Of Course, I Could be Wrong

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE TWENTY-SEVENTH OF JUNE, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

O God, the redeemer of our souls, and the comforter of them that mourn, whose will is our peace, and to whom obedience is true freedom; grant me so to be led by your Holy Spirit, that I may be free from vain hopes and discontentment, and from all wrong desires; but may I through patience have experience, and through experience hope, and not be ashamed of hoping in you, our father and our friend, whose holy will be done now and for ever. Amen.

( Rowland Williams )

PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND ONE ( abridged )

Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

I will sing of faithfulness and justice;
to you, O Lord, will I sing.

I will walk with purity of heart
within the walls of my house.
I will not set before my eyes
a counsel that is evil.
I abhor the deeds of unfaithfulness;
they shall not cling to me.

A crooked heart shall depart from me;
I will not know a wicked person.
Haughty eyes and an arrogant heart
I will not endure.
My eyes are upon the faithful in the land,
that they may dwell with me.
There shall not dwell in my house
one that practises deceit.
One who utters falsehood
shall not continue in my sight.

Morning by morning will I put to silence
all the wicked in the land,
To cut off from the city of the Lord
all those who practise evil.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Keep us, O Lord,
in purity of heart and faithfulness to your commands,
that your servants may walk before you
in the way that is perfect;
through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

James Weldon Johnson: stony the road
(transferred from Sunday)

James Weldon Johnson (seventeenth of June, 1871 to the twenty-sixth of June 1938) was an American author, politician, diplomat, critic, journalist, poet, anthologist, educator, lawyer, songwriter, and early civil rights activist.

In the fall of 1916, he was asked to become the national organiser for the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP).

Johnson engaged the NAACP in mass tactics, such as a silent protest parade down New York's Fifth Avenue in which ten thousand African Americans took part on the twenty-eighth of July, 1917. This was a response to racial violence in the midst of World War I.

Throughout the 1920s he was one of the major inspirations and promoters of the Harlem Renaissance trying to refute condescending white criticism and helping young black authors to get published.

James Weldon Johnson published many poems, books, sermons. In his book “God’s Trombones,” he began a poem on the prodigal son with the famous words: “Young man, young man, your arm’s too short to box with God.”

Perhaps most famously he authored the famous anthem: “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

“God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
thou who hast brought us thus far on the way;
thou who hast by thy might, led us into the light,
keep us forever in the path, we pray.
lest our feet stray from the places, our God,
where we met thee,
lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world,
we forget thee;
shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand,
true to our God, true to our native land.”

Scripture. In the "First letter of Peter," chapter three, verses fourteen to sixteen we read:

"But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for artists, poets, and all who open us to God’s wonders in new ways.

... for all who work for equal protection under the law, and equal opportunity for all.

... that those who promote racial hatred may be healed of their sin.

... for the people of Djibouti who celebrate their independence day today.

... for Bishop Mark Strange, the new primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, that he may be a true pastor to the people in under his care and be blessed by God in all he strives to achieve for the Kingdom.

... for children who need new parents and for couples wanting to adopt a child; for childless couples who want, more than anything else in the world, to care for a child who they can call their own.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "The Divine Presence" by Sundar Singh:

God is love, and the ability to love is inborn in every living creature, most especially in human beings. It is only right therefore that the lover who has given us life and love itself should also receive love from us. God’s love is creative and selfless, giving itself for the joy and benefit of creation. If we do not love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength and if we do not love others freely and selflessly, then the love within us loses its divine character and turns to selfishness. Love then becomes a curse. Ironically, those who are selfish end up destroying themselves.

CLOSING PRAYER

Good and gracious God, you invite us to recognise and reverence your divine image and likeness in our neighbour. Enable us to see the reality of racism and free us to challenge and uproot it from our society, our world and ourselves. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE TWENTY-SIXTH OF JUNE, 2017
* Isabel Hapgood *

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty and everlasting God, from whom comes every good and perfect gift, mercifully grant that the frequent meditation of your infinite goodness may make us to love you above all things; that we may here steadfastly believe what we do not see, and, hereafter, in the blessed vision of your glory, see what we now cannot comprehend; through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

PSALM ONE HUNDRED

The Lord is gracious; his steadfast love is everlasting.

O be joyful in the Lord, all the earth;
serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with a song.
Know that the Lord is God;
it is he that has made us and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and bless his name.
For the Lord is gracious;
his steadfast love is everlasting,
and his faithfulness endures
from generation to generation.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

The Lord is gracious; his steadfast love is everlasting.

O Christ, door of the sheepfold,
may we enter your gates with praise
and go from your courts to serve you
in the poor, the lost and the wandering,
this day and all our days. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Isabel Hapgood: bridging east and west

Isabel Hapgood was born on the twenty-first of November, 1851, in Boston Massachusetts. From an early age she showed a great aptitude for languages, mastering most romance and Germanic languages as well as the Slavic languages of Russian, Polish, and Church Slavonic.

Isabel embarked on a lengthy journey through European Russia accompanied by her mother. During the two year sojourn, Isabel was able to meet important persons, including poets, writers, composers, as well as the Procurator of the Holy Synod and senior clergy. Her fame from translating earlier many Russian literary works into English had opened many doors into the intellectual world of Russia.

After her first trip to Russia, Isabel returned annually to Russia. Enchanted with the Russian choral singing, she embarked on a course of making the beauty of the Orthodox liturgy available in English. The succession of bishops of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands warmly supported her efforts. Archbishop Nicholas gave her a complete set of Church Slavonic texts for use in her translation effort. Archbishop Tikhon provided her practical advice and was remembered by Miss Hapgood as a sincere friend. Her work led to the translation of the service book that carries her name. The first edition appeared in 1906. She was instrumental in bringing the liturgy of the Russian Church to English speakers. She encouraged dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Anglican Church.

She died on this day in 1929.

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

"Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing, 'To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might for ever and ever!'

"And the four living creatures said, 'Amen!'

"And the elders fell down and worshipped."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for translators and interpretors.

... for ecumenists.

... for understanding and good relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion.

... for members of the Russian Orthodox Church, in particular those living elsewhere than Russia.

... for an end to drug abuse and the illegal trafficking of drugs; for drug addicts and their families and friends; for those who have been killed or injured as a result of drug crime and those who live in fear because of the presence of drug running gangs where they live. DETAILS

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

... for those killed, injured or orphaned when a lorry carrying fuel has burst into flames near the Pakistani city of Ahmedpur East; for an end to the poverty that leads to people risking their lives for nothing more than a few pints of petrol. DETAILS

... for those who drowned when a passenger boat sank on a reservoir in north-western Colombia and for those still missing. DETAILS

... for those who were killed in Indian-administered Kashmir when the wire supporting a cable car snapped in the high-altitude tourist resort of Gulmarg; for those who are still trapped. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "The Divine Presence" by Sundar Singh:

Some say that desire is the root cause of all pain and sorrow. According to this philosophy, salvation consists in eliminating all desire, including any desire for eternal bliss or communion with God. But when someone is thirsty, do we tell him to kill his thirst instead of giving him water to drink? To drive out thirst without quenching it with life-sustaining water is to drive out life itself. The result is death, not salvation. Thirst is an expression of our need for water and a sign of hope that somewhere there is water that can satisfy our thirst. Similarly, the deep longing in our soul is a clear sign of hope that spiritual peace exists. Something can satisfy our thirsty souls. When the soul finds God, the author of that spiritual thirst, it receives far greater satisfaction than any thirsty man who receives water. When the soul’s desire is satisfied, we have found heaven.

The water of a river that has its source in one country may flow through many different countries before it reaches the sea. It passes within the domain of many chiefs, rajahs, and princes. Yet no country has the right to stop it and keep it within its territory. It is the common property of all, and wherever it goes, it quenches the thirst of all. In the same way, the stream of life comes forth from the ocean of God’s love, streaming to earth again as rain and then flowing as a river through the channels of the prophets and holy  ones to irrigate the world. In this way, it quenches thirsty souls, enriching and restoring the lives of people and nations everywhere. Whoever desires it can freely take of this gift of life.

CLOSING PRAYER

Loving God, we thank you for the work and witness of Isabel Florence Hapgood, who introduced the Divine Liturgy of the Russian Orthodox Church to English speaking Christians and encouraged dialogue between Anglicans and Orthodox. Guide us as we build on the foundation that she gave us, that all may be one in Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, unto ages of ages. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Saint Laika Summer Appeal 2017 – Update

Due to the much appreciated generosity of Rebecca, Bindy, Florence, Hugh, Michael, Beth (?), Karen, Jonathan, Jim, Penelope, Richard, Edward and William, the total raised, so far, in this year's summer appeal is a massive five hundred and seventy-nine pounds and fifty-seven pence ($741.68).

£579.57

This is really great but we still have a way to go before we hit our target of, at least, one thousand pounds. So, if you have not contributed already, if you can afford to do so and are supportive of my online ministry please consider making a donation before the appeal finishes next Friday. You can send money using one of the two PayPal widgets below. You do not need a PayPal account in order to send money.




