that you love your fellow; and if you hate your fellow, your hatred is towards God. For it is blasphemy if you pray before God while you are wrathful. For your heart also convicts you, that in vain you multiply words: your conscience rightly judges that in your prayers you profit nought.

Christ as he hung on the height of the tree, interceded for his murderers; and you who are dust, son of the clay, rage fills you at its will. You keep anger against your brother; and do you yet dare to pray?

Leave off rage and then pray; and unless you would further provoke, restrain anger and so shall you supplicate. And if he the other is not to encounter you in fury, banish rage from that body, because it is set aside with lusts.

You have a spiritual nature; the soul is the image of the Creator; honour the image of God, by being in agreement with all men. Remember death, and be not angry, that your peace be not of constraint. As long as your life remains to you, cleanse your soul from wrath; for if it should go to Sheol with you, your road will be straight to Gehenna.

Keep not anger in your heart; hold not fury in your soul; you have not power over thy soul, save to do that which is good.

You are bought with the blood of God; you are redeemed by the passion of Christ; for your sake he suffered death, that you might die to your sins. His face endured spitting, that you might not shrink from scorn. Vinegar and gall did he drink, that you might be set apart from wrath. He received stripes on his body, that you might not fear suffering. If you are in truth his servant, fear your holy Lord; if you are his true disciple, walk in your master’s footsteps.

Endure scorn from your brother, that you may be the companion of Christ. Display not anger against man, that you be not set apart from your redeemer.

CLOSING PRAYER

Pour out on us, O Lord, that same Spirit by which your deacon Ephrem rejoiced to proclaim in sacred song the mysteries of faith; and so gladden our hearts that we, like him, may be devoted to you alone; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Fake News Just In

Meanwhile in the United States of America, logistics experts are busy trying to work out if it is doable for an entire nation of three hundred and twenty-seven million people to move without leaving a forwarding address whilst a certain leader of the free world (pretend) is in Singapore making a complete fool of himself.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE ELEVENTH OF JUNE, 2018
* Barnabas *

OPENING PRAYER

Lord God, loving encourager of all that is good, when I look at the glory of your creation, my mind fills with admiration and my heart fills with wonder. How could I applaud all of your work and fail to recognise it in my own life? I forget that you have changed me because you love me; that you, the most high God, chase after me because I am important to you. Help me remember you have a work to do in me and through me. Please help me to see just how precious I am to you, that you started a good work in my heart and have promised to complete it. May I boldly embrace each opportunity to reveal your divine design. Amen.

CANTICLE

Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.

Let not your weary heart be troubled, believe in God, believe in me;
for in my father’s house are mansions, I will prepare a place for thee.

Let not your peace in calm assurance be ruffled by the storms of life,
but soldier-like, with firm endurance, just glory in the holy strife.

Let not your hope be dimmed with doubting, let not life’s burdens foil your grace;
but in each conflict victory shouting, like he who runs to win a race.

Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.

( Barney E. Warren )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Barnabas: very encouraging!

The story of Barnabas is written in and through the "New Testament." Believed originally to have been from Cyprus, he was a disciple of Jesus, a bridge-builder between Saint Paul and the original apostles, and one of Paul’s great co-workers among the gentiles.

We are first introduced to him in the fourth chapter of the "Acts of the Apostles," verses thirty-six and thirty-seven:

There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means "son of encouragement"). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

In chapter nine of the same book, he facilitated a meeting between Saint Paul and the other apostles who were afraid of him. In verses twenty-six and twenty-seven we read:

When Paul had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus.

The word "encouragement” in Greek is "paraclesis." In the "Gospel of John," Jesus identifies the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete. This was vitally important to Paul and the other first generation Christians. Paul uses the word encourage, or encouragement, twenty-one times in his epistles. Barnabas brought the Spirit nearer to those among whom he ministered.

As you think about your own life, who are the ones who stand by you, who guide and counsel you; who comfort you, motivate you, strengthen and consoles you? These are the qualities of encouragement.

Scripture. In the First Letter to the Thessalonians," chapter five, verse eleven, Paul implores the members of the church:

Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that we may receive all the encouragement we need to do the Lord's work all the days of our lives and that we will be given the grace to be an encouragement to others as they seek to live righteously.

... for those who have been turned away by others, for those fleeing from danger who are refused a safe haven, for the unwanted.

... for victims of knife crime, for an end to the gang culture and tribalism that encourages violence towards and hatred of the other.

... for victims of mugging.

... 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 treatise on the "Gospel of Matthew" by Chromatius of Aquileia:

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp only to put it under a bushel basket; they put it on a stand where it gives light to all in the house."

The Lord called his disciples the salt of the earth because they seasoned with heavenly wisdom the hearts of men rendered insipid by the devil. Now he calls them the light of the world as well, because they have been enlightened by him, the true and everlasting light, and have themselves become a light in the darkness.

Since he is the Sun of Justice, he fittingly calls his disciples the light of the world. The reason for this is that through them, as through shining rays, he has poured out the light of the knowledge of himself upon the entire world. For by manifesting the light of truth, they have dispelled the darkness of error from the hearts of men.

We have been made light out of darkness as the Apostle says, "For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light."

He says another time, "For you are not sons of the night and of darkness, but you are all sons of light and of the day."

Saint John also rightly asserts in his letter, "God is light" and whoever abides in God is in the light just as God himself is in the light. Therefore, because we rejoice in having been freed from the darkness of error, we should always walk in the light as children of light.

This is why the Apostle says, "Among them you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life."

If we fail to live in the light, we shall, to our condemnation and that of others, be veiling over and obscuring by our infidelity the light men so desperately need. As we know from scripture, the man who received the talent should have made it produce a heavenly profit, but instead he preferred to hide it away rather than put it to work and was punished as he deserved.

Consequently, that brilliant lamp which was lit for the sake of our salvation should always shine in us.

For we have the lamp of the heavenly commandment and spiritual grace, to which David referred, "Your law is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

Solomon also says this about it, "For the command of the law is a lamp."

Therefore, we must not hide this lamp of law and faith. Rather, we must set it up in the Church, as on a lamp-stand, for the salvation of many, so that we may enjoy the light of truth itself and all believers may be enlightened.

CLOSING PRAYER

Grant, O God, that we may follow the example of your faithful servant Barnabas, who, seeking not his own renown but the well-being of your Church, gave generously of his life and substance for the relief of the poor and the spread of the Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 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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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

The excuse for bad behaviour and lack of compassion that the clergy often use, that the Church is full of ordinary, sinful people, would be more valid if, when the leaders of the Church discovered that one of them had behaved in an ordinary, compassionless, sinful way, they did something to remedy the situation rather than sweep it under the carpet.

The Great Saint Laika Summertime Appeal 2018 UPDATE

Thanks to my new bestest friends, James, Rebecca, Jacilyn, Hugh, David and Penelope, my Summer appeal this year has already raised a staggering four hundred and twenty-six pounds and sixty-two pence ($571.92). This is just great. Thank you all so very much.

I receive no salary or funding other than the donations I receive from generous friends who regularly contribute towards my ministry. I receive about five hundred pounds a month which is just about enough to provide me with the essentials of life. Unfortunately, it does not pay for any larger bills that come along and so, twice a year, at Christmas and in June (my birthday month) I run a special appeal to try and raise the cash for such extra expenses.

