Of Course, I Could be Wrong

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A Bunch Of Scheming Swindlers

From "Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard"
by Søren Kierkegaard (edited by Charles E. Moore)

The matter is quite simple. The bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?

Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close.

Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you?

Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.

Words

From "A Plain Account of Christian Perfection"
by John Wesley, 1703-1791

"Love is the fulfilling of the law, the end of the commandment."

It is not only the first and great command but all the commandments in one. "Whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise," they are all comprised in this one word, "love." In this is perfection, and glory, and happiness.

The royal law of heaven and earth is this, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."

The one perfect good shall be your one ultimate end. One thing shall you desire for its own sake, the fruition of him who is all in all. One happiness shall you propose to your souls, even a union with him that made them, the having fellowship with the Father and the Son, the being joined to the Lord in one spirit. One design you are to pursue to the end of time, the enjoyment of God in time and in eternity. Desire other things so far as they tend to this; love the creature, as it leads to the creator. But in every step you take, be this the glorious point that terminates your view. Let every affection and thought and word and action be subordinate to this. Whatever you desire or fear, whatever you seek or shun, whatever you think, speak or do, be it in order to your happiness in God, the sole end, as well as source, of your being.

Here is the sum of the perfect law, the circumcision of the heart. Let the spirit return to God that gave it, with the whole train of its affections. Other sacrifices from us he would not, but the living sacrifice of the heart has he chosen. Let it be continually offered up to God through Christ, in flames of holy love. And let no creature be suffered to share with him; for he is a jealous God. His throne will he not divide with another; he will reign without a rival. Be no design, no desire admitted there, but what has him for its ultimate object.

This is the way wherein those children of God once walked, who being dead still speak to us:

"Desire not to live but to praise his name; let all your thoughts, words, and works tend to his glory."

"Let your soul be filled with so entire a love to him that you may love nothing but for his sake."

"Have a pure intention of heart, a steadfast regard to his glory in all your actions."

For then, and not till then, is that mind in us, which was also in Christ Jesus, when in every motion of our heart, in every word of our tongue, in every work of our hands, we pursue nothing but in relation to him, and in subordination to his pleasure; when we too neither think, nor speak, nor act to fulfil our own will, but the will of him that sent us; when, whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we do it all to the glory of God.

On Being Mad

I wake up every morning, terrified. It is the worst type of fear, an overwhelming dread, but I have absolutely no idea what it is that is frightening me. It is not from my dreams. I know this because I always remember them. If the fear remains for a day or so it will eventually find something to attach itself to but, at the moment, it is disappearing by lunchtime. Psychiatrists refer to it as "anxiety," but that is too small a word. I wish I was just anxious.

On Being Mad

Mentally things are bad at the moment. The line between the real and the unreal, my waking life and my dream life, is blurred. I was told, by many of you, to let go of my hope for reinstatement in the Church of England from which I was dismissed eight years ago for suffering from depression. I did let go. But now I am living without hope because there is nothing else that I want to live for.

I have arranged to speak to a counselling service who helped me before, back when I was trying to regain my job. I am hoping that this time, they will be able to teach me how to cope with living a pointless life without hope. I am not optimistic because my brain is not easily fooled and I know that what I really need is the restoration of my life not words of advice.

Reading Of The Day

From "A Dissertation on the Duty of Mercy and Sin of Cruelty to Brute Animals" by Humphrey Primatt, ca.1735-ca.1777

However men may differ as to speculative points of religion, justice is a rule of universal extent and invariable obligation. We acknowledge this important truth in all matters in which man is concerned, but then we limit it to our own species only. And though we are able to trace the most evident marks of the Creator’s wisdom and goodness in the formation and appointment of the various classes of animals that are inferior to men, yet the consciousness of our own dignity and excelence is apt to suggest to us, that man alone of all terrestrial animals is the only proper object of mercy and compassion, because he is the most highly favoured and distinguished. Misled with this prejudice in our own favour, we overlook some of the brutes, as if they were mere excrescences of nature, beneath our notice and infinitely unworthy the care and cognisance of the Almighty and we consider others of them as made only for our service and so long as we can apply them to our use, we are careless and indifferent as to their happiness or misery, and can hardly bring our selves to suppose that there is any kind of duty incumbent upon us toward them.

To rectify this mistaken notion is the design of this treatise, in which I have endeavoured to prove, that as the love and mercy of God are over all of his works, from the highest rational to the lowest sensitive, our love and mercy are not to be confined within the circle of our own friends, acquaintance and neighbours; nor limited to the more enlarged sphere of human nature, to creatures of our own rank, shape and capacity; but are to be extended to every object of the love and mercy of God the universal parent; who, as he is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works, will undoubtedly require of man, superior man, a strict account of his conduct to every creature entrusted to his care, or coming in his way and who will avenge every instance of wanton cruelty and oppression, in the day in which he will judge the world in righteousness.

Record Sleeves With Dogs On ( 663 )

Recommended by my Facebook friend, Tom.

EXPLANATION: The cover art and title bring together several elements relating to
Canterbury. Saint Dunstan was Archbishop of Canterbury and patron saint of the
blind, after whom a home for the blind was named. The title comes from a Noël
Coward explanation to a child for why one dog had mounted another: one dog
was blind and the other was pushing him to Saint Dunstan's. The album cover
shows Saint Dunstan’s Street leading to the old West Gate in Canterbury.
Members of Caravan used to frequent the pubs near the Saint Dunstan area.

