Of Course, I Could be Wrong

To comment click on speech bubble to the right of post title

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE TWENTIETH OF OCTOBER, 2017
* Sister Barbara Muttra and Her Companions *

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord God, father of mercies, the fountain of comfort and blessing, of life and peace, of plenty and pardon, who fills heaven with your glory, and earth with your goodness; I give you the most earnest and most humble returns of my glad and thankful heart, for you have refreshed me with your comforts and enlarged me with your blessing; for, besides the blessings of all mankind, the blessings of nature and the blessings of grace, the support of every minute and the comforts of every day, you have poured out an excellent expression of your loving-kindness upon me. You, Lord, have made me glad through your works; I will rejoice in giving praise for the operations of your hands. Blessed be the Lord who only does wondrous and gracious things. And blessed be the name of His Majesty for ever; and all the earth shall be filled with his majesty. Amen.

( Jeremy Taylor )

PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY

My soul waits for the Lord.

Out of the depths
have I cried to you, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice;
let your ears consider well
the voice of my supplication.

If you, Lord, were to mark
what is done amiss,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you shall be feared.

I wait for the Lord;
my soul waits for him;
in his word is my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord,
more than the night watch for the morning,
more than the night watch for the morning.

O Israel, wait for the Lord,
for with the Lord there is mercy;
with him is plenteous redemption
and he shall redeem Israel
from all their sins.

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.

My soul waits for the Lord.

Father, we commend to your faithful love those who are crying from the depths; help them to watch and pray through their time of darkness, in sure hope of the dawn of your forgiveness and redemption; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Sister Barbara Muttra and her companions,
martyrs in Liberia 1992

Today Saint Laika’s remembers five American sisters who were murdered in Liberia’s bloody civil war.

Liberia is a country in West Africa which was founded, established, colonised, and controlled by citizens of the United States and ex-Caribbean slaves as a colony for former African American slaves and their free black descendants.

Up until 1980, the country was dominated by the small minority of descendants of the free black colonists, known collectively as Americo-Liberians. Although descended from peoples of African origin, the ancestors of Americo-Liberians had been born in the United States for generations before emigrating to Africa; they held American cultural, religious and social values, shaped by their own heritage. They systematically shut the indigenous people of West Africa out of participation in the life of the country.

In 1980, an uprising of the native people caused the overthrow of the Liberian government and an end to the rule of the Americo-Liberians. It also ushered in a time of uncertainty, civil unrest, and armed struggle by rival factions. In 1989 the government of Samuel Doe, which had been in power since the coup in 1980, fell and Liberia was engaged in a civil war. One of the rebels was Charles Taylor, a warlord who led a brutal force of thugs and child soldiers, in a quest for power.

A small order of American nuns called the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, had been working in Liberia since the 1970’s as missionaries and relief workers. When the civil war erupted they continued in their ministry and were beloved for their willingness to provide relief and help to the poor and helpless people caught up in the civil war.

On the twentieth of October, 1992, soldiers of Charles Taylor brutally murdered Sister Barbara Muttra, Sister Mary Joel Kolmer, Sister Agnes Mueller, Sister Shirley Kolmer and Sister Kathleen McGuire.

By the time Charles Taylor claimed the presidency of Liberia in 1997, over six hundred thousandLiberians had been killed. In 2012, he was brought to trial, and sentenced to fifty years in prison for crimes against humanity.

Christian women and men have often placed themselves in situations of danger for the sake of serving the poor and needy. These sisters had the opportunity to flee Liberia in 1990, but all felt that faithfulness to Christ demanded that they stay. They paid the ultimate sacrifice for their faithfulness and today we honour them both for their faith and their faithfulness.

Scripture. In the sixth chapter of "Revelation," verses nine and eleven, we read:

I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given; they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number would be complete both of their fellow-servants and of their brothers and sisters, who were soon to be killed as they themselves had been killed.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those Christians who, through word and action, take the good news of Jesus Christ into all the world, even at risk to their own lives.

... that children should no more be employed, either forcibly or voluntarily, as soldiers.

... for those living with osteoporosis or metabolic bone disease; for the success of those seeking better treatments and a cure for these diseases. 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

To be where God is quietly talked about seems a lovely thing. But to be where God really grips us is a risky matter. As long as a living God is about and given any chance at all, it will be found dangerous to be in his presence. Dangerous, that is, to everything that is more to our liking than it is to his.

( Paul S. Rees )

CLOSING PRAYER

Holy God we give you thanks for the life and witness of Sister Barbara Muttra and her companions, who served your people in Liberia during a time of civil war and died violently as victims of that war. Continue to raise up in your church faithful women and men, who will take the good news of Jesus Christ to people everywhere, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE NINETEENTH OF OCTOBER, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty God, when our vision fails and our understanding is darkened, when the ways of life seem hard and the brightness of life is gone, grant to us the wisdom that deepens faith when the sight is dim and enlarges trust when the understanding is not clear. And whenever your ways in nature or in the soul are hard to be understood, then may our quiet confidence, our patient trust, our loving faith in you be great and as children, knowing that they are loved, cared for, guarded, kept, may we with a quiet mind at all times put our trust in the unseen God. So may we face life without fear and death without fainting; and, whatever may be in the life to come, give us confident hope that whatever is best for us both here and hereafter is your good pleasure, and will be your law. Amen.

PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SIX

The Lord has indeed done great things for us.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
then were we like those who dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter
and our tongue with songs of joy.

Then said they among the nations,
"The Lord has done great things for them."

The Lord has indeed done great things for us,
and therefore we rejoiced.

Restore again our fortunes, O Lord,
as the river beds of the desert.
Those who sow in tears
shall reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed,
will come back with shouts of joy,
bearing their sheaves with them.

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 has indeed done great things for us.

Lord, as you send rain and flowers even to the wilderness, renew us by your Holy Spirit, help us to sow good seed in time of adversity and to live to rejoice in your good harvest of all creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Henry Martyn:
diffusing the gospel of peace

Today is a good day to tell the story of Henry Martyn, a young man who felt a calling to be a missionary; whose short life left a bigger impact on global Christianity than his 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 Hindistani 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. He was the first English priest ever to break that new ground.

Stricken with fever, he made his way over land towards 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 missionaries and translators of Christian texts.

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

... for the people of Catalan; that their constitutional crisis does not evolve into violent civil unrest. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured when two suicide bombers, in Humvee trucks, targeted a military base in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar. DETAILS

... for those who self-harm.

... for refugee children.

... for an end to the hepatitis A outbreak in California; for those who have died from the disease; for an end to the poverty and homelessness that enables illness to take hold of a community. 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 "Journals and Letters of the Rev. Henry Martyn, B.D.":

On a review of the state of my mind since my arrival at Dinapore, I observe that the graces of joy and love have been at a low ebb. Faith has been chiefly called into exercise, and without a simple dependence on the divine promises I should still every day sink into fatal despondency. Self-love and unbelief have been suggesting many foolish fears respecting the difficulties of my future work among the heathen. The thought of interrupting a crowd of busy people like those at Patna, whose every day is a market-day, with a message about eternity, without command of language, sufficient to explain and defend myself, and so of becoming the scorn of the rabble without doing them good, was offensive to my pride. The manifest disaffection of the people, and the contempt with which they eyed me confirmed my dread. Added to this the unjust proceedings of many of the principal magistrates hereabout led me to expect future commotions in the country, and that consequently poverty and murder would terminate my career.

"Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof" and "as thy days are so shall thy strength be," were passages continually brought to my remembrance, and with these at last my mind grew quiet.

If we labour to the end of our days without seeing one convert, it shall not be worse for us in time, and our reward is the same in eternity. The cause in which we are engaged is the cause of mercy and truth, and therefore in spite of seeming impossibilities it must eventually prevail.

CLOSING PRAYER

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

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE EIGHTEENTH OF OCTOBER, 2017
* Luke *

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty God, you called Luke the physician, whose praise is in the gospel, to be an evangelist and physician of the soul: by the grace of the Spirit and through the wholesome medicine of the gospel, give your Church the same love and power to heal; through Jesus Christ your son our lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

CANTICLE

Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel,
who has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty saviour,
born of the house of his servant David.