If donating in American dollars please use this widget.




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Here's the blurb:

I receive no salary, no stipend, no pension, no dole and no welfare support. I pay for my online ministry, my food, my clothes and my dentistry, as well as other bare necessities of life, out of the money I receive each month from my friends and from supporters of my vocation. Their incredible generosity (in total just over £500 per month) is adequate for my day to day survival but it does not cover the extras in life that can pop up out of the blue. Therefore, twice a year (before Christmas and before my birthday in June) I run a special campaign to try and raise a substantial lump sum of money to pay the bigger bills that come my way. This year I would love to raise the cash to buy a new desk top computer as my previous one completely and irreparably gave up the ghost last Autumn and I have been struggling to run the show on a very slow laptop ever since. I would also like to raise some spending money for a proper holiday for my wife and myself in July. We hope to go camping on Dartmoor in Devon.

I have aimed to raise £1000 with each appeal for years and we have never quite made it. It would be great to do so this time. In fact, it would be lovely if we surpassed it.

So, please support me and independent Christian ministry on the internet by making a donation. In return I offer you my love and gratitude and my promise that I will keep on praising God and kicking against the pricks.

God bless you, my friends.

Jonathan

The Cover-Up Culture Of The Church Of England

Since the publication of a report yesterday condemning Church of England bosses for colluding with serial abuser, Peter Ball, there has been much finger pointing, a lot of it directed at Lord Carey and his episcopal contemporaries. It is true that these "protectors of the Church's good name" should be held to account for their actions and lack of action. The sexual abuse of children was a crime when Peter Ball was preying on boys no less than it is now. Culture has nothing to do with it. In my opinion George Carey and those who aided him in the cover-up of serious crimes should be prosecuted for aiding and abetting the person committing them.

However, although the bishops were ultimately responsible for the disgraceful lack of care and they should be held primarily responsible for the damage done, they were not the only people who put the Church's and their own interests before justice and their pastoral responsibilities. Many members of the clergy (if not all) in any local situation knew which of their colleagues and superiors were, more than likely, abusing young people or grooming them for possible future abuse. But they kept quiet about their suspicions. Some would have said nothing to protect the institution, the same as the bishops. However, most would have said nothing to protect themselves and their careers.

The Church of England is controlled with fear not love. Whistleblowers are treated far worse than the wrongdoers they report. The guilty priest is cared for. The reporting priest is vilified and excluded and, as in my case, eventually maneuvered out of the Church altogether.

Some may think that it was understandable that clergy put their livelihoods first, bearing in mind that most had families to support as well and were living in tied houses. Well, maybe it was understandable but that does not make their lack of action right. They were Christians, representatives of Christ, they should have given their lives for the kingdom of God, let alone lose their jobs for it, and priests buggering children is an attack on the kingdom of God of the most vile and Satanic sort.

So, if you are a priest and if you have ever kept quiet about the wrongdoings of a colleague or even kept quiet about the suspicion of wrongdoing, don't you dare point your finger at Carey and his like. Point it at yourself.

Furthermore, if you have turned your back on, or refused to help or stand up for, a colleague, who did have the balls to blow the whistle simply because you did not want to end up as hated as him, know that you are a coward and a priest in title only.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE TWENTY-THIRD OF JUNE, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

I ask, dear Lord, that you would make me wholly yours. Penetrate me wholly with yourself, that you may be all in all in me; be the soul of my soul. Lord, I am weary of myself, weary of being so unlike you, of being so far away from you. Abide with me, then abide in me. Let no sorrow keep me away from you; let no loneliness or desolation of soul frighten me. Let me not think of you as one who is far off; let me not think of you as a severe judge, since you yourself come to me and fall on the neck of your poor prodigal, and give me the kiss of peace. You will not let those go empty away who come to you from far. Lord, I am come to you from far, the far-off land of my miseries and my sins. But you have brought me nigh. Amen.

( E. B. Pusey )

PSALM NINETY-NINE

The Lord is king: let the peoples tremble;
he is enthroned upon the cherubim:
let the earth shake.

The Lord is great in Zion
and high above all peoples.
Let them praise your name,
which is great and awesome;
the Lord our God is holy.

Mighty king, who loves justice,
you have established equity;
you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.

Exalt the Lord our God;
bow down before his footstool,
for he is holy.

Moses and Aaron among his priests
and Samuel among those who call upon his name,
they called upon the Lord and he answered them.
He spoke to them out of the pillar of cloud;
they kept his testimonies
and the law that he gave them.
You answered them, O Lord our God;
you were a God who forgave them
and pardoned them for their offences.

Exalt the Lord our God
and worship him upon his holy hill,
for the Lord our God is holy.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Lord God, mighty king,
you love justice and establish equity;
may we love justice more than gain
and mercy more than power;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Civil rights workers murdered in 1964

Fifty-three years ago, the American South was roiling with racial tension. Federal court rulings on desegregation left many states in open defiance of the federal government. Tensions centred on Mississippi, where riots had occurred in 1962 to prevent James Meredith from enrolling at the University of Mississippi. The Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan were using fear and intimidation to keep black citizens from enrolling to vote. In the summer of 1964, "freedom riders" descended on Mississippi. Mostly young college-educated Northerners came to set up "freedom schools" throughout Mississippi to educate, encourage, and register the black citizens.

Three American civil rights' workers, James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael "Mickey" Schwerner, were shot at close range on the night of the twenty-first of June, 1964 by members of the Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Neshoba County's Sheriff Office, and the Philadelphia Police Department located in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Their murders sparked national outrage and a massive federal investigation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation referred to this investigation as” Mississippi Burning,” and eventually found the bodies forty-four days later in an earthen dam near the murder site. Outrage over their deaths assisted in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Scripture. In "Galatians," chapter three, verses twenty-six through twenty-eight we read:

"In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who risk their lives for equality and justice.

... for real equality between the peoples of the United States of America and in the rest of the world.

... for the conversion of the hearts of racists from hatred to love.

... for widows, in particular those who suffer from poverty and injustice, on this International Widows Day. DETAILS

... for the people of Luxembourg who celebrate their monarch's birthday today.

... for whistleblowers, in particular those whose lives have been affected adversely by their actions.

... for victims of sexual abuse; for adults who live with the pain of having been abused as children or young people; for the victims of Peter Ball and his colleagues who colluded with him.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "The Divine Presence" by Sundar Singh:

A mother once left her child for a time playing in the garden. When her little son noticed she was not there, he searched the whole garden over. He looked everywhere but could not find her. Finally he cried and called out, but still she did not appear.

The gardener saw him crying and tried to calm him, saying: “Do not cry! Look at these beautiful flowers and delicious mangoes. Shall I pick some for you?”

But the child answered: “No! No! My mother has better food than these mangoes and her love is far sweeter than all these flowers. I want my mother.”

When his mother heard these words, she rushed out, embraced him, and smothered him with kisses. At that moment, the garden became a paradise.

This world is like a great garden full of wonderful and beautiful flowers, but we cannot find true joy in it until we meet God.

CLOSING PRAYER

O God of justice and compassion, you put down the proud and mighty from their place, and lift up the poor and the afflicted: we give you thanks for your faithful witnesses , James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner who, in the midst of injustice and violence, risked and gave their lives for others; and we pray that we, following their example, may make no peace with oppression; through Jesus Christ the just one, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Church Of England Colluded With Sex Abuser Claims Report

Senior figures in the Church of England "colluded" with a former bishop who abused young men, an independent review has found. Further details can be found on the BBC's website.

This report does not get right to the heart of the matter. The truth is that not only does the hierarchy of Church of England care far more about the "good name" of the institution than it does about the people it is charged to care for, it does, in fact, deliberately hurt those same people in order to protect the Church's reputation. The following audio file contains an interview with the Reverend Graham Sawyer, a survivor of Peter Ball's sexual predation on teenage boys. I know that Graham is telling the truth about the way he and other abuse victims have been vilified and plotted against by the church and that he is doing so without exaggeration because, although my "crimes" are whistleblowing and clinical depression, the way in which I have been treated by the Church of England (especially it's bishops and archdeacons) is pretty much the same as they way he has been treated by the same people.

Graham Sawyer Interview

The Church of England has proved itself to be an agency of evil. The way it treats its injured members is disgraceful. It is sick, It is Satanic.

One thing is for certain. This report will not stop the bishops working together to cover up their pastoral mistakes. The private phone calls and off the record conversations will continue.

Trump Visit Postponed

No mention of a Trump state visit in the Queen's Speech. That's a shame. After his somewhat limp-wristed attempt at a traditional sword dance in Saudi Arabia, I was so looking forward to his interpretation of morris dancing during his visit to England.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE TWENTY-SECOND OF JUNE, 2017
* Alban *

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord, faithful creator, give us grace, we entreat you, in well doing and with full assurance of faith, to commit the keeping of our souls to you, and rest in your promises. And help us that we may always speak the truth; and though it be to our own hindrance, keep faith one with another. Amen.

