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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE SIXTEENTH OF JANUARY 2018

OPENING PRAYER

O Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, look upon us and have mercy upon us; you who are yourself both victim and priest,
yourself both reward and redeemer, keep safe from all evil those whom you have redeemed, O saviour of the world. Amen.

( Irenaeus )

CANTICLE

Abide not in the realm of dreams,
O man, however fair it seems;
but with clear eye the present scan,
and hear the call of God and man.

Think not in sleep to fold your hands,
forgetful of your Lord’s commands;
from duty’s claims no life is free,
behold, today has need of thee.

The present hour allots your task,
for present strength and patience ask;
and trust his love whose sure supply
meets all your need abundantly.

( William H. Burleigh )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Kentigern: missionary in Strathclyde, the dear one
( transferred from Sunday )

Kentigern was a sixth-century missionary and evangelist, who preached Christ to the people of Strathclyde, in Western Scotland. The cathedral church in Glasgow bears his name.

Like many people from this early period, not much is known about his life. The most detailed story we have about him dates to the eleventh century. It is said that his mother, a Scottish princess, was raped and left pregnant. Kentigern was the child born out of the tragedy. He was left to be raised by monks, who gave him the name “Mungo" (“the dear one”), the nickname by which Kentigern was often called throughout his lifetime.

At the age of twenty-five, Kentigern began his missionary labours on the site of modern Glasgow. He built his church across the water from an extinct volcano, next to the Molendinar Burn, where the present medieval cathedral now stands. For some thirteen years, he laboured in the district, living a most austere life in a small cell and making many converts by his holy example and his preaching.

During a time of anti-Christian violence, Kentigern left Scotland for Wales. He continued his missionary efforts there and was said to have travelled to Rome during that time. Eventually, under a new king, Kentigern was asked to return to Scotland, where he spent the rest of his life serving God and building up the Christian community there. It appears that the Christian community gave the city its name, for Glasgow means “dear family.”

One of the more interesting miracles worked by Kentigern involved an accusation of infidelity levelled at Queen Languoreth of Strathclyde, by her husband, the king. He demanded to see her wedding ring, which he claimed she had given to her lover when, in reality, the king had thrown it into the River Clyde. Faced with execution she appealed for help to Kentigern, who ordered a messenger to catch a fish in the river. On opening the fish, the ring was miraculously found inside, which allowed the queen to clear her name.

Glasgow Cathedral lists 612 AD as the year of his death. The cathedral was built on top of his burial site.

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

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

As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for missionaries, itinerant preachers, church planters and founders of Christian communities.

... for the people of Glasgow and all congregations who claim Kentigern as their patron.

... for children who are treated cruelly by their parents or guardians.

... for the Rohingyan refugees; that they may return safely to their homes and never again face persecution.

... for the donkeys, horses and camels of Petra DETAILS; for all mistreated working animals.

... for those killed or injured when a motorway bridge under construction in Chirajara, Colombia collapsed DETAILS; for all who have been hurt in accidents recently.

... 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

Almighty God, you endowed the abbot Aelred with the gift of Christian friendship and the wisdom to lead others in the way of holiness: grant to your people that same spirit of mutual affection, that, in loving one another, we may know the love of Christ and rejoice in the gift of your eternal goodness; through the same Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.

READING

From "The Problem of Pain" by C. S. Lewis:

When Christianity says that God loves man, it means that God loves man: not that he has some ‘disinterested’, because really indifferent, concern for our welfare, but that, in awful and surprising truth, we are the objects of his love.

You asked for a loving God. You have one.

The great spirit you so lightly invoked, the ‘lord of terrible aspect’, is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire himself, the love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes.

How this should be, I do not know. It passes reason to explain why any creatures, not to say creatures such as we, should have a value so prodigious in their creator’s eyes. It is certainly a burden of glory not only beyond our deserts but also, except in rare moments of grace, beyond our desiring; we are inclined, like the maidens in the old play, to deprecate the love of Zeus. But the fact seems unquestionable.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, you gave your servant Kentigern grace to preach the good news of your love for us to the people of Scotland. Bless us today with the grace to share with others the powerful story of Jesus, and so be found faithful by you; through Jesus Christ, your son, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE FIFTEENTH OF JANUARY 2018
* Eivind Berggrav *

OPENING PRAYER

O Christ our God, who are yourself the fulfilment of the law and of the prophets, who accomplished all the dispensation of your father, fill our hearts with joy and gladness always, now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

( John Chrysostom )

CANTICLE

Abide in me, O Lord, and I in you,
from this good hour, oh, leave me nevermore;
then shall the discord cease, the wound be healed,
the lifelong bleeding of the soul be over.

Abide in me; overshadow by your love
each half-formed purpose and dark thought of sin;
quench before it rise each selfish, low desire,
and keep my soul as yours, calm and divine.

As some rare perfume in a vase of clay,
pervades it with a fragrance not its own,
so, when you dwell in a mortal soul,
all Heaven’s own sweetness seems around it thrown.

Abide in me; there have been moments blessed
when I have heard your voice and felt your power;
then evil lost its grasp; and passion, hushed,
owned the divine enchantment of the hour.

These were but seasons beautiful and rare;
abide in me, and they shall ever be;
fulfil at once your precept and my prayer,
come, and abide in me, and I in you.

( Harriet B. Stowe )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Eivind Berggrav: no quisling in Christ’s service

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Eivind Berggrav, Bishop of Oslo, Primate of Norway, who stood up for Christ and the people of Christ against the Nazis in Norway.

Open up a dictionary and look up the word “quisling.” It will be defined in some way as “a collaborator with an enemy power.” “A traitor to one’s country.” The word refers to Vidkun Quisling , a Norwegian fascist politician who collaborated in the Nazi takeover of Norway in World War II, and was installed by the Nazis as the head of a puppet government there.

Quisling found Berggrav a formidable foe. He led the other six bishops in Norway in opposing Nazi measures. He insisted on the right of pastors to keep the confidences of their parishioners. He demanded the non-interference of Nazis in the spiritual performance of pastoral duties. He insisted that Jewish citizens be accorded the same rights as all other Norwegians. Berggrav consolidated a united church front against the Nazis. In response, Quisling stripped him of the title of bishop, declared him an ordinary, private citizen, and placed him under house arrest. This was done on Maundy Thursday in 1942.

The Lutheran Church of Norway was the established church in Norway. When Quisling acted against Berggrav, the church responded. By Easter Sunday, all the bishops and seven hundred and ninety-seven of the eight hundred and sixty-one clergy resigned their positions in the church. Berggrav took the church underground to continue to minister to people independent of the Quisling regime.

Norway was liberated in 1945. Quisling was executed for treason.

After the war, Berggrav was active in the reorganisation of the church. He was active in the World Council of Churches, and the Lutheran World Federation. He died on the fourteenth of January, 1959.

Quote: “It is inappropriate for a Christian to say that the freedom of God’s church or of God’s word is not yet directly threatened and we ought not take suffering and strife upon us just for the sake of ‘secular matters.’ There are no such things as ‘secular matters’ for a Christian conscience. The moment that God calls on him to assume them they are God’s concern. This is why the expression, ‘to suffer for Jesus’ sake’ and ‘to suffer for righteousness sake’ stand side by side in the Sermon on the Mount.”

Scripture. In the thirty-fourth chapter of "Ezekiel," at verses fifteen and sixteen, we read:

"I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down," says the Lord GOD. "I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who stand up to tyrants in the name of Christ.

... that we may always find the courage within ourselves to remain loyal to Christ and his teaching whatever the cost.

... for those experiencing uncertainty at work.

... for those killed or injured in a double suicide bombing in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad DETAILS; for an end to all acts of terrorism.

... pray for teenage mothers.

... for those who were injured when a mezzanine floor collapsed at the Indonesian stock exchange building in Jakarta DETAILS; for all who have been hurt in accidents recently.

... for those killed, injured or left homeless following a huge earthquake off south-western Peru's Pacific coast DETAILS; for all recent victims of natural disasters.

... 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

Almighty God, you endowed the abbot Aelred with the gift of Christian friendship and the wisdom to lead others in the way of holiness: grant to your people that same spirit of mutual affection, that, in loving one another, we may know the love of Christ and rejoice in the gift of your eternal goodness; through the same Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.

READING

From "The Problem of Pain" by C. S. Lewis:

By the goodness of God we mean nowadays almost exclusively his lovingness and, in this, we may be right. And by love, in this context, most of us mean kindness, the desire to see people other than ourselves happy; not happy in this way or in that, but just happy.

What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, "What does it matter so long as they are contented?"

We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven, a senile benevolence who, as they say, "liked to see young people enjoying themselves," and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, "a good time was had by all."

Not many people, I admit, would formulate a theology in precisely those terms: but a conception not very different lurks at the back of many minds. I do not claim to be an exception. I should very much like to live in a universe which was governed on such lines. But since it is abundantly clear that I don’t, and since I have reason to believe, nevertheless, that God is love, I conclude that my conception of love needs correction.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Eivind Berggrav, who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock. We pray that, following his example, we may attain our full maturity in Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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No Happy Endings

I watched a film this evening about a young man with bipolar disorder and his friendship with a young man with Asperger Syndrome. It was about their battle to have their gifts recognised and to not be written off by society. It was a great little film until the very end when it became completely unbelievable. You see, there are no happy endings for people who have suffered from mental health problems and other neurological deviations from the norm. We are not allowed to realise our potential in life and if we have a vocation before we fall ill it is taken off us by a fearful society so that we can be disappeared and ignored. Storytellers and filmmakers who pretend otherwise are telling lies and that does not help those of us, who are forced into lives of useless exclusion by the bigotry of all parts of society, in the slightest. In fact, it makes our lives a lot worse as the sane and normal can pretend we all live happily ever after and forget about us.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE TWELFTH OF JANUARY 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, as you shall see fit, provide your servants also with those temporal goods, whereby the weakness of this wretched body is in this life sustained. This one thing only do I crave, my Lord, from your sweet pity: namely, that whether it be much or little that you give, you would make me, your servant, a good and faithful steward in respect of all, a wise and fair distributor, a sensible provider. Inspire them, too, my God, to bear it patiently when you withhold things; and, when you do bestow, to use your gifts with temperance and restraint. Inspire them, O Lord, also to have of me, who am your servant, and their servant for your sake, such an opinion as may profit them, such love and fear of me as you, Lord, sees to be good for them. Amen.

( Aelred of Rievaulx )

CANTICLE

Jesus, thou joy of loving hearts,
thou fount, thou light for all to see:
from the best bliss that earth imparts
we turn unfilled again to thee.

Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
thou savest those that on thee call;
to those who seek thee thou art good;
to those who find thee, all in all.

We taste thee, O thou living bread,
and long to feast upon thee still;
we drink of thee, the fountainhead,
and thirst our souls from thee to fill.

For thee our restless spirits yearn
wherever our changeful lot is cast,
glad when thy gracious smile we see,
blest when our faith can hold thee fast.

O Jesus, always with us stay,
make all our moments calm and bright;
chase the dark night of sin away;
shed o'er the world thy holy light.