Through his holy prophets God promised of old
to save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all that hate us,
To show mercy to our ancestors,
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath God swore
to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.

And you, child, shall be called
the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord
to prepare his way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of all their sins.

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

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.

( Luke 1:68-79 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Luke, gospel writer
The Spirit-filled saviour of a Spirit-filled church

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.”

Luke was one of Paul’s fellow missionaries in the early spread of Christianity through the Roman world. 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. Luke 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." Luke 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."

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for artists, physicians, bachelors, surgeons, students, butchers and all who claim Luke as their patron saint.

... for evangelists, church historians and Christian journalists.

... for the people of Kenya, as their upcoming election is deemed not credible, and for the safety of the international observers still remaining in the land. DETAILS

... for those who are in debt; for all who have to borrow in order to pay their bills.

... for the victims of Harvey Weinstein's abusive behaviour and all who have been sexually abused at work; for those who are exploited at work.

... for the six fishermen who are missing after their trawler capsized and sank off the east coast of Australia; for all in peril on the sea. 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 a homily by Gregory the Great:

Beloved brothers, 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 PRAYER

Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke to set forth in the 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

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE SEVENTEENTH OF OCTOBER, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord, in whom is the truth, help us, we entreat you, to speak the truth in love, to hate a lie, to eschew exaggeration, inaccuracy, affectation. Yea, though tribulation or persecution should arise for the truth’s sake, suffer us not to be offended. Amen.

( Christina G. Rossetti )

PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE ( abridged )

Glorious things are spoken of you,
Zion, city of our God.

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but stands fast for ever.

As the hills stand about Jerusalem,
so the Lord stands round about his people,
from this time forth for evermore.

The sceptre of wickedness shall not hold sway
over the land allotted to the righteous,
lest the righteous turn their hands to evil.

Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,
and to those who are true of heart.

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.

Glorious things are spoken of you,
Zion, city of our God.

God of power, you are strong to save and you never fail those who trust in you; keep us under your protection and spread abroad your reign of peace through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Ignatius of Antioch,
ground down by the teeth of wild beasts

Many Christians remember Ignatius of Antioch on this day and his is a story worth telling, for he made a deep impact on the Church of Jesus in its early days.

Ignatius was the second bishop of Antioch in Syria. Martyred in 115, he had a profound sense of two ends - his own, and the consummation of history in Jesus Christ.

Seven authentic letters which Ignatius wrote to churches while he journeyed across Asia Minor in the custody of ten soldiers, give valuable insights into the life of the early Church.

In the late first, early second century, doctrine was unsettled, and many ideas and notions of who Jesus was and what his life and teachings were all about, contended for acceptance. Many taught that Jesus was not really a human being, but only “seemed” so. Ignatius was a fierce opponent of this view.

He wrote: “Be deaf to any talk that ignores Jesus Christ; who was really born, ate, and drank; was really persecuted under Pontius Pilate; was really crucified and died in the sight of heaven and earth and the underworld. He was really raised from the dead.”

Ignatius maintained that the Church’s unity would always spring from that liturgy by which all are initiated into Christ through Baptism.

He exhorted: “Try to gather more frequently to celebrate God’s Eucharist and to praise him. At these meetings you should heed the bishop and attentively and break one loaf, which is the medicine of immortality.”

He wrote: “Flee from schism as the source of mischief. You should all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ did the Father. Follow, too, the presbytery as you would the apostles; and respect the deacons as you would God’s law. Where the bishop is present, there let the congregation gather, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”

When asked about his upcoming death, at which time he was to be set in an arena with wild beasts, he remarked: “May they grind me down like flour, to make a sweet-tasting bread for God.”

Scripture. In the forty-third chapter of "Isaiah," at verses twenty and twenty-one we read:

"The wild animals will honour me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the leaders of the churches; that they may teach wisely, after the teaching of Jesus Christ, and lead by example, imitating his life of love and sacrifice.

... on this, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, for the ending of poverty throughout the world and for all time.

... for the people of Kirkuk in Iraq, that their aspirations may be achieved without bloodshed; for those fleeing the city, that they may find sanctuary and be able to return home safely very soon.

... for those affected by stormy weather in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

... for Catalonian political prisoners. DETAILS

... for the Maltese journalist, Caruana Galizia, who has been assassinated in a car bomb attack, and for all who use the written word to expose corruption in high places. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured when Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen stormed a police training centre in the eastern Afghan city of Gardez. DETAILS

... for the victims of the recent wildfires in Portugal, in particular those who have died. 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 Epistle to the Ephesians" by Ignatius of Antioch:

Wherefore none of the devices of the devil shall be hidden from you, if, like Paul, you perfectly possess that faith and love towards Christ which are the beginning and the end of life. The beginning of life is faith, and the end is love. And these two being inseparably connected together, do perfect the man of God; while all other things which are requisite to a holy life follow after them.

No man making a profession of faith ought to sin, nor one possessed of love to hate his brother. For he that said, “You shall love the Lord your God,” said also, “and your neighbour as yourself.”

Those that profess themselves to be Christ’s are known not only by what they say, but by what they practise. “For the tree is known by its fruit.”

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, we praise your name for your bishop and martyr Ignatius of Antioch, who offered himself as grain to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts that he might present to you the pure bread of sacrifice. Accept, we pray, the willing tribute of our lives and give us a share in the pure and spotless offering of your son Jesus Christ; 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.

Same As It Ever Was

From "Down and Out in Paris and London" by George Orwell (1933):

At half past eight Paddy took me to the Embankment, where a clergyman was known to distribute meal tickets once a week. Under Charing Cross Bridge fifty men were waiting, mirrored in the shivering puddles. Some of them were truly appalling specimens; they were Embankment sleepers, and the Embankment dredges up worse types than the spike. One of them, I remember, was dressed in an overcoat without buttons, laced up with rope, a pair of ragged trousers, and boots exposing his toes; not a rag else. He was bearded like a fakir, and he had managed to streak his chest and shoulders with some horrible black filth resembling train oil. What one could see of his face under the dirt and hair was bleached white as paper by some malignant disease. I heard him speak, and he had a goodish accent, as of a clerk or shopwalker.

Presently the clergyman appeared and the men ranged themselves in a queue in the order in which they had arrived. The clergyman was a nice, chubby, youngish man, and, curiously enough, very like Charlie, my friend in Paris. He was shy and embarrassed, and did not speak except for a brief good evening; he simply hurried down the line of men, thrusting a ticket upon each, and not waiting to be thanked. The consequence was that, for once, there was genuine gratitude, and everyone said that the clergyman was a "fuckin' good feller."

Someone (in his hearing, I believe) called out: "Well, he'll never be a fuckin' bishop!"

This, of course, intended as a warm compliment.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE TENTH OF OCTOBER, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Grant, we beseech you, merciful Lord, to your faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins and serve you with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FOUR

Our help is in the name of the Lord.

If the Lord himself
had not been on our side,
now may Israel say;
"If the Lord had not been on our side,
when enemies rose up against us;
then would they have swallowed us alive
when their anger burned against us;
then would the waters have overwhelmed us
and the torrent gone over our soul;
over our soul would have swept
the raging waters.

"But blessed be the Lord
who has not given us over
to be a prey for their teeth.
Our soul has escaped
as a bird from the snare of the fowler;
the snare is broken and we are delivered.

"Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who has made heaven and earth."

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.

Our help is in the name of the Lord.

O God, maker of heaven and earth, you save us in the water of baptism and by the suffering of your son you set us free; help us to put our trust in his victory and to know the salvation won for us by Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

William Dwight Porter Bliss and Richard T. Ely:
economic justice? In church?
(transferred from Sunday)

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

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

Ely rejected the extremes of both capitalism and socialism.

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

What was needed instead, he argued, was a proper and healthy balance between public and private enterprise. He favoured competition with regulation that would raise the moral and ethical level of economic practice.