This year I need to raise money for a new set of partial dentures (the NHS does not pay for all dental work) and for a camping holiday in the Lake District during which my wife and myself will celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary. Any monies I receive that take the total over the cost of these two things will go towards the cost of the Saint Laika website.

If you decide to send a bit of cash my way you can do so via one of the PayPal widgets below. There is one for payment in American dollars and one for payment in British pounds. I do not mind in the slightest what currency your generosity manifests itself in. Also, you do not need a PayPal account to make your donation through PayPal, just a debit or credit card.




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BRITISH POUNDS

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE EIGHTH OF JUNE, 2018
* Thomas Ken *

OPENING PRAYER

Blessing and honour and thanksgiving and praise, more than we can utter, more than we can conceive, be to you, O holy and glorious Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, by all angels, all people, all creatures, for ever and ever. Amen.

( Thomas Ken )

CANTICLE

Awake, my soul, and with the sun thy daily stage of duty run;
shake off dull sloth and joyful rise to pay thy morning sacrifice.

Thy precious time misspent, redeem, each present day thy last esteem,
improve thy talent with due care; for the great day thyself prepare.

By influence of the light divine let thy own light to others shine.
Reflect all Heaven’s propitious ways in ardent love, and cheerful praise.

In conversation be sincere; keep conscience as the noontide clear;
think how all seeing God thy ways and all thy secret thoughts surveys.

Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart, and with the angels bear thy part,
who all night long unwearied sing high praise to the eternal king.

All praise to Thee, who safe has kept and hast refreshed me while I slept.
Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake I may of endless light partake.

Heaven is, dear Lord, wherever thou art, O never then from me depart;
for to my soul it is hell to be but for one moment void of thee.

Lord, I my vows to thee renew; disperse my sins as morning dew.
guard my first springs of thought and will and with thyself my spirit fill.

Direct, control, suggest, this day, all I design or do or say,
that all my powers, with all their might, in thy sole glory may unite.

I would not wake nor rise again and Heaven itself I would disdain,
were thou not there to be enjoyed and I in hymns to be employed.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, ye heavenly host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

( Thomas Ken )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Thomas Ken: conscience, integrity, and changing times

The course of the Reformation in England was a bit like
a pendulum, swinging back and forth.

Thomas Ken was a bishop in the Church of England in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century, at a time when King James II, a Stuart, came to power as king of England, with decidedly Roman Catholic leanings. Ken was bishop of Bath and Wells, and in 1688 when James issued his so called "Declaration of Indulgence," which would have reversed the consistent plan of conformity to the Church of England, seven bishops refused to publish it. Thomas Ken was among them. On the eighth of June, 1688 he and the others were imprisoned in the tower of London.

Parliament would have none of this openness toward Roman Catholicism either, and they invited William of Orange to take over the country and rule as king. This was known as the Glorious Revolution.

Of course, this cleared the way for Thomas Ken and the other bishops to be freed. But Thomas then found himself in another crisis. As bishop he had sworn on oath to be loyal to James II. Now he was being asked to renege on his oath of loyalty to James in order to take a new oath to support William. He felt in conscience that he could not take that oath as long as James was alive. He and other bishops and clergy who refused to take the new oath were called the “non juring” clergy. They were not imprisoned, but he lost his bishopric at Bath and Wells and lived, more or less, in retirement.

Thomas Ken was also a gifted poet and hymn-writer. He authored the ubiquitous “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow,” “Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun,” and “All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night,“ among others.

Quote: “Teach me to live, that I may dread the grave as little as my bed. Teach me to die, so that I may rise glorious at the awesome day.”

Scripture. "Philippians," chapter four, verses six to eight:

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for clergy who have committed no crime but who are not allowed to practice their vocation.

... that we may be people of integrity who keep our promises and whose word can be relied upon.

... that humankind will find the will to repair the damage that it has caused to the oceans and seas of the world. DETAILS

... for the people of Norfolk Island, Australia, who celebrate their national day today.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "Ichabod: or Five Groans of the Church" by Thomas Ken:

Thus vile you are and yet you are proud; thus dishonouring your selves and yet ambitious. Learn of me (said Christ) for I am meek and lowly. Look upon you, you are proud and lordly. I made you ministers for the service of souls, you advance your selves to be rulers. I taught every soul of you to be subject; you are impatient of subjection. Humility and meekness was the glory of my ministers; haughtiness and pride is your shame. Were you raised by the favour of God and men lately, to be high now? God remembered, and man pitied you in your low estate; God will remember, and man will punish you in your high estate. You humbled yourselves, and you were exalted; you exalt yourselves, and you may be made low. Oh the pride that composes your sermons, that contrives your designs, that fills your thoughts, that forms your countenances, that puts the accents and emphasis on your words, that orders your habit, models your gestures; that makes you aim at yourselves in all you do, and forget God; when you should aim at God, and forget yourselves. Shall ministers that bring men to Heaven, live in pride, that cast angels to Hell?

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, who gave to your servant Thomas Ken grace and courage to bear witness to the truth before rulers and kings: Give us strength also that, following his example, we may constantly defend what is right, boldly reprove what is evil, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake, through Jesus Christ our lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE SEVENTH OF JUNE, 2018
* Pioneers of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil *

OPENING PRAYER

In this hour of this day, fill us, O Lord, with your mercy, that rejoicing throughout the whole day, we may take delight in your praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

( "Sarum Breviary" )

CANTICLE

You fair green hills of Galilee, that girdle quiet Nazareth,
what glorious vision did ye see, when he who conquered sin and death
your flowery slopes and summits trod, and grew in grace with man and God?

We saw no glory crown his head as childhood ripened into youth;
no angels on his errands sped; he wrought no sign; but meekness, truth
and duty marked each step he trod, and love to man and love to God.

Jesus, my saviour, master, king, who did for me the burden bear;
while saints in heaven your glory sing, let me on earth your likeness wear;
mine be the path your feet have trod: duty, and love, to man and God.

( Eustace R. Conder )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Pioneers of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil

Today Saint Laika’s remembers the pioneers of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil.

Anglican ministry in Brazil began as early as 1810, when chaplaincies were established for expatriated Anglicans. In 1889, Brazil formalised the idea of separation of church and state in its constitution. The Episcopal Church in the United States decided that missionary work should commence.

In 1890 , two Episcopal priests were sent to Brazil, the Reverend Lucien Lee Kinsolving, and the Reverend James Watson Morris. In 1891 two other priests, and a laywoman teacher joined them. These five, along with six Brazilians (Vicente Brande, Américo Vespúcio Cabral, Antônio Machado Fraga, Bonaventura de Souza Oliveira, Júlio de Almeida Coelho and Carl Henry Clement Sergel) are now celebrated as the founders of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil. Kinsolving was elected as the first bishop of the Church in 1899.

The Church was under the supervision of the Episcopal Church in the United States until 1965, when the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil became fully autonomous. In 1982 they also became financially independent from the Episcopal Church.

The Church is committed to fight against problems that affect vast portions of the Brazilian society, such as social inequality, land concentration, domestic violence, racism, homophobia and xenophobia. As of 2015, the World Council of Churches lists their membership at one hundred and twenty thousand.