( Wikipedia )

A Reading For All Saints’ Day

From "The Perennial Philosophy" by Aldous Huxley.

The saint is one who knows that every moment of our human life is a moment of crisis; for at every moment we are called upon to make an all-important decision, to choose between the way that leads to death and spiritual darkness and the way that leads towards light and life; between interests exclusively temporal and the eternal order; between our personal will, or the will of some projection of our personality, and the will of God. In order to fit himself to deal with the emergencies of his way of life, the saint undertakes appropriate training of mind and body, just as the soldier does. But whereas the objectives of military training are limited and very simple, namely, to make men courageous, cool-headed and co-operatively efficient in the business of killing other men, with whom, personally, they have no quarrel, the objectives of spiritual training are much less narrowly specialised. Here the aim is primarily to bring human beings to a state in which, because there are no longer any God-eclipsing obstacles between themselves and reality, they are able to be aware continuously of the divine ground of their own and all other beings; secondly, as a means to this end, to meet all, even the most trivial circumstances of daily living without malice, greed, self-assertion or voluntary ignorance, but consistently with love and understanding. Because its objectives are not limited, because, for the lover of God, every moment is a moment of crisis, spiritual training is incomparably more difficult and searching than military training. There are many good soldiers, few saints.”

Does God Want Us To Stop Eating Each Other?

According to an article in "VegNews," this year’s annual, week-long Parliament of World Religions conference, which begins tomorrow in Toronto, will feature a vegan buffet. This will be the first time a fully plant-based menu has been offered in the event’s one hundred year history.

I am not a vegan. I am not even a vegetarian. In fact, I probably eat more meat than is good for me and for the state of the planet. I am not going to make excuses for this, least of all theological ones, as I try to be honest with other people and myself and I know full well that my reason for eating meat is that I enjoy it and, although I believe I should stop my carnivorous behaviour, I do not have the willpower to do so permanently. I did stop eating meat for a while when I was much younger and at college living on very little money, but I found the diet incredibly bland and texturally unsatisfying to the extreme. Almost immediately after getting my first post-university wage packet I was back to the corpse-crunching.

However, despite this, I am firmly convinced that eating meat is a bad thing to the point of being a sin and that vegetarians and, even more so, vegans are living more righteous lives than I am because of their lifestyle choice. One of the main reasons I cannot proffer a sound theological reason for eating meat is that it seems obvious to me that the Bible, especially the Old Testament, regards meat-eating to be a human weakness, tolerated by God but not approved by God. The writers of the Pentateuch believed that humans started out as vegetarians and became carnivores as their species fell deeper into sin. What is more, the sin of human beings seems, somehow, to have influenced the animal kingdom, many members of which also took up the killing of other creatures for sustenance. The prophet, Isaiah, is convinced, that the "heavenly kingdom" (what Christians regard as the coming Kingdom of God) will be a killing-free zone with even the most ferocious of wild beasts opting for the vegetarian option at dinnertime.

Whilst I was at ordination college I wrote an essay on animal rights from a Christian perspective. I stated that I believed one of the biggest sins that Christ died for so that we might be forgiven was that of taking another creature's life for the sole purpose of feeding ourselves. The lecturer who marked my essay gave me a pitifully low mark and wrote on the bottom that I should consider reevaluating my call to the priesthood because of my "heretical" views. But he was a nasty, little (literally) fundamentalist and, although upset at the low grade, I paid no attention to his diagnosis of my immortal soul.

I believe in the Kingdom of God and the resurrection of the bodies of all the creatures that have ever lived. Like Isaiah, I believe that in that resurrected world the wolf will dwell with the lamb and the leopard will lie down with the young goat and that no creature, human or otherwise, will cause hurt or destruction on God's holy mountain because when that day comes we will all be living as God truly wants us to live, living without death.

On Marriage

I realise that I might be regarded as old-fashioned by many "modern people" but I am very much with Pope Francis when it comes to his views on marriage and fidelity. The following is a report from "Vatican News" of what he said in Rome earlier today.

Speaking to the pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis reflected on the Sixth Commandment, “You shall not commit adultery”, and said that as Christians, our “original call” is "to full and faithful spousal love", which Jesus Christ revealed and gave to us.

Commenting on the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians, he described the concept as “revolutionary” saying that notwithstanding the “anthropology of the time” it affirms that “the husband must love his wife as Christ loves the Church”.

And elaborating on this, the Pope explained that although the Commandment refers “explicitly to matrimonial fidelity”, it also speaks to every human relationship and vocation.

The Pope said the development of human maturity follows the path of love that goes from receiving care to the ability to offer care, from receiving life to the ability to give life. He said that when we become adults we are called to live a spousal and parental attitude, which is manifested in various situations of life, and explained that a person who is “adulterous, luxurious, unfaithful” is really an immature person who “keeps his life for himself” and interprets situations “on the basis of his own well-being and self-satisfaction”.

“To really get married”, he said, “it is not enough to celebrate marriage! We need to make a journey from the ‘I’ to the ‘We’ and think and live for each other”.

Marriage, the Pope said, is a beautiful journey, and true love enables us to find ourselves and give ourselves away.

And referring to the very words of the Sixth Commandment, Pope Francis said that as men and women, body and spirit, we are called to love in ways that leave no room for lust or promiscuity.