Ely claimed that the Gospel was social rather than individualistic in nature, and he consistently called the Episcopal Church to work toward the reform of capitalism for the sake of the rights and dignity of the American worker.

Ely’s principles were highly influential on his friend Walter Rauschenbusch, one of the major figures in the Social Gospel Movement.

Like R.T. Ely, William Dwight Porter Bliss believed that the church was called to work for economic justice, the principles of which were grounded in the Gospel.

Originally ordained a Congregationalist minister, in 1887 he became an Episcopal priest. He served parishes in Massachusetts, California, and New York before organising the first Christian Socialist Society in the United States in 1899.

Bliss consistently claimed that economic justice, for which all Christians were responsible, was “rooted and grounded in Christ, the liberator, the head of humanity.”

Among his written works are "The Encyclopaedia of Social Reform" (1898) and "The Hand-Book of Socialism" (1895).

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

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for social justice and an equal distribution of the wealth of the world among all its people; for those within the Church who work for social justice.

... on this World Mental Health Day, for the full inclusion of the mentally ill within the Church and within society; for an end to the prejudice against them.

... on this, the fifteenth World Day Against the Death Penalty, for those on death row and for an end to this cruel and ungodly punishment.

... for the people of China, Fiji, North Korea and Taiwan who celebrate their national day today.

... for those who have been killed or made homeless by the wildfires raging in California.

... for all who are living under the threat of redundancy and unemployment.

... 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 Social Faith of the Catholic Church" by William Dwight Porter Bliss:

But there is a better way, even the way of Christ. Christ came to fulfil the Old Testament Law. What was that Law? It was national, social, institutional. It proscribed the form of holding land and capital; all land was held as belonging to God alone, and to no individual in fee simple. Every one, however, who belonged to the theocracy (notice that he must belong to the organisation to gain its advantages) was defended, not in the ownership, but in the inalienable use of land and capital. No Jew could be permanently alienated from the land. If he was poor, his property, his tools, his capital, could not be kept overnight. The Law by its institutes defended the fatherless, the widow, the hireling (that is the wage worker), the stranger, the poor, the oppressed. Now see the result. Under such a Law, it was perfectly possible and easy and natural to take no thought for the morrow, to lend hoping for nothing again. Jesus Christ spoke to a people knowing the Law. Christian individualists cut off Christ's social basis and leave his teachings floating in the air.

But you say, If the law makes it easy to be good, what need of the Christ? What need of conversion; what need of the sacramental life? Ah that is it. The Hebrew Law did not work; no law can work; it is not the function of law to work; man must work the Law; hence the Christ, hence conversion, hence the sacraments, hence the means of grace. Jesus Christ came to make us fulfil the Law. What the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, that Jesus Christ came to fulfil; only conversion, the sacraments, the spiritual life, must not replace the Law, but fulfil it. This is the divine unity. Individualism forgets law; institutionalism forgets grace. A true Socialism fulfils the social law through grace. The Old Testament gives the world its social track; Jesus Christ gives the locomotive power. To preach as Tolstoi and most Protestants do, the latter without social organisation, is to try and run a locomotive without a track. No wonder that it lands us in the ditch of impossibilities and absurdities. Protestantism has run the world into a quagmire. Jesus Christ is the locomotive power drawing the world along the social track.

And notice that though the locomotive is above the track, the track must be laid down first and the locomotive stand upon it. Hence the Old Testament before the New, the majesty of Sinai before the Sermon on the Mount, the Law before the Gospel. In the Catholic Church, where Old Testament and New Testament each has its lesson, where we honour Law and Gospel, we have the true unity. But even here has a false Protestant individualism crept in. We need to revise the whole Protestant theory of salvation. Salvation is life; and life does not come from, but must be lived in harmony with, environment. We must be saved in society.

CLOSING PRAYER

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

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

The Church of England And The Mentally Different

Today is World Mental Health Day

The following is the text of an email I have sent to the bishops of Durham and Newcastle. They will dismiss it as the ravings of a mad man because it easier for them to do that than admit their complete lack of compassion.

Today is World Mental Health Day. This is a report published by the Chronicle today highlighting the abysmal treatment of people with mental health problems by employers in the North East. I am living proof that the Church of England in our region is every bit as guilty of bigotry and prejudice as any other employer. As representatives of Jesus Christ the healer, who included those who had been “demon possessed among his disciples and followers, the hierarchy of the Church should be leading the way by fully including us in every aspect of church life. Instead, they sack their priests and exclude their lay members who openly suffer from mental health problems. The bishops should be ashamed of their lack of understanding and compassion but they never will be. Nobody with the heart of a true pastor gets to be a bishop nowadays; only businessmen and businesswomen are invited to join the club.

CLICK HERE for newspaper article.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE NINTH OF OCTOBER, 2017
* Vida Dutton Scudder, Wilfred Grenfell *

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord, lift up the light of your countenance upon us: let your peace rule in our hearts and may it be our strength and our song in the house of our pilgrimage. We commit ourselves to your care and keeping this day; let your grace be mighty in us and sufficient for us, and let it work in us both to will and to do of your own good pleasure, and grant us strength for all the duties of the day. Keep us from sin, give us the rule over our own spirits and keep us from speaking unadvisedly with our lips. May we live together in peace and holy love and do your command with your blessing upon us, even life for evermore. Prepare us for all the events of the day, for we know not what a day may bring forth. Give us grace to deny ourselves, to take up our cross daily and to follow in the steps of our lord and master. Amen.

( Matthew Henry )

CANTICLE

Your kingdom, Lord, we long for,
where love shall find its own,
and brotherhood triumphant
our years of pride disown.
Your captive people languish
in mill and mart and mine;
we lift to you their anguish,
we wait your promised sign.

Your kingdom, Lord, your kingdom,
all secretly it grows;
in faithful hearts forever
his seed the Sower sows.
Yet ere its consummation
must dawn a mighty doom.
For judgment and salvation
the Son of Man shall come.

If now perchance in tumult
his destined sign appear,
(the rising of the people)
dispel our coward fear!
Let comforts that we cherish,
let old tradition die;
our wealth, our wisdom perish,
so that he draw but nigh.

In wrath and revolution
the sign may be displayed,
but by your grace we'll greet it
with spirits unafraid.
The awestruck heart presages
an advent dread and sure;
it hails the hope of ages,
its master in the poor.

Beyond our fierce confusions,
our strife of speech and sword,
our wars of class and nation,
we wait your certain Word.
The meek and poor in spirit
who in your promise trust,
the kingdom shall inherit,
the blessing of the just.

( Vida Dutton Scudder)

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Vida Dutton Scudder: seeking the “larger mosaic of talents” in the poor
Wilfred Grenfell: “paying the rent for our room on Earth.”

Vida Dutton Scudder took a close and careful look at American life and culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and did not like what she saw. Too much poverty, too much relegation of immigrants to the margins of society, too much power held by white, Anglo-Saxon protestants. She had a different vision for society, based on her deeply held Christian faith, and she spent her life as a teacher and social activist, prodding society to change. This led her to a passion for Christian socialism, which hoped to restore to Christianity the socialistic themes revealed in the "Acts of the Apostles." She founded the Denison House in Boston, a seedbed for social reform. She took an active part in organising the Women’s Trade Union, gave public and loud support for the textile workers strike in 1912. She sought “the genius that was America” in the “larger mosaic of talents” of its many immigrant populations. She wrote that, for her, real Christian socialism was physically, realistically embodied in the Jesus of scripture who stepped out of stained-glass church windows into the sordid streets of ghettoised hollowness and spiritual deprivation. She died on this day in 1954

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

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

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that the Church may once again embrace the social vision of the first Christians and become a true community of believers in the teaching of Jesus Christ.

... for those who drowned when a boat packed with Rohingya Muslims, fleeing violence in Myanmar, capsized near Bangladesh; for those who are missing and for all victims of this prolonged and brutal act of ethnic cleansing. DETAILS

... for foster carers.