( Bernard of Clairvaux )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Aelred of Rievaulx thanks you for being a friend

At the beginning of the story of the raising of Lazarus in "John," chapter eleven, gospel writer makes mention of the fact that Jesus “loved” Martha and Mary, and Lazarus. In fact when Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus, they didn’t tell him that Lazarus was ill, they told him “he whom you love is ill.” What is all this talk of love?

Aelred of Rievaulx was one of those gifted monastics out of Great Britain’s Middle Ages who had the gift of insight and the ability to make his mark on the world through his writing and example. He was born in 1109 in Durham and grew up and was educated in the court of King David of Scotland. He made close and fast friends with the king’s stepsons, Simon and Waldef. He felt the calling to be a monk and entered the Cistercian order in 1133.

On his way back from Rome, where he had been sent to conduct business by the Archbishop of York, he travelled to Clairvaux, the famous Cistercian mother house, to meet with Saint Bernard, who was abbot there. Bernard encouraged him to write, and Aelred completed his first work called “Mirror of Perfection” in 1143.

In 1147, Aelred was elected Abbot of Rievaulx, a large and prominent Cistercian monastery. He held that position for twenty years until he died of a painful kidney disease in 1167. It was during this time that he studied the Biblical texts like "John,"  chapter eleven and others, and developed his understanding of spiritual friendship.

Of course, monks and nuns were pledged to a life of chastity and celibacy and there had developed in many of the religious orders an aversion to what was called “particular friendships.” The idea was that monks in their monasteries and nuns in their cloister should not become “too attached” to any one brother or sister. Perhaps it was the fear of homosexuality that pushed this issue so strongly. A monk or nun was to love everyone equally, and not to favour one over another. This left them cut off from intimacy, and was psychologically destructive.

Aelred concluded from his studies that Jesus never spoke against particular friendships, and in fact, had several personal friends, whose company he enjoyed. In his most significant book “Spiritual Friendship,” Aelred discusses this. He writes:

“No medicine is more valuable, none more efficacious, none better suited to the cure of all our temporal ills than a friend to whom we may turn for consolation in time of trouble, and with whom we may share our happiness in time of joy.”

Friendship, Aelred teaches, is both a gift from God and a creation of human effort. While love is universal, freely given to all, friendship is a particular love between individuals, of which the example is Jesus and John the Beloved Disciple.

Scripture. In the thirteenth chapter of John’s gospel, the first verse, we read:

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for our friends.

... for true friendship in our lives.

... that we may know and accept the love of Christ in our lives.

... 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

Almighty God, you endowed the abbot Aelred with the gift of Christian friendship and the wisdom to lead others in the way of holiness: grant to your people that same spirit of mutual affection, that, in loving one another, we may know the love of Christ and rejoice in the gift of your eternal goodness; through the same Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.

READING

From "The Mirror of Charity" by Aelred of Rievaulx:

The highest type of brotherly love is to love our enemies and there is no greater encouragement to do this than the remembrance of the wondrous patience exercised by him who, fairest of the sons of men, offered his gracious face to be spat upon by his enemies. All creation is ruled by a glance from his eyes and yet he allowed them to be blindfolded by wicked men. His body he exposed to scourging and, although his head strikes fear in the principalities and powers, he bowed it to the pain of the crown of thorns. He submitted himself to insults and finally gave us an example by enduring in peace with gentleness, patience and meekness, the cross, the nails, the lance, the vinegar and gall. Then as a sheep, he was led to the slaughter and, like a lamb before his shearer, he remained silent and did not open his mouth.

Hearing that wondrous voice, full of gentleness and love, saying, "Father, forgive them," who would not immediately embrace his enemies.

Father, forgive them; can any greater degree of gentleness and love be added to this prayer?

However, he did add something. To pray for them was too little, he wished also to make excuses for them. He said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

They are great sinners but with little understanding; and so he said: Father, forgive them. They are crucifying without knowing who it is that they are crucifying, for, if they had known, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory, and so he said: Father, forgive them.

They think of him as a law-breaker, as one who falsely claims to be God, and as a seducer of the people. I have hidden my face from them, says the Lord, and they have not recognised my majesty, and so, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

It follows that, if a man would really love himself, he should avoid any corrupt love of the flesh. Not to be overcome by fleshly concupiscence, he should turn all his love to the sweetness of the flesh of our Lord. To love his brethren even more perfectly, he should open his arms to embrace even his enemies. In case this divine fire should grow cold by injuries done to him, a man should gaze constantly in his mind on the tranquil patience of his lord and saviour."

CLOSING PRAYER

God of all creation, you call us in Christ to make disciples of all nations and to proclaim your mercy and love: grant that we, after the example of your servant Julia Chester Emery, may have vision and courage in proclaiming the gospel to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE ELEVENTH OF JANUARY 2018

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord Jesus Christ, who art the way, the truth, and the fife; we pray thee, suffer us not to stray from thee. who art the way, nor to distrust thee, who art the truth, nor to rest in any other thing than thee, who art the life. Teach us, by thy Holy Spirit, what to believe, what to do, and wherein to take our rest. Amen.

( Desiderius Erasmus )

CANTICLE

There came three kings, ere break of day,
all on Epiphany;
their gifts they bare, both rich and rare,
all, all, Lord Christ, for thee;
gold, frankincense, and myrrh are there,
where is the king? O where? O where?
O where is the king? O where?

The star shone brightly overhead,
the air was calm and still,
over Bethlehem’s fields its rays were shed,
the dew lay on the hill;
we see no throne, no palace fair,
where is the king? O where? O where?
O where is the king? O where?

An old man knelt at a manger low,
a babe lay in the stall;
the starlight played on the infant brow,
deep silence lay over all;
A maiden bent over the babe in prayer,
there is the king! O there! O there!
O there is the king! O there!

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Julia Chester Emery: blessed with a clear vision of global mission

Saint Paul teaches us that every one of us has been given spiritual gifts. Julia Chester Emery was blest with a passion for global mission and she devoted the better part of her life to supporting and strengthening the global mission within the Episcopal Church in the United States.

Born in 1852, in 1876 she became secretary of the Woman’s Auxiliary of the Board of Missions which had been established by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 1871. She held her position for over forty years. During that time she visited every diocese and missionary district within the United States, encouraging and expanding the work of the Woman’s Auxiliary. She founded the United Thank Offering . This worked by giving each woman a small box with a slit in the top and encouraging her to drop a small contribution into it whenever she felt thankful for something. Once a year, the women of the parish presented these at a Sunday service. The money was sent to national headquarters to be used for missions.

In 1908 she served as a delegate to the Pan-Anglican Congress in London. From there she travelled around the world, visiting missions in remote areas of China, in Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Hawaii, and then all the dioceses on the Pacific Coast before returning to New York. In this way she hoped to ignite the faith of Episcopal women with the same passion for global mission, for when she had returned to New York, she then set about sharing the stories of global mission with anyone who would listen.

Through her leadership a network was established within the Women’s Auxiliary, which shared a vision of and a commitment to the Church’s mission. An emphasis on educational programmes, a growing recognition of social issues, and the development of leadership among women, were among its stated goals.

"Miss Julia," as she was known, died on the ninth of January, 1921 in New York City, and was buried at the cemetery of Saint James the Less in Scarsdale, New York.

Scripture: In the twelfth chapter of "Romans," verses six to eight, we read:

We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who work to support and promote the mission of God's people to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the whole world.

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

READING

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

I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at the first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except perhaps as a joke. Every one there is filled full with what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it goodness. They do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes. But this is near the stage where the road passes over the rim of our world. No one’s eyes can see very far beyond that.

CLOSING PRAYER

God of all creation, you call us in Christ to make disciples of all nations and to proclaim your mercy and love: grant that we, after the example of your servant Julia Chester Emery, may have vision and courage in proclaiming the gospel to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE TENTH OF JANUARY 2018
* Narciso Pico *

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord, the scripture says "there is a time for silence and a time for speech." Saviour, teach me the silence of humility, the silence of wisdom, the silence of love, the silence of perfection, the silence that speaks without words, the silence of faith. Lord, teach me to silence my own heart that I may listen to the gentle movement of the Holy Spirit within me and sense the depths which are of God. Amen.

CANTICLE

Rise, O Salem, rise and shine;
lo, the Gentiles hail your waking;
herald of a morn divine,
see the dayspring over us breaking,
telling God has called to mind
those who long in darkness pined.

O how blindly we did stray,
before this sun our earth had brightened;
Heaven we sought not, for no ray
had our bewildered eyes enlightened:
all our looks were earthward bent,
all our strength on earth was spent.

But the dayspring from on high
has arisen with beams unclouded,
And we see before him fly
all the heavy gloom that shrouded
this sad earth, where sin and woe
seemed to reign over all below.

Thine appearing, Lord, shall fill
all my thoughts in sorrow’s hour;
your appearing, Lord, shall still
all my dread of death’s dark power;
whether joys or tears be mine,
through them still your light shall shine.

Let me, when my course is run,
calmly leave a world of sadness
for the place that needs no sun
(for you are its light and gladness),
for the mansions fair and bright,
where your saints are crowned with light.

( Johann Rist )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Narciso Pico: servant of the poor, martyr

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Narciso Pico, a Philippine priest and martyr.

On the tenth of January, 1991, Father Narciso Pico, a priest of the Philippine Independent Church, was gunned down by two men, while coming out of a coffee shop down the block from his church in Pontevedra, about five hundred kilometres southeast of Manila. Father Pico had been documenting human rights violations on the large plantations around Pontevedra, and had been active in the area of workers’ rights and land reform.

Upon hearing of his death, his bishop remarked, “ his murder advances the real work of a priest who is unafraid to preach the truth, no matter what."

The Philippine Independent Church came into existence in the year 1902 after formally separating from the Roman Catholic Church. In 1898 the United States defeated Spain and took over the running of the Philippine colony. From 1898 until 1902 the Filipino-American war was fought which ended with the defeat of the Filipino Army. Many Filipinos felt that the Catholic Church had favoured the wealthy and rich landowners who had favoured the cause of the United States. From its origin, the Philippine Independent Church has been formed to encourage the aspirations of the people for freedom, democracy free from foreign influence, and the liberation of workers in their struggle against oppression.

In the case of Father Narciso Pico, it was suspected but never proven that his murderers were under the command of the Philippine Army. His life had been threatened many times, but he very much saw his ministry as the empowerment of the poor. His parish in Pontevedra had twenty thousand members.

A priest from the Church of Ireland happened to be visiting in the Philippines at the time Father Pico was murdered. At the invitation of Father Pico’s bishop, he attended the wake.

He later wrote: “Narciso Pico had lived in the knowledge that he might face such a death. He knew that his efforts to be the servant of all, to care for the poorest of people were attracting the attention of those who wanted no change in the country. Pico was under no illusions about what it meant to walk in the way of Jesus. If anything happened to him, hadn’t the same happened to Jesus?”

Scripture: In "Psalm Seventy-Two," verses twelve to fourteen, we read:

For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence, he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who risk their lives for those who speak out against tyranny and stand beside the oppressed.