Scripture: In the "Book of Revelation," chapter seven, verses nine and ten, we read:

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.

They cried out in a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!"

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the members of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil; that their inclusive, Christ-centred message may be heard and accepted throughout their land.

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

... for those who have recently returned home from hospital to convalesce.

... for workers threatened with redundancy because of the "restructuring" of the company that employs them.

... for child migrants separated from their parents.

... for the migrants who drowned when the smugglers' boat carrying them from Somalia to Yemen capsized; for those migrants who are still missing. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

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

We were considering the Christian idea of "putting on Christ," or first "dressing up" as a son of God in order that you may finally become a real son. What I want to make clear is that this is not one among many jobs a Christian has to do; and it is not a sort of special exercise for the top class. It is the whole of Christianity. Christianity offers nothing else at all. The Christian way is different: harder, and easier.

Christ says "Give me all. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked, the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you myself: my own will shall become yours."

Both harder and easier than what we are all trying to do. You have noticed, I expect, that Christ himself sometimes describes the Christian way as very hard, sometimes as very easy. He says, "Take up your Cross." In other words, it is like going to be beaten to death in a concentration camp. Next minute he says, "My yoke is easy and my burden light." He means both.

CLOSING PRAYER

O God, who sent your son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: we bless you for the missionaries from the Episcopal Church and those who first responded to their message, joining together to establish the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil; and we pray that we, like them, may be ready to preach Christ crucified and risen and to encourage and support those who pioneer new missions in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE SIXTH OF JUNE, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Glory to God in the highest, the creator, and lord of heaven and earth, the preserver of all things, the father of mercies, who so loved humankind as to send his only begotten son into the world to redeem us from sin and misery and to obtain for us everlasting life. Accept, O gracious God, our praises and thanksgivings for your infinite mercies towards us and teach us, O Lord, to love you more and serve you better: through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

( John Hamilton 1512 - 1571 )

CANTICLE

Ye clouds and darkness, hosts of night, that breed confusion and affright,
begone! Overhead the dawn shines clear, the light breaks in and Christ is here.

Earth’s gloom flees broken and dispersed, by the sun’s piercing shafts coerced:
the day-star’s eyes rain influence bright and colours glimmer back to sight.

Thee, Christ, alone we know; to thee we bend in pure simplicity;
our songs with tears to thee arise; rove thou our hearts with thy clear eyes.

Though we be stained with blots within, thy quickening rays shall purge our sin;
light of the morning star, thy grace shed on us from thy cloudless face.

All laud to God the Father be, all praise, eternal Son, to thee;
all glory, as is ever meet, to God the holy Paraclete.

( Aurelius C. Prudentius, 348-413 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Six-Day War 1967

The Six-Day War was fought between the fifth and tenth of June, 1967, by Israel and the neighbouring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. The war began with Israel launching surprise strikes against Egyptian air-fields in response to the mobilisation of Egyptian forces on the Israeli border. A period of high tension had preceded the war.

Within six days, Israel had won a decisive land war. Israeli forces had taken control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria.

The success of the campaign must have surprised the Israelis. However, it also gave rise to a situation that was to prove a major problem for the Israeli government  for decades. By capturing the Sinai, the Golan Heights and the West Bank of the Jordan River, the Israelis had captured for themselves areas of great strategic value. However, the West Bank also contained over six hundred thousand Arabs who now came under Israeli administration. Their plight led many young Arabs into joining the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), a group that the Israelis deemed a terrorist group. The status of these territories and the resulting refugee crisis continue to fuel the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Quote. Pope Francis, speaking in the city of Bethlehem, said, “All of us want peace. Many people build it day by day through small gestures and acts; many of them are suffering, yet patiently persevere in their efforts to be peacemakers. Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a constant torment. The men and women of these lands, and of the entire world, all of them, ask us to bring before God their fervent hopes for peace.”

Scripture. In the "Gospel of Matthew," chapter five, verses forty-three to forty-five we read:

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.”

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world; in particular, today, for peace in the Middle East; for an end to war, bloodshed, and violence; for reconciliation between enemies.

... for the people of Sweden who celebrate their national day, today.

... for those affected by the explosion of the Fuego volcano in Guatemala on Sunday; for the dead, the injured, the missing and for those whose homes have been destroyed. DETAILS

... for missing pets and for the people looking for them.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

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

An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get into touch with God. But if he is a Christian he knows that what is prompting him to pray is also God: God, so to speak, inside him. But he also knows that all his real knowledge of God comes through Christ, the Man who was God; that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him.

You see what is happening. God is the thing to which he is praying, the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on, the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal. So that the whole threefold life of the three-personal being is actually going on in that ordinary little bedroom where an ordinary man is saying his prayers. The man is being caught up into the higher kinds of life (what I called "Zoe" or "spiritual life"); he is being pulled into God, by God, while still remaining himself.

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord of all truth and peace, you raised up your bishop John to be servant of the servants of God and gave him wisdom to call for the work of renewing your Church: grant that, following his example, we may reach out to other Christians to clasp them with the love of your son and labour throughout the nations of the world to kindle a desire for justice and peace; through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

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The Pain Of Betrayal

Every single night, at least once, I have pretty much the same nightmare about having been sacked from my job as a parish priest by a Church of England bishop. My wife believes that I am incredibly miserable and that the only thing that will stop my misery would be the restitution of my ministry, which is never going to happen.

The other day, on a friend's Facebook page, I compared my lack of trust in bishops to the lack of trust a rape victim probably had of men. Instead of sympathy I was attacked for daring to suggest my pain could be in the same league as that of a person who had been sexually assaulted. Now, I am not for one moment suggesting that sacking somebody is as big a crime as raping somebody, I am hardwired to consider any physical assault on a woman to be the vilest thing a man can do (sorry if you find that a sexist attitude, blame my mother!). However, the severity of a crime has little correlation with the damage it causes. That all depends on how the victim reacts and telling the victim of one crime to quit complaining because what happened to them was nowhere near as bad as what happened to somebody else displays an ignorance of the human condition bordering on the sociopathic.

I constantly wish I had never been born. The only thing that has stopped me committing suicide because my life is a complete waste of time, is my fear of the process.

I was accused of being heinous but it is the politically correct hierarchy of offence that is heinous. Everybody's pain is the worst pain in the world. Jesus knew that and acted accordingly. His followers should follow his example rather than playing the ridiculous "her pain is worse than his pain" game.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE FOURTH OF JUNE, 2018
* John XXIII *

OPENING PRAYER

We stand before you, Holy Spirit, conscious of our sinfulness. Come to us, remain with us, and enlighten our hearts. Give us light and strength to know your will, to make it our own, and to live it in our lives. Guide us by your wisdom, support us by your power, for you are God, sharing the glory of Father and Son. You desire justice for all: enable us to uphold the rights of others; do not allow us to be misled by ignorance or corrupted by fear or favour. Unite us to yourself in the bond of love and keep us faithful to all that is true. You live and reign with the Father and the Son, One God, forever and ever. Amen.

( Opening prayer at the Second Vatican Council, 1962. Abbreviated )

CANTICLE

Jesus, from whom all blessings flow, great builder of your church below,
if now your Spirit moves my breast, hear, and fulfil your own request!
The few that truly call you Lord, and wait your sanctifying word,
and you their utmost saviour own, unite, and perfect them in one.