The command “You shall not commit adultery," he said, is an invitation to live fully our original calling to that pure and faithful spousal love that is revealed in Jesus Christ. In his mystery, he continued, and in his love we come to understand the full meaning of the gift of our human sexuality and the fidelity demanded by the marriage covenant. The human body is not an instrument of pleasure, but the place of our call to love, and in authentic love there is no room for lust and its superficiality. Men and women deserve more than this!” he said.

Keep Calm And Don’t Panic

Obviously, actions such as gun control and a complete overhaul of the electoral process would be major steps in any campaign to cure the USA of its current societal malaise. However, I fear all attempts to do so will be spitting in the wind unless the American people, as a whole, calm down. It strikes me that in a crisis they immediately switch to the mode of collective hysteria, but even when things are running smoothly they are far too enthusiastic about stuff, especially political stuff. It is just not healthy for a nation to be in such a constant state of fervency. With such constant tension, people are sure to snap.

Learning To Love The Hater

"Stop the words of hate."
( Rabbi Jeffrey Myers )

We all need to "stop the words of hate." There are not evil words of hate and righteous words of hate; there are just words of hate. Hating a hater is hate. Hate that is not as hateful as another's hate is hate. Hating hate is hate. There should be no hate in our discourse, no hate in our complaints. Anger, yes, but hatred, no.

Tony Joe White: Backwoods Preacher Man

Tony Joe White, the man who wrote "Rainy Night in Georgia," passed away on Wednesday. He was a pivotal figure in the history of Americana and one of the greatest songwriters of the second half of the twentieth century. A chronicler of the true south he sang of the hardship and joy of poor folk and, above all, their dignity even when the rest of the world looked down on them. He sang about people who were blind to the colour of another's skin and also about love.

Tony Joe was highly respected by fans of swamp rock and American roots music throughout the world but he never fully received the acclaim due to him in his own land. I suspect that, like that other great troubadour outsider, Townes Van Zandt, his genius will be most fully recognised now that he is no longer with us.

May he rest in peace.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE TWENTY-SIXTH OF OCTOBER, 2018
* Alfred the Great *

OPENING PRAYER

Eternal God, the light of the minds that know you, the joy of the hearts that love you and the strength of the wills that serve you: grant us so to know you that we may truly love you, so to love you that we may truly serve you, whose service is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

( Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 )

CANTICLE

The way is dark before me, black clouds over me spread;
the tempest gathers round me and forms above my head.
The sun has ceased its shining and weary grows the day;
oh, hear my prayer, my Father, and roll the clouds away.

The dreary rain is falling, the clouds are flying past;
the angry lightning flashes, the thunder is rolling fast;
I am waiting still, my Father, and longing for the day,
when you shall calm the tempest and roll the clouds away.

O Lord, dispel the darkness and let me see the light;
oh, break away the tempest and let the sun shine bright;
oh, speak the rain from falling, oh, clear my soul’s sad day;
oh, stop the thunder’s rolling, oh, roll the clouds away.

( A. J. Fish, nineteenth century )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Alfred the Great: “in the midst of earthly troubles, thinking of heavenly things”

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Alfred the Great, king of the West Saxons, who died on the twenty-sixth of October, 899.

Alfred ruled in a very tumultuous time in the history of Britain. He watched his father and four brothers die in battle before he wore the crown of king. He was challenged by the Norsemen, the Danes who raided and pillaged Britain until they were stopped by Alfred and his troops. After successfully stopping the advance of the Norsemen in 878AD, he made a treaty with them. They could keep land in the North East of England, provided they accepted baptism and instruction in the Christian faith.

These forced conversions seem inappropriate to us today as it hardly seems that genuine faith in Christ can be part of the act. But it brought peace to England, and that peace enabled the Christian Church to continue its mission throughout the land without fear.

History treats Alfred as a holy king. In his early years, he had aspired to become a monk. Circumstances thrust him into battle and onto the throne, but once peace was secured he turned his thoughts once again to reading and to the "Bible." He was much impressed by the provisions in the "Law of Moses" for the protection of the rights of ordinary citizens and gave order that similar provisions should be made part of English law. He promoted the education of the clergy. Alfred considered that the tumultuous times he lived in were a result of a lack of learning. He caused many books and ideas to be translated and circulated for study. He once reasoned that he did this so that “in the midst of earthly troubles I might sometimes think of heavenly things.”

Scripture. In the "Twenty-First Psalm" we read at verses one and seven:

In your strength, the king rejoices, O Lord, and in your help how greatly he exults! For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for Elizabeth, Queen of England, and all Christians appointed to govern in their nations.

... that all may have access to a good education.

... that knowledge and wisdom may be promoted throughout the world and made available to all in their own language.

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

... for those killed or injured in flash floods near the Dead Sea in Jordan. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "The Tractates On The Gospel According To Saint John" by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430:

These, then, were the words of praise addressed to Jesus by the multitude, “Hosanna: blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel.”

What a cross of mental suffering must the Jewish rulers have endured when they heard so great a multitude proclaiming Christ as their king! But what honour was it to the Lord to be king of Israel? What great thing was it to the king of eternity to become the king of men? For Christ’s kingship over Israel was not for the purpose of exacting tribute, of putting swords into his soldiers’ hands, of subduing his enemies by open warfare; but he was king of Israel in exercising kingly authority over their inward natures, in consulting for their eternal interests, in bringing into his heavenly kingdom those whose faith, and hope, and love were centred in himself. Accordingly, for the Son of God, the Father’s equal, the Word by whom all things were made, in his good pleasure to be king of Israel, was an act of condescension and not of promotion; a token of compassion, and not any increase of power. For he who was called on earth the king of the Jews, is in the heavens the lord of angels.