... for an end to corruption in the governments and civil services of the world.

... for those recovering from surgery.

... for those affected by the heavy rain and mudslides in southern California, especially for those killed or injured, the missing and those searching for them.

... for those who are victims of online bullying, especially children; for those who are driven to take their own life because of bullying and the grieving friends and family members they leave behind.

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

READING

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

If you do not take the distinction between good and bad very seriously, then it is easy to say that anything you find in this world is a part of God.

But, of course, if you think some things really bad, and God really good, then you cannot talk like that. You must believe that God is separate from the world and that some of the things we see in it are contrary to his will.

Confronted with a cancer or a slum the Pantheist can say, "If you could only see it from the divine point of view, you would realise that this also is God."

The Christian replies, "Don’t talk damned nonsense."

For Christianity is a fighting religion. It thinks God made the world, that space and time, heat and cold, and all the colours and tastes, and all the animals and vegetables, are things that God "made up out of his head" as a man makes up a story. But it also thinks that a great many things have gone wrong with the world that God made and that God insists, and insists very loudly, on our putting them right again.

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 Narciso Pico, whose love for the poor and needy of Pontvedra led him to the way of the cross, and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives to your son’s victory over sin and death; for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE NINTH OF JANUARY 2018

OPENING PRAYER

O God, let me not interrupt you with my chatter. Let me listen, rather, to your still, small voice. Amen.

( Geddes MacGregor )

CANTICLE

All ye Gentile lands awake!
Thou, O Salem, rise and shine!
See the day-spring over you break,
heralding a morn divine,
telling, God hath called to mind
those who long in darkness pined.

Lo! the shadows flee away,
for our Light is come at length,
brighter than all earthly day,
source of being, life and strength!
Whoso on this Light would gaze
must forsake all evil ways.

Ah how blindly did we stray
ere shone forth this glorious Sun,
seeking each his separate way,
leaving Heaven, unsought, unwon;
all our looks were earthward bent,
all our strength on earth was spent.

Earthly were our thoughts and low,
in the toils of folly caught,
tossed of Satan to and fro,
counting goodness all for nought;
by the world and flesh deceived,
Heaven’s true joys we disbelieved.

Then were hidden from our eyes
all the law and grace of God;
rich and poor, the fools and wise,
wanting light to find the road
leading to the heavenly life,
wandered lost in care and strife.

But the glory of the Lord
hath arisen on us today;
we have seen the light outpoured
that must surely drive away
all things that to night belong,
all the sad earth’s woe and wrong.

Thy arising, Lord, shall fill
all my thoughts in sorrow’s hour;
thy arising, Lord, shall still
all my dread of death’s dark power;
through my smiles and through my tears
still thy light, O Lord, appears.

Let me, Lord in peace depart
from this evil world to thee;
where thyself sole brightness art,
thou hast kept a place for me:
in the shining city there
crowns of light thy saints shall wear.

( Johann Rist )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Fearing God

Donald Miller is a spiritual writer I enjoy. His book” Blue Like Jazz” was a bestseller here in the States. Today’s meditation comes from his book “Searching for God Knows What.”

Here we are a few days into the New Year. Christmas and Epiphany are past, and it seems a good day to ask, with these mysteries still fresh in mind, what we think of God. Was the Incarnation a winning gambit for God?

To paraphrase the great Preface for Christmas "as we behold the God made visible, are we drawn to love the God we cannot see?"

Donald Miller confesses that he still fears God:

I realise it isn’t a big deal to fear God these days, but I do. By that I don’t mean I have just a deep respect for him, or a healthy appreciation for him; I actually get a general sense of terror. It isn’t because I think he is a bad guy, because I don’t. The sense of terror comes more from the idea that he is so incredibly other, has claimed he has created a kind of afterlife for people, who doesn’t exactly live in a space. A God who is that different, that other, can tell you over and over again that he loves you, and you are still going to be quite a bit afraid, just because of what it feels like when you think about his nature.

Everybody who met God in the Bible was afraid of him. People were afraid of even the angels, so the angels always had to calm people down just to have a conversation. It makes you wonder if the first thousand years in heaven will have us running around screaming like we would during an earthquake, the whole time God is saying to us, "Calm down, calm down, it’s just Me."

If you ask me, the way to tell if a person knows God for real, I mean knows the real God , is that they will fear him. They wouldn’t go around making absurd political assertions. I wonder what it sounded like to God when Jerry Falwell went on television and said the reason the twin towers were hit by those planes was because there were homosexuals in the building. And they wouldn’t be making absurd statements about how God wants you to be rich and how if you just send in some money to the ministry God will bless you. It seems like, if you really knew the God who understands the physics of our existence, you would operate a little more cautiously, a little more compassionately, a little less like you are the centre of the universe.

Back in 1917 Rudolph Otto described this experience as the “mysterium tremendum et fascinans," the experience of the presence of God which causes both fear and fascination. Should we be in proper fear of God, or has Jesus made fear unnecessary?

Scripture. In the "Book of Revelation," chapter fourteen, verses six and seven, we read:

Then I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.

He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water"

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who are frightened or suffering from anxiety.

... for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who celebrate their national day today.

... that the current talks between North and South Korea may lead, eventually, to peace and democracy in the region.

... for the two hundred thousand Salvadorans who have been ordered to leave the U.S.A. DETAILS

... for those who have important meetings or interviews today.

... for sick pets and pets recovering from surgery.

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

READING

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

One reason why many people find "creative evolution" so attractive is that it gives one much of the emotional comfort of believing in God and none of the less pleasant consequences. When you are feeling fit and the sun is shining and you do not want to believe that the whole universe is a mere mechanical dance of atoms, it is nice to be able to think of this great mysterious force rolling on through the centuries and carrying you on its crest. If, on the other hand, you want to do something rather shabby, the life-force, being only a blind force, with no morals and no mind, will never interfere with you like that troublesome God we learned about when we were children. The life-force is a sort of tame God. You can switch it on when you want, but it will not bother you. All the thrills of religion and none of the cost. Is the life-force the greatest achievement of wishful thinking the world has yet seen?

CLOSING PRAYER

Most Holy God, the earth is filled with your glory, and before you angels and saints bow down in awe. Enlarge our vision to see your power at work in our world, and by your grace make us heralds of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE EIGHTH OF JANUARY 2018
* Harriet Bedell and Mary Slessor *

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, you have taught us in your word that there is a time to speak and a time to keep silence. Make us ready to listen as we are to talk; ready to listen to your voice in the quietness of our hearts and ready to listen to other people who need a sympathetic ear. Show us when to open our mouths and when to hold our peace that we may glorify you both in speech and in silence; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

( Frank Colquhoun )

CANTICLE

A Patre Unigenitus

From God the Father, virgin-born
to us the only Son came down;
by death the font to consecrate,
the faithful to regenerate.

Beginning from his home on high
in human flesh he came to die;
creation by his death restored,
and shed new joys of life abroad.

Glide on, O glorious Sun, and bring
the gift of healing on your wing;
to every dull and clouded sense
the clearness of your light dispense.

Abide with us, O Lord, we pray;
the gloom of darkness chase away;
your work of healing, Lord, begin,
and take away the stain of sin.

Lord, once you came to earth’s domain
and, we believe, shall come again;
be with us on the battlefield,
from every harm your people shield.

To you, O Lord, all glory be
for this your blest epiphany;
to God whom all his hosts adore,
and Holy Spirit evermore.

( translated from Latin to English by John Mason Neale )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Harriet Bedell and Mary Slessor: showing forth Christ

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Harriet Bedell who spread the gospel with a life of service among the native Americans, and Mary Slessor who did the same among the native peoples of Nigeria. These women testify powerfully to the way faith in Christ leads people to give great service to God by serving others.

Harriet Bedell, was born in Buffalo, New York on the nineteenth of March, 1875. She was trained as a schoolteacher but was inspired several years later by an Episcopalian missionary who spoke at her church describing the many needs of missionary work. In 1906 she applied to, and was accepted by, the New York Training School for Deaconesses, where her one-year course of study included instruction in religious matters, missions, teaching, hygiene, and hospital nursing. Following her training she was sent as a missionary-teacher to the Cheyenne at Whirlwind Mission in Oklahoma. While there she cared for the sick and the poor, organised social services for the tribe, performed the duties of the rector in his absence and provided education for the women and children. She provided religious instruction, hoping to win the confidence of the people and convert them to Christianity.

Later she served in a remote part of Alaska, where she was consecrated a deaconess in the Episcopal Church. The Great Depression of the early 1930’s caused that work to stop due to lack of funds. Deaconess Bedell traveled back to New York to plead for more contributions, but she was never to return.

Through speaking engagements following her service in Alaska, Bedell was invited to visit a Seminole reservation in southern Florida. Appalled by their living conditions, she began her campaign to improve the quality of life among the Mikasuki-Seminole by living and working with them, not merely teaching them. She sought to revive the doll making and basket weaving skills which had become nearly extinct. She spent the rest of her life among the Seminoles, and died on this day in 1969.

Mary Slessor was a Scottish Presbyterian from a working class family, who had developed a keen interest in foreign missions through her involvement at her local church. At the age of twenty-eight, having successfully completed training, she was assigned to the Calibar region of Nigeria. After many years of work with the Efik people of Calabar, she moved more deeply into the territory, where only minimal contact with the West had been established. There she lived and worked among the Okoyong tribe.

For the last four decades of her life, Slessor suffered intermittent fevers from the malaria she contracted during her first station to Calabar. However, she downplayed the personal costs, and never gave up her mission work to return permanently to Scotland. The fevers eventually weakened Slessor to the point where she could no longer walk long distances in the rainforest, but had to be pushed along in a hand-cart. She died in early January 1915.

Scripture. In "Psalm Ninety-Six," verses two and three we find these words:

Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous works among all the peoples.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for Christian missionaries.

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

READING

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

It is no use either saying that if there is a God of that sort (an impersonal absolute goodness) then you do not like him and are not going to bother about him. For the trouble is that one part of you is on his side and really agrees with his disapproval of human greed and trickery and exploitation. You may want him to make an exception in your own case, to let you off this one time; but you know at bottom that unless the power behind the world really and unalterably detests that sort of behaviour, then he cannot be good. On the other hand, we know that if there does exist an absolute goodness it must hate most of what we do. This is the terrible fix we are in. If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are in the long run hopeless. But if it is, then we are making ourselves enemies to that goodness every day, and are not in the least likely to do any better tomorrow, and so our case is hopeless again. We cannot do without it, and we cannot do with it. God is the only comfort, he is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves his enemies. Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion. Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger, according to the way you react to it. And we have reacted the wrong way.

CLOSING PRAYER

Holy God, you chose your faithful servants Mary Slessor and Harriet Bedell to live the gospel amidst the indigenous peoples of North America and Nigeria: fill us with compassion and respect for all people, and empower us for the work of ministry throughout the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE FIFTH OF JANUARY 2018
* Kaj Munk *

OPENING PRAYER

Father in heaven, when the thought of you wakes in our hearts, let it not wake like a frightened bird that flies about in dismay, but like a child waking from its sleep with a heavenly smile. Amen.