O let them all your mind express, stand forth your chosen witnesses,
your power unto salvation show and perfect holiness below.
In them let humankind behold how Christians lived in days of old,
mighty their envious foes to move, a proverb of reproach and love.

From every sinful wrinkle free, redeemed from all iniquity,
the fellowship of saints make known and, O my God, might I be one!
O might my lot be cast with these, the least of Jesu’s witnesses.
O that my Lord would count me meet to wash his dear disciples’ feet.

This only thing do I require: you know it is all my heart’s desire,
freely what I receive to give, the servant of your church to live;
after my lowly Lord to go and wait upon your saints below;
enjoy the grace to angels given, and serve the royal heirs of Heaven.

Lord, if I now you drawings feel and ask according to your will,
confirm the prayer, the seal impart and speak the answer to my heart.

( Charles Wesley )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

John XXIII: the “good” pope

When the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church gathered in conclave in October 1958, they had a hard time deciding who should follow the long rule of Pope Pius XII. After ten inconclusive ballots, they turned to Angelo Roncalli, a seventy-seven-year-old Venetian archbishop, to be a “stop-gap” pope. He was elected on the eleventh ballot.

He brought an easy style, humour and openness to the papacy. He was most often called “Good Pope John” by the people of his church, who appreciated his down to earth style. He shocked the world and the Church by calling together the Second Vatican Council, with the goal of “opening the windows of the church” to let in fresh air.

He died after the opening session of the council, on the third of June, 1963. He was canonised by Pope Francis on the twenty-seventh of April, 2014.

Less well known about Good Pope John was that prior to the Second World War, he had worked in the Vatican Diplomatic Corp. On the thirtieth of November, 1934, he was appointed Apostolic Delegate to Turkey and Greece. Roncalli used his office to help the Jewish underground in saving thousands of refugees in Europe, often procuring for them false “baptismal certificates.” He had a love for the Jewish people which helped set the tone for the Roman Catholic stance toward Judaism after Vatican II.

He once said, “We are conscious today that many, many centuries of blindness have cloaked our eyes so that we can no longer see the beauty of your chosen people nor recognise in their faces the features of our privileged brethren. We realise that the mark of Cain stands upon our foreheads. Across the centuries our brother Abel has lain in blood which we drew, or shed tears we caused by forgetting your love. Forgive us for the curse we falsely attached to their name as Jews. Forgive us for crucifying you a second time in their flesh. For we know not what we did.”

Scripture. In the thirteenth chapter of John’s gospel, verses fourteen to seventeen, we read:

If I, your lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that the leaders of the churches may fully understand, accept and live out their role as servants.

... for an end to antisemitism.

... for children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse. DETAILS

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

... for the people who live in the shadow of the Fuego volcano in Guatemala; for those who were killed in its recent eruption, for those who mourn the death of loved ones and all who have lost their homes to the volcano. DETAILS

... for the migrants who died after their boat capsized off the eastern coast of Tunisia. DETAILS

... for the villagers killed by cattle thieves in Nigeria's northern state of Zamfara. 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 the 1959 Christmas radio broadcast of Pope John XXIII :

The appearance of true peace is threefold:

Peace of heart: peace is before all else an interior thing, belonging to the spirit, and its fundamental condition is a loving and filial dependence on the will of God.

"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless till it rests in you."

All that weakens, that breaks, that destroys this conformity and union of wills is opposed to peace. Chief among such disrupters is wrongdoing, sin.

"Who has resisted him, and has had peace?"

Peace is the happy legacy of those who keep the divine law.

"Much peace have they who love your law."

For its part, good will is simply the sincere determination to respect the eternal laws of God, to conform oneself to his commandments and to follow his paths; in a word, to abide in truth. This is the glory, which God expects to receive from humankind.

"Peace among people of good will."

Social peace: this is solidly based on mutual and reciprocal respect for the personal dignity of people. The Son of God was made human and his redeeming act concerns not only humankind as a whole, but also the individual person.

He "loved me and gave himself up for me."

Thus spoke Saint Paul to the Galatians and if God has loved humankind to such a degree, that indicates that humankind belongs to him and that the human person has an absolute right to be respected.

Such is the teaching of the Church, which, for the solution of these social questions, has always fixed her gaze on the human person and has taught that things and institutions (goods, the economy, the state) are primarily for people, not people for them.

The disturbances which unsettle the internal peace of nations trace their origins chiefly to this source: that humans have been treated almost exclusively as machines, pieces of merchandise, worthless cogs in some great machine or mere productive units.

It is only when the dignity of the person comes to be taken as the standard of value for people and their activities that the means will exist to settle civil discord and the often-profound divisions between, for example, employers and the employed. Above all, it is only then that the means will exist to secure for the family those conditions of life, work and assistance which can make it better directed to its function as a cell of society and the primary community instituted by God himself for the development of the human person.

No peace will have solid foundations unless hearts nourish the sentiment of kinship, which ought to exist among all who have a common origin and are called to the same destiny. The knowledge that they belong to the same family extinguishes lust, greed, pride and the instinct to dominate others, which are the roots of dissensions and wars. It binds all in a single bond of higher and more fruitful solidarity.

International peace: the basis of international peace is, above all, truth. For in international relations, too, the Christian saying is valid: "The truth shall make you free."

It is necessary, then, to overcome certain erroneous ideas: the myths of force, of nationalism, or of other things that have poisoned congenial life among peoples and it is necessary that peaceful "living-together" be based on moral principles and be in accord with the teaching of right reason and of Christian doctrine.

Along with and enlightened by truth, should come justice. This removes the causes of quarrels and wars, solves the disputes, fixes the tasks, defines the duties and gives the answer to the claims of each party.

Justice in its turn must be integrated and sustained by Christian charity. That is, love should be for one's neighbour and one's own people, not concentrated on one's self in an exclusive egotism which is suspicious of another's good. But it ought to expand and reach out spontaneously toward the community of interests, to embrace all peoples and to interweave common human relations. Thus it will be possible to speak of "living together" and not of mere "coexistence," which precisely because it is deprived of this inspiration of mutual dependence, raises barriers behind which are harboured mutual suspicion, fear and terror.

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord of all truth and peace, you raised up your bishop John to be servant of the servants of God and gave him wisdom to call for the work of renewing your Church: grant that, following his example, we may reach out to other Christians to clasp them with the love of your son and labour throughout the nations of the world to kindle a desire for justice and peace; through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

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The Great Saint Laika Summertime Appeal 2018

Dear friends, I need to ask you a favour. To be precise, I need to ask you to consider making a donation so that I can continue my vocation as an internet priest, responsible for the administration of the Saint Laika Online Christian Community's website and Facebook page. I receive no salary or funding other than the donations I receive from generous friends who regularly contribute towards my ministry. I receive about five hundred pounds a month which is just about enough to provide me with the essentials of life. Unfortunately, it does not pay for any larger bills that come along and so, twice a year, at Christmas and in June (my birthday month) I run a special appeal to try and raise the cash for such extra expenses. This June I need to raise money for a new set of partial dentures (the NHS does not pay for all dental work) and for a camping holiday in the Lake District during which my wife and myself will celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary. Any monies I receive that take the total over the cost of these two things will go towards the cost of the Saint Laika website.