( Christina G. Rossetti )

PSALM NINETY-EIGHT

The Lord has made known his salvation.

Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvellous things.
His own right hand and his holy arm
have won for him the victory.

The Lord has made known his salvation;
his deliverance has he openly shown
in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his mercy and faithfulness
towards the house of Israel,
and all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.

Sound praises to the Lord, all the earth;
break into singing and make music.
Make music to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the voice of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sound praises before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea thunder and all that fills it,
the world and all that dwell upon it.
Let the rivers clap their hands
and let the hills ring out together before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
In righteousness shall he judge the world
and the peoples with equity.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Refrain: The Lord has made known his salvation.

Lord God, just and true,
you make your salvation known in the sight of the nations;
tune the song of our hearts to the music of creation
as you come among us to judge the earth;
through our saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Alban

"I am called Alban by my parents," replied he; "and I worship and adore the true and living God, who created all things.”
( from "The Passion of St. Alban" by the Venerable Bede )

Saint Alban is venerated throughout England as the first English martyr, someone who was put to death for their faith in Jesus Christ.

Bede dates his death to 305 AD, but others put it as much as one hundred years earlier.

Alban was a pagan, and a soldier in the Roman army. He gave shelter to a Christian priest who was fleeing from arrest, and in the next few days the two talked at length, and Alban became a Christian. When officers came in search of the priest, Alban met them, dressed in the priest's cloak, and they mistook him for the priest and arrested him. He refused to renounce his new faith, and was beheaded.

Scripture.

In the book of the prophet "Isaiah," chapter fifty-five, verse five, we read:

"See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for Christians in the armed forces.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "The Divine Presence" by Sundar Singh:

Our spirits live and grow in our human bodies much like the chick develops inside the egg. If it were possible for the chick to be told that a great world waits beyond its shell, that this world is filled with fruits and flowers, rivers and great mountains, and that its own mother is also there waiting for it to be set free and to experience this splendour, the chick could still neither comprehend nor believe it. Even if one explained that its feathers and wings and eyes were developing so that it could fly and see, still it would not be able to believe it, nor would any proof be possible, until it broke through its shell.

In the same way, there are many people who cannot comprehend the spiritual life or the existence of God because they cannot see beyond the confines of their bodily sense. Their thoughts, like delicate wings, cannot yet carry them beyond the narrow confines of logic. Their weak eyes cannot yet make out those eternal treasures that God has prepared for his children. The only condition necessary for us to break out of our material limitations and attain spiritual life is that we accept the life-giving warmth of God’s spirit, just as the chick receives its mother’s warmth. Without that warmth, we will not take on the nature of the Spirit and we may die without ever hatching out of this material body.

We have been endowed with spiritual senses so that we can feel and enjoy God’s presence. But the influence of irreverence and sin deadens these senses till we are no longer able to see beyond ourselves, nor beyond the material world. As long as we follow this path, we cannot believe that God exists, and so we starve ourselves until in the end we have committed spiritual suicide. Our end is total enslavement to the material world.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Alban triumphed over suffering and was faithful even unto death: grant to us, who now remember him with thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world, that we may receive with him the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE TWENTY-FIRST OF JUNE, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, fill us, I beseech you, with graces. Make us long-suffering and patient, cordial and sympathising, kind and good; teach us to hold and speak the truth in love, and to show mercy that we also obtain mercy. Amen.

( Christina G. Rossetti )

PSALM NINETY-SEVEN

You, Lord, are most high over all the earth.

The Lord is king: let the earth rejoice;
let the multitude of the isles be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him;
righteousness and justice
are the foundation of his throne.
His lightnings lit up the world;
the earth saw it and trembled.
The mountains melted like wax
at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
The heavens declared his righteousness
and all the peoples have seen his glory.

The Lord loves those who hate evil;
he preserves the lives of his faithful
and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light has sprung up for the righteous
and joy for the true of heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous
and give thanks to his holy name.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

You, Lord, are most high over all the earth.

Most high and holy God,
enthroned in fire and light,
burn away the dross of our lives
and kindle in us the fire of your love,
that our lives may reveal the light and life
we find in your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Eusebius of Samosata and the politics of Arianism

In the ancient western calendar today was the feast day of Eusebius of Samosata, a fourth century Syrian bishop, whose life and entire service to the Church was wrapped around the Arian controversy, which spanned the fourth century from the Council of Nicea in 325 AD to the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD.

Arianism was a variant of Christianity which confessed that Jesus, the Word of God, was not the equal to God but was, in fact, created by God, and inferior to God. In 325 AD at the Council of Nicea, this notion was condemned, and Jesus was declared “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God.” However the Council of Nicea’s ruling did not end the controversy. The Emperor Constantine, to the extent that we know, died as a Nicene Christian. But his son, Constantius II, favoured Arianism, and many of the fourth century emperors were Arian.

Eusebius became bishop of Samosata in 361 AD. In that same year, the emperor Julian began to rule. Julian reverted to paganism and persecuted the Nicene Christians.

During that time Eusebius traveled throughout Syria dressed as a military officer, secretly ordaining leadership for local churches and strengthening their faith. Julian died after being wounded in a battle against the Persians in 363. But in 364 the emperor Valens, another Arian, banished Eusebius and he had to leave Samosata under cover of darkness. He was able to return to Samosata in 378, but in 379 on his way to participate in the consecration of a neighbouring bishop he was killed when a woman of Arian convictions struck him in the head with a roof tile.

In 381 AD the Council of Constantinople met and once again Nicene Christianity was affirmed. The “Nicene Creed” which many churches still use in Sunday worship, was actually written following the Council of Constantinople. It may seem hard for us to understand what the intensity of feeling was all about, but Christians wanted to get their theology right, and they held their beliefs with a passion we rarely see nowadays.

Scripture. In the beginning of the "Letter to the Hebrews," chapter one, verses one to three, we read:

"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, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for theologians.

... that we may have the wisdom to discern what is essential to our faith and not fall out with each other over beliefs which are not necessary for our salvation.

... for those who make music in the streets of our nations. DETAILS

... for the people of Greenland who celebrate the longest day of the year as a national day.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "The Parable of the Saint" by Sundar Singh:

Some people equate watching and praying with laziness or carelessness. This is wrong. As a matter of fact, it means diving into the ocean of reality and finding pearls of divine truth that will enrich not only the diver, but others as well. As a diver holds his breath while he is diving, so a man of contemplation and prayer shuts himself in a chamber of silence, away from the distractions of the noisy world. Then he is able to pray with the Holy Spirit from above, without which it is impossible to lead a spiritual life.

My meaning is clear: God works in silence. No man has ever heard him speak or make any sound. To hear his voice, we must wait for him in silence. Then, without voice or words, he will speak to the soul in the secret room of the heart. As he himself is spirit, he addresses the soul in spiritual language, fills it with his presence, and finally revives and refreshes it forever.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, you gave to Eusebius of Samosata the grace to suffer death for his faith in Jesus, your only begotten son. Help us always to be steadfast in this same faith, and give us the grace both to live and to die as servants of your son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE TWENTIETH OF JUNE, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Lord God Almighty, who are our true peace, and love eternal; enlighten our souls with the brightness of your peace, and purify our consciences with the sweetness of your love, that we may with peaceful hearts wait for the author of peace, and in the adversities of this world may ever have you for our guardian and protector; and so being fenced about by your care, may heartily give ourselves to the love of your peace. Amen.

PSALM NINETY-SIX

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord and bless his name;
tell out his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations
and his wonders among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised;
he is more to be feared than all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are but idols;
it is the Lord who made the heavens.
Honour and majesty are before him;
power and splendour are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, you families of the peoples;
ascribe to the Lord honour and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the honour due to his name;
bring offerings and come into his courts.
O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness;
let the whole earth tremble before him.
Tell it out among the nations that the Lord is king.
He has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.

Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad;
let the sea thunder and all that is in it;
let the fields be joyful and all that is in them;
let all the trees of the wood shout for joy before the Lord.
For he comes, he comes to judge the earth;
with righteousness he will judge the world
and the peoples with his truth.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

Lord God, you draw us by your beauty
and transform us by your holiness;
let our worship echo all creation's praise
and declare your glory to the nations;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Bernard Mizeki, catechist and martyr
( transferred from Sunday )

On the eighteenth of June, every year, churches in central and south Africa remember Bernard Mizeki, a lay catechist, who was murdered during an uprising of native peoples against the Europeans in what was then called Rhodesia in 1896.

Mizeki was born about the year 1861 in what was then Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique). Whilst a teen, he migrated to Capetown, South Africa, where he was befriended by Anglican missionaries. He was baptised in 1886.

He held the position of lay catechist at the pioneer mission in Mashonaland. European colonialism in African lands is a complex story , and the historical reflection we are able to use today helps us see the wrongheadedness of it, as the old hymn has it: “New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth.” Yet the Gospel of Jesus was spread in these lands, and people like Bernard Mizeki loved the Lord Jesus Christ and were determined to speak the good news with African voices.