CLOSING PRAYERS

O Sovereign Lord, who brought your servant Alfred to a troubled throne that he might establish peace in a ravaged land and revive learning and the arts among the people, awake in us also a keen desire to increase our understanding while we are in this world and an eager longing to reach that endless life where all will be made clear; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE TWENTY-FIFTH OF OCTOBER, 2018
* Henri Perrin *

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty Lord our God, direct our steps into the way of peace and strengthen our hearts to obey your commandments; may the Day-spring visit us from on high and give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death; that they may adore you for your mercy, follow you for your truth, desire you for your sweetness, who are the blessed Lord God of Israel.

CANTICLE

O you waves of free salvation, onward sweep from day to day,
until all trace of desolation from our earth is washed away.

O you waves of free salvation, wondrous joy to mortals bring,
giving souls a glad translation to the palace of the King.

O you waves of free salvation, still enrich this world of ours,
until each high and lowly station shall be bright with sweetest flowers.

O you waves of free salvation, tarry not for wind or tide;
may each heart, in acceptation, to your gladness open wide.

O you waves, roll on, roll on! With a mighty sweep, roll on,
until the lost are gathered in, saved forevermore from sin.

( Mrs. J. M. Hunter, early twentieth century )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Henri Perrin, worker priest: outside the ecclesiastical ghetto

In Paris in the 1940’s, several Roman Catholic priests asked their bishop to allow them to start a new ministry to the working class of Paris which had been long estranged from the church. They applied for jobs in the factories of Paris and worked alongside the men and women they hoped to serve. They did not broadcast their identity as priests, but built their relationships from the ground up, as co-workers. Henri Perrin was one of the founders of the movement.

Peter Collins wrote of it this way: "They began to see that the absence of the poor from the Church signalled not simply a gulf to be filled by 'bringing them back', but a radical rethinking of the whole mission of the Church.”

During World War II French workers were conscripted by the government to do factory work in Germany. Perrin and others volunteered to accompany them. It was out of this experience that the worker priest movement was born. After the war, in 1947, their bishop gave them his blessing and the experiment began. Perrin found work in a Plastics factory. When his priestly identity was discovered, his coworkers gave him a level of respect and friendship he claimed he had never received as a parish priest.

Though the French bishops were enthusiastic, their enthusiasm was not matched in Rome where the church bureaucrats were afraid to get the Church too mixed up with French communists. They ordered the worker priest movement to disband in 1954. This threw Henri Perrin into a real crisis.

“It is impossible that I should return to the ghetto,” he wrote to a friend.

His choices were bleak. Before he could reach a conclusion, he was tragically killed in a motorbike accident on the twenty-fifth of October, 1954, at the age of forty.

Quote: “With us, or without us, or in spite of us, God will fill that gulf—if only we don’t put too many spokes in the wheel.”
( Henri Perrin )

Scripture: In "The Second Letter to the Thessalonians," chapter three, at verses seven and eight we read:

For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labour, we worked night and day so that we might not burden any of you.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for worker priests, workplace chaplains and priests and missionaries who support themselves through their own labour.

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

... for shopworkers under the threat of redundancy because of shop closures.

... for the people of Yemen on the brink of famine. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "A Friend To All Men: The Diary Of A Worker-Priest" by Egide van Broeckhoven, 1933-1967:

In the same way that God's love took flesh in time, our apostolic love must become a tangible reality in time, with the same consequences for us as for Christ; otherwise, it is a parody, a half-truth or, at least, a very crippled love.

If we truly love others and the world, the love of Christ will urge us to go meet them in a concrete and tangible way. And not only for a determined, more-or-less long time according to the free choice of a dilettante (it is not enough, for example, to spend a few weeks experimenting with working in a factory), but really and totally in historical time. We must share concretely the life of others and of the world, just as God shared concretely in our life by living it with us: Christ came on earth for more than a few weeks; the Father did not send his son into the world to make his residence here a training course in gathering data for the efficient operation of Providence, which would then carry on the business from high in his heaven. Neither did he send him into the world to preach a mission, to say things clearly and distinctly and to proclaim his message of salvation from the high pulpit of truth. We must not only proclaim the message of salvation to men; we must ourselves become this message, just as Christ became for our sake the message of salvation.

Proclaiming the word of God from high on the pulpit of truth does not really mean very much if we do not encounter the man we are speaking to personally and in depth; this is where the Father speaks his word to him. Let us illustrate this with an example in order to understand the meaning of sharing life concretely with others (and in order to surmise where this can lead).

It is enough to go out for a bike ride, even a short one, with the boys in the Dam quarter of Anvers. It was only thanks to these days spent really together, and only because I had become tangible to them in my concrete reality as a person, that, on the Domburg beach, they were able to ask me the first question they thought of, as we were stretched out in a circle, telling jokes, all of us tired out after a wrestling match: “But what made you want to become a priest?" A rather surprising question at that precise moment, but perfectly authentic and genuine, given our really concrete friendship. The comparison might seem audacious, but we shall make it anyway. Had not Christ already spent a long time with his apostles, before they were ready to ask him the question: “But who are you?" Moreover. this question was just as perfectly genuine and authentic, coming from them, as the question Philip asked. “But this Father of yours, we would sure like to meet him some day; that's all we ask, nothing else."