... 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 Church and the Hour" by Vida Dutton Scudder:

There is secret sacrifice involved in placing special emphasis on intercession. It is the sacrifice demanded by an age peculiarly called to labour for social ideals. Petition at highest is only a small part of prayer. Praise is a blessed duty, confession of sin a necessity: above all other forms comes that pure single concentrated practice of the presence of God whence flows all peace and power. Considering the richness of the life hid with Christ in God through prayer, one cannot marvel if it drew men of old away from all earthly pursuits to an exclusive consecration. But the via contemplativa is today the way for very few; and perhaps precisely in the sacrifice of dearer energies, the subordination of possible hidden joys, lies part of our expiation for communal guilt. The joys may wait on that great day when the redeemed of the Lord shall come to Zion with songs and with everlasting joy upon their heads. Here and now, God may best be found by those who in the secret life forever deny in part even their higher desires, that they may lift the sorrowful needs of the world up to his heart of mercy.

Through intercession, the handicapped, the sick, the feeble, the inhibited from action, can find their place, can march shoulder to shoulder with the vigorous, or perhaps can lead the march, in the inspiriting advance toward the kingdom of justice. Legislative reforms, and greater things, may be achieved by desires rising from some obscure bed of pain. Yet this is no mere work for private initiative, it is also a work for the Church. Men grope to discover how an aroused Christian community can react on the social situation through its ecclesiastical machinery; the answer is difficult, opinions vary. Some say that the clergy should throw themselves into politics, some that they should stay out. Some want institutional churches, some despise them. Some wish the Church to inaugurate social service under her own name, others think that if she does she will simply chip in at cross purposes to wiser secular agencies. But one thing the churches surely can do without harming or interfering, they can summon people to pray for social justice, and they can teach them how. In a parish or a diocese, or in the Church universal, why should not a novena or a week of prayer be now and then proclaimed against some shocking evil, child labor, or the white slave traffic? If Christian people threw themselves heartily and reverently into such a scheme and got themselves ready for prayer by becoming intelligent on the issue, what an access to zeal would ensue on the merely human side! And in that unseen region whither prayers wing their flight, who can tell what forces would be set in motion?

CLOSING PRAYER

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

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE SIXTH OF OCTOBER, 2017
* William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale *

OPENING PRAYER

Brightness of eternal glory, Comfort of the pilgrim soul, with you is my tongue without voice and my very silence speaks unto you. Come, oh, come; for without you I shall have no joyful day or hour; for you are my joy and without you my table is empty. Praise and glory be unto you; let my mouth, my soul, and all creatures together, praise and bless you. Amen.

( Thomas à Kempis )

PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-THREE

Our eyes wait upon the Lord our God.

To you I lift up my eyes,
to you that are enthroned in the heavens.
As the eyes of servants look
to the hand of their master,
or the eyes of a maid
to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God,
until he have mercy upon us.

Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Our soul has had more than enough
of the scorn of the arrogant,
and of the contempt of the proud.

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.

Our eyes wait upon the Lord our God.

Sovereign God, enthroned in the heavens,
look upon us with your eyes of mercy,
as we look on you with humility and love,
and fill our souls with your peace
through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale:
God’s vulgar word

Today Saint Laika’s remembers two giants in English Literature and religion, William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale. They struggled against king and church to see that the English people had God’s word in their own common language.

It may not be obvious to people living today, why translating the "Bible" into the common (or vulgar) tongue was such an issue of controversy. After all, Jerome, in ancient times translated the "Bible" from Greek and Hebrew into Latin, the vulgar tongue at that time. His version even bore the name “Vulgate,” so there would be no confusion. So, now when Latin was giving way to more modern languages, why not encourage the "Bible" to be translated into common everyday speech?

Prior to the invention of the printing press, copies of the "Bible" were a precious commodity. A church was lucky to have one copy and it was often locked away or chained up to keep it from being stolen. Many churches had just a simple book of readings or a lectionary which contained only those readings from the "Bible" used in public worship. Those in control of church and state during the later stages of medieval times exercised control over people who really didn’t know what the bible taught, only what the church said it taught. And there were parts of the "Bible" that those in charge didn’t want people to know about, because it offered an understanding of salvation, repentance, and church order that differed from the current line.

William Tyndale was passionate about giving people a translation of the "Bible" they could understand. He had to flee England in order to accomplish the task. Visiting Martin Luther and having his "New Testament" printed in the German city of Worms, he then smuggled eighteen thousand copies copies into England. He paid for this with his life. He was captured and burned at the stake for heresy.

Miles Coverdale picked up the work of Tyndale and carried on with it. Tyndale had begun to translate the "Old Testament" but never finished it before his martyrdom. Coverdale took what Tyndale did, and added to it, so that a complete "English Bible" was published. By the time the "Coverdale Bible" was ready to print, King Henry VIII was already having his troubles with the Pope and Roman Church, so Coverdale was spared the brutal fate of his friend Tyndale.

Coverdale’s translation of the "Psalms" was included in the "Book of Common Prayer," and has had a profound effect on English spirituality and hymnody.

Scripture. In "Psalm one hundred and nineteen: verses eighty-nine and ninety, we read:

"O Lord, your word is everlasting; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness remains from one generation to another."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for translators, in particular for those who translate the scriptures and other Christian writings.

... for those who risk their freedom, and even their life, to bring the word of God to those who are prevented from hearing it.

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

... for nuclear disarmament throughout the world.

... for those killed or injured when a train hit a bus on a crossing in the Russian region of Vladimir. DETAILS

... for homeless people who are also addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.

... for the nursery school children and teachers killed or injured in the remote Brazilian town of Janauba when a security guard threw flammable liquid on them and set them on fire. 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 ""Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue" by William Tyndale:

Our love and good works make not God first love us, nor change him from hate to love. No, his love and deeds make us love and change us from hate to love. For he loved us when we were evil and his enemies, as Paul testifies in diverse places; and chose us to make us good and to show us love and to draw us to him, that we should love again.

The father loves his child when it has no power to do good and when it must be suffered to run after its own lusts without law; and never loves it better than then, to make it better, and to show it love, to love again. If you could see what is written in the first epistle of John, though all the other scripture were laid apart, you should see all this.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, you planted in the heart of your servants William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale a consuming passion to bring the scriptures to people in their native tongue. Reveal to us your saving word, as we read and study the scriptures and hear them calling us to repentance and life; 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

What if mass killers do not buy a gun to kill people with but buy a gun, because it is the thing to do, and then decide they really should do something with the gun having spent so much money on it or become curious as to what shooting it at people would be like. In this case gun ownership would be a principal cause of the killings and the gun manufacturers and sellers could well be, especially in a litigious nation that sues cigarette companies etc., liable for substantial damages, maybe even criminal prosecution.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE FIFTH OF OCTOBER, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, I know not what is before me this day, but you know. I desire to leave all in your hands, and to place myself at your disposal. Do for me as you see best. Prosper me in all that I undertake. Give me good success, if it be your will. But, if you see that crosses and disappointments are better for me, give me grace to accept them as from you. Enable me to bear them meekly and cheerfully, and to say, "Father, not my will, but yours, be done." O my God, make me happy this day in your service. Keep my conscience void of offence. Let me do nothing, say nothing, desire nothing, which is contrary to your will. Give me a thankful spirit. O for a heart to praise you for all that you have given me, and for all you have withheld from me. Amen.

( Ashton Oxenden )

PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-TWO

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts.

I was glad when they said to me,
"Let us go to the house of the Lord."

And now our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem;
Jerusalem, built as a city
that is at unity in itself.

Thither the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord,
as is decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
For there are set the thrones of judgement,
the thrones of the house of David.

O pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
"May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls
and tranquillity within your palaces."

For my kindred and companions' sake,
I will pray that peace be with you.
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek to do you good.

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.

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts.

God of our pilgrimage,
bring us with joy to the eternal city
founded on the rock,
and give to our earthly cities
the peace that comes from above;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Eileen Egan:
relief worker, peace activist

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

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

She combined CRS's practical work of providing economic assistance, food, housing, and transportation to war victims with speaking, writing and demonstrating against the causes of war.