If you decide to send a bit of cash my way you can do so via one of the PayPal widgets below. There is one for payment in American dollars and one for payment in British pounds. I do not mind in the slightest what currency your generosity manifests itself in. Also, you do not need a PayPal account to make your donation through PayPal, just a debit or credit card.




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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE FIRST OF JUNE, 2018
* Justin Martyr *

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty God, the father of all mercies, we, your unworthy servants, give you most humble and hearty thanks for all your goodness to us and to all people. We bless you for our creation, preservation and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace and for the hope of glory. And give us, we pray, such a sense of all your mercies that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful and that we show forth your praise, not only with our lips but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

CANTICLE

Zeal is that pure and heavenly flame, the fire of love supplies;
while that which often bears the name, is self in a disguise.

True zeal is merciful and mild, can pity and forbear;
the false is headstrong, fierce and wild, and breathes revenge and war.

While zeal for truth the Christian warms, he knows the worth of peace;
but self-contends for names and forms, its party to increase.

Zeal has attained its highest aim, its end is satisfied;
if sinners love the Saviour’s name, nor seeks it aught beside.

But self, however well employed, has its own ends in view;
and says, as boasting Jehu cried, come, see what I can do.

Self may its poor reward obtain, and be applauded here;
but zeal the best applause will gain when Jesus shall appear.

Dear Lord, the idol self dethrone and from our hearts remove;
and let no zeal by us be shown, but that which springs from love.

( John Newton )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Justin: martyr for Christ, defender of the Church

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Justin, a second-century martyr, whose writings give us a keen insight into the life of the early Christian community.

Justin was born into a Gentile family in Samaria about the year 100 AD. His family were Greeks, living near Israel after the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 AD. He was brought up with a good education in rhetoric, poetry, and history. He studied various schools of philosophy in Alexandria and Ephesus, but never felt comfortable in their schools of thought.

At the time, the Jews were busy reconstructing Judaism along Rabbinic lines, and followers of Jesus represented a spectrum of beliefs: some were mixed communities of Jews and Gentiles, others hewed to a more traditional Judaism which embraced Jesus as Messiah.

About 130 AD, Justin encountered a Syrian Christian who introduced him to Christ and to the prophets of the "Old Testament." He renounced his pagan beliefs and became a Christian. He became a teacher and evangelist for his new-found faith. In Ephesus he held dialogues with a Jewish teacher, Trypho, which he later published. Later, in Rome, he directly addressed the emperor, asking him to treat Christianity as a legal religion and to put an end to persecution. While in Rome, he defended the Church against Marcion, who wanted the Church to abandon the "Old Testament" completely.

Justin also gave us one of the earliest glimpses of Christian worship:

“On the day called Sunday there is a gathering together in the same place of all who live in a given city or rural district. The memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits. Then when the reader ceases, the president in a discourse admonishes and urges the imitation of these good things. Next we all rise together and send up prayers. When we cease from our prayer, bread is presented and wine and water. The president in the same manner sends up prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people sing out their assent, saying the 'Amen.' A distribution and participation of the elements for which thanks have been given is made to each person, and to those who are not present they are sent by the deacons.”

Scripture. "John," chapter twelve, verses forty-four to forty-six:

Then Jesus cried aloud, "Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me and whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness.”

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that people from all cultures may come to understand and own the teachings of Jesus Christ and in doing so, come to know him as their saviour.

... for workers in the dairy industry. DETAILS

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

... for an end to organised-crime-related violence in Mexico and the corruption that goes with it; for the people of the state of Tamaulipas where mass disappearances have been reported recently. DETAILS

... for children in care and for children who are regularly in and out of care.

... 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 "On the Resurrection" by Justin Martyr:

We must now speak with respect to those who think meanly of the flesh, and say that it is not worthy of the resurrection nor of the heavenly economy, because, first, its substance is earth; and besides, because it is full of all wickedness, so that it forces the soul to sin along with it. But these persons seem to be ignorant of the whole work of God, both of the genesis and formation of man at the first, and why the things in the world were made.

For does not the word say, "Let Us make man in our image, and after our likeness"? (Genesis 1:26)

What kind of man? Manifestly he means fleshly man, for the word says, "And God took dust of the earth, and made man." (Genesis 2:7)

It is evident, therefore, that man made in the image of God was of flesh. Is it not, then, absurd to say, that the flesh made by God in his own image is contemptible and worth nothing? But that the flesh is with God a precious possession is manifest, first from its being formed by him, if at least the image is valuable to the former and artist; and besides, its value can be gathered from the creation of the rest of the world. For that on account of which the rest is made, is the most precious of all to the maker.

Quite true, say they; yet the flesh is a sinner, so much so, that it forces the soul to sin along with it. And thus they vainly accuse it, and lay to its charge alone the sins of both.

But in what instance can the flesh possibly sin by itself, if it have not the soul going before it and inciting it? For as in the case of a yoke of oxen, if one or other is loosed from the yoke, neither of them can plough alone; so neither can soul or body alone effect anything, if they be unyoked from their communion. And if it is the flesh that is the sinner, then on its account alone did the Saviour come, as he says, I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Mark 2:17) Since, then, the flesh has been proved to be valuable in the sight of God, and glorious above all his works, it would very justly be saved by him.

We must meet, therefore, those who say, that even though it be the special handiwork of God, and beyond all else valued by him, it would not immediately follow that it has the promise of the resurrection. Yet is it not absurd, that that which has been produced with such circumstance, and which is beyond all else valuable, should be so neglected by its maker, as to pass to nonentity? Then the sculptor and painter, if they wish the works they have made to endure, that they may win glory by them, renew them when they begin to decay; but God would so neglect his own possession and work, that it becomes annihilated, and no longer exists. Should we not call this labour in vain? As if a man who has built a house should immediately destroy it, or should neglect it, though he sees it falling into decay, and is able to repair it: we would blame him for labouring in vain; and should we not so blame God? But not such a one is the Incorruptible — not senseless is the Intelligence of the universe. Let the unbelieving be silent, even though they themselves do not believe.

But, in truth, he has even called the flesh to the resurrection and promises to it everlasting life. For where he promises to save man, there he gives the promise to the flesh. For what is man but the reasonable animal composed of body and soul? Is the soul by itself man? No; but the soul of man. Would the body be called man? No, but it is called the body of man. If, then, neither of these is by itself man, but that which is made up of the two together is called man, and God has called man to life and resurrection, he has called not a part, but the whole, which is the soul and the body. Since would it not be unquestionably absurd, if, while these two are in the same being and according to the same law, the one were saved and the other not? And if it be not impossible, as has already been proved, that the flesh be regenerated, what is the distinction on the ground of which the soul is saved and the body not? Do they make God a grudging God? But he is good and will have all to be saved. And by God and his proclamation, not only has your soul heard and believed on Jesus Christ, and with it the flesh, but both were washed, and both wrought righteousness. They make God, then ungrateful and unjust, if, while both believe in him, he desires to save one and not the other.