CLOSING PRAYERS

Almighty God, your son, Jesus Christ, hallowed human labour by working with his hands in the carpenter shop in Nazareth. May your church value and respect the hard work of men and women, especially those whose work is dangerous or burdensome. Continue to send us renewers of the Church such as Henri Perrin, so that your grace may find a home in the places where your people toil. Through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

Letting migrants cross unhindered into the United States is the equivalent of giving a man a fish. Redistributing the wealth of the world so there is no economic reason to migrate would be the equivalent of teaching a man how to fish. I wonder how many middle-class, liberal Americans, who are mostly not directly affected by mass migration other than to benefit from the cheap labour it supplies, and who are calling for their southern border to be open to all, would be prepared to make the huge personal sacrifices that would be necessary to make the world an economically fairer place. Virtue costs and when push comes to shove few are prepared to pay for it out of their own pocket.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE TWENTY-FOURTH OF OCTOBER, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

To you, O Son of God, Lord Jesus Christ, as you pray to the eternal Father, we pray, make us one in him. Lighten our personal distress and that of our society. Receive us into the fellowship of those who believe. Turn our hearts, O Christ, to everlasting truth and healing harmony.

( Philip Melanchthon, 1497-1560 )

CANTICLE

Watchmen! onward to your stations; blow the trumpet long and loud;
preach the gospel to the nations, speak to every gathering crowd.
See the day is breaking; see the saints awaking, no more in sadness bow.

Watchmen! hail the rising glory of the great Messiah’s reign;
tell the Saviour’s bleeding story, tell it to the listening train.
See his love revealing; see the Spirit sealing; it is life among the slain.

( Joseph Funk, 1778–1862 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Dedication of the Cathedral of Chartres

On this day in the year 1260 AD, the present cathedral of Chartres in France was dedicated in the presence of King Louis IX. This is a marginal thing to remember, but it opens for us the medieval world and helps us to understand how important the Church and religious faith were to the people of that time.

There have been five cathedrals on this site, the first of which was destroyed by a Danish Invasion in 858 AD. A devastating fire in 1194 brought an end to the fourth cathedral and what visitors see today was built in a relatively short period of time, with over three hundred people working on the cathedral at any given time.

Chartres was one of the major centers of pilgrimage throughout the Middle Ages. And pilgrimage fueled the medieval economy. Chartres was the site of a “holy well” into which the bodies of Christians had been thrown in days of persecution. In 876 AD the cathedral acquired the Sancta Camisa, believed to be the tunic worn by Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the time of his birth. That drew pilgrims from all over Europe. The market in Chartres was held all around the cathedral grounds. Special fairs, organised around feast days of Saint Mary drew thousands there each year.

During the French Revolution, the cathedral was spared by the townsfolk of Chartres, who repelled the more excessive and fanatical patriots, who wanted it demolished. In World War II the cathedral was also spared when the American colonel, Welborn Barton Griffith, Jr. challenged the order to destroy it, by going behind enemy lines to discover whether the Germans were using the cathedral as a staging area for troops. They were not.

Orson Welles said of Chartres Cathedral:

"Now this has been standing here for centuries. The premier work of man perhaps in the whole western world and it’s without a signature: Chartres. A celebration to God’s glory and to the dignity of man. All that’s left most artists seem to feel these days, is man. There aren’t any celebrations. Ours, the scientists keep telling us, is a universe, which is disposable. You know it might be just this one anonymous glory of all things, this rich stone forest, this epic chant, this gaiety, this grand choiring shout of affirmation, which we choose when all our cities are dust, to stand intact, to mark where we have been, to testify to what we had it in us, to accomplish."

Scripture. In the twenty-fourth chapter of "Matthew," at the first and second verse, we read:

As Jesus came out of the temple and was going away, his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple.

Then he asked them, "You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for stonemasons and all involved in the building and renovation of places of Christian worship.

... for those who have no building in which to worship God, that they may meet God where they are.

... for the United Nations Organisation, for all who work for it and for its success in its task to promote international co-operation and peace between the nations. DETAILS

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

... for an to nuclear proliferation and the thwarting of those who appear determined to return the world to the fearful state of the Cold War years.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "An Inland Voyage" by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894:

I find I never weary of great churches. It is my favourite kind of mountain scenery. Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral: a thing as single and specious as a statue to the first glance, and yet, on examination, as lively and interesting as a forest in detail. The height of spires cannot be taken by trigonometry; they measure absurdly short, but how tall they are to the admiring eye! And where we have so many elegant proportions, growing one out of the other, and all together into one, it seems as if proportion transcended itself, and became something different and more imposing. I could never fathom how a man dares to lift up his voice to preach in a cathedral. What is he to say that will not be an anti-climax? For though I have heard a considerable variety of sermons, I never yet heard one that was so expressive as a cathedral. ’Tis the best preacher itself, and preaches day and night; not only telling you of man’s art and aspirations in the past but convicting your own soul of ardent sympathies; or rather, like all good preachers, it sets you preaching to yourself; and every man is his own doctor of divinity in the last resort.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Almighty God, from living stones, your chosen people, you built an eternal temple to your glory. Increase the strength and vitality of your church, so that your faithful people may continue to grow into the new and eternal Jerusalem, where we will need no temple made of hands to praise and worship you forever; through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Fake Christianity

This man was instrumental in my sacking and helped engineer a situation that led to me leaving my parish as a hated man by fabricating a narrative of events that was based on an incident that did not happen (not that did not happen in the way he said it did but did not happen at all because, for starters, those allegedly involved were not even there).