As early as 1955 she met Mother Teresa in Calcutta and publicised her work in the West. She introduced Dorothy Day to Mother Teresa in 1970.

One of her major accomplishments was the 1987 recognition of conscientious objection as a fundamental human right by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

After a lifetime of service, she died on the seventh of October, 2000, at the age of eighty-eight.
.
Quote: “You can take course after course of so-called theology and never hear the message at the heart of Christianity—the message of Jesus, which is indiscriminate love.”

Scripture, in the fifty-eighth chapter of "Isaiah," at the sixth verse, we read:

“'Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?' says the Lord."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the United Nations and all who work to promote peace and human rights throughout the world.

... for teachers on this, World Teachers' 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 Lord’s Prayer and the Beatitudes" by Gregory of Nyssa:

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Who are these? Those who imitate the divine love of others, who show forth in their own life the characteristic of the divine energy. The lord and giver of good things completely annihilates anything that is without affinity and foreign to goodness. This work he ordains also for you, namely to cast out hatred and abolish war, to exterminate envy and banish strife, to take away hypocrisy and extinguish from within resentment of injuries smouldering in the heart. Instead, you ought to introduce whatever is contrary to the things that have been removed. For as light follows the departure of darkness, thus also these evil things are replaced by the fruits of the Spirit: by charity, joy, peace, benignity, magnanimity, all the good things enumerated by the apostle, Paul (Gal 5:22).

How then should the dispenser of the divine gifts not be blessed, since he imitates the gifts of God and models his own good deeds on the divine generosity?

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord our God, all thoughts of peace come from you. We thank you for the life and witness of your servant, Eileen Egan, whose passionate desire for peace, led her to a life of care and service to others. Give to your church that same single-hearted devotion, as we wait for the prince of peace, 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.

Fake News Just In

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has been throwing his weight around again. In a doorstep discussion this morning he became embroiled in a mild disagreement with his postman concerning whether it was "pissing it down" or just a light shower (the postman proposing the former and Welby the latter). As the postman would not back down and accept his interpretation of the meteorological conditions, Welby imposed sanctions on the recalcitrant postie on the spot and excluded him from all ecumenical and leadership roles in the Anglican Communion.

In response the postman said: "I will continue to play my part in the delivery of mail to Lambeth Palace, and I will do all I can to rebuild relationships, but that will be done from the position the Royal Mail has now reached in accordance with its internal processes and in the belief that it's still pissing it down whatever that control freak with the pointy hat may claim."

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE FOURTH OF OCTOBER, 2017
* Francis of Assisi *

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty, eternal, just, and merciful God, grant us in our misery the grace to do for you alone what we know you want us to do, and always to desire what pleases you. Thus, inwardly cleansed, interiorly enlightened, and inflamed by the fire of the Holy Spirit, may we be able to follow in the footprints of your beloved son, our Lord Jesus Christ. And, by your grace alone, may we make our way to you, Most High, who live and rule in perfect trinity and simple unity, and are glorified God all-powerful forever and ever. Amen.

( Francis of Assisi )

CANTICLE

Most High, all powerful, good Lord,
to you be praise, glory,
honour and all blessing.
Only to you, Most High, do they belong
and no one is worthy to call upon your name.

May you be praised, my Lord,
with all your creatures,
especially brother sun,
through whom you lighten the day for us.
He is beautiful and radiant
with great splendour;
he signifies you, O Most High.

Be praised, my Lord,
for sister moon and the stars:
clear and precious and lovely,
they are formed in heaven.

Be praised, my Lord, for brother wind;
for air and clouds,
clear skies and all weathers,
by which you give sustenance
to your creatures.

Be praised, my Lord,
for sister water,
who is very useful and humble
and precious and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, for brother fire,
by whom the night is illumined for us:
he is beautiful and cheerful,
full of power and strength.

Be praised, my Lord,
for our sister, mother earth,
who sustains and governs us
and produces diverse fruits
and coloured flowers and grass.

Be praised, my Lord,
by all those who forgive for love of you
and who bear weakness and tribulation.
Blessed are those who bear them in peace:
for you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord,
for our sister, the death of the body,
from which no one living is able to flee;
woe to those who are dying in mortal sin.
Blessed are those who are found
doing your most holy will,
for the second death will do them no harm.

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

( Francis of Assisi )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

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

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

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

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

He said he had a mystical vision of Jesus Christ in the country chapel of San Damiano, just outside of Assisi, in which an icon of Christ crucified said to him, "Francis, Francis, go and repair my house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins."

At first he understood this in a literal way, and began to repair the church of San Damiano. Later he would interpret the vision as a call to bring the entire Church to renewal and repentance.

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

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

As the years went on, Francis took less day-to-day responsibility for the administration of his “little brothers.” as they were called. Even during his lifetime, they relaxed the strictness of his rule.

His intense personal piety expressed itself in joy, even in the midst of great suffering. His love of the earth and of all creation stands as a call to mission in these days when the earth has been ravaged by pollution and greenhouse gasses.

Francis died in 1226AD

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

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that we may be given the grace to live simply with reverence for God and all God's creation.

... for Franciscans throughout the world.

... for the creatures we share this planet with.

... for merchants and ecologists and all people, places and institutions that claim Francis as their patron.

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

... that we may soon rid the world of cholera. 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

A letter from Francis of Assisi to all the faithful:

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

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

O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord himself said in the gospel: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul; and your neighbour as yourself. Therefore, let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind. This is his particular desire when he says: True worshippers adore the Father in spirit and truth. For all who adore him must do so in the spirit of truth. Let us also direct to him our praises and prayers saying: Our Father, who art in heaven, since we must always pray and never grow slack.

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

CLOSING PRAYER

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

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Guns Don’t Kill People, Opportunity Does

Following the massacre of concert goers in Las Vegas on Sunday, many commentators are calling for all sorts of initiatives to be launched as well as, or instead of, the introduction of serious gun control in the USA. I wonder if these extra proposals are nothing more than a smokescreen designed to take the pressure of those whose defence of unregulated and easy gun ownership is becoming increasingly untenable.

Furthermore, I wonder if the people of the USA are any different to people in the rest of the world. There are a heck of a lot of Americans, over three hundred and twenty million of them. Statistically speaking, each year a few of that multitude are going to decide, sanely or insanely, that killing a whole load of people is the right thing to do. It would not surprise me if the percentage is pretty much the same for every three hundred and twenty million people wherever they live in the world. However, throughout most of the world, people do not have the opportunity to build up an arsenal of weapons easily and legally; in fact, in most countries, it is very difficult to obtain anything more than a basic shotgun for hunting and, even that, would require a thorough background check and a licence. You would certainly not be allowed to own an automatic weapon or carry a gun in public. This means that the proportion of the population who are potential mass killers, outside of the USA, is very much restricted in being able to carry out a massacre. Some will kill their families, maybe a friend or two, or a few strangers, with a knife or other such weapon, but most will be so put off by the difficulty of carrying out their plans that they look for a different, less murderous outlet for their existential angst.

Much as more, easily available help for the mentally ill is universally a good and necessary thing, it would make very little difference in the USA in respect of lessening the number of mass shootings. The chances of even a revitalised, heavily funded mental health service identifying the very few members of the huge population who may be prone to killing a whole load of strangers are extremely low.

Potential mass killers are everywhere, not only in America. But, only in America is there the opportunity for potential mass killers to live out their fantasies. Only the removal of military style guns from public ownership and the heavy restriction of hunting and sporting guns will reduce the number of mass killings in the USA. All other suggestions, however worthy, would be spitting in the wind.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE THIRD OF OCTOBER, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Our Father, grant us, this day, the sense of your presence to cheer and your light to direct us; and give us strength for your service. And yet more, Father, give us your own help and blessing in our sorrows, our faintness, our failure and sin. You know that we cannot bear our burdens alone. We are like children and the world seems very dark to us, and our path very hard, if we are alone. But we are your children and we know we can come to you to ask you to help us, enliven us, strengthen us and give us hope. We are not ashamed of our tears, for our Lord has wept with us. We do not ask you to take away our sorrow, for he was made perfect through suffering; but we do ask you to be with us as you were with him Our Father, close to your children, even as your son has promised us. Amen.

PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-ONE

The Lord shall keep you from all evil.

I lift up my eyes to the hills;
from where is my help to come?

My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not suffer your foot to stumble;
he who watches over you will not sleep.
Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel
shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord himself watches over you;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand,
so that the sun shall not strike you by day,
neither the moon by night.
The Lord shall keep you from all evil;
it is he who shall keep your soul.
The Lord shall keep watch over your going out
and your coming in,
from this time forth for evermore.

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 keep you from all evil.

Lord, ever watchful and faithful,
we look to you to be our defence
and we lift our hearts to know your help;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Alexander Vladimirovich Men: visionary

Father Alexander Men, to put it simply, was a pesky fly buzzing around the Russian Orthodox Church, a visionary advocating for an open, ecumenical Orthodoxy who was always in trouble under the Soviet, a pastor who baptised thousands of people, an intellectual who was a prolific writer and, lastly, a martyr who was murdered with an axe on his way to the Sunday service in September 1990.

He was born into a Jewish family in 1935, but he and his mother were baptised six months later by a priest in a breakaway church which did not cooperate with the Soviets. His father was arrested by the NKVD when Alexander was six years old and was assigned to a labour camp in the Ural Mountains.

Alexander entered the clergy and was ordained a priest in 1960. While most parish churches existed on the margins of the Soviet Union, Men’s parish grew at an amazing rate. He was an active evangelist, encouraging many who had dropped out to come back. He advocated for a more open, ecumenical style of Orthodoxy, which got him in trouble with the official Russian Orthodox Church. As the Soviet Union was coming to an end, he was active on television and radio and he completed a seven volume "History of Religion," his most famous writing. His strenuous efforts in educating the Russian people in the basics and dynamics of the Orthodox faith has garnered him the label of a modern day apostle to the Soviet people.

Quote: “I find more meaning in the wing of a bird and in the branch of a tree, than in five hundred icons. God has given us two books: the Bible and Creation."

Scripture. In "First Timothy," chapter six, verses eleven and twelve we read:

"Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for prophets and all who call the Church to account; for rebels and outsiders; for those who stand alone demanding reform because they can do no other.

... for the Russian Orthodox Church, that it may become an authentic channel for God's mercy and Christ's gospel, uninfluenced by the powers and dominions of this world.

... for the people of Germany, Iraq and South Korea who celebrate national days today.

... for gay people in Egypt as their persecution by the authorities intensifies. DETAILS

... for women who lose their jobs, or who are otherwise victimised, on becoming pregnant. 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 "An Inner Step Toward God: Writings and Teachings on Prayer by Father Alexander Men":

The Christian life cannot develop without prayer.

People often approach me with the question, “How can I pray, since I do not know any prayers?”

This, my friends, is a mistake, because when you talk to each other or to a loved one, you do not need to read a paper or seek someone else’s words. It is not for nothing that we mock public officials who read everything from a script.

When a person speaks with someone, he should speak naturally, from his heart. Prayers written in the prayer book are just aids. They are not spells or pagan formulas that summon a spirit, but rather a conversation between a person and God, a sacramental, vivifying encounter that gives purpose, fullness of life, and incomparable joy. Prayer is the soul’s encounter with its only beloved, its only
saviour. For this encounter to take place, a person must have his own words.

CLOSING PRAYER

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

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE SECOND OF OCTOBER, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, you are the comfort of all who trust you, the help and shield of all who hope in you. O Lord my God, from your hand I accept all things without a murmur, for whatever you do is right.

Is it your will that I walk in darkness? Behold, your way is good, and I will praise you.

Do you will that my path be light and peace? Again I praise you; your grace orders all things, and at all times.

One thing only be far from me: I entreat you, let me not walk in sin and unrighteousness, nor be counted among them who care not for you. Let my will be only yours, then I shall fear nothing, no suffering and no death, and all things must work together for my good.

Lord, keep me in your love and truth, comfort me with your light, and guide me by your Spirit. Amen.

( S. Weiss )

PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY

Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips.

When I was in trouble I called to the Lord;
I called to the Lord and he answered me.

Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips
and from a deceitful tongue.
What shall be given to you?
What more shall be done to you,
deceitful tongue?
The sharp arrows of a warrior,
tempered in burning coals!

Woe is me, that I must lodge in Meshech
and dwell among the tents of Kedar.
My soul has dwelt too long
with enemies of peace.
I am for making peace,
but when I speak of it,
they make ready for war.

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.

Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips.

God of consolation,
look on us, pilgrims
in a strange land;
preserve us from
slander and deceit,
show us the truth
and give to our souls
the peace of Christ.
Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Anthony Ashley Cooper: "poor man's earl"
Mother Marie-Joseph Aubert:
Divine Providence in New Zealand
(both transferred from Sunday)

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

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

One of the major accomplishments of his life was the overhaul of the “Lunacy Laws” that committed people to insane asylums. The deplorable conditions in which these unfortunate people were held stripped them of every shred of human dignity. By his efforts conditions improved and inmates were treated with more care. He also was instrumental in improving life for children by introducing a series of child labour laws. Because of Lord Ashley, companies were forbidden to send women and children into the mines where they would labour in the dark all day. He also got legislation passed to prohibit the use of children as “climbing boys” (children who spent their lives climbing into chimneys to act as chimney sweeps). He was also very much involved in setting up schools for poor children where they could get a rudimentary education.

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

Mother Marie-Joseph Aubert was born near Lyons, France in 1835. She felt a calling to join a religious order, and to care for the sick. As a young woman, she was recruited by a missionary bishop, and left France for New Zealand, where she would spend almost all of her life. She worked among the Maori people and cared for them. She often ran afoul of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in New Zealand, who wanted to restrict her work to more traditional roles. One bishop ordered her to return to France.

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

So for many years she worked outside the convent as a lay woman until a different bishop invited her back to the mission work she loved.

Her life was spent teaching the impoverished people, setting up clinics to improve their health, and operating a home for the incurably ill. When government funds ran out, she simply said she would trust in divine providence.

She died on the first of October, 1926.

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

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the poor and those who campaign for their welfare.

... for those who leave their own lands to serve God abroad.

... for those whose lands have been invaded, or taken over, by foreign cultures.

... that the peoples of the world adopt non-violent ways to sort out their disagreements, whether at the domestic level or between nations. DETAILS

... for those living with cerebral palsy and those who care for them. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured when a gunman opened fire from the thirty-second floor of a Las Vegas hotel towards an open-air music festival attended by twenty-two thousand people; for those traumatised; for all who witnessed the atrocity; for all who came to the aid of the victims; for the family and friends of the victims; for all waiting for news of loved ones who were at the concert. DETAILS

... for the Reverend Chris Bedding, an Australian priest who has been suspended by his bishop for speaking out on social media against that which is wrong in the language of the people. DETAILS

... for those who will lose their jobs due to Monarch Airlines going into receivership; for all the firm's customers stranded abroad and all whose journeys have been cancelled. DETAILS

... for the people of Catalan. 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 writings of Basil of Caesarea:

The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the person who is naked. The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor. The acts of charity you do not perform are the injustices you commit.

What keeps you from giving now? Isn’t the poor man there? Aren’t your own warehouses full? Isn’t the reward promised? The command is clear: the hungry man is dying now, the naked man is freezing now, the man in debt is beaten now – and you want to wait until tomorrow?

“I’m not doing any harm,” you say. “I just want to keep what I own, that’s all.”

You own? You are like someone who sits down in a theatre and keeps everyone else away, saying that what is there for everyone’s use is his own.

If everyone took only what he needed and gave the rest to those in need, there would be no such thing as rich or poor. After all, didn’t you come into life naked; and won’t you return naked to the earth?