( Søren Kierkegaard )

CANTICLE

All hail, thou night, than day more bright,
through whose mysterious shade,
in wondrous birth, arose on earth,
from bosom of pure maid,
the sun new-born, a star of morn,
filling all the world with light!

He who alone, from heaven’s high throne,
rules all, and doth restore
to God’s embrace, man’s fallen race,
lies on a cottage floor,
like him that we, save poverty,
have nought to call our own.

While o’er their sheep close watch they keep,
those shepherds first receive
the heavenly call, that doth to all
great joy and gladness give;
the call from heaven to watchmen given
that wake and never sleep.

( Marc Antoine Muretus )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Kaj Munk: playwright, pastor, martyr

On this date in 1944, a body was found in a ditch alongside a road. This was Kaj Munk, a playwright and faithful parish pastor in Denmark; shot in the head by the Nazis who were occupying his country. His killers honoured Munk’s outspoken resistance to the Nazi occupation by their ruthless but futile determination to silence him. For Munk had never ceased to summon his people to act from their faith whether in support of the Norwegian church, the beleaguered Scandinavian Jews, or for their own freedom. The people heard his message. Despite the danger from the Nazis who had killed Munk, four thousand Danes came to his funeral. They commemorated him with a lively courage and faith like his own, both then and throughout the war.

Kai Munk was born in 1898. Both his parents died before he was six. He was adopted into his cousin’s family and early on expressed skill in poetry and literature. He combined that love for the arts with skill in pastoring. He was ordained in 1924, and became pastor at Vederso, one of the smallest parishes in Denmark. It was his only parish.

Munk wrote stage plays. Three of his best were “Herod the King” in 1928; “The Word” in 1932; and “He Sits at the Melting Pot” in 1938, which was an out and out attack on Hitler’s Germany, the Nazi Party, and the persecution of the Jews. After Germany occupied Denmark during World War II, his powerful sermons drew masses into the resistance, and his own resistance became so outspoken, that the Nazis banned all performances of his plays.

In 1942 Munk wrote a play about Niels Ebbesen, one of the great heroes of medieval Danish history; the "tyrant slayer" who, in 1340, was known for his killing of Count Gerhard III, a German whose forces occupied Denmark at the time. It was a very thinly veiled swipe at Nazism. Despite friends who urged Munk to go underground, he continued to preach against Danes who collaborated with the Nazis, which led to his murder on the fifth of January, 1944.

Quote. “You say you have doubts and questions that spoil your Christmas joy. Well, who promised you joy? True Christmas joy, no matter how much or how little of it you may comprehend, means that you have Christ and that you go where he wants you to go.”

Scripture. In the eighth chapter of "Mark," at verses thirty-four to thirty-six, we find these words of Jesus:

"If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?"

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for all who resist and speak out against tyranny; for an end to all tyrannies in our world.

... for those who campaign against oppression in the art they create.

... for the falsely accused and the wrongly imprisoned.

... for the homeless, especially those living outside in harsh weather.

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

READING

From "Commemorating Kaj Munk" by Sarah Heinrich:

Who is Jesus? What is it about Jesus that calls a Christian, even to die? We can catch a glimpse of Munk’s belief in his sermons.

Munk declares to us as he once did to his own congregation: "God comes to us and says: ‘You may call me Jesus.’ Jesus shows us the heart of God, God’s goodness and holiness. So great is that heart, so deep, so high God’s love, that God came as the Good Shepherd, to save everyone from the wolves."

All this sounds familiar, safe, gentle. Why would anyone be shot in the head for this kind of theology?

He was, you know, shot for his theology. Kaj Munk was dangerous because he believed that "who Jesus is" has everything to do with how his people are to follow.

Good shepherds protect the sheep from the wolves.

Munk insisted: "Jesus’ fight against the wolves continues through the church which will allow itself to be torn to pieces rather than let robber or wolf gain entrance to the fold."

In 1941, in his twenty-seventh year at a church in Vederso, Pastor Munk preached on the Good Samaritan.

In his sermon he acknowledged: "There are some who say it is humanity that lies fallen in the ditch while Jesus the, Good Samaritan, stoops to save us in our wretched helplessness. This interpretation is not wrong; it is comforting, but it is only half the story. We are not only helpless, as Christians we are also called to be the Good Samaritan. Christians follow Jesus by loving their neighbours as themselves. This is the truth that the Good Samaritan tale puts before us; it calls its hearers to face up to the needs of a flesh and blood neighbour."

"To have a flesh and blood neighbour," says Munk, "puts you in an either/or position. Either you may be a help to your neighbour or a burden."

Either you protect the sheep or you are one of the wolves. Munk insisted on, and showed unflinching honesty about, what is helpful. To discern what is truly needed by your neighbour, a child of God and to tell the truth about what hurts the people of God and what injustice is being done them is to help your neighbour in Jesus’ name. To name the wolves so that the flock can protect itself better helps the neighbour in Jesus’ name. The wolves must be resisted for the sheep’s sake, and for their own sakes.

Munk says: "It was not the task of the Good Samaritan to look up the robbers afterwards and compliment them for work well done. The goodness of God as we see it in Jesus is meek and long-suffering, but never compromises with evil."

And so, those called to be Good Samaritans, dare not walk by the needy neighbour, colluding with those who would name him or her unworthy of help. Kaj Munk himself was such a helper. Utterly convinced that the ordination vow is a charge to proclaim that God has come among us and "We can call him Jesus," Munk called for mercy for the Jews, striking workers, hungry in city and on farms, and for confused children in an unstable world. He named all kinds of wolves: capitalism, materialism, power lust, the national church, Nazi oppressors. And as the good Samaritan, he himself ended up in a roadside ditch.

In his body we see his faith in "who Jesus is." He died trusting that our Lord is also the Good Samaritan who cares for and will restore every wounded one.

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 Kaj Munk, whose faithfulness led him to resist tyranny, leading to his death. Give us courage in the face of tyranny today, and help us bear witness to Jesus’ victory over sin and death, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE FOURTH OF JANUARY 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Father in Heaven, you have loved us first, help us never to forget that you are love so that this sure conviction might triumph in our hearts over the seduction of the world, over the inquietude of the soul, over the anxiety for the future, over the fright of the past, over the distress of the moment. But grant also that this conviction might discipline our soul so that our heart might remain faithful and sincere in the love which we bear to all those whom you have commanded us to love as we love ourselves. Amen.

( Søren Kierkegaard )

CANTICLE

Ah, dearest Jesus, holy child,
make thee a bed, soft, undefiled
within my heart, that it may be
a quiet chamber kept for thee.

My heart for very joy doth leap,
my lips no more can silence keep;
I, too, must sing with joyful tongue
that sweetest ancient cradle song.

Glory to God in highest Heaven,
who unto man his son hath given;
while angels sing with tender mirth,
a glad new year to all the earth.

( Martin Luther )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Western Christians in India: evangelisation or empire building?

On the third of January, 1945, Vedanayagam Samuel Azariah died. He was the first indigenous Indian bishop in the Anglican Church of India. He was a strong advocate of ecumenism among India’s various Protestant congregations. He devoted his life to the spread of Christianity in his native land.

There have been Christians in India since the second century. Said to have been evangelised by Saint Thomas himself, the Mar Thoma Church usually looked for support from the Assyrian Church of the East or from the Syrian Orthodox Church. With the coming of European explorers, Western Christians often came along, and with an air or racial or cultural superiority, attempted to impose their Western ways on these ancient churches. Before long, the divided churches of the West were all establishing footholds in India. The question is asked: were these churches honestly involved in spreading the gospel of Jesus or did they simply represent the softer side of European empire building? In the case of Bishop Azariah, it was a genuine desire to share the gospel which motivated his life and ministry.

Azariah was a mainstream, broad church Anglican with a high priority for evangelism and much of his preaching centred on the resurrection. His ministry cut across class lines and focused heavily on rural “untouchables” caste members. The bishop’s traditional Anglicanism frustrated many Indian political leaders, who hoped he would be a leading voice for Indian nationalism. Azariah also took sharp issue with Mahatma Gandhi, who was unalterably opposed to Christians trying to convert Indians. Azariah saw conversion as foundational to Christian mission. Gandhi acknowledged the dominant Hindu religion needed reform, but Azariah went further and said it was repressive and grounded in a destructive caste system.

He said, “It is by proclamation of the truth that the early Church turned the world upside down. It is this that will today redeem Indian society and emancipate it from the thralldom of centuries.”

By 1935 Bishop Azariah’s diocese had two hundred and fifty ordained Indian clergy and over two thousand village teachers, plus a growing number of medical clinics, cooperative societies, and printing presses.

Traveling over the vast diocese by bullock cart or bicycle, and accompanied by his wife and coworker, Anbu, Azariah often built his village sermons around “the four demons" (dirt, disease, debt, and drink). He believed in adapting liturgy to local cultures. Epiphany Cathedral, which took a quarter century to build, was an architectural statement of the bishop’s vision, mixing Muslim, Hindu, and Christian designs. He saw it as a visual statement of the gifts and beauty of other faith traditions finding their fulfilment in Christianity.

Scripture. In the "Thirty-Seventh Psalm," at verses twenty-three and twenty-four, we read:

Our steps are made firm by the LORD, when he delights in our way; though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong, for the LORD holds us by the hand.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the "untouchables" of the world; for an end to all "caste" systems.

... for the Christians of the Indian subcontinent; may they live their lives without the threat of violence and persecution; may they be free to proclaim their faith and openly worship Christ.

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

... for those affected by inclement weather.

... for those killed or injured when a passenger train caught fire after colliding with a truck near Kroonstad city, South Africa DETAILS; for all who have been involved in accidents whilst travelling recently.

... for those killed or injured in the recent protests in Iran.

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

READING

From "Christ in the Indian Villages" by V. S. Azariah and Henry Whitehead:

A very striking illustration of the evangelistic forces latent in the Christian community in India comes from the Punjab. A splendid work has been carried on among the strong, virile and independent Moslem tribes of the North-West Frontier for many years by both Anglican and Presbyterian missionaries. The chain of mission hospitals on the frontier have done a magnificent work. But for some time the missionaries were seriously concerned by the lack of success in the matter of converts. The building of an indigenous Church had been practically at a standstill for fifty years. The missionaries, therefore, met together recently and prayed to know what was the reason for this and to find out God's will. Gradually it became clear that the problem of the evangelisation of the Moslems is the preparation of a Church both to win the harvest and to take care of it. The reason for their lack of success had been their neglect of the Indian Church. So they called the elders together and put before them this duty. The work of preaching was then handed over to the Indian Church and a yearly campaign was planned lasting a week, in which every Christian was to take part.

It was at once discovered that an aggressive, awakened Church was by far the most effective evangelistic agency. In one city where regular bazar preaching had been efficiently carried on by the missionary without the result of even one inquirer, when it was taken over by a band of Indians of the local church, volunteers for the work, inquiries were made after every service. The Campaign week, with the handing over of definite evangelistic work to the Indian Church, proved successful in bringing in many inquirers all over the Rawal Pindi district, where previously for years there had been no baptisms. Since then there has not been a single year when some at least of those who came forward did not go on to confession by baptism.