The last thing I said to him was, "But do you believe that the Bishop has a duty of care towards me?"

To which he replied, "No."

And that was that. I never heard from a member of the clergy of the Church of England again and, certainly, nobody ever contacted me to check on my welfare or spiritual wellbeing, not even the parish priests of the places I have lived in since. This is exactly how much Christians love each other. What the top clergy claim is a lie. They are fakes and the new dean of Newcastle Cathedral is no exception in my experience.

The secret to a successful career in the Church of England is to not give a damn about anyone else but yourself and the person who can give you your next promotion.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE TWENTY-THIRD OF OCTOBER, 2018
* James of Jerusalem *

OPENING PRAYER

O great Chief, light a candle in my heart, that I may see what is inside it and sweep the rubbish from your dwelling place. Amen.

( African schoolgirl's prayer )

CANTICLE

Watchman on the walls of Zion, tell, O tell us of the night;
do you see the star of promise? Is it shining clear and bright?
Hallelujah, hallelujah, over the mountain’s towering height,
see it rising and ascending; millions hail its welcome sight.

Watchman on the walls of Zion, will the Messiah they have slain,
bring the banished sons of Judah to their native hills again?
Hallelujah! God is ever mindful of his chosen race,
though in exile, he will restore them to a father’s dear embrace.

Watchman on the walls of Zion, tell us of the future times;
when shall peace and holy union bind the soul of every clime?
Where the spark of love and glory, kindled to a living flame,
make the heart of every Christian feel and throb and burn the same.

( Fanny Crosby, 1820–1915 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

James of Jerusalem: brother of the Lord

Today Saint Laika’s remembers James of Jerusalem, who is called “the brother of the Lord.” There are at least two other followers of Jesus named James. On the twenty-fifth of July we remember James the “Greater” and on May Day we remember James the “Less.” James of Jerusalem is the third, a member of the Lord’s own human family.

Much of what we know about him comes from inference. For example, some Christians who believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary will insist James is the cousin of Jesus. Others believe he is a half-brother of Jesus, a child of Joseph’s first marriage (also an inference).

We also believe James did not come to faith in Jesus until after the resurrection. Both Mark and John make references to his family not believing in him, and Paul mentions James as a recipient of a visit by the risen Lord in "The First Letter to the Corinthians," chapter fifteen.

In any event, James was a pious and devout Jew, who became the leader of the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem. We infer also that he is the author of the "Letter of James" in the "New Testament," filled as it is with Jewish themes. He was a key player in supporting Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles and his leadership is evidenced in "Acts" chapter fifteen, where Paul’s ministry was discussed.

Church historian, Eusebius, quoting an earlier historian of the church, Hegesippus, tells us James was called “the Just,” by the people of Jerusalem. He was successful in getting many Jews in Jerusalem to become believers in Jesus as the Messiah. So much so, that he was hurled from the temple wall to the pavement and beaten to death.

If it is true that James only came to believe in his brother after the resurrection, it is indeed remarkable that he became a leader in the Jesus movement, but one who did not stand on his lineage, but gave way to Paul and others who were moving out into the Gentile world. Part of his integrity must be his humility and his willingness to serve. Qualities that are needed today both in public service and in service to the Church.

Scripture. In the third chapter of "James," in verses sixteen to eighteen we read:

Where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the Christian Church in Jerusalem.

... for Messianic Jews and Jewish converts to Christianity.

... for church leaders, that they may lead with humility and courage.

... for friends in hospital at this time.

... for the people of Hungary who celebrate their national holiday today.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "Church History" by Eusebius of Caesarea, c.260-c.340:

But after Paul, in consequence of his appeal to Caesar, had been sent to Rome by Festus, the Jews, being frustrated in their hope of entrapping him by the snares which they had laid for him, turned against James, the brother of the Lord, to whom the episcopal seat at Jerusalem had been entrusted by the apostles. The following daring measures were undertaken by them against him.

Leading him into their midst they demanded of him that he should renounce faith in Christ in the presence of all the people. But, contrary to the opinion of all, with a clear voice, and with greater boldness than they had anticipated, he spoke out before the whole multitude and confessed that our Saviour and Lord Jesus is the Son of God. But they were unable to bear longer the testimony of the man who, on account of the excellence of ascetic virtue and of piety which he exhibited in his life, was esteemed by all as the most just of men, and consequently they slew him. Opportunity for this deed of violence was furnished by the prevailing anarchy, which was caused by the fact that Festus had died just at this time in Judea, and that the province was thus without a governor and head.

The manner of James' death has been already indicated by the above-quoted words of Clement, who records that he was thrown from the pinnacle of the temple, and was beaten to death with a club. But Hegesippus, who lived immediately after the apostles, gives the most accurate account in the fifth book of his Memoirs. He writes as follows:

James, the brother of the Lord, succeeded to the government of the Church in conjunction with the apostles. He has been called the Just by all from the time of our Saviour to the present day; for there were many that bore the name of James. He was holy from his mother's womb; and he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat flesh. No razor came upon his head; he did not anoint himself with oil, and he did not use the bath. He alone was permitted to enter into the holy place; for he wore not woollen but linen garments. And he was in the habit of entering alone into the temple and was frequently found upon his knees begging forgiveness for the people, so that his knees became hard like those of a camel, in consequence of his constantly bending them in his worship of God, and asking forgiveness for the people.