Well, they say, but the soul is incorruptible, being a part of God and inspired by him, and therefore he desires to save what is peculiarly his own and akin to himself; but the flesh is corruptible, and not from him, as the soul is. Then what thanks are due to him, and what manifestation of his power and goodness is it, if he purposed to save what is by nature saved and exists as a part of himself? For it had its salvation from itself; so that in saving the soul, God does no great thing. For to be saved is its natural destiny, because it is a part of himself, being his inspiration. But no thanks are due to one who saves what is his own; for this is to save himself. For he who saves a part himself, saves himself by his own means, lest he become defective in that part; and this is not the act of a good man. For not even when a man does good to his children and offspring, does one call him a good man; for even the most savage of the wild beasts do so, and indeed willingly endure death, if need be, for the sake of their cubs. But if a man were to perform the same acts in behalf of his slaves, that man would justly be called good. Wherefore the Saviour also taught us to love our enemies, since, says he, what thank have you? So that he has shown us that it is a good work not only to love those that are begotten of him, but also those that are without. And what he enjoins upon us, he himself first of all does.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty and everlasting God, you found your martyr Justin wandering from teacher to teacher, seeking the true God, and you revealed to him the sublime wisdom of your eternal Word: Grant that all who seek you, or a deeper knowledge of you, may find and be found by you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE THIRTY-FIRST OF MAY, 2018
* Corpus Christi *
* The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth *

OPENING PRAYER

O God, give peace to your world.
Give strength to the hearts of people.
Raise us up from death in Christ.
Give us to eat his immortality and his glory.
Give us to drink the wine of his kingdom. Amen.

( Thomas Merton )

CANTICLE

Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore,
masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more,
see, Lord, at your service low lies here a heart
lost, all lost in wonder at the God you are.

Seeing, touching, tasting are in you deceived:
how, says trusty hearing, that shall be believed?
What God’s son has told me, take for truth I do;
truth himself speaks truly or there’s nothing true.

On the cross your godhead made no sign to men,
here your very manhood steals from human ken:
both are my confession, both are my belief,
and I pray the prayer of the dying thief.

I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see,
but can plainly call you Lord and God as he;
let me to a deeper faith daily nearer move,
daily make me harder hope and dearer love.

O you our reminder of Christ crucified,
living bread, the life of us for whom he died,
lend this life to me then: feed and feast my mind,
there be you the sweetness people were meant to find.

Bring the tender tale true of the pelican;
bathe me, Jesu Lord, in what thy bosom ran;
blood whereof a single drop has the power to win
all the world forgiveness of its world of sin.

Jesu, whom I look at shrouded here below,
I beseech you send me what I thirst for so,
someday to gaze on you, face to face in light
and be blessed forever with your glory’s sight.

( Thomas Aquinas; translated by Gerard Manley Hopkins )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth: jumping for joy

We read in the "Gospel of Luke," chapter one, verses thirty-six to thirty-seven

“And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

The angel Gabriel offers to Mary the pregnancy of her kinswoman Elizabeth, as proof that nothing is impossible with God. Perhaps Mary needed that reassurance. After all, Gabriel had just asked Mary to be the mother of the son of God.

So today, Saint Laika’s remembers that Mary made the trip up into the hill county, to visit Elizabeth, to see for herself whether the angel spoke the truth. Luke tells us that the visit was all Mary had hoped for and more.

Again from chapter one, this time verses forty-one and forty-two:

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb.

And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

There is such joy in their encounter. Two women chosen by God to advance God’s purposes at the fullness of time. An unborn child leaping for joy. This is a reminder to us of the joy that is ours when we invite God into our hearts and lives.

Jeanne de Chantal, founder of the Visitation Nuns in the seventeenth century said: “No matter what happens, be gentle with yourselves.”

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for pregnant women and their partners.

... that we may find a friend when we are in need of one.

... that we may meet Christ in the bread and wine of holy communion and know God through the commonplace stuff of his creation.

... for those addicted to tobacco products, especially for those who are trying to abstain from them. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From the writings of Mother Teresa of Calcutta:

Like Mary, let us be full of zeal to go in haste to give Jesus to others. She was full of grace when, at the Annunciation, she received Jesus. Like her, we too become full of grace every time we receive holy communion. It is the same Jesus whom she received and whom we receive at mass. s soon as we receive Jesus in holy communion, let us go in haste to give him to our sisters, to our poor, to the sick, to the dying, to the lepers, to the unwanted, and the unloved. By this we make Jesus present in the world today.

We cannot separate our lives from the Eucharist; the moment we do, something breaks. People ask, "Where do the sisters get the joy and energy to do what they are doing?" The Eucharist involves more than just receiving; it also involves satisfying the hunger of Christ. He says, "Come to Me." He is hungry for souls. Nowhere does the Gospel say: "Go away," but always "Come to Me."

Our lives must be woven around the Eucharist. Ask Jesus to be with you, to work with you that you may be able to pray the work. You must really be sure that you have received Jesus. After that, you cannot give your tongue, your thoughts, or your heart to bitterness.

Put your sins in the chalice for the precious blood to wash away. One drop is capable of washing away all the sins of the world.

When communicating with Christ in your heart (the partaking of Living Bread) remember what Our Lady must have felt when the Spirit overpowered her and she, who was full of grace, became full with the body of Jesus. The Spirit was so strong in her that she immediately rose in haste to go and serve. Each Holy Communion, each breaking of the Bread of Life, each sharing should produce in us the same, for it is the same Jesus who came to Mary and was made flesh.

CLOSING PRAYER

Mighty God, by whose grace Elizabeth rejoiced with Mary and greeted her as the mother of the Lord, look with favour on all your lowly servants that, with Mary, we may magnify your name, and rejoice to acclaim her son, Jesus, as our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE THIRTIETH OF MAY, 2018
* Josephine Butler *

OPENING PRAYER

O God, send forth your Holy Spirit into my heart that I may perceive, into my mind that I may remember and into my soul that I may meditate. Inspire me to speak with piety, holiness, tenderness and mercy. Teach, guide and direct my thoughts and senses from beginning to end. May your grace ever help and correct me and may I be strengthened now with wisdom from on high, for the sake of your infinite mercy. Amen.

( Anthony of Padua )

CANTICLE

Eternal Spirit, come into your meanest home;
from your high and holy place, where you in glory reign,
stoop in condescending grace, stoop to the poor heart of man.

For you our hearts we lift and wait for the heavenly gift.
Giver, Lord, of life divine, to our dying souls appear;
grant the grace for which we pine, give yourself, the Comforter.

Our ruined souls repair and fix your mansion there;
claim us for your constant shrine, all your glorious self reveal;
life, and power, and love divine, God in us for ever dwell.

( Charles Wesley )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Josephine Butler: "God and one woman make a majority"

Josephine Butler was an extraordinary woman by anyone’s definition. She was a deeply religious servant of Christ, whose faith was shaped by the evangelical wing of the Anglican church. She was a Victorian era British feminist and social reformer who was especially concerned with the welfare of prostitutes.

She was married to George Butler, a clergyman and scholar. Her ministry to women was shaped by the pain she endured when her only daughter died in 1863 following a fall from the staircase of their home.