When the uprising began in 1896, Mizeki had the opportunity to flee to safety, but he refused to abandon the newly catechised people at the mission. He was stabbed to death, his body was never found. Today a shrine built near the old mission school, attracts many pilgrims.

Scripture. In "Matthew," chapter five, verses eleven and twelve we read:

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.”

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who are new to the Christian faith.

... for those who face religious persecution for their beliefs.

... for missionaries, evangelists, and catechists who spread the Gospel far and wide.

... for refugees ( today is World Refugee Day ). DETAILS

... for those killed when Islamist gunmen stormed a tourist resort in Mali on Sunday. DETAILS

... for the two journalists who were killed and the two who were injured by a mine explosion in the Iraqi city of Mosul. DETAILS For the two Dutch journalists who have been abducted in Colombia in an area near the Venezuelan border. DETAILS We pray for the safety of all journalists working in war zones and areas of civil unrest.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

"The Hungry Birds" by Sundar Singh:

Once as I wandered in the mountains, I came upon an outcropping of rocks, and as I sat on the highest rock to rest and look out over the valley, I saw a nest in the branches of a tree. The young birds in the nest were crying noisily. Then I saw how the mother bird returned with food for her young ones. When they heard the sound of her wings and felt her presence nearby, they cried all the more loudly and opened their beaks wide. But after the mother bird fed them and ew away again, they were quiet. Climbing down to look more closely, I saw that the newly hatched birds had not yet opened their eyes. Without even being able to see their mother, they opened their beaks and begged for nourishment whenever she approached.

These tiny birds did not say: “We will not open our beaks until we can see our mother clearly and also see what kind of food she offers. Perhaps it is not our mother at all but instead some dangerous enemy. And who knows if it is proper nourishment or some kind of poison that is being fed to us?”

If they had reasoned thus, they would never have discovered the truth. Before they were even strong enough to open their eyes, they would have starved to death. But they held no such doubts about the presence and love of their mother, and so after a few days, they opened their eyes and rejoiced to see her with them. Day by day they grew stronger and developed into the form and likeness of the mother, and soon they were able to soar up into the freedom of the skies.

We humans often think of ourselves as the greatest living beings, but do we not have something to learn from these common birds? We often question the reality and the loving nature of God.

But the Master has said: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

Whenever we open our hearts to God, we receive spiritual nourishment and grow more and more into the likeness of God until we reach spiritual maturity. And once we open our spiritual eyes and see God’s presence, we find indescribable and unending bliss.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE NINETEENTH OF JUNE, 2017
* Sundar Singh *

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord God, who are all in all to me, life of my life and spirit of my spirit, have mercy on me and so fill me with your Holy Spirit and with love that there may be no room for anything else in my heart. I ask not for any blessing, but for just yourself, you who are the giver of all blessings and of all life. In you alone is satisfaction and abundance for my heart; you yourself, O Creator, has created this heart for yourself. Therefore this heart cannot find rest in anything but you: only in you, O Father, who has made this longing for peace. So now take out of this heart whatever is opposed to you and abide and rule in it yourself. Amen.

( Sundar Singh )

PSALM NINETY-FIVE ( abridged )

Come, let us worship and bow down.

O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us heartily rejoice in the rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving
and be glad in him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God
and a great king above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth
and the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands have moulded the dry land.

Come, let us worship and bow down
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For he is our God;
we are the people of his pasture
and the sheep of his hand.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Come, let us worship and bow down.

Lord God, the maker of all,
as we bow down in praise this day,
make us attentive to your voice
and do not test us beyond our enduring;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Sundar Singh: Christ in Indian garb

Sundar Singh was born to Sikh parents in 1889 in Punjabi State, Northern India.

Sikhism, founded about 1500 AD, is a religion that teaches belief in one God and rejects the caste system; it had become one of the established religions in the area, standing apart from both Hinduism and Islam.

Sundar Singh became acquainted with Christianity because his parents enrolled him in a Christian school for the purpose of learning English.

his mother died, the fourteen year-old went through a violent, frenzied time, and was determined to throw himself in front of a train. However, he received a vision of Jesus, who showed him his wounded hands and side. He converted to Christianity and, against the wishes of his father, was baptised in 1905. Then began his life’s work, traveling through India, Nepal, Tibet, dressed as a sadhu, an Indian ascetic, albeit a Christian one. He was convinced that this was the best way to introduce the Gospel to his people since it was the only way which his people were accustomed to framing their experience of religion. As a sadhu, he wore a yellow robe, lived on the charity of others, abandoned all possessions and maintained celibacy. In this lifestyle, he was free to devote himself to the Lord.

He was a mystic and a visionary. He had little interest in Western forms of Christianity. As his fame grew, he did travel to the West, meeting with religious leaders, and delivering his simple messages of God’s love in Jesus. Despite his growing fame, Sundar retained a modest nature, desiring only to follow Jesus' example: to repay evil with kindness and to win over his enemies by love.

He left India for one last trip to Tibet in June of 1929, and was never seen again. Whether he died of exhaustion, or was killed by bandits, or reached the mountains remains a mystery.

Quote. "I am not worthy to follow in the steps of my Lord, but, like him, I want no home, no possessions. Like him I will belong to the road, sharing the suffering of my people, eating with those who will give me shelter, and telling all of the love of God."

Scripture. In "Acts," chapter nine, verses four and five we read:

Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

He asked, "Who are you, Lord?"

The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the people of India.

... for all who seek to bring Christ to the people among whom they live.

... for a free and independent Tibet.

... for members of the Sikh religion.

... for the man who was killed, those who were injured and all who were traumatised when a van was driven into a crowd of pedestrians which included worshippers who had just left Finsbury Park Mosque following evening prayers after breaking the Ramadan fast. DETAILS

... for refugees, asylum seekers and the internally displaced. DETAILS

... for the sixty-two people killed by forest fires in the Portuguese region of Pedrógão Grande; for those who have been injured and those who have been made homeless. DETAILS

... for those who are missing, feared dead, after a tsunami hit Greenland's west coast and those from the village of Nuugaatsiaq whose homes were destroyed. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "The Three Seekers" by Sundar Singh:

It is true that prayer is the means by which we experience the reality of God. But once God has become a living reality for us, we simply have to love our fellow men. We cannot do otherwise. Once we receive the new life of the Spirit, we begin to live in love. And living in love, we are moved quite naturally and joyfully to serve others. God is love and if we live in union with God, we have the strength and longing to love others. Service is a spiritual activity, the natural fruit of love. God, who is love, is ever serving and caring for Creation. Human beings are made to be like God and so they too should never tire of serving others.

Prayer without work is as bad as work without prayer. A broody hen satisfies its instinct by continuing to sit in some dark corner even after its eggs have been removed. So it is with those who remove themselves from the tasks of life and spend their time wholly in prayer. Such a life is as fruitless as the hen that sits on an empty nest.

Remember, there is a great difference between those who worship God with their lips only and those who do so with their hearts and lives. All too often, people pray to God in the name of the Master, but they do not really know him. They take God’s name into their mouths and onto their lips but not into their hearts and lives. The Master guides us to recognise what will glorify God and benefit others. If we live in the Master and the Master lives in us, then our prayers bear fruit.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, all the earth is your creation, all people were fashioned with love by your hands. We thank you for the gifts of grace revealed in your servant Sundar Singh, and pray for the people of India, that they may come to know your love; through Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

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Left Wing Hubris And The End Of Reason

In respect of the incident where a gunman ambushed Republican lawmakers during baseball practice at a Virginia field, injuring four people, Fox News host Sean Hannity has laid the blame on Democrats, arguing the left had "de-humanised" Republicans and painted them as "monsters".

This is a grossly hypocritical remark and an attempt to make political capital out of an act of hatred that should be regarded as an attack on humanity. However, he does have a point. Leftwing people do paint their opponents as either evil or stupid (or, in the case of Donald Trump, both). This is a great sin of ours and one that seems to always backfire. Nobody is going to listen to the arguments of people who are calling them thick and nasty no matter how sensible the arguments happen to be.

My guess is that this belittling of the opposition is a product of another bad trait of ours, our arrogance. We are shocked when things do not go our way because we just cannot believe that the "common herd" would choose not to think and do exactly what we, their intellectual and moral superiors, tell them to think and do.

A substantial dose of humility and self-examination and a whole lot of attempting to understand those who have different values to us would not do us on the left any harm whatsoever. In fact, it would probably be to our advantage in the long run. It could not possibly be more harmful to our cause than our current belligerency and our constant resorting to childish name-calling.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE SIXTEENTH OF JUNE, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Grant unto us, almighty God, in all time of sore distress, the comfort of the forgiveness of our sins. In time of darkness give us blessed hope, in time of sickness of body give us quiet courage; and when the heart is bowed down, and the soul is very heavy, and life is a burden, and pleasure a weariness, and the sun is too bright, and life too mirthful, then may that Spirit, the Spirit of the Comforter, come upon us, and after our darkness may there be the clear shining of the heavenly light; that so, being uplifted again by your mercy, we may pass on through this our mortal life with quiet courage, patient hope, and unshaken trust, hoping through your loving-kindness and tender mercy to be delivered from death into the large life of the eternal years. Hear us of your mercy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. ( George Dawson )

PSALM NINETY-THREE

The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.