Because of his exceeding great justice he was called the Just, and Oblias, which signifies in Greek, "Bulwark of the people" and "Justice," in accordance with what the prophets declare concerning him.

Now some of the seven sects, which existed among the people and which have been mentioned by me in the Memoirs, asked him, "What is the gate of Jesus?" and he replied that he was the Saviour.

On account of these words some believed that Jesus is the Christ. But the sects mentioned above did not believe either in a resurrection or in one's coming to give to every man according to his works. But as many as believed did so on account of James. Therefore when many even of the rulers believed, there was a commotion among the Jews and Scribes and Pharisees, who said that there was a danger that the whole people would be looking for Jesus as the Christ.

Coming therefore in a body to James they said, "We entreat you, restrain the people; for they are gone astray in regard to Jesus as if he were the Christ. We entreat you to persuade all that have come to the feast of the Passover concerning Jesus; for we all have confidence in you. For we bear you witness, as do all the people, that you are just. Therefore persuade the multitude not to be led astray concerning Jesus. For the whole people, and all of us also, have confidence in you. Stand therefore upon the pinnacle of the temple, that from that high position you may be clearly seen, and that your words may be readily heard by all the people. For all the tribes, with the Gentiles also, are come together on account of the Passover."

The aforesaid Scribes and Pharisees therefore placed James upon the pinnacle of the temple, and cried out to him and said: "Just one, in whom we ought all to have confidence, forasmuch as the people are led astray after Jesus, the crucified one, declare to us, what is the gate of Jesus."

And he answered with a loud voice, "Why do ye ask me concerning Jesus, the Son of Man? He himself sits in heaven at the right hand of the great Power, and is about to come upon the clouds of heaven."

And when many were fully convinced and gloried in the testimony of James, and said, "Hosanna to the Son of David," these same Scribes and Pharisees said again to one another, "We have done badly in supplying such testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, in order that they may be afraid to believe him."

And they cried out, saying, "Oh! oh! the just man is also in error."

And they fulfilled the Scripture written in Isaiah, "Let us take away the just man because he is troublesome to us: therefore they shall eat the fruit of their doings."

So they went up and threw down the just man, and said to each other, "Let us stone James the Just."

And they began to stone him, for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned and knelt down and said, "I entreat you, Lord God our Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

And while they were thus stoning him one of the priests of the sons of Rechab, the son of the Rechabites, who are mentioned by Jeremiah the prophet, cried out, saying, "Cease! What are you doing? The just one prays for you."

And one of them, who was a fuller, took the club with which he beat out clothes and struck the just man on the head. And thus he suffered martyrdom. And they buried him on the spot, by the temple, and his monument still remains by the temple. He became a true witness, both to Jews and Greeks, that Jesus is the Christ.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Grant, O God, that following the example of your servant James the Just, brother of our Lord, your Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity; 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

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Brexit: A “Fucking Peasant’s” Revolt

It is claimed that about seven hundred thousand people descended on London over the weekend to call for, what would be for all intents and purposes, a second referendum on whether or not the UK should remain in the EU. Such a high attendance at a demonstration may influence the government, especially if it is looking for an excuse to pull out of Brexit without it appearing to be their fault. Certainly, the march will give remainer politicians in all the political parties more confidence to align themselves publically with the call for a "people's vote."

My guess is that a second referendum would result in remainers winning the day, probably fifty-five/forty-five in their favour. This will be due mainly to many of those who originally voted to leave being more frightened of leaving the UK now than they were at the time of the first referendum and, also, their realisation that they are not going to get what they really voted for, a radical reduction in all immigration, whether they leave the EU or stay in it, as the bosses need the cheap labour and the bosses always get what they want in the end, no matter who is in government.

My question is this: What effect would the overturning of the popular vote as expressed in the first referendum have on British society? Would working people just shrug their shoulders, accept that their liberal betters were right all along and go back to playing bingo and watching the premier league on Sky Sports or would a realisation that the liberal elite really do believe they are all ignorant racists who should never have been enfranchised in the first place, lead to a nation split in two waiting for our own Donald Trump to come along to take advantage of the feeling of complete powerlessness felt by the British "underclass"?

Personally, I fear it will be the former reaction because the working people in my country have always given in too easily. At the end of the day "we are all fucking peasants," as the archbishop of liberal hippie elitism, John Lennon, so succinctly put it in the lyrics to his song, "Working Class Hero." Heck, we are almost as bad as the Russians when it comes to "knowing our place."

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE TWENTY-SECOND OF OCTOBER, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord, greatest and most true light, whence the light of the day does spring, 0 wisdom of the eternal Father, lighten my mind, that I may see only those things that please you and may be blinded to all other things. Grant that I may walk in your ways and that nothing else may be light and pleasant.

( John Bradford, 1510-1555 )

CANTICLE

Blow the trumpet, trusty watchman, blow it loud over land and sea;
God commissions, sound the message! Every captive may be free.

Watchman, blow the Gospel trumpet, every soul a warning give;
whosoever hears the message may repent and turn and live.

Sound it loud over every hilltop, gloomy shade and sunny plain;
ocean depths repeat the message, full salvation’s glad refrain.

Sound it in the hedge and highway, Earth’s dark spots where exiles roam;
let it tell all things are ready, Father waits to welcome home.

Sound it for the heavy laden, weary, longing to be free;
sound a saviour’s invitation, sweetly saying, "Come to Me."