The second discovery was the value of the outcaste Christians for evangelistic work, even among the Moslems. No one had thought of employing them for so hard a task. They are a very mixed lot, many of them still ignorant and dirty. The cleaning out of the filthy open drains of an Eastern city does not tend to elevate the mind. Somehow no one had faith to believe that they could be of use to God at all. But gradually in answer to prayer, nothing less than this was borne in on men's minds. It was to be these Christians from the Mass Movements who were themselves to be the agents used by God to work among the Moslem
people; they were to be the aggressive Church.

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord of all, we thank you for raising up your servant Samuel Azariah as the first indigenous bishop in India. Grant that we may be strengthened by his witness to your love without concern for class or caste, and by his labours for the unity of the Church in India, that people of many languages and cultures might with one voice give you glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, 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 THIRD OF JANUARY 2018

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord, grant me to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on your holy will. In every hour of the day, reveal your will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with the firm conviction that your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by you. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. Direct my will; teach me to pray; pray you yourself in me. Amen.

( Philaret of Moscow )

CANTICLE

"Ah! Lord God, the world’s creator,
king of all, great or small,
Earth’s regenerator;
art thou cradled, art thou crying,
swathed and bound, on the ground,
in the stable lying?

"Love of man hath brought me hither,
cords of love, from above,
to exalt him thither;
dead in trespass, child, I sought thee;
gone astray, from my way,
life and pardon brought thee."

"Empty be my scrip and coffer,
yet it is wealth, plenty, health,
I am come to offer;
haste I to enrich and dress thee;
born to die, low I lie,
and would gladly bless thee."

Therefore thousand thousand praises
are thy due, Babe Jesu,
these my heart upraises;
angels, mortals, furthest, nighest,
sing in mirth, "Peace on earth,
Glory in the highest."

( Jean Mauburn )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

John Wyclif: a Morningstar to point the way. (transferred from Sunday)

At the beginning of a new year, Saint Laika’s remembers John Wyclif, an English scholar, reformer and "Bible" translator in the fourteenth century. He is often called the “Morningstar” of the Reformation, for his views on the place of the "Bible" in Christian life, and the overreach of papal claims to govern the Church of Christ. His followers were known as Lollards, who preached anti-clericalism and biblically centered reforms to the Church’s common life. He died on the thirty-first of December, 1384.

The fourteenth century was a century of turmoil, particularly in England. The Hundred Years War with France put a heavy burden of taxes on the backs of the poor. The Papacy had moved from Rome to Avignon for most of the century and was dominated by the French. By the time of Wyclif’s death, the papacy had broken in two, with an Italian pope in Rome and a French pope in Avignon. The Black Death (Bubonic Plague) ravaged Europe, decimating populations and causing the rise of mystical movements like the Flagellants who, convinced that the plague was a judgment of God against them, went about whipping themselves. Others were convinced the world was coming to an end.

Wyclif’s teachings directly addressed the tumult of the times. First was his emphasis upon an individual's interpretation of the "Bible" as the best guide to a moral life, as opposed to the Church’s emphasis on receiving its sacraments as the only way to salvation.

Second, he insisted that holiness of an individual was more important than that of formal office; that is, a truly pious person was morally superior to a wicked ordained cleric. Wycliffe challenged the privileged status of the clergy, which was central to their powerful role in England.

Finally, he attacked the luxurious and exorbitant rites, ceremonies, and sheer pomp of the Church’s public worship.

The "Wyclif Bible" was his crowning work. It was completed in the year he died, and it is said that Wyclif was directly responsible for the translation of the four gospels, and perhaps for the whole of the "New Testament."

After his death, his teachings were picked up and promoted by Bohemian priest, Jan Hus. At the Council of Constance in 1414, both Wyclif and Hus were declared heretics. Hus was burned at the stake in 1414. Wyclif’s body was exhumed in 1428 and his bones were burned and then strewn in the river near his burial site.

Scripture. In "Psalm Thirty-Three", at verses ten and eleven we read:

The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for an end to all clergy abuses, corruption and privilege in Christian churches.

... for those who were killed or injured when a coach plummeted one hundred metres down a cliff and landed upside down on a beach in Pasamayo, Peru DETAILS; for all who have been involved in road traffic accidents recently.

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

READING

From John Wyclif's letter of excuse to Pope Urban VI:

I have joyfully to tell all true men the belief that I hold, and always to the pope. For I suppose that if my faith be rightful and given of God, the pope will gladly conserve it, and if my faith be error, the pope will wisely amend it. I suppose over this, that the gospel of Christ be part of the body of God's law. For I believe that Jesu Christ, that gave in his own person this gospel, is very God and very Man, and by this it passes all other laws. I suppose over this, that the pope be most obliged to the keeping of the gospel among all men that live here. For the pope is the highest vicar that Christ has here in earth. For greatness of Christ's vicars is not measured by worldly greatness, but by this, that this vicar follows more Christ by virtuous living, for thus teaches the gospel. That this is the sentence of Christ and of his gospel, I take as belief, that Christ for time that he walked here was most poor man of all, both in spirit and in possessions, for Christ says that he had nought for to rest his head on. And over this, I take as belief that no man should follow the pope, nor no saint that is now in heaven, but inasmuch as he followed Christ, for James and John erred, and Peter and Paul sinned. Of this I take as wholesome counsel, that the pope leave his worldly lordship to worldly lords, as Christ gave him, and move speedily all his clerks to do so, for thus did Christ, and taught thus his disciples, till the fiend had blinded this world.

CLOSING PRAYER

O God, your justice continually challenges your Church to live according to its calling: grant us who now remember the work of John Wyclif contrition for the wounds which our sins inflict on your Church, and such love for Christ that we may seek to heal the divisions which afflict his Body; through the same Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

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Newspeak At The New Scientist

In "The New Scientist" magazine's current issue the proselytising atheists on the editorial team have resolutely avoided any mention of Christmas, choosing instead to refer to the twenty-fifth of December as "the Holiday Season." What the heck these arrogant geeks think the word "holiday" means I have no idea but it is obviously not the official definition.

I wish we had a weekly periodical in the U.K. that reported on science as comprehensively as "The New Scientist" but without its pomposity and smugness. Quite honestly its sermonising can be anything but scientific at times.

Rediscovering The Feast

For much of the history of humankind feasting was about the rich and powerful giving of their abundance to the people who worked for them, or it was about equal sharing, with each participant contributing what they could afford to give. Nowadays our feasts are primarily about the workers further enriching the rich and powerful and spending far more on the occasion than they can possibly afford. The poor do not even get the scraps that fall on the floor anymore. The last remnants of the sharing paradigm exist only at the family level and even this is increasingly rare as family members become more distant from each other and we all become more insular and antisocial.

However, it is at the family level that the ember of true feasting still flickers, albeit dimly. Therefore, if feasting is to return to its original status, a celebration of mutual responsibility within community, those of us who wish to take feasting back from the selfish rich need to search for it within the grass roots of our communities and carefully fan the embers until they burst into full flame again.

The Church should be an ideal place for the rediscovery of feasting to take place. Sadly, at all its levels, it is too much part of the problem rather than being a leading part of the solution. Status and hierarchy are paramount for many of its members and even more of its leaders and functionaries. The days of all things being held in common are long gone, even for just once a year.

A Folk Nine Lessons And Carols 2017

To be honest I don't enjoy the sort of Christmas carols they sing in church. I especially hate "Silent Night" which I literally find painful. Therefore, I am hardly going to inflict such tedious Victoriana on visitors to Saint Laika's. Instead, as is tradition, I have cobbled together a fine serving of carols from the folk traditions of various parts of the world mixed up with a load of lessons from God's own Bible.

Enjoy.

Click on the arrow on the left of the player below to listen.

CLICK HERE for the order of service and details of the music featured.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE TWENTY-SECOND OF DECEMBER 2017

OPENING PRAYER

O God, who are the author of peace and lover of concord, in knowledge of whom stands our eternal life, whose service is perfect freedom; defend us your humble servants in all assaults of our enemies, that we, surely trusting in your defence, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

( Gelasian Sacramentary )

CANTICLE

He will come like last leaf's fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to the bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud's folding.

He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.

( Rowan Williams )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

A Christmas carol for those who have been awaiting "The Last Jedi"

Sydney Carter was a Quaker, a theologian, and an eclectic one at that. He had a deep faith that looked more to the future than to the past. He is best known for his hymn “Lord of the Dance” in which he combined the story of Christ with a shaker tune, and entitled it with an honorific Hindus bestowed on the god Shiva.

Carter once wrote: "I see Christ as the incarnation of the piper who is calling us. He dances that shape and pattern which is at the heart of our reality. By Christ I mean not only Jesus; in other times and places, other planets, there may be other Lords of the Dance. But Jesus is the one I know of first and best. I sing of the dancing pattern in the life and words of Jesus."

At another time he wrote: “Your holy hearsay is not evidence. Give me the good news in the present tense. What happened nineteen hundred years ago may not have happened. How am I to know? The living truth is what I long to see; I cannot lean upon what used to be. So shut the "Bible" up and show me how the Christ you talk about is living now.”

This Christmas it might be fair to say that the number of folks awaiting the new "Star Wars" film, "The Last Jedi," will give a good run against the number of folks awaiting the "birth of Jesus Christ." So here is Sydney Carter’s beautiful carol, just in time for the "Star Wars" crowd to give a thought to the human child in the manger.

Every star shall sing a carol;
every creature, high or low,
come and praise the king of heaven
by whatever name you know.

When the king of all creation
had a cradle on the earth,
holy was the human body,
holy was the human birth.

Who can tell what other cradle
high above the Milky Way
still may rock the king of heaven
on another Christmas Day?

Every creature he will gather,
all shall know him for their own.
I will praise the son of Mary,
brother of my blood and bone.

Every star and every planet,
every creature, high or low,
come and praise the king of heaven
by whatever name you know.

God above, man below,
holy is the name I know.

Scripture. In the fifth chapter of "Amos," at the eighth verse, we read:

The one who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD is his name.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for all God's children and all creation.

... that our faith may always be relevant in our lives today.

... that our Jesus will return in glory and bring in the kingdom of our God.

... that we may learn to dance with Christ and with the universe.

... for peace in Jerusalem and the thwarting of those who stir up trouble in the Holy Land.