The Lord is king and has put on glorious apparel;
the Lord has put on his glory
and girded himself with strength.
He has made the whole world so sure
that it cannot be moved.

Your throne has been established from of old;
you are from everlasting.

The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their pounding waves.

Mightier than the thunder of many waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea,
the Lord on high is mightier.

Your testimonies are very sure;
holiness adorns your house, O Lord, for ever.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.

Christ our king,
you put on the apparel of our nature
and raised us to your glory;
reign from your royal throne
above the chaos of this world,
that all may see the victory you have won
and trust in your salvation;
for your glory's sake. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Massacre in Soweto

On the sixteenth of June, 1976, black high school students in Soweto protested against the "Afrikaans Medium Decree" of 1974, which forced all black schools to use Afrikaans and English in a fifty-fifty mix as languages of instruction. The South African government had grown increasingly defiant about its policy of apartheid, in the face of a growing worldwide boycott. Black South Africans preferred to be schooled in their tribal languages or in English, as they called the Afrikaans language “the language of the oppressor.

The movement against Afrikaans began in late April 1976 when students at the Orlando West Junior School in Soweto went on strike. On the sixteenth of June, ten to twenty thousand students held a mass demonstration to protest their second class treatment in education. They wanted equality with the white South Africans.

They had intended to hold their protest in Soweto’s Orlando Stadium, but police barricaded their way.

The police set their dogs on the protestors who responded by stoning the dogs. Then the police opened fire on the crowd. Conservative estimates numbered the dead students at one hundred and seventy-six, while other estimates put the total at closer to seven hundred. The number of wounded were listed at over one thousand. By the seventeenth of June, fifteen hundred heavily armed South African police had taken over the streets of Soweto.

In the aftermath of the massacre, world-wide opposition to Apartheid was strengthened, white South Africans were torn in their reactions to the slaughter, and Nelson Mandela’s ANC party took on a leading role in the political struggle.

Scripture. In the thirtieth chapter of "Deuteronomy" at the nineteenth and twentieth verses, we read:

"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the strength to stand up to the demons that hide behind unjust laws and the false religion that props up injustice.

... for an end to apartheid, racial segregation and ethnic cleansing.

... for the youth of New Zealand and elsewhere who are driven by unhappiness in their lives to commit suicide; for an end to the poverty, bullying and dysfunctional home lives that contribute to their misery. DETAILS

... for those killed of injured in a bomb explosion at the gates of a kindergarten in Fengxian in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "Theophilus to Autolycus" by by Theophilus of Antioch:

You will say, then, to me, “Do you, who see God, explain to me the appearance of God.”

Hear, O man. The appearance of God is ineffable and indescribable, and cannot be seen by eyes of flesh. For in glory he is incomprehensible, in greatness unfathomable, in height inconceivable, in power incomparable, in wisdom unrivalled, in goodness inimitable, in kindness unutterable.

For if I say he is light, I name but his own work; if I call him word, I name but his sovereignty; if I call him mind, I speak but of his wisdom; if I say he is spirit, I speak of his breath; if I call him wisdom, I speak of his offspring; if I call him strength, I speak of his sway; if I call him power, I am mentioning his activity; if providence, I but mention his goodness; if I call him kingdom, I but mention his glory; if I call him Lord, I mention his being judge; if I call him judge, I speak of him as being just; if I call him father, I speak of all things as being from him; if I call him fire, I but mention his anger.

You will say, then, to me, “Is God angry?”

Yes; he is angry with those who act wickedly, but he is good, and kind, and merciful, to those who love and fear him; for he is a chastener of the godly, and father of the righteous; but he is a judge and punisher of the impious.

CLOSING PRAYER

God and father of all, in your love you made all the nations of the world to be a family, and your son taught us to love one another. Yet our world is riven apart
with prejudice, arrogance, and pride. Help the different races to love and understand one another better. Increase among us sympathy, tolerance, and goodwill, that we may learn to appreciate the gifts that other races bring to us,
and to see in all people our brothers and sisters for whom Christ died. Save us from jealousy, hatred, and fear, and help us to live together as members of one family at home in the world, sons and daughters of one father who live in the liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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

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The Saint Laika Summer Appeal 2017 – Update

£434.85

Here we are, just over a week into this year's appeal and we have already nearly reached a total of five hundred pounds. A huge big thank you to those of you whose generosity resulted in this achievement. It is certainly far more than we have ever raised before at this point in an appeal.

However, I really could do with, at least, twice this amount and we only have a couple of weeks left in which to raise it. So, if you want to help keep my online ministry on the road, so to speak, please consider making a donation using one of the two PayPal widgets below. You do not need a PayPal account in order to send money.




If donating in American dollars please use this widget.




If donating in British pounds please use this widget.


Here's the blurb:

I receive no salary, no stipend, no pension, no dole and no welfare support. I pay for my online ministry, my food, my clothes and my dentistry, as well as other bare necessities of life, out of the money I receive each month from my friends and from supporters of my vocation. Their incredible generosity (in total just over £500 per month) is adequate for my day to day survival but it does not cover the extras in life that can pop up out of the blue. Therefore, twice a year (before Christmas and before my birthday in June) I run a special campaign to try and raise a substantial lump sum of money to pay the bigger bills that come my way. This year I would love to raise the cash to buy a new desk top computer as my previous one completely and irreparably gave up the ghost last Autumn and I have been struggling to run the show on a very slow laptop ever since. I would also like to raise some spending money for a proper holiday for my wife and myself in July. We hope to go camping on Dartmoor in Devon.

I have aimed to raise £1000 with each appeal for years and we have never quite made it. It would be great to do so this time. In fact, it would be lovely if we surpassed it.

So, please support me and independent Christian ministry on the internet by making a donation using the PayPal widgets below. There is one for payment in American dollars and one for payment in British pounds. I do not mind in the slightest what currency your generosity manifests itself in. Also, you do not need a PayPal account to make your donation through PayPal, just a debit or credit card.

In return I offer you my love and gratitude and my promise that I will keep on praising God and kicking against the pricks.

God bless you, my friends.

Jonathan

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE FIFTEENTH OF JUNE, 2017
* Corpus Christi *
* Evelyn Underhill *

OPENING PRAYER

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you that in the wonderful sacrament of holy communion which you have given us the memorial of your passion: grant us so to reverence the sacred mysteries of your body and blood that we may know within ourselves and show forth in our lives the fruits of your redemption; for you are alive and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

ACCLAMATION

I am the bread of life,
anyone who comes to me shall not hunger,
anyone who believes in me shall never thirst.
Alleluia. Lord, give us this bread always.

The bread of God comes down from heaven,
and gives life to the world.
Alleluia. Lord, give us this bread always.

Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life
and I will raise them up on the last day.
Alleluia. Lord, give us this bread always.

It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh is of no avail.
The words I speak, they are spirit and they are life.
Alleluia.Lord, give us this bread always.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Evelyn Underhill: Martha and Mary combined

Today Saint Laika’s is remembering Evelyn Underhill who was born on the sixth of December, 1875. In 1907 she married Hubert Stuart Moore, a barrister, whom she had known since childhood. They had many interests in common in country life and country lore, and in a love of cats.

Initially she considered herself an agnostic, but she was drawn to the Roman Catholic Church. This ecclesial wrestling eventually led to her commitment to the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Church of England.

She published one of her most famous works “Mysticism” in 1911. She was convinced that the mystical life is not only open to a saintly few, but to anyone who cares to nurture it and weave it into everyday experience. Overall she authored numerous works on religion and spiritual practice.
She was fond of quoting Saint Teresa's saying that "to give our Lord a perfect service Martha and Mary must combine."

Her days consisted of writing in the morning, and in the afternoon she would visit the poor and devote time to the practice of spiritual direction.

During the First World War she worked in naval intelligence for the British Admiralty, but after the war, developed into an articulate adherent of pacifism. Her widely read book “Worship” was published in 1936. In 1939 she was awarded the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by the University of Aberdeen.

Her love of souls coupled with the determination to help them to grow at God's pace and not at their own or hers, won her the love and trust of all who sought her help and counsel. She died on the fifteenth of June, 1941.

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

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

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for mystics, spiritual guides and spiritual writers.