She remarked that she sought solace by ministering to people with greater pain than her own. This led her to her ministry with prostitutes. She regarded the women as the exploited victims of male oppression and was a vocal opponent of the double standard of sexual morality.

Her most lasting legacy had to do with a crusade to repeal the “Contagious Diseases Act” which had been introduced into Britain in the 1860’s. It was a back-handed attempt to control prostitution by giving judges, based on an accusation of prostitution, the authority to order a genital examination of women to check for signs of venereal disease (she called it “surgical rape”). If found to be infected a woman could be incarcerated for three months in a hospital ward in order to be cured. Many women lost their livelihoods, some even committed suicide. From 1869 through 1886 she campaigned vigorously for the repeal of the law. Ultimately she was successful. Following the repeal of that law, she spent her time working to eliminate childhood prostitution.

She was an ardent feminist. She advocated for higher education for women. She advocated for women’s suffrage.

One of her favourite sayings was "God and one woman make a majority."

All that she did was motivated by her deeply held faith.

Scripture. In the twenty-first chapter of "Matthew," at verses thirty-one and thirty-two, Jesus says:

"Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for prostitutes; for their release from whatever or whoever it is that is compelling them to sell their bodies.

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

... for the people of the village of Monjane in Mozambique who were attacked over the weekend by Islamists, especially for those, including children, who were beheaded; for all victims of terrorism. 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 "The Morning Cometh: A Letter to my Children" by Josephine Butler under the pseudonym of “Philalethes”:

You and I have been together among the Alps, in the early hours of the dawn, when all nature was freshly baptised with the dew of the morning, and such an exquisite purity was in the silent air, that we seemed to be breathing the heavenly ether of a new-born earth. And we have together looked upon those pure, snow-covered peaks, those fair sentinels of heaven, in the evening glow, bathed in the rose and gold of the setting sun; appearing at the last moment of farewell to the day, as if lighted by some light from within themselves. At such times we have felt that it was hardly possible to imagine anything more beautiful, more awful in grandeur and purity than this. May it be that we shall see these same familiar features renewed in the times of the new heavens and the new earth, all that tends to decay and death, all storms, violence and destructive forces done with for ever and this beautiful earth again such as we have seen it and loved it at its best, but infinitely better and more beautiful than its present earthly best? Its present unrest, the violent and terrifying forces working within its bosom are, it may be, the travail pangs which will usher in the new earth.

CLOSING PRAYER

God of compassion and love, by whose grace your servant Josephine Butler followed in the way of your son in caring for those in need: help us like her to work with strength for the restoration of all to the dignity and freedom of those created in your image; 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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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

Women turned out to be a lot more aggressive and cruel than I expected. The only men I have ever known who have come close to achieving the level of vitriol the female gender is capable of have all been gay. Of course, women do not routinely go around beating up total strangers or shooting at other people in the street with battlefield grade weaponry. But, if I had to choose, I think I would rather face an extremely angry homicidal male wielding a machete than a slightly annoyed woman holding a pen, any day of the week.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE TWENTY-NINTH OF MAY, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my works, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend that which is holy.
Guard me then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.

( Augustine of Hippo )

CANTICLE

Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest, and in our souls take up your rest;
come with your grace and heavenly aid to fill the hearts which you have made.

O comforter, to you we cry, O heavenly gift of God most high,
O fount of life and fire of love and sweet anointing from above.

You in your sevenfold gifts are known; you, finger of God's hand we own;
you, the promise of the Father, you who does the tongue with power imbue.

Kindle our sense from above and make our hearts overflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high, the weakness of our flesh supply.

Far from us drive the foe we dread and grant us your peace instead;
so shall we not, with you for a guide, turn from the path of life aside.

Oh, may your grace on us bestow the Father and the Son to know;
and you, through endless times confessed, of both the eternal Spirit blest.

Now to the Father and the Son who rose from death, be glory given,
with you, O Holy Comforter, henceforth by all in earth and heaven.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

The Barmen Synod opens to formulate a Christian Response to Nazism

In 1933, the national synod of the German Protestant churches endorsed the Nazi party. The churches unified into a new organisation called the German Evangelical Church, which was known colloquially as the Reichskirche, or the “Reich Church.” This, in effect, placed the Church under the Nazi Party, and all sermons, classes, and publications had to conform to the tenets of the Nazi Party. This provoked a reaction among pastors, theologians and laity in Germany. A smaller, “Confessing Church” was formed. Its notable leaders included Karl Barth, Martin Niemöller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

On the twenty-ninth of May, 1934 the Barmen Synod opened. Members of the Confessing Church were attempting to articulate a basis for their opposition to the German Evangelical Church.

The Synod adopted a document entitled “The Barmen Declaration” which stated boldly that the sole authority for the Church is Jesus Christ. Any other relationship the church enters into, such as the relationship of the Church to the State, must be subservient to Jesus Christ. There can be only one Lord of life, one true lover of soul and society. The state oversteps its boundaries and encroaches upon human dignity when it seeks to extend its authority into all areas of human life.

The Barmen Declaration serves as a vivid reminder of the ongoing need for the church to remain true to her own identity under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

Quote: “Try the spirits whether they are of God! Prove also the words of the Confessional Synod of the German Evangelical Church to see whether they agree with holy scripture and with the confessions of the fathers. If you find that we are speaking contrary to scripture, then do not listen to us! But if you find that we are taking our stand upon scripture, then let no fear or temptation keep you from treading with us the path of faith and obedience to the word of God, in order that God’s people be of one mind upon earth and that we in faith experience what he himself has said: 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you.'"

Many have noted parallels with our own time and the willingness of some American evangelicals to align their spiritual authority with the policies of the present American government. On the evening of Thursday the twenty-fourth of May, religious leaders led a march on Washington under the banner of “Reclaiming Jesus.” Their aim was to, in the spirit of Barmen, reclaim Jesus as the sole authority of the Church.

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

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the courage to remain faithful to Christ and obedient to his teaching even when the society we are living in demands that we do otherwise.

... for Christians living in a communist or a predominantly Islamic state who face persecution because of their adherence to the word of God, even imprisonment or execution.

... for those who are serving as United Nations peacekeepers; for their safety and for the success of their missions. DETAILS

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

... for those who live with nagging pain.

... for women who have fallen pregnant but do not want a child and for the men responsible for such conceptions.

... for the success of any future talks between North Korea and other nations.

... for those who were killed, injured or suffered damage to their homes in the recent storms that have hit the United States.

... for an end to the cultural fads that are encouraging young people to commit acts of violence, mostly on other young people. DETAILS

... for those caught up in the violence that has broken out in Nicaragua; for those who have already died or who have been badly injured. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "My Strength is Made Perfect in Weakness," a sermon on "The Second Letter to the Corinthians," chapter 12, verse nine, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

Let us be truthful and not unrealistic; let us ask the question: What is the meaning of weakness in this world?

We all know that Christianity has been blamed ever since its early days for its message to the weak. Christianity is a “religion of slaves" (Friedrich Nietzsche), of people with inferiority complexes; it owes its success only to the masses of miserable people whose weakness and misery Christianity has “glorified.” It was the attitude towards the problem of weakness in the world which made everybody followers or enemies of Christianity. Against the new meaning which Christianity gave to the weak. against this glorification of weakness, there has always been the strong and indignant protest of an aristocratic philosophy of life which glorified strength and power and violence as the ultimate ideals of humanity. We have observed this very fight going on up to our present day.