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

READING

From "Experifaith" by Gudjon Bergmann:

This notion of shared experience is important. A hiker, for example, has much more in common with other hikers who have walked paths foreign to him than with sedentary people who have never hiked anywhere but have read books about the hiker’s favourite path. If someone has hiked several mountains in Switzerland, for instance, he or she is likely to have more in common with those who have hiked in the Rocky Mountains than with those who have never hiked at all. The terrain may be different, but the act of hiking is similar. The same is true about spirituality. The acts of praying, meditating, fasting, contemplating deeply, and having other direct forms of experience, all influence practitioners differently than mere reading or listening. Moreover, because we all have the same tools to work with—body, mind, and spirit—practitioners from different faiths will have more in common than they realise.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, as your blessed son Jesus Christ first came to seek and to save the lost; so may he come again to find in us the completion of his redeeming work; for he is now alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE TWENTY-FIRST OF DECEMBER 2017
* Thomas the Apostle *

OPENING PRAYER

Loving God, enlarge our souls with a divine charity, that we may hope all things, endure all things; and become messengers of your healing mercy to the grievances and infirmities of humankind. In all things attune our hearts to the holiness and harmony of your kingdom and hasten the time when your kingdom shall come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven

( James Martineau )

CANTICLE

Incarnate God, immortal love,
whom we, that have not seen your face,
by faith, and faith alone, embrace,
believing where we cannot prove.

You will not leave us in the dust;
you gave us life, we know not why.
We trust we were not made to die,
for you have made us, you are just.

In you meet human and divine,
the highest, holiest union known.
We falsely call our powers our own
until our wills with yours combine.

Our little systems have their day;
they have their day and cease to be;
they are but fleeting certainty,
and you, O Christ, are more than they.

We have but faith; we cannot know,
for knowledge is of things proved true;
and yet we trust it comes from you,
a sign of promise; let it grow.

Let knowledge grow from more to more,
but more of reverence in us dwell;
that mind and soul, according well,
may make one music as before.

( Alfred Lord Tennyson )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Thomas the Apostle: here and there in the Jesus story

Today Saint Laika’s remembers the apostle Thomas, known primarily for his absence on the night of the first Easter and who subsequently doubted the reality of Jesus’ resurrection until Jesus appeared to him one week later and invited him to see and believe.

Thomas then became known for his confession: “My lord and my God.”

Thomas is featured primarily in the "Gospel of John." When Jesus tells his disciples in "John," chapter eleven, that, despite the threats against him, he will go to Jerusalem to visit the family of Lazarus who had died, it was Thomas who rallied the others: "Let us also go, that we may die with him."

In "John," chapter fourteen, when Jesus is speaking about going to his father’s house to prepare places for them all, it is Thomas who says: “Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

This prompts Jesus to say: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

Finally in "John," chapter twenty-one, Thomas is mentioned as one of the apostles who went fishing with Peter up in Galilee.

Legends about Thomas travelling to India are very consistently reported in the early Church, and indeed, a very ancient Christian church, the Mar Thoma Church, was discovered by Portuguese explorers and merchants centuries later. Subsequently it was learned that these Mar Thoma Christians had been under the jurisdiction of the Assyrian Church of the East at various times, and the Syrian Orthodox Church at other times. The burial place of Thomas in Mylapore, India draws thousands of pilgrims each year.

In 1945, near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi, twelve codices of ancient texts were found in a sealed jar. Most prominent among them was a document called “The Gospel of Thomas” which begins with: "These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymus Judas Thomas recorded." This gospel has gained critical attention for some of the sayings attributed to Jesus appear to be more primitive sayings that parallel the words of Jesus in the synoptic gospels.

As we approach the Christmas feast, perhaps we can honour the memory of Thomas by taking as our own, his Easter confession, “My lord and my God,” and placing it in Bethlehem, as we welcome into this world, the one we say is this world’s saviour.

Scripture. In the first chapter of "The First Letter of Peter," at verses eight and nine, we read:

Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who doubt God and for the strengthening of our own faith.

... that we may see Jesus.

... for architects, construction workers, masons, stonecutters, surveyors, geometricians, theologians, blind people, the Christians of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and all people, congregations and institutions who hold Thomas to be their patron.

... for those who were injured when a man deliberately drove a car into a crowd in Melbourne, Australia. DETAILS

... for the people of Catalonia as they go to the polls today to elect new political leaders; that, whatever the outcome of the election, there will be no resultant violence in the region.

... for children displaced and traumatised by war.

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

READING

From "Letters to a Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke:

And your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become criticism. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it perhaps bewildered and embarrassed, perhaps also protesting. But don't give in, insist on arguments, and act in this way, attentive and persistent, every single time, and the day will come when, instead of being a destroyer, it will become one of your best workers; perhaps the most intelligent of all the ones that are building your life.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty and everliving God, who strengthened your apostle Thomas with sure and certain faith in your son's resurrection: grant us so perfectly and without doubt to believe in Jesus Christ, our lord and our God, that our faith may never be found wanting in your sight; through 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 TWENTIETH OF DECEMBER 2017

OPENING PRAYER

O almighty God, who alone can order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men, grant unto your people, that they may love the thing which you command of them and desire that which you promise them; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

( Gelasian Sacramentary )

CANTICLE

Lift your glad voices in triumph on high,
for Jesus has risen, and man cannot die.
Vain were the terrors that gathered around him,
and short the dominion of death and the grave;
he burst from the fetters of darkness that bound him,
resplendent in glory, to live and to save.
Loud was the chorus of angels on high,
"The Saviour has risen, and man shall not die."

Glory to God, in full anthems of joy;
the being he gave us, death cannot destroy.
Sad were the life we must part with tomorrow,
if tears were our birthright, and death were our end;
but Jesus has cheered the dark valley of sorrow,
and bade us, immortal, to heaven ascend.
Lift, then, your voices in triumph on high,
for Jesus has risen, and man shall not die.

( Henry Ware )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Katherina Von Bora: My Lord Katie

On this day in 1552, Katherina Von Bora, wife of Martin Luther died. She played a pivotal role in the Reformation for she and Luther became, of necessity, models for what clergy marriage should look like.

Katherina was born in 1499 and was practically raised in the convent. As early as age five she was in the convent for education; by age nine she was at a Cistercian convent where her maternal aunt was already a member of the community. After several years of religious life, Katharina became interested in the growing reform movement and grew dissatisfied with her life in the monastery. Conspiring with several other nuns to flee in secrecy, she contacted Martin Luther and begged for his assistance, famously escaping from the convent by hiding out in oak barrels that had been used to haul pickled herring into the convent. That was Easter, 1523. She married Martin Luther in June of 1525. He was forty-two, she was twenty-six. By all accounts, it was a happy and affectionate union.

She bore six children, ran the household, and organised the family finances. Their home was in Wittenberg’s Black Monastery, the former Augustinian monastery where Luther had lived before the Reformation.

Katharina grew much of what they ate including livestock and vegetables; she cooked the meals and, famously, brewed the beer. To boost their income, she made use of the rooms in the former monastery, running a medieval guest house and offering board and lodging for as many as thirty paying students and visitors.

Martin Luther used to call her, “My Lord Katie,” such was his trust in her to manage the household, negotiate with his publishers, and secure the family finances.

Martin died in 1546. In 1552, fleeing from the plague which had broken out in Wittenberg, she was involved in an accident with her horses and wagon, and died at the age of fifty-three.

Scripture: In the thirty-first chapter of "Proverbs," at verses thirty and thirty-one, we read:

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for married couples.

... for widows and widowers.

... for God's guidance when we have to make major life decisions and his help as we act on them.

... on this, International Human Solidarity Day, that the human family may come to celebrate its diversity; that the governments of the nations may respect their commitments to international agreements; that all the nations may commit to sustainable development goals and the eradication of poverty throughout the world. DETAILS

... for the people of Macau, French Guiana and Réunion, who celebrate their national day today.

... for fair taxation through which the wealthy generously support the poor.

... that terrorist plots may be discovered and thwarted; that all people may be free from terror this Christmastide.

... for the homeless.

... for those who will be apart from their loved ones this Christmas.

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

READING

From "For the Life of the World" by Alexander Schmemann:

A marriage which does not constantly crucify its own selfishness and self-sufficiency, which does not ‘die to itself’ that it may point beyond itself, is not a Christian marriage.

The real sin of marriage today is not adultery or lack of ‘adjustment’ or ‘mental cruelty.’ It is the idolisation of the family itself, the refusal to understand marriage as directed toward the Kingdom of God. This is expressed in the sentiment that one would ‘do anything’ for his family, even steal. The family has here ceased to be for the glory of God; it has ceased to be a sacramental entrance into his presence. It is not the lack of respect for the family, it is the idolisation of the family that breaks the modern family so easily, making divorce its almost natural shadow. It is the identification of marriage with happiness and the refusal to accept the cross in it.

In a Christian marriage, in fact, three are married; and the united loyalty of the two toward the third, who is God, keeps the two in an active unity with each other as well as with God. Yet it is the presence of God which is the death of the marriage as something only ‘natural.’ It is the cross of Christ that brings the self-sufficiency of nature to its end. But ‘by the cross, joy entered the whole world.’ Its presence is thus the real joy of marriage. It is the joyful certitude that the marriage vow, in the perspective of the eternal Kingdom, is not taken ‘until death parts,’ but until death unites us completely.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, you blessed Martin and Katie Luther with a strong and happy marriage, and through them, your holy Word shone brightly in the world. Bless all husbands and wives with genuine and mutual affection one for the other, and let us all, serving you to the best of our abilities, shine your light in our world today; through Jesus Christ your Son, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE NINETEENTH OF DECEMBER 2017
* Lillian Trasher *

OPENING PRAYER

Grant us, Lord, to pass this day in gladness and peace, without stumbling and without stain; that, reaching the eventide victorious over all temptation, we may praise you, the eternal God, who are blessed, and does govern all things, world without end. Amen.

CANTICLE

Lo! He comes, countless trumpets,
blow before his bloody sign.
Amid ten thousand saints and angels,
see the crucified shine.
Alleluia! Welcome, welcome bleeding lamb!

Now his merits by the harpists,
through the eternal deeps resound.
Resplendent shine his nail prints,
every eye shall see his wounds.
They who pierced him, shall at his appearing wail.

Every island, sea, and mountain,
Heaven and Earth shall flee away.
All who hate him must ashamed,
hear the trump proclaim the day.
Come to judgment! Stand before the Son of Man!

All who love him view his glory
shining in his bruised face.
His dear person on the rainbow,
now his people's heads shall raise.
Happy mourners! Now on clouds he comes. He comes.

Now Redemption long expected,
see, in solemn pomp appear.
All his people, once despised,
now shall meet him in the air.
Alleluia! Now the promised kingdom has come.

View him smiling, now determined,
every evil to destroy.
All the nations now shall sing him
songs of everlasting joy.
O come quickly! Alleluia! Come Lord, come!

( John Ce­nnick )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Lillian Trasher: she took up the Bible to read and it sent her to Egypt

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Lillian Trasher, an American-born missionary and servant of God.

She was born in 1887 in Georgia and, whilst a young woman, she worked at an orphanage in North Carolina, not knowing at the time that her life’s work would be devoted to caring for abandoned children. She became engaged to a man she loved deeply, but felt a restlessness about the marriage, as if her conscience was being touched by God.

Much like Saint Augustine, in ancient days, had heard a voice calling him to “Take up and read,” Lillian opened her "Bible" to this verse: Acts 7:34 “I have surely seen the mistreatment of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Come now, I will send you to Egypt.”

On the strength of that moment she abandoned her plans for marriage and made plans to go to Egypt.