... for the safety and mental wellbeing of those working in the fire damaged remains of Grenfell Tower; for those still waiting for news about missing loved ones; for those recovering in hospital and those who have been traumatised by this tragic disaster. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured during a combined suicide bomb and gun attack at a hotel and restaurant in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "Practical Mysticism: a Little Book for Normal People" by Evelyn Underhill:

Eternity is with us, inviting our contemplation perpetually, but we are too frightened, lazy, and suspicious to respond; too arrogant to still our thought, and let divine sensation have its way. It needs industry and goodwill if we would make that transition; for the process involves a veritable spring-cleaning of the soul, a turning-out and rearrangement of our mental furniture, a wide opening of closed windows, that the notes of the wild birds beyond our garden may come to us fully charged with wonder and freshness, and drown with their music the noise of the gramophone within. Those who do this, discover that they have lived in a stuffy world, whilst their inheritance was a world of morning-glory where every tit-mouse is a celestial messenger, and every thrusting bud is charged with the full significance of life.

CLOSING PRAYER

God, grant that your church, taught by your servant Evelyn Underhill, guarded evermore by your power, and guided by your Spirit into the light of truth, may continually offer to you all glory and thanksgiving, and attain with your saints to the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have promised us by our saviour Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE FOURTEENTH OF JUNE, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

O God of earth and altar,
bow down and hear our cry;
our earthly rulers falter,
our people drift and die;
the walls of gold entomb us,
the swords of scorn divide;
take not thy thunder from us
but take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches,
from lies of tongue and pen,
from all the easy speeches
that comfort cruel men,
from sale and profanation
of honour and the sword,
from sleep and from damnation
deliver us, good Lord!

( G. K. Chesterton )

HOLY OF HOLIES by G. K. Chesterton

"Elder father, though thine eyes
shine with hoary mysteries,
can thou tell what in the heart
of a cowslip blossom lies?

"Smaller than all lives that be,
secret as the deepest sea,
stands a little house of seeds
like an elfin’s granary.

"Speller of the stones and weeds,
skilled in nature’s crafts and creeds,
tell me what is in the heart
of the smallest of the seeds."

"God Almighty, and with him
cherubim and seraphim,
filling all eternity -
Adonai Elohim."

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

G. K. Chesterton: prince of paradox

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

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

Chesterton converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, and was a passionate defender of the Christian faith. He was in part responsible for C. S. Lewis’s own conversion to Christianity. Chesterton died on the fourteenth of June in 1936.

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who strive to make understandable the things of God which are beyond understanding.

... for those who give blood to save the lives of others. DETAILS

... for the people of the Falkland Islands who celebrate Liberation Day today.

... for those killed or injured in the fire that engulfed the twenty-four storey Grenfell Tower, North Kensington, London overnight; for those who are missing and those who await news about relatives and friends; for the safety of the fire fighters looking for survivors and all whose work will involve them entering the unstable and dangerous building. DETAILS

... for those who are missing following the collapse of a seven-storey building in an eastern suburb of the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Monday night. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "Orthodoxy" by G. K. Chesterton:

The evil of the pessimist is, then, not that he chastises gods and men, but that he does not love what he chastises; he has not a primary and supernatural loyalty to things. What is the evil of the man commonly called an optimist? Obviously, it is felt that the optimist, wishing to defend the honour of this world, will defend the indefensible. He is the jingo of the universe; he will say, "My cosmos, right or wrong." He will be less inclined to the reform of things; more inclined to a sort of front-bench official answer to all attacks, soothing every one with assurances. He will not wash the world, but whitewash the world.

CLOSING PRAYER

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

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

What Is There To Live For?

I have got to the stage where I am sleeping for most of the day because there is nothing to stay awake for and being awake with no reason to be alive is both tedious and emotionally painful. I can no longer be bothered to make the effort. Everything is fake.

Decisions, Decisions

So, Scottish Episcopal Church priests are going to have to decide, individually, whether to not to opt into marrying same gender couples in church.

This is going to be a very difficult moral choice for all of them. A huge decision that will affect the rest of their working lives.

I mean, are they going to go with their consciences and marry all those gay couples from all over the UK who will be booking their churches for their nuptials in order to gain great happiness and fulfilment in their lives and experiencing the true love of God and maybe even finding salvation for their eternal souls. Or, do they pretend they are against such things so that they can continue to have Saturdays off to go to the footie or the opera, that sort of thing.

As I said, what a choice!

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE NINTH OF JUNE, 2017
* Columba *

OPENING PRAYER

Incline, O Lord, your merciful ears and illuminate the darkness of our hearts by the light of your visitation. Amen.

( Gelasian Sacramentary )

PSALM NINETY-TWO ( abridged)

You, O Lord, shall be exalted for evermore.

It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord
and to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to tell of your love early in the morning
and of your faithfulness in the night-time,
upon the ten-stringed instrument, upon the harp,
and to the melody of the lyre.
For you, Lord, have made me glad by your acts,
and I sing aloud at the works of your hands.
O Lord, how glorious are your works!
Your thoughts are very deep.

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
and shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon.
Such as are planted in the house of the Lord
shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
they shall be vigorous and in full leaf;
that they may show that the Lord is true;
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

You, O Lord, shall be exalted for evermore.

Give us the music of your praise, Lord,
morning, noon and night,
that our lives may be fruitful
and our lips confess you as the true and only God. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Columba: Irish tempered penitent

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Columba, the great sixth century monk and missionary, perhaps best known for his work of spreading the gospel in Scotland and for founding the monastery of Iona.

Columba had the reputation of being a learned and holy man, but his Irish temper got him in trouble when he was accused of theft by Saint Finnian of Moville Abbey. It seems Columba had copied a psalter at Moville, with the understanding that it would be his upon completion. Saint Finnian denied him, claiming it was property of the abbey. This led to a pitched battle in which many men were killed. A synod of Clerics wanted to excommunicate Columba, but Saint Brendan of Birr spoke on his behalf, so instead Columba, as a penance was allowed to go to Scotland to atone for his sins by spreading the Christian faith among the Picts, a pagan people who inhabited Scotland.

His monastery at Iona became a centre of learning and training for missionaries. Columba wrote hymns, transcribed books and reportedly had a run in with the Loch Ness monster himself in 565, after the beast killed a Pict, and went after one of Columba’s own disciples. Columba banished him to the depths of River Ness, which flows out of the famous Loch.

Columba died in 597 and was buried at Iona. Later his remains were dug up and some made their way back to Ireland, while some remain at Iona.

Quote. "My druid is Christ, the son of God, Christ, son of Mary, the great abbot, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost."

Scripture. In the tenth chapter of "Luke," at verses nineteen and twenty, Jesus admonishes his disciples:

"See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the members of the Iona Community and the success of their work for peace for peace and social justice, the rebuilding of community and the renewal of worship.

... for the unemployed who are treated like criminals and idiots by state agencies.

... for children who hate their parents.

... for the people of Venezuela in particular the protestors who have been killed, injured or imprisoned by government forces; for a return to democracy and an end to the food shortages.

... for the Scottish Episcopal Church, that its decision to allow the marriage of same gender couples in its churches may help it show the love of God to those it serves.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

To walk in the light is to walk freely not fearfully, to see and delight in all the beauty around us: in people, in nature, desiring it to be allowed to remain beautiful. It is to walk with a light heart, relaxed not tense, to have choices. The light is in the world.

There is an old Jewish saying, "Do not say, God is in my heart. Rather, say, I am in the heart of God."

The gospel of Jesus says precisely this thing. I am in God's heart, and you, and you and you. Loved, valued, unconditionally accepted, we live and move and have our being in the heart of God, which is the light of God.

( Kathy Galloway )

CLOSING PRAYER

O God, who by the preaching of your blessed servant Columba caused the light of the Gospel to shine in Scotland: grant, we pray, that, having his life and labours in remembrance, we may show our thankfulness to you by following the example of his zeal and patience; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE EIGHTH OF JUNE, 2017
* Thomas Ken *

OPENING PRAYER

O heavenly guide of our devotion and our love by teaching us to pray, you have shown us that prayer is our treasury where all blessings are kept, our armoury where all our strength and weapons are stored, the only great preservative and the very vital heat of divine love. Give me grace to call on you at all times by diligent prayer.

Lord, I know my devotion has daily many unavoidable and necessary interruptions and I cannot always be actually praying, all I can do is to beg of your love, to keep my heart always in an habitual disposition to devotion, and in mindfulness of your divine presence.

O my God, as your infinite love is ever-streaming in blessings on me; let my soul be ever breathing love to you.

( Thomas Ken )

CANTICLE

All praise to you, in light arrayed,
who light your dwelling-place has made;
a boundless ocean of bright beams
from your all-glorious Godhead streams.

The sun in its meridian height
is very darkness in your sight!
Our souls, O lighten and inflame
with thought and love of your great name!

Shine on us, Lord, new life impart;
fresh ardours kindle in our heart,
one ray of your all-quickening light
breaks through the thickest clouds of night.

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

( Thomas Ken )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Thomas Ken: conscience, integrity and changing times

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scripture. In "The Letter to the Philippians," chapter four, verses six to eight we read:

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that God may help us to remain true to our word and to keep our promises that we may be known for our integrity.

... for hymn writers.