Christianity stands or falls by its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power, and by its apologia for the weak. I feel that Christianity is doing too little in making these points rather than doing too much. Christianity has adjusted itself much too easily to the worship of power. It should give much more offence, more shock to the world than it is doing. Christianity should take a much more definite stand for the weak than for the potential moral right of the strong.

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, keep us steadfast in your word. Curb those who by deceit or sword. would wrest the kingdom from your son, and bring to naught all he has done. Amen.

( Martin Luther )

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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No Reason To Celebrate

That abortion will become legal in Ireland is a good thing but it should be no cause for celebration and dancing in the street. Abortion is the killing of life of some kind even if it is not the killing of a person, and is always the result of crime, intoxication, carelessness, selfishness or promiscuity, all of which are bad things. If human beings were perfect like their father in heaven there would be no need for abortions. I find it very depressing that we would rejoice so exuberantly because a nation is going to pass a law which will make it easier for us to sweep under the carpet the consequences of sin and stupidity.

The End Is Nigh

Ever since I was sacked and evicted from my home by my bishop for suffering from depression my priestly ministry has become more and more untenable. I have been like the survivor of a shipwreck treading water in the middle of the ocean, only just managing to keep my head above the surface. I have not gone under so far thanks to the generosity of a few, longstanding friends. Sadly, I have been singularly unsuccessful in attracting new sponsors for my ministry due, I believe, to the death of blogging and the rise of Facebook which restricts access to even those who have signed up as friends. That and the fact that I don't spew out the platitudes people want to hear so that they can cope with the obvious horribleness of most human lives.

This month the regular subscriptions have dropped by such a huge amount (more than a third of my regular income of about five hundred pounds) that it is obvious that the end of the road is just around the corner. I will be running the Saint Laika Summer Appeal as normal to raise funds for my annual vacation (this year, my wife and myself will be celebrating our thirtieth wedding anniversary in the Lake District) but, after that, I fear I will have to bow to the inevitable.

To be honest, I probably should have walked away from my priestly vocation when the Church first made it obvious, over fifteen years ago now, that I was not wanted. I could have retrained for another career. However, a mixture of pigheadedness and hope kept me determined to follow the path I believed that God had called me to. With hindsight, it was a mistake and I am now to pay the price for it as I am too old to learn a new job and, anyway, it is extremely hard to get someone to employ you if you have a history of mental illness.

I realise that some of you believe my online ministry has not been a waste of time. However, my personal tragedy is that as all I ever wanted to be was a parish priest and no more, I cannot help regarding myself as a failure and my life as being a complete waste. I have learned to live with this but it is not pleasant.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE TWENTY-FIFTH OF MAY, 2018
* The Venerable Bede *

OPENING PRAYER

O Christ, our morning star, splendour of light eternal, shining with the glory of the rainbow, come and waken us from the greyness of our apathy, and renew in us your gift of hope. Amen.

( Bede )

CANTICLE

Come, Holy Spirit, like a dove descending,
rest now upon us while we meet to pray;
show us the Saviour, all his love revealing,
lead us to him, the life, the truth, the way.

Come, Holy Spirit, every cloud dispelling,
fill us with gladness, through the Master’s name;
bring to our memory words that he has spoken,
then shall our tongues his wondrous grace proclaim.

Come, Holy Spirit, sent from God the Father;
our friend and teacher, comforter and guide;
our thoughts directing, keep us close to Jesus,
and in our hearts forevermore abide.

( Fanny Crosby )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

The Venerable Bede: historian of the early English church

At Saint Laika’s, the twenty-fifth of May is the day to remember the Venerable Bede.

It’s hard to underestimate the importance of Bede to the English speaking church. He lived in the early eighth century at the monastery of Jarrow.

He wrote: “There, spending all the remaining time of my life, I wholly applied myself to the study of scripture and amidst the observance of regular discipline, and the daily care of singing in the church, I always took delight in learning, teaching, and writing.”

Bede wrote many commentaries on the Bible, giving us insight into the way Bible passages were interpreted at that time. But Bede is most famous for his book, "The Ecclesiastical History of England." It tells of the development of the Anglo-Saxon culture and the triumph of the Christian faith in England.

Bede was an exemplary monk, a faithful Christian, and a devoted scholar. He died in the year 735. He received the title “Venerable” more than a century after his death. Legend tells that a monk was charged with writing the inscription for his tomb. The monk decided on a couplet, but was stuck for one word.

The monk wrote: "Hac sunt in fossa Bedae _________ossa" (This grave contains the ________Bede’s remains).

The next morning he went to the scriptorium and found the blank filled in with the word, "Venerabilis." This was attributed to an angel, and the title stuck.

Scripture. In "Psalm Forty-Eight," verses nine and ten we read:

We ponder your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple. Your name, O God, like your praise, reaches to the ends of the earth.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for Christian scholars.

... for historians.

... for the people of Argentina, Jordan and Lebanon who are celebrating their national day today.

... for those injured when a homemade bomb exploded at a restaurant in the Canadian city of Mississauga. 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 commentary of the "Letter of James" by the Venerable Bede:

You should not think you are doing something great by believing that God is one, for the demons also do this, nor do they believe only in God the Father but also in God the Son.

So it is Luke says, "The demons also went out from many shouting and saying, 'That you are the Son of God;" and rebuking them, he did not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was Christ." (Lk. 4:41)

And they do not only believe, they also tremble.

So the legion who were besieging the man; cried out to him in a beseeching voice, “What is there between me and you, Jesus, Son of the most high God? I earnestly entreat you by God, do not torment me.” (Mk. 5:7)

Therefore, those who do not believe that there is a God, or believe and do not fear, must be judged slower-witted and more shameless than the demons. But it is no great thing to believe there is a God and tremble if one does not also believe in him, that is, if love for him be not held in the heart. For it one thing to believe him, another to believe that he exists, another to believe in him. (credere illi, credere illum, credere in illum)

To believe him is to believe that the things he speaks are true; to believe that he exists is to believe that he is God; to believe in him is to love him. Many, even the wicked, are able to believe the things he speaks are true; they believe that they are true and do not wish to make them their own because they are too lazy to do anything about them. Even the demons believe, however, that he is God. But they alone know how to believe in God who love God, who are Christians not only in name but also in action and life, because without love faith is empty; with love, it is the faith of a Christian, without love the faith of a demon.

Therefore, anyone who does not wish to believe that Christ is God still does not imitate the demons. He believes that Christ is but hates Christ, he makes a confession of faith out of fear of punishment not out of love of a crown. For they too were afraid of being punished.

Accordingly, when blessed Peter, confessing the Lord, said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," (Mt. 16:16) he appears to utter by his mouth almost the same words as the demons; but their confession, because it was uttered with hatred for Christ, was rightly condemned, his, because it came forth from inward love, was rewarded.

CLOSING PRAYER

Heavenly Father, you called your servant Bede to devote his life to your service as a biblical scholar and historian, a faithful monk and priest. Grant that as he laboured to make you known in his generation, we may strive, in our various ways, to make you known today in all the world; through Jesus Christ our 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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