In 1910, she arrived in Alexandria, Egypt, with her sister Jenny, and they found their way to the village of Asyut near the Nile. Shortly after arriving, Lillian was called to the bedside of a dying mother whose malnourished daughter was also near death. Though ordered by the mission directors to return the child to the village, Lillian refused to abandon her to poverty and certain death. In 1911 she rented a small house and some furniture and nursed the child back to health.

As she took in additional children, she had to rely on charity, though she eventually received aid from the newly formed Assemblies of God in the United States. In 1916 she was able to purchase additional land, the buildings for which were built from bricks which Lillian and the older children made themselves. In 1919 she was ordered out of the country by the British government in the midst of political turmoil, and when she returned, she took in widows and the blind in addition to children. Despite the Nazi invasion of Egypt and the subsequent violence during World War II, she kept her orphanage running. When she died in 1961, she had become known as the “Mother of the Nile” and had cared for nearly twenty-five thousand Egyptian children. Her orphanage remains open today.

Scripture: In the "Psalms Ten," verses eighteen and nineteen we find:

O LORD, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed, so that those from earth may strike terror no more.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for orphaned children and those who care for them.

... for missing children.

... for those who were killed or injured when a passenger train derailed in Washington State, USA, yesterday. DETAILS

... for prisoners.

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

READING

From "The First Apology of Justin Martyr":

And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need.

CLOSING PRAYER

Loving God, we thank you for moving the heart of Lillian Trasher to heroic hospitality on behalf of orphaned children in great need and we pray that we also may find our hearts awakened and our compassion stirred to care for your little ones, through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE EIGHTEENTH OF DECEMBER 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Eternal Light, before whom all darkness is light, and, in comparison with whom, every other light is but darkness, may it please you to send forth your light and your truth, that they may lead us. Purify, we pray you, our souls from all impure imaginations, that your most beautiful and holy image may be again renewed within us, and, by contemplating your glorious perfections, we may feel daily improved within us that divine similitude, the perfection whereof we hope will at last make us forever happy in that full and beatific vision we aspire after. Till this most blessed day break, and the shadows fly away, let your Spirit be continually with us, and may we feel the powerful effects of your divine grace constantly directing and supporting our steps; that all our endeavours, throughout the whole remaining part of our lives, may serve to promote the honour of your blessed name, through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

( Robert Leighton )

CANTICLE

"Wake, awake, for night is flying,"
the watchmen on the heights are crying;
"Awake, Jerusalem, arise!"
Midnight hears the welcome voices
and at the thrilling cry rejoices:
"Where are the virgins pure and wise?
The Bridegroom comes: Awake!
Your lamps with gladness take!
With bridal care and faith's bold prayer,
to meet the Bridegroom, come, prepare!"

Zion hears the watchmen singing,
and in her heart new joy is springing.
She wakes, she rises from her gloom.
For her Lord comes down all-glorious
and strong in grace, in truth victorious.
Her star is risen, her light is come!
Now come, O Blessed One,
Lord Jesus, God's own Son.
We answer all in joy your call;
we follow to the wedding hall.

Lamb of God, the heavens adore you,
the saints and angels sing before you
with harp and cymbals' clearest tone.
Of one pearl each shining portal,
where, joining with the choir immortal,
we gather round your radiant throne.
No eye has seen that light,
no ear the echoed might of your glory;
yet there shall we in victory
sing shouts of joy eternally!

( Philipp Nicolai )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Eglantyne Jebb:
protecting the rights of children
(transferred from Sunday)

Eglantyne Jebb was a British social reformer and founder of the Save the Children organisation.

She was born in Shropshire in 1876. She trained to become a school teacher, but a year's experience as a primary school teacher, at Saint Peter's Junior School in Marlborough, convinced her that this was not her vocation, though it increased her awareness of the difficulties and widespread nature of poverty faced by young children.

At the end of the first World War, as the German and Austro-Hungarian economies came near to collapse, it was clear to Eglantyne that the children of these countries were suffering appallingly from the effects of the war and the Allied blockade, which continued even when an armistice was signed. A pressure group, the Fight the Famine Council, was set up in 1919 to persuade the British government to end the blockade.

In 1919 Eglantyne was arrested in Trafalgar Square for handing out leaflets featuring photographs of starving Austrian children that had not been cleared by the government censors. Eglantyne represented herself in court, focusing on the moral case. Although found guilty she was only fined five pounds which, she wrote to her mother, ‘is equivalent to victory’. The crown prosecutor then publicly pressed five pounds into Eglantyne’s hands. This became the first donation put towards a new fund to bring relief to the starving children of Austria and Germany, the Save the Children Fund.

Capitalising on the publicity of the trial she booked the Royal Albert Hall and spoke to a standing-room-only crowd, about the needs of children.

She called out, "Surely it is impossible for us, as normal human beings, to watch children starve to death without making an effort to save them."

A collection was taken up as the hall erupted with applause, and ten thousand pounds was raised and delivered in aid to Vienna within just ten days.

With peace returning to Europe, and relief efforts in decline, the focus of the Save the Children movement shifted to promoting the rights of children. In 1925 in Geneva, Switzerland, at a meeting of the International Union, she drafted and they passed the world’s first Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

She died on the seventeenth of December, 1928. Her work continues today through the “Save the Children” organisation.

Scripture. In the "Gospel of Matthew," chapter nineteen, verse fourteen, we find:

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the children of the world.

... for the success of the Save the Children Fund in its efforts to protect the rights of children and the alleviation of their suffering throughout the world.

... on this International Migrants Day for all who are relocating from one land to another, whatever their reason for doing so; for their safety and that they are not exploited.

... for those who have made a foreign place their home. That they may find welcome in their new land and that others do not take advantage of them.

... for the people of Niger and Qatar who are celebrating their national day today.

... for those who were killed or injured in a suicide bomb and gun attack by Islamic militants on a Methodist church in the city of Quetta, Pakistan; for the safety of all non-Muslims living in Muslim lands.

.. for those killed or injured in a horrific six-car crash in Birmingham, England, yesterday and for all who were involved in road traffic accidents over the weekend.

... for those who died when a fire broke out inside a sweet shop in the western Indian city of Mumbai.

... for those who were killed or injured in a stampede in Chittagong city in Bangladesh.

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

READING

Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1924):

The child must be given the means requisite for its normal development, both materially and spiritually.

The child that is hungry must be fed, the child that is sick must be nursed, the child that is backward must be helped, the delinquent child must be reclaimed, and the orphan and the waif must be sheltered and succoured.

The child must be the first to receive relief in times of distress.

The child must be put in a position to earn a livelihood, and must be protected against every form of exploitation.

The child must be brought up in the consciousness that its talents must be devoted to the service of its fellow men.

CLOSING PRAYER

Loving God, you placed in the heart of Eglantyne Jebb, a love for children and untiring compassion for their welfare. Help us to cherish the children of our generation, provide for their needs, and protect them from predators, so that they may lead us, one day, to your kingdom of mercy and love; through your son, Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

What we need is an app that keeps us bang up to date as to which male celebrities have been accused of sexual harassment (preferably with a straightforward rating system that reflects the severity of the unwanted attention). It would be so embarrassing to find yourself sitting in the middle of an otherwise empty cinema because you didn't know that the actor playing "pedestrian walking past on other side of road," in scene seven, had once put his hand on his girlfriend's knee when she was "really not in the mood and he should have known that."

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE FOURTEENTH OF DECEMBER 2017
* John of the Cross *

OPENING PRAYER

Awaken and enlighten us, my Lord, that we might know and love the blessings which you ever propose to us, and that we might understand that you have moved to bestow favours on us and have remembered us. Amen.

( John of the Cross )

CANTICLE

The Living Flame Of Love
( Songs of the soul in the
intimate communication
of loving union with God )

O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul
in its deepest centre! Since
now you are not oppressive,
now consummate, if it be your will:
tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

O sweet cautery,
O delightful wound!
O gentle hand! O delicate touch
that tastes of eternal life
and pays every debt!
In killing you changed death to life.

O lamps of fire!
in whose splendours
the deep caverns of feeling,
once obscure and blind,
now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
both warmth and light to their Beloved.

How gently and lovingly
you wake in my heart,
where in secret you dwell alone;
and in your sweet breathing,
filled with good and glory,
how tenderly you swell my heart with love.

( John of the Cross )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

John of the Cross: facing the dark night of the soul

We remember John of the Cross today at Saint Laika’s, a monk and mystic of the sixteenth century.

John of the Cross was a Carmelite monk. You should know this about the Carmelites: they were started in the Holy Land, in that brief window of time when the Crusaders occupied it in the twelfth century. Mount Carmel was the site where Elijah the prophet hung out, in "Old Testament" times, together with the company of prophets mentioned in the "Bible." The Carmelite Order wanted to combine that prophetic/mystical tradition with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

By the sixteenth century the Carmelites were no longer in the Holy Land, but they had spread throughout Europe, with a large group in Spain. The Carmelites were in a period of decadence, as was much of the church in the sixteenth century. The Protestant Reformation was in its early stages, and many monastics were calling for a renewal of their religious orders.

John of the Cross was among those calling for reform. He had been born near Avila, Spain, in 1542. He was skilled in practical matters like carpentry, tailoring, sculpting, and painting. John entered the Carmelite Order and became a priest in 1567. Together with Teresa of Avila, a Carmelite nun, he set about reforming his religious community. His plans met with great resistance and he wound up breaking off with his Carmelite roots and started a group known as the discalced Carmelites who went without shoes and observed a very strict interpretation of Carmelite spirituality.

He was a man of holiness, and was a spiritual director to many people. He led others on their search for God. Some of his spiritual writing included "The Spiritual Canticle," "The Ascent of Mount Carmel," "The Living Flame of Love" and "The Dark Night." It was from the last book that we learned to speak about “the dark night of the soul, the spiritual crises a person faces on their journey toward God. After a severe illness, John died on the fourteenth of December, 1591.

Scripture: In the "Song of Songs," chapter three, verses one to three, we find these words:

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

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

I sought him, but found him not.

The sentinels found me, as they went about in the city.

"Have you seen him whom my soul loves?"

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that our faith may persist even in the darkest moments of our life; that we may trust in God even when it feels as if he has abandoned us.

... for those living with haemophilia and for the success of those searching to find a cure for the illness.

... for those killed or injured by a suicide bomber at a police training centre in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. 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, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "The Ascent of Mount Carmel" by Johan of the Cross:

To reach satisfaction in all
desire its possession in nothing.
To come to possession in all
desire the possession of nothing.
To arrive at being all
desire to be nothing.
To come to the knowledge of all
desire the knowledge of nothing.
To come to the pleasure you have not
you must go by the way in which you enjoy not.
To come to the knowledge you have not
you must go by the way in which you know not.
To come to the possession you have not
you must go by the way in which you possess not.
To come by the what you are not
you must go by a way in which you are not.
When you turn toward something
you cease to cast yourself upon the all.
For to go from all to the all
you must deny yourself of all in all.
And when you come to the possession of the all
you must possess it without wanting anything.
Because if you desire to have something in all
your treasure in God is not purely your all.