... for those who were on board the Burmese military plane that went missing, wreckage from which has been found in the Andaman Sea. DETAILS

... for the victims of abusive police behaviour and uncaring, patriarchal legal systems. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "The Practice of Divine Love" by Thomas Ken:

As for you who have families, I beseech you to instil into your children and servants their duty, both by your teaching, and your example. In good earnest, it is less cruel and unnatural to deny them bread for their mortal bodies, than saving knowledge for their immortal souls.

You that are fathers or mothers, I exhort you to tread in the steps of Abraham, the father of the faithful, and the friend of God, and like him, to command your children and households to keep the way of the Lord.

You that are mothers or mistresses, I exhort you to imitate that unfeigned faith which dwelt in young Timothy's grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice, who taught him from a child to know the holy scriptures, which were able to make him wise to salvation; and like them, to bring up your children and servants "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

I passionately exhort and beseech you all of either sex, never to cease your conscientious zeal for their instruction, till ye bring them to confirmation; to renew their baptismal vow; to make open profession of their Christianity; to discharge their godfathers and godmothers; to receive the solemn benediction of the bishop; to share in the public intercessions of the Church, and to partake
of all the graces of God's Holy Spirit, implored on their behalf; that God, who has begun a good work in them, may perfect it till the day of Christ.

CLOSING PRAYER

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

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

Although I am a staunch socialist I will be quite a bit relieved when the Tories win, yet again, tomorrow. You see, I have got used to not being responsible for the mess the world is in and I quite enjoy looking down my nose at those who voted for whichever government is in the process of taking us all to hell in a handcart. It was an awful burden being partly responsible for Tony Blair's reign of international terror. I really don't want to go through that again.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE SEVENTH OF JUNE, 2017
* Pioneers of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil *

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord, give us more charity, more self-denial, more likeness to you. Teach us to sacrifice our comforts to others and our likings for the sake of doing good. Make us kindly in thought, gentle in word, generous in deed. Teach us that it is better to give than to receive; better to forget ourselves than to put ourselves forward; better to minister than to be ministered unto. And unto you, the God of love, be glory and praise for ever. Amen.

( Henry Alford )

PSALM NINETY ( abridged )

Keep me as the apple of your eye.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the most high
and abides under the shadow of the almighty,
shall say to the Lord, "My refuge and my stronghold,
my God, in whom I put my trust."

For he shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He shall cover you with his wings
and you shall be safe under his feathers;
his faithfulness shall be your shield and buckler.

You shall not be afraid of any terror by night,
nor of the arrow that flies by day;
of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor of the sickness that destroys at noonday.
Though a thousand fall at your side
and ten thousand at your right hand,
yet it shall not come near you.

Because you have made the Lord your refuge
and the Most High your stronghold,
there shall no evil happen to you,
neither shall any plague come near your tent.
For he shall give his angels charge over you,
to keep you in all your ways.
They shall bear you in their hands,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Because they have set their love upon me,
therefore will I deliver them;
I will lift them up, because they know my name.
They will call upon me and I will answer them;
I am with them in trouble,
I will deliver them and bring them to honour.
With long life will I satisfy them
and show them my salvation.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Keep me as the apple of your eye.

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
and, as you have bound us to yourself in love,
leave us not who call upon your name,
but grant us your salvation,
made known in the cross of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Pioneers of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil

Today Saint Laika’s remembers the pioneers of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil. Anglican ministry in Brazil began as early as 1810, when chaplaincies were established for expatriated Anglicans. In 1889, Brazil formalised the idea of separation of church and state in its constitution. The Episcopal Church in the United States decided that missionary work should commence. In 1890 , two Episcopal priests were sent to Brazil, the Rev. Lucien Lee Kinsolving, and the Rev. James Watson Morris. In 1891 two other priests, and a laywoman teacher joined them. These five, along with six Brazilians (Vicente Brande, Américo Vespúcio Cabral, Antônio Machado Fraga, Bonaventura de Souza Oliveira, Júlio de Almeida Coelho, and Carl Henry Clement Sergel) are now celebrated as the founders of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil. Kinsolving was elected as the first bishop of the church in 1899.

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

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

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

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

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the members of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil and for the success of their efforts to increase justice and mutual respect in their land.

... for the people of Malta who celebrate Sette Giugno today.

... for those killed or injured when the Iranian parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini's mausoleum in the capital, Tehran, were attacked by armed gunmen. DETAILS

... for the Indian farmers who died after shots were fired during a protest in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "The Moral Reflections on Job" by Gregory the Great:

It is characteristic of the way that arrogant people teach, that they do not know how to convey their knowledge humbly and cannot express straightforward truths straightforwardly. When they teach, it is clear from their words that they are placing themselves on a pinnacle and looking down on their pupils somewhere in the depths - pupils unworthy to be informed and scarcely even worth the bother of dominating.

The Lord rightly admonished such people through the mouth of the prophet Ezekiel, saying You have ruled your flock cruelly and with violence. For they rule with cruelty and violence when they do not try to correct those under them with rational arguments but try to dominate them and crush them.

On the other hand, sound teaching is eager to avoid this sin of pride manifested in thought: just as eager as it is to attack with words the teacher of pride himself. Sound teaching does not promote him by imitating his arrogance but uses pious words to attack him in its hearers’ hearts. Instead it promotes humility, the mother and teacher of all virtues. It preaches humility in words and manifests humility in its actions. It commends humility to its pupils more by conduct than by speech.

This is why Paul seems to have forgotten his exalted status as an apostle when writing to the Thessalonians: We were babes among you. So also Peter: Always have your answer ready for people who ask the reason for the hope you all have, adding, to emphasise that the teaching must be presented in the proper way, But give it with respect and with a clear conscience.

When Paul says to Timothy "Command these things and teach them with all authority," he is not calling for a domination born of power but an authority that comes from a way of life. “Teaching with authority” here means living something first before preaching it; for when speech is impeded by conscience, the hearer will find it harder to trust what is being taught. So Paul is not commending the power of proud and exalted words, but the trustworthiness that comes from good behaviour. This, indeed, is why it is said of the Lord, Unlike the scribes and pharisees, he taught them with authority. He alone spoke with unique authority because he had never, through weakness, done evil. What he had from the power of his divinity, he taught to us through the innocence of his humanity.

CLOSING PRAYER

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

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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The Saint Laika Summer Appeal 2017

I receive no salary, no stipend, no pension, no dole and no welfare support. I pay for my online ministry, my food, my clothes and my dentistry, as well as other bare necessities of life, out of the money I receive each month from my friends and from supporters of my vocation. Their incredible generosity (in total just over £500 per month) is adequate for my day to day survival but it does not cover the extras in life that can pop up out of the blue. Therefore, twice a year (before Christmas and before my birthday in June) I run a special campaign to try and raise a substantial lump sum of money to pay the bigger bills that come my way. This year I would love to raise the cash to buy a new desk top computer as my previous one completely and irreparably gave up the ghost last Autumn and I have been struggling to run the show on a very slow laptop ever since. I would also like to raise some spending money for a proper holiday for my wife and myself in July. We hope to go camping on Dartmoor in Devon.

I have aimed to raise £1000 with each appeal for years and we have never quite made it. It would be great to do so this time. In fact, it would be lovely if we surpassed it.

So, my friends, please support me and independent Christian ministry on the internet by making a donation using the PayPal widgets below. There is one for payment in American dollars and one for payment in British pounds. I do not mind in the slightest what currency your generosity manifests itself in. Also, you do not need a PayPal account to make your donation through PayPal, just a debit or credit card.

In return I offer you my love and gratitude and my promise that I will keep on praising God and kicking against the pricks.

God bless you, my friends.

Jonathan





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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE SIXTH OF JUNE, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Grant, Lord, that I may not, for one moment, admit willingly into my soul any thought contrary to your love. Amen.

( E. B. Pusey )

PSALM NINETY ( abridged )

O Lord my God, in you I take refuge.

Lord, you have been our refuge
from one generation to another.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or the earth and the world were formed,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday,
which passes like a watch in the night.
You sweep them away like a dream;
they fade away suddenly like the grass.
In the morning it is green and flourishes;
in the evening it is dried up and withered.

The days of our life are three score years and ten,
or if our strength endures, even four score;
yet the sum of them is but labour and sorrow,
for they soon pass away and we are gone.
So teach us to number our days
that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.

Turn again, O Lord; how long will you delay?
Have compassion on your servants.
Satisfy us with your loving-kindness in the morning;
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Show your servants your works
and let your glory be over their children.
May the gracious favour of the Lord our God be upon us;
prosper our handiwork; O prosper the work of our hands.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

O Lord my God, in you I take refuge.