CLOSING PRAYER

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

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

It strikes me that most left of the religious centre Christians are more comfortable trying to convince people that they were never in the wrong than trying to convince people that a loving God will forgive the wrong they have done. Could this be because of our general abandonment of atonement theology or simply because we don't really believe what we say we believe?

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE TWENTY-NINTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2017
* Michaelmas *

OPENING PRAYER

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

CANTICLE

Christ, the fair glory of the holy angels,
thou who has made us, thou who over us rules,
grant of your mercy unto us thy servants
steps up to heaven.

Send your archangel Michael to our succour;
peacemaker blessed, may he banish from us
striving and hatred, so that for the peaceful
all things may prosper.

Send your archangel Gabriel, the mighty;
herald of heaven, may he, from us mortals,
spurn the old serpent, watching over the temples
where you are worshiped.

Send your archangel Raphael, the restorer
of the misguided ways of men who wander,
who at thy bidding strengthens soul and body
with your anointing.

May the blest mother of our God and saviour,
may the assembly of the saints in glory,
may the celestial companies of angels
ever assist us.

Father Almighty, Son, and Holy Spirit,
God ever blessed, be our preserver;
yours is the glory which the angels worship,
veiling their faces.

( Athelstan Riley )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Saint Michael and All Angels: things seen and unseen

Today Saint Laika’s joins most of the Western Church in celebrating the festival of Saint Michael and All Angels sometimes called Michaelmas. We give thanks for the many ways in which God's loving care watches over us, both directly and indirectly, and we are reminded that the richness and variety of God's creation far exceeds our knowledge of it.

The Bible often speaks of created intelligences other than humans who worship God in heaven and act as his messengers and agents on earth. We are not told much about them, and it is not clear how much of what we are told is figurative. They seem to have been a way for God to be present in the lives of individuals to help them do God’s will.

One of my favourite stories is from the "Book of Numbers" where God’s prophet Balaam is doing something God does not want, so the donkey he is riding upon sees an angel up ahead blocking the road. Balaam does everything possible to get that donkey down the road. but that donkey will not go. Well, here’s how scripture finishes the story:

"Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road, with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed down, falling on his face.

"The angel of the LORD said to him, ‘Why have you struck your donkey these three times? I have come out as an adversary, because your way is perverse before me. The donkey saw me, and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away from me, surely I would by now have killed you and let it live.’"

What is the value to us of remembering the holy angels? Well, since they appear to excel us in both knowledge and power, they remind us that, even among created things, we humans are not the top of the heap. Since it is the common belief that demons are angels who have chosen to disobey God and to be his enemies rather than his willing servants, they remind us that the higher we are the greater we can fall. And, in the picture of God sending his angels to help and defend us, we are reminded that apparently God, instead of doing good things directly, often prefers to do them through his willing servants, enabling those who have accepted his love to show their love for one another.

Scripture. In "Psalm One Hundred and Three," at verse twenty we read:

"Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, obedient to his spoken word."

INTERCESSIONS

In the power of the Spirit,
and in union with Christ,
let us pray to the Father.

Father in heaven,
by his blood your Christ
has ransomed us to you,
and has made us a kingdom
and priests to you our God.
As the angels minister to you in heaven,
strengthen your Church
to serve you here on earth.
Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

Father in heaven,
when the angels greeted
the birth of your Son
they sang for joy
‘Glory to God and peace on earth’.
Bless with Christ’s peace
the nations of the world.
Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

Father in heaven,
your Son has promised
to your children
the care of the guardian angels
who look upon your face.
Protect by your mercy our neighbours,
families and friends.
Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

Father in heaven,
you give your angels charge
over those who trust in you
to guard them in all their ways.
Be with those in trouble …,
rescue them and show them your salvation.
Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

Father in heaven,
your angel declares
‘Blessed are the dead
who die in the Lord.’
‘Blessed indeed,’
says the Spirit,
‘for they may rest
from their labours,
for they take with them
the record of their deeds.’
Enfold in your love
all who come in faith
to your judgement seat in heaven.
Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

Father in heaven,
the angels sing by day and night
around your throne:
‘Holy, holy, holy is
the Lord God almighty.’
With Michael, prince of the angels,
who contends by our side,
with Gabriel, your herald,
who brings glad tidings,
with Raphael, the protector,
who ministers your healing,
and with the whole company of heaven,
we worship you, we give you glory,
we sing your praise
and exalt you for ever. Amen.

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... 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 a sermon by Gregory the Great:

You should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels. And so it was that not merely an angel but the archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary. It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages.

Some angels are given proper names to denote the service they are empowered to perform. In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily be known. But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they came among us. Thus, Michael means “Who is like God”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; and Raphael is “God’s Remedy.”

Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power. So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying: I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High. He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment. Then, he will fight with the archangel Michael, as we are told by John: A battle was fought with Michael the archangel.

So too Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary. He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle. Raphael means, as I have said, God’s remedy, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness. Thus, since he is to heal, he is rightly called God’s remedy.

CLOSING PRAYER

Everlasting God, who have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; 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

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE TWENTY-EIGHTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2017
* Shusaku Endo *

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord, of your tender love, prepare a place for yourself in my heart. Empty my heart of every feeling, thought, emotion, desire, purpose, anxiety, hope, fear, which may interfere with your love. Open my whole heart to receive you; let nothing shut you out, nothing be shut to you. You alone can make my heart fit for yourself; cleanse it wholly by your Spirit, that it may wholly love you; be wholly filled with you; wholly penetrated, enlightened, warmed, by you; that you may dwell in it forever, and it may love you with your own love in it everlastingly. Amen.

( E. B. Pusey )

PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND NINETEEN part seven (abridged)

I have longed for your salvation, O Lord.

O consider my affliction and deliver me,
for I do not forget your law.
Plead my cause and redeem me;
according to your promise, give me life.
Great is your compassion, O Lord;
give me life, according to your judgements.
Consider, O Lord, how I love your commandments;
give me life according to your loving-kindness.
The sum of your word is truth,
and all your righteous judgements
endure for evermore.

I am as glad of your word
as one who finds great spoils.
As for lies, I hate and abhor them,
but your law do I love.
Seven times a day do I praise you,
because of your righteous judgements.
Great peace have they who love your law;
nothing shall make them stumble.

Lord, I have looked for your salvation
and I have fulfilled your commandments.
My soul has kept your testimonies
and greatly have I loved them.
I have kept your commandments and testimonies,
for all my ways are before you.

Let my cry come before you, O Lord;
give me understanding, according to your word.
Let my supplication come before you;
deliver me, according to your promise.
Let your hand reach out to help me,
for I have chosen your commandments.
Let my soul live and it shall praise you,
and let your judgements be my help.

I have gone astray
like a sheep that is lost;
O seek your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.

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.

I have longed for your salvation, O Lord.

God of mercy, swift to help us,
as our lips pour forth your praise,
fill our hearts with the peace you give
to those who wait for your salvation
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

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

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

Endo was born in Tokyo in 1923, and while still an infant moved with his family to Manchuria, where he gained first hand experience of being a minority in an alien culture.

His parents separated and later divorced and, at age eleven, he moved back to Japan with his mother and brother where, under the influence of his aunt, the family was baptised and became Christians. At this time, Christians were less than one percent of the Japanese population.

When World War II broke out Endo suffered prejudice for his Christian faith, the faith of Japan’s Western enemies. After the war he completed his studies both in Japan and in France. In France he contracted tuberculosis and was in and out of hospital for three years.

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

The novel that is considered Endo’s master work, however is “Silence,” which tells the story of the Jesuit missionaries in seventeenth century Japan who were imprisoned and tortured for their faith in Jesus Christ.

The central character, Father Rodrigues, is forced to watch Japanese Christians being put to death for their faith. He, at first, stubbornly refuses to renounce his faith. His captors pledge that if he does so, all the other Christians will be spared. He is required to trample on an image of Christ. He is racked with guilt that his refusal to renounce his faith is causing the death of so many.

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

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

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

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

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the Christians of Japan.

... that the good news of Jesus Christ may be rendered relevant to people of all cultures.

... that the Holy Spirit may comfort us and protect us from error when we struggle with our faith.