CLOSING PRAYER

Judge eternal, throned in splendour, you gave John of the Cross strength of purpose and mystical faith that sustained him even through the dark night of the soul: shed your light on all who love you, in unity with Jesus Christ our saviour; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Alabama Dirty War

The thing that is good: that there is one less Republican and one more democrat in the U.S. Senate.

The thing that is bad: that this election was about sleaze not policy.

Supporters of the Democratic Party in the U.S.A. cannot claim to be reversing the rise of nasty conservatism in their country until they start winning seats because the voters prefer the Democrat manifesto to the Republican one.

It was a very good thing that the child molester lost.

It would have been a much better thing if the Democrats had won.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE THIRTEENTH OF DECEMBER 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Lead us from non-being to being.
Lead us from darkness to light.
Lead us from death to immortality.
Amen.

CANTICLE

We look for light but find darkness,
for brightness, but walk in gloom.
We grope like those who have no eyes;
we stumble at noon as in the twilight.

If I say, "Let only darkness cover me,
and the light about me be night,"
even the darkness is not dark to you,
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

Blessed be your name, O God, for ever.
You reveal deep and mysterious things;
you are light and in you is no darkness.
our darkness is passing away
and already the true light is shining.

( United Methodist Hymnal )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Lucy: a Sicilian virgin saves Scandinavia from winter’s gloom

Lucy, or Lucia, was martyred in Sicily, during Diocletian’s reign of terror of 303-304, among the most dramatic of the persecutions of early Christians. Her tomb can still be found in the catacombs at Syracuse. Most of the details of Lucy’s life are obscure. In the tradition she is remembered for the purity of her life and the gentleness of her spirit.

In popular piety, Lucy is perhaps most revered because her feast day, the thirteenth of December, was for many centuries the shortest day of the year (the reform of the calendar by Pope Gregory VIII (1582) would shift the shortest day to the twenty-first or twenty-second of December, depending upon the year). It was on Lucy’s day that the light began gradually to return and the days to lengthen.

But how did this Sicilian martyr become so revered in the far north?

In pre-Christian Scandinavia, the winter solstice was called “Lussinatta.” Lussi, a female being with evil traits, like a female demon or witch, was said to ride through the air. It was believed to be particularly dangerous to be out during Lussi Night. According to tradition, children who had done mischief had to take special care, since Lussi could come down and carry them away. As Christianity moved through Scandinavia, Lussi Night became Lucia Night and Saint Lucy was seen as a bringer of light, safety, and food.

In the domestic celebration of Lucia-fest, a young girl in the family dresses in pure white (a symbol of Lucy’s faith, purity, and martyrdom) and wears a crown of lighted candles upon her head (a sign that on Lucy’s day the light is returning) and serves her family special foods prepared especially for the day. In praise of her service, the young girl is called Lucy for the day.

Scripture. In the fifth chapter of "Ephesians," at verses eight and nine, we find this:

For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that we may be bringers of the light of Christ into the world and that the present darkness of our world will not overcome it.

... for those who are blind or who have poor eyesight and for all people, places and institutions that claim Saint Lucy as their patron.

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

... for babies born with life-threatening conditions.

... for those killed or injured when a coach, carrying pilgrims honouring the Virgin of Guadalupe, crashed on a motorway between Mexico City and Puebla; for all road accident victims. 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, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Speaking of Faith" by Krista Tippett

But if I've learned anything, it is that goodness prevails, not in the absence of reasons to despair, but in spite of them. If we wait for clean heroes and clear choices and evidence on our side to act, we will wait forever, and my radio conversations teach me that people who bring light into the world wrench it out of darkness, and contend openly with darkness all of their days. They were flawed human beings, who wrestled with demons in themselves as in the world outside. For me, their goodness is more interesting, more genuinely inspiring because of that reality. The spiritual geniuses of the ages and of the everyday simply don't let despair have the last word, nor do they close their eyes to its pictures or deny the enormity of its facts. They say, "Yes, and …," and they wake up the next day, and the day after that, to live accordingly.

CLOSING PRAYER

Loving God, for the salvation of all you gave Jesus Christ as light to a world in darkness: illumine us, as you illumined your daughter Lucy, with the light of Christ, that by the merits of his passion we may be led to eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE TWELFTH OF DECEMBER 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty God, who has planted the day-star in the heavens and, scattering the night, does restore morning to the world; fill us, we beseech you, with your mercy, so that, you being our enlightener, all the darkness of our sins may be dispersed, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

( Sarum Breviary )

CANTICLE

O Lord, I am ashamed to seek thy face
as though I loved thee as thy saints love thee:
yet turn from those thy lovers, look on me,
disgrace me not with uttermost disgrace;
but pour on me ungracious, pour thy grace
to purge my heart and bid my will go free,
till I too taste thy hidden sweetness, see
thy hidden beauty in the holy place.

0 thou who callest sinners to repent,
call me thy sinner unto penitence,
for many sins grant me the greater love:
set me above the waterfloods, above
devil and shifting world and fleshly sense,
thy mercy’s all-amazing monument.

( Christina Rossetti )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Son of Adam, son of God

Jesus is the son of God. It seems such a simple statement, yet it unlocks a Pandora’s box of fighting and feuding in the history of the Church. Jesus is the son of God. What can it mean?

Luke writes that the Angel Gabriel told Mary: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.”

John, in his famous prologue, writes: “we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”

The Letter to the Hebrews proclaims: “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a son.”

What can all this language mean regarding the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth? More importantly, we might ask, how is the history of one group of Christians contending against other groups of Christians, helpful to modern generations who are put off by all this theological “mumbo-jumbo?”

Sitting at the bottom of chapter three of Luke’s gospel, are fifteen verses of genealogy. Fifteen verses where Luke traces the family tree of Jesus back through human history. It is not an exciting passage at all, in fact I can’t remember ever hearing a sermon preached on it. But it offers us a completely different way of understanding Jesus as son of God, and not in a way that puts distance between him and the rest of us. In fact just the opposite is true. Luke found the way to show how totally and completely Jesus belongs as one of us. He traces Jesus’ lineage back through time, of course through King David and his father, Jesse. He traces Jesus back through the patriarchs Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham. He is descended from Shem and his father, Noah. Then Luke says: “son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam, son of God.”

Luke arrives at Jesus’ title “Son (Child) of God” by showing us the amazing truth that we are all God’s children by virtue of our being born into this world. The son of God found his place in our story by his birth. Too bad he was treated so poorly. No reason why any other child of God needs to be treated as poorly as he was.

The "Book of Wisdom" is accounted an apocryphal book. Roman Catholics will be more familiar with it. Anglicans will nod. They’ve heard of it, too. One of the passages from "Wisdom" ought to be in our thoughts when we account of Jesus as “son of Adam, son of God.” Chapter seven, verses three to six, reminds us:

And when I was born, I began to breathe the common air, and fell upon the kindred earth; my first sound was a cry, as is true of all. I was nursed with care in swaddling cloths. For no king has had a different beginning of existence; there is for all one entrance into life, and one way out.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that as the Word of God became incarnate in the world he may also become incarnate within the being of each one of us, so that we may live fully as the children of God we were created to be.

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

... for protection from the terror of terrorists.

... for the person who was killed and those who were injured when a big explosion rocked a key natural gas facility in Baumgarten, eastern Austria; for all victims of industrial accidents. 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, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From a sermon by Alfred Delp:

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. (Luke 1:51)

There is perhaps nothing we modern people need more than to be genuinely shaken up. Where life is firm we need to sense its firmness; and where it is unstable and uncertain and has no basis, we need to know this, too, and endure it.

We may ask why God sends whirlwinds over the earth, why the chaos where all appears hopeless and dark, and why there seems to be no end to human suffering. Perhaps it is because we have been living on earth in an utterly false and counterfeit security. and now God strikes the earth till it resounds, now he shakes and shatters: not to pound us with fear, but to teach us one thing – the spirit’s innermost longing.

Many of the things that are happening today would never have happened if we had been living in that longing, that disquiet of heart which comes when we are faced with God, and when we look clearly at things as they really are. If we had done this, God would have withheld his hand from many of the things that now shake and crush our lives. We would have come to terms with and judged the limits of our own competence.

But we have lived in a false confidence, in a delusional security; in our spiritual insanity we really believe we can bring the stars down from heaven and kindle flames of eternity in the world. We believe that with our own forces we can avert the dangers and banish night, switch off and halt the internal quaking of the universe. We believe we can harness everything and fit it into an ultimate scheme that will last.

Here is the message of Advent: faced with him who is the Last, the world will begin to shake. Only when we do not cling to false securities will our eyes be able to see this Last One and get to the bottom of things. Only then will we have the strength to overcome the terrors into which God has let the world sink. God uses these terrors to awaken us from sleep, as Paul says, and to show us that it is time to repent, time to change things. It is time to say, “all right, it was night; but let that be over now and let us get ready for the day.” We must do this with a decision that comes out of the very horrors we experience. Because of this our decision will be unshakable even in uncertainty.

If we want Advent to transform us – our homes and hearts, and even nations – then the great question for us is whether we will come out of the convulsions of our time with this determination: Yes, arise! It is time to awaken from sleep. a waking up must begin somewhere. It is time to put things back where God intended them. It is time for each of us to go to work – certain that the Lord will come – to set our life in God’s order wherever we can. Where God’s word is heard, he will not cheat us of the truth; where our life rebels he will reprimand it.

We need people who are moved by the horrific calamities and emerge from them with the knowledge that those who look to the Lord will be preserved by him, even if they are hounded from the earth.

The Advent message comes out of our encounter with God, with the gospel. It is thus the message that shakes – so that in the end the entire world shall be shaken. The fact that the son of man shall come again is more than a historic prophecy; it is also a decree that God’s coming and the shaking up of humanity are somehow connected. If we are inwardly inert, incapable of being genuinely moved, if we become obstinate and hard and superficial and cheap, then God himself will intervene in world events. He will teach us what it means to be placed in turmoil and to be inwardly stirred. Then the great question to us is whether we are still capable of being truly shocked – or whether we will continue to see thousands of things that we know should not be and must not be and yet remain hardened to them. In how many ways have we become indifferent and used to things that ought not to be?

Being shocked, however, out of our pathetic complacency is only part of Advent. There is much more that belongs to it. Advent is blessed with God’s promises, which constitute the hidden happiness of this time. These promises kindle the light in our hearts. Being shattered, being awakened – these are necessary for Advent. In the bitterness of awakening, in the helplessness of “coming to,” in the wretchedness of realising our limitations, the golden threads that pass between heaven and earth reach us. These threads give the world a taste of the abundance it can have.

We must not shy away from Advent thoughts of this kind. We must let our inner eye see and our hearts range far. Then we will encounter both the seriousness of Advent and its blessings in a different way. We will, if we would but listen, hear the message calling out to us to cheer us, to console us, and to uplift us.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, you wonderfully created the dignity of human nature and yet more wonderfully restored it. In your mercy, let us share the divine life of the one who came to share our humanity, Jesus Christ, your son, 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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