Almighty God,
our eternal refuge,
teach us to live with the knowledge of our death
and to rejoice in the promise of your glory,
revealed to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Be careful what you call a cross

The bombing of Coptic Christians on Palm Sunday by ISIS terrorists and the shooting of twenty-eight Copts on a bus in the Egyptian desert has continued to shine a light on the persecution faced by so many Christians in many parts of the world. The notion, first urged by Jesus, that his followers should take up their cross and follow him takes on a new poignancy when we hear of the sufferings contemporary Christians are willing to accept for their faith in him.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book, "The Cost of Discipleship," comments:

“To endure the cross is not a tragedy; it is the suffering which is the fruit of an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ. When it comes, it is not an accident, but a necessity. It is not suffering per se, but suffering and rejection for the sake of Christ. If our Christianity has ceased to be serious about discipleship, if we have watered down the gospel into emotional uplift which makes no costly demands and which fails to distinguish between natural and Christian existence, then we cannot help regarding the cross as an ordinary everyday calamity, as one of the trials and tribulations of life. Jesus says that every Christian has his or her own cross waiting for them, a cross destined and appointed by God.”

If Bonhoeffer is correct, and we followers of Jesus who live in relative comfort and peace have turned our bearing of the cross into something ordinary and trivial, perhaps our persecuted brothers and sisters can lead us forward to reclaim a way of following Jesus which invites us to a more sacrificial way of living. As more and more people are slipping into poverty, homelessness, and hunger, the costly demand of the cross may lead us to offer hope and help and, more importantly, dignity and respect, toward those in the greatest need.

Scripture. In the gospel of Mark, chapter eight, verses thirty-four and thirty-five, we read:

“Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘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.'”

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the Christians of Egypt and for the people of the persecuted church throughout the world, may God protect them from those who seek to defeat their faith through violence and oppression.

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

... for those whose job it is to protect us from attack by terrorists and other criminals who seek to do us harm.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From the "Open Doors" website:

“What we are seeing happening in the Middle East is bringing us all together. We churches do not have the luxury of staying separate any more. We have realised that what we have in common far exceeds what separates us.”
( Egyptian church leader )

War doesn’t discriminate against denominations, a church leader in Egypt has discovered. People have died for their faith, regardless of what church they go to. The persecution is bringing believers together as they share in their suffering. In Aleppo, twelve bishops from different denominations came together to pray. It was the first time something like that has happened in centuries.

The church in the Middle East is becoming more united in Christ.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, your son, our saviour, suffered at the hands of sinners and endured the shame of the cross. Grant that we may walk in the way of his cross, and find it the way of life and peace; through the same Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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The Mad Gangie Enter The Whangie

The Whangie is a geological fault, fifty feet deep and three hundred feet long, that cuts through the shoulder of Auchineden Hill in Scotland's Kilpatrick Hills. It was formed some years ago when the devil, who was holding a meeting with witches and warlocks on the nearby Campsie Fells, playfully whipped his tail across the summit of the hill.

On our previous walk, our youngest dog, Eadric, disgraced himself (as already reported) by rolling in foxy doo doo. On this walk, just below the summit of Auchineden Hill, our other boy dog, Quiz, deliberately jumped in a stinking bog and covered himself with sticky black mud. Eadric, decided this must be great fun and jumped in after him. All this necessitated a compulsory plunge in Loch Lomond for the two of them on the way back to our campsite. They enjoyed this just as much but they did not like being tied up outside of the caravan all evening whilst they dried off. I could have strangled the both of them. Mrs MP thought it was funny.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE FIFTH OF JUNE, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Lord Jesus Christ, who are called the Prince of Peace, who are yourself our peace and reconciliation, who so often said, "Peace to you," grant us peace. Make all men and women witnesses of truth, justice, and brotherly love. Banish from their hearts whatever might endanger peace. Enlighten our rulers that they may guarantee and defend the great gift of peace. May all peoples of the earth becomes as brothers and sisters. May longed-for peace blossom forth and reign always over us all. Amen.

( Pope John XXIII )

PSALM EIGHTY-NINE ( abridged )

Truly the Lord is our shield.

My song shall be always of the loving-kindness of the Lord:
with my mouth will I proclaim your faithfulness
throughout all generations.
I will declare that your love is established for ever;
you have set your faithfulness as firm as the heavens.

The heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
and your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones;
for who among the clouds can be compared to the Lord?
Who is like the Lord among the host of heaven?

Yours are the heavens; the earth also is yours;
you established the world and all that fills it.
You have a mighty arm;
strong is your hand and high is your right hand.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
steadfast love and faithfulness go before your face.

Happy are the people who know the shout of triumph:
they walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance.
In your name they rejoice all the day long
and are exalted in your righteousness.
For you are the glory of their strength,
and in your favour you lift up our heads.
Truly the Lord is our shield,
the Holy One of Israel is our king.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Truly the Lord is our shield.

As we sing of your love, O Lord,
anoint us with the Spirit's seal,
that we may praise your faithfulness
and proclaim your truth from age to age;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Pope John XXIII: the “good” pope
(transferred from Sunday)

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

He brought an easy style, humour and openness to the papacy. He was most often called “Good Pope John” by the people of his church, who appreciated his down to earth style.

He shocked the world and the Church by calling together the Second Vatican Council, with the goal of “opening the windows of the church” to let in fresh air.

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

Less well known about Good Pope John was that prior to the Second World War, he had worked in the Vatican diplomatic corp. On the thirtieth ofNovember, 1934, he was appointed Apostolic Delegate to Turkey and Greece. Roncalli took up this post in 1935 and used his office to help the Jewish underground in saving thousands of refugees in Europe, often procuring for them false “baptismal certificates.” He had a love for the Jewish people which helped set the tone for the Roman Catholic stance toward Judaism after Vatican II.

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

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

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for leaders in the church who understand their role as servants.

... for an end to anti-Semitism.

... for the environment. DETAILS

... for the people of Denmark who celebrate the adoption of the Constitution of 1849 today.

... for Chrissy Archibald and all who were killed or injured in the recent terrorist attack on London Bridge and in Borough Market, London. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "Pacem in Terris" by Pope John XXIII:

Man has the right to live. He has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, he has the right to be looked after in the event of ill health; disability stemming from his work; widowhood; old age; enforced unemployment; or whenever through no fault of his own he is deprived of the means of livelihood.

Moreover, man has a natural right to be respected. He has a right to his good name. He has a right to freedom in investigating the truth, and—within the limits of the moral order and the common good—to freedom of speech and publication, and to freedom to pursue whatever profession he may choose. He has the right, also, to be accurately informed about public events.

He has the natural right to share in the benefits of culture, and hence to receive a good general education, and a technical or professional training consistent with the degree of educational development in his own country. Furthermore, a system must be devised for affording gifted members of society the opportunity of engaging in more advanced studies, with a view to their occupying, as far as possible, positions of responsibility in society in keeping with their natural talent and acquired skill.

Also among man's rights is that of being able to worship God in accordance with the right dictates of his own conscience, and to profess his religion both in private and in public. According to the clear teaching of Lactantius, "this is the very condition of our birth, that we render to the God who made us that just homage which is his due; that we acknowledge him alone as God, and follow him. It is from this ligature of piety, which binds us and joins us to God, that religion derives its name."

Hence, too, Pope Leo XIII declared that "true freedom, freedom worthy of the sons of God, is that freedom which most truly safeguards the dignity of the human person. It is stronger than any violence or injustice. Such is the freedom which has always been desired by the Church, and which she holds most dear. It is the sort of freedom which the Apostles resolutely claimed for themselves. The apologists defended it in their writings; thousands of martyrs consecrated it with their blood."

CLOSING PRAYER

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

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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The Walk During Which Eadric Rolled In Fox Shit Twice

Part one of this photo essay is a walk near the attractive (by Scottish standards) village of Drymen (pronounced "drimmin") during which our youngest dog, Eadric, brought disgrace on the noble Ellan Vannin border collie line by rolling in smelly, fox poo, not once but twice. I say "attractive by Scottish standards" for factual rather than insulting reasons. Scotland is full of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world but it is also full of the most ugly cities, towns and villages on the planet. The architectural policy of the nation appears to be throw together a decidedly uninspiring, box-shaped building and paint it grey. The few attempts at flamboyance channel the fairy tale imagination of an out of control Hans Christian Anderson and the social housing is, more than likely, the habitation awaiting traitors in the ninth circle of Hell. The Scots are good at gardens, though. I'll give them that.

Part two is a visit to Hill House in the leafy and, extremely, affluent, northern suburbs of Helensburgh. This building, now owned by the National Trust for Scotland, was designed and built for the publisher Walter Blackie between 1902 and 1904 by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh. Personally, the exterior does nothing for me, in fact I find it quite repulsive. However, the interior is a different matter. The use of light and geometry is breathtaking throughout and the fixtures, furnishings and ornamentation are visually stunning. However, I cannot help thinking that the chairs must have been hellishly uncomfortable to actually sit on. Not that I would say "no thank you" if a long lost relative of mine was to die and leave one to me in his will.

PART ONE

PART TWO

Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

Thank you, Mr Trump. In this confusing, increasingly relativist world it is good to know that we finally have someone who is definitely to blame. The rest of us can now feel good about ourselves for a change. You have done the people of this planet (at least for the little time they have left) a big favour.

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