Blow the trumpet, trusty watchman, blow it loud over land and sea;
God commissions, sound the message! Every captive may be free.

( Henry Lake Gilmour, 1836–1920 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Nunilo and Alodia: stepchildren can be such a bother

Reaching back to the ancient calendar of the church, we discover two ninth-century saints with a contemporary relevance. Let me introduce you to Nunilo and Alodia, two children, daughters, born of a Muslim father and Christian mother in the village of Huesca, in northeastern Spain.

Muslims had controlled most of Spain since the early ninth century and often Muslim and Christian lived together in relative peace. But there were always flare-ups and times of persecution. It is said that when Nunilo and Alodia’s Muslim father died, their mother decided to marry another Muslim man, a man of importance in the Court of the Emir of Cordoba. He was definitely not happy to have inherited Christian step-children.

At first, the girls were banished and sent to live with their Christian aunt. But then, under the leadership of Abd ar-Rahman II, who came to power in Cordoba in 822, Christians came into a time of persecution, and the girls were summoned by their stepfather and ordered to convert to Islam. When they refused, he tried to marry them off to Muslim men. When they refused again, he sent them to a brothel, where, as Alban Butler says, they “preserved their virtue.” Finally, the step-father had had enough and they were executed in 842 AD.

We are living through a brutal historical time today and again, at the hands of Muslim extremists, we are hearing of the execution of children in various places, of Christian children being forced to convert to Islam, of young girls being kidnapped and forced into marriages with Muslim men. Nunilo and Alodia bear witness to the fact that atrocities like that have been going on for a long time.

And yet there is more to be said on this day of remembrance, which applies to Christian and non-Christian alike. Here in the states, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It is a time to become aware of the violence inflicted on children in abusive homes. It is also time to remember that often children are used as pawns in the power-struggles between adults whose marriages are tumultuous or deteriorating. Children do not ask to be victimised by adults, and whether it be for religious or other purposes, children should never be subjected to violence by adults who are supposed to care for them.

Scripture. In "Psalm Eight," verse two, we find these words:

Out of the mouths of babes and infants, you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for children whose lives are threatened by the sectarianism of adults.

... for children who suffer abuse in their own homes or live in fear of it.

... for those who stutter. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured in a passenger train derailment in northeast Taiwan and all who have been involved in accidents whilst travelling over the weekend. DETAILS

... for those living with multiple sclerosis.

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

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "The Person and Work of Christ" by John Walvoord ( 1910-2002 ):

The death of Christ has been disputed in two major areas by those who reject the scriptural revelation. Some liberals affirm that Christ died but did not literally rise from the dead, thereby casting doubt upon the significance of his death. Some few have held that Christ did not actually die and was merely revived. In this case both the death and resurrection of Christ are in question. Either of these two positions is destructive to Christian faith.

The Biblical record of the death of Christ is a complete presentation both from the prophetic and the historic standpoints. Many passages in the "Old Testament" as well as in the gospels predicted the death of Christ, such as Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22, and similar references. If one accepts the Biblical testimony, it is unavoidable that one also accepts the fact of the death of Christ. All the gospels and all of the epistles either state or assume the fact of his death (cp. Matt 27:32-66; Mark 15:21-47; Luke 23:26-56; John 19:16-42; Rom 5:6; 1 Cor 15:3; 2 Cor 5:15; Rev 5:9).

The Biblical testimony, of course, is confirmed by the history of the church and the fact of the existence of the church itself. Historically, the Biblical doctrine of the person and work of Christ are essential to explain the existence of the church. Without the death of Christ, there would be no sacrifice for sin, no salvation, no resurrection and all the other elements that form the content of Christian faith from the beginning. The fact that the Christian church was able to endure centuries of persecution and survived centuries of neglect and opposition is difficult to explain apart from the system of theology stemming from the belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who actually died, rose and ascended into heaven.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Give to all young people, Lord, the ability to grow up in homes free from fear and harm. Guide them in all right paths, and through the example of Nunilo and Alodia, help them to know that you are ever near; through your son, Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE NINETEENTH OF OCTOBER, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

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

( John Jewell, 1522-1571 )

CANTICLE

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

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

( Charles Wesley, 1707–1788 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Henry Martyn: diffusing the gospel of peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From a sermon by Henry Martyn:

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

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

CLOSING PRAYERS

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

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE EIGHTEENTH OF OCTOBER, 2018
* Luke *

OPENING PRAYER

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

( Alcuin of York, 735-804 )

CANTICLE

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

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

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

( Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, 1851–1920 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Luke: gospel writer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

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

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

... for those in hospital recovering from surgery.

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

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

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From a homily by Gregory the Great:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLOSING PRAYERS

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

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

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

OPENING PRAYER

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

( Columba, 521-597 )

CANTICLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

( Bernard Barton, 1784–1849 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

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

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

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

She died on the twelfth of October, 1845.

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

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

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

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

She died on thy twelfth of October, 1915.

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

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From a sermon by Elizabeth Fry:

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLOSING PRAYERS

Almighty God, you filled your servants Betsy and Edith with compassion for those in need and with courage in the face of danger. Help us, following their example, to care about those in need today, and to work with imagination and skill to improve their lot; through Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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I Want To See The Love

Every day
we go to war again.
We assume
we know so much more than them.
Before we hear what they have to say
headline breaks
and we start to hate again,
calling them names again
we give our peace away.

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