... for the eradication of rabies from our world. DETAILS

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

... for child migrants and refugees; for an end to their exploitation; for an end to the injustices and cruelties of our world that lead to these young people having to face such horrendous dangers. DETAILS

... for the Iraqi Kurds; that they may achieve independence without bloodshed. 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 "Wonderful Fool" by Shūsaku Endō:

Not all men are handsome and strong. There are some who are cowards from birth. There are some who are weak by nature. There are even some who cry easily. But for such a man, a man both weak and cowardly, to bear the burden of his weakness and struggle valiantly to live a beautiful life - that's what I call great.

CLOSING PRAYER

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

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Abortion – At Times A Necessary Evil

Today is "International Safe Abortion Day."

I have tried to think otherwise but I have to face up to the fact that I believe that abortion is sinful. Having said that I think that safe abortion should be available to those seeking it and that it should not be a criminal offence. However, I am not decided as to whether the decision should be that of the pregnant woman's alone.

There are some actions which are wrong but often necessary, for example, divorce. When we are forced by circumstance, aggravated by our human weakness, into committing such sins we should accept that a bad thing has happened whilst also accepting that God is ever merciful and that, through Christ, God is fully aware of the complexities and predicaments of human life.

However, if we are able to reduce the likelihood of a bad thing happening but, deliberately, do not do so, that is a wholly different kettle of fish. In other words, prevention is always better than cure.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE TWENTY-SEVENTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2017
* Vincent de Paul *

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty God, the strength of all who put their trust in you, grant unto us in the midst of the troubles of this mortal life, that, being confident in your wisdom and goodness and your abiding love, we may endure all things in a quiet spirit, seeking ever in the midst of the things of this world to meditate often upon the divine peace and the heavenly rest of the glorified spirits of light; and being held up by your mercy, may neither faint nor fear, but pass on, doing faithfully the duties of life, and, in our last hour, supported by the everlasting arms, we beseech you to guide us into the life everlasting. This we do ask, in the name of Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

( George Dawson )

Ubi Caritas

Where charity and love are, God is there.
Christ's love has gathered us into one;
let us rejoice and be pleased in him.
Let us fear and let us love the living God,
and may we love each other with a sincere heart.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
As we are gathered into one body,
beware, lest we be divided in mind.
Let evil impulses stop, let controversy cease,
and may Christ our God be in our midst.

Where charity and love are, God is there;
and may we, with the saints also,
see your face in glory, O Christ our God:
the joy that is immense and good,
unto the ages through infinite ages. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He died on this day in 1660.

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

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the poor, for those who live in slums and shanty-towns, for orphans and abandoned children.

... for the Daughters of Charity, for members of Vincent de Paul societies, for the Company of Mission Priests, for charities, for volunteers, for those who work in hospitals, for those suffering from leprosy, for prisoners and all under the patronage of Vincent de Paul.

... for travellers and those who work in the tourism industry. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured in an attack on a drug rehabilitation centre in the northern Mexican city of Chihuahua. 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 an address delivered by Vincent de Paul to the Company of Mission Priests:

In the sixty-seven years which God has allowed me upon earth I have tried over and over again to find out the best means of living in union with God and in charity with my neighbours. I have never found anything that helped as much as humility (the lowering of oneself below everyone else with the sense that one is really worse than others) and the refusal to judge anyone. For it is pride and self-love that winds us and makes us struggle for our own opinions against others.

We must never glance at what is good in ourselves, much less ponder over it, but we should search out what is wrong and what is lacking; this is an excellent way of remaining humble. No gift for winning souls nor any other capacity that is within us is our own; we are only agents for it, and it will not save us from perdition. However great the work that God may achieve by an individual, he must not be pleased with himself nor indulge in any sort of self-satisfaction; he ought rather to be all the more humbled, seeing himself merely as a clumsy tool of which God has condescended to make use, just as he did of Moses rod which wrought miracles but remained only a common rod a brittle stick.

How greatly I desire that God may give sufficient grace to this poor little company to make it humble, so that it may be founded and built upon humility, be centred on it, and fenced about by it. Let us not deceive ourselves, if we have not got humility we have nothing. By this I do not mean merely an outward semblance of humility, I mean far more that humbleness of heart which shall make us really understand that the world does not contain persons more to be despised than you and I; that the Company of the Mission is the weakest of all companies and the poorest, both in the number and in the quality of its members; we must be ready that the world should so regard us. In truth, if we wish to be admired we are wishing to have different treatment from that which Jesus Christ received. That would be intolerable conceit. What was said of the Son of God when he was upon earth? What standing did he have in the eyes of others He was regarded as a madman, as a rebel, as a fool and as a malefactor, although he was none of these. He went so far as to let himself be exchanged for Barabbas, who was a brigand and a murderer and a man of evil life.

O Saviour, how will sinners such as I am dare to appear in the light of thy holy humility when the Day of Judgment comes?

CLOSING PRAYER

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

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

What’s In A Pledge?

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Any American citizen who insists on a fellow citizen reciting the pledge of allegiance is nullifying their own recitation of the pledge of allegiance. Or do they all say the liberty bit with their fingers crossed behind their backs?

And, anyway, what exactly does allegiance to a flag entail? A flag is not a person, a group or a cause. It may well represent something, in which case they should say, "I pledge allegiance to what the flag of the United States of America represents as defined in... etc. etc.

For a nation of lawyers, Americans can be very inexact and contradictory at times. Most Europeans would want to know what they were signing up for and have it in writing.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE TWENTY-FIFTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2017
* Sergius of Radonezh *

OPENING PRAYERS

In confidence of your goodness and great mercy, O Lord, I draw near to you, as a sick person to the healer, as one hungry and thirsty to the fountain of life, a creature to the creator, a desolate soul to my own tender comforter. In you is all whatsoever I can or ought to desire; you are my salvation and my redemption, my hope and my strength. Rejoice therefore this day the soul of your servant; for to you, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul. Amen.

( Thomas à Kempis )

PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND NINETEEN part six (abridged)

The opening of your word gives light.

Your testimonies are wonderful;
therefore my soul keeps them.
The opening of your word gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.

I open my mouth and draw in my breath,
as I long for your commandments.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is your way with those who love your name.
Order my steps by your word,
and let no wickedness have dominion over me.
Redeem me from earthly oppressors
so that I may keep your commandments.
Show the light of your countenance upon your servant
and teach me your statutes.

Righteous are you, O Lord,
and true are your judgements.
You have ordered your decrees in righteousness
and in great faithfulness.
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness
and your law is the truth.

I call with my whole heart;
answer me, O Lord, that I may keep your statutes.
To you I call, O save me!
And I shall keep your testimonies.
Early in the morning I cry to you,
for in your word is my trust.
My eyes are open before the night watches,
that I may meditate on your word.

Hear my voice, O Lord,
according to your faithful love;
according to your judgement, give me life.
You, O Lord, are near at hand,
and all your commandments are true.
Long have I known of your testimonies,
that you have founded them 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 opening of your word gives light.

Lord, you are just
and your commandments are eternal;
teach us to love you with all our heart
and our neighbour as ourselves,
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Sergius of Radonezh: hermit, monk, and patriot

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Sergius, a national hero and patron saint of Russia.

Sergius was born around 1314, the son of a farmer. When he was twenty, he and his brother began to live as hermits in a forest near Moscow. Others joined them in what became the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, a centre for the renewal of Russian Christianity. Pilgrims came from all Russia to worship and to receive spiritual instruction, advice, and encouragement.

After years of civil strife, Russians were at the time largely subservient to the neighbouring (non-Christian) Tatar (or Tartar) people. Prince Dmitri Donskoi could not decide whether to advance against them or not. Sergius encouraged him, prayed for him, and blessed him. Dmitri set off and conquered the Tartar people, setting Russia free. No historical picture or sculpture in Russia is more frequent than that which represents the youthful warrior receiving the benediction of the aged hermit.

Sergius was a gentle man, of winning personality. Stories told of him resemble those of Francis of Assisi, including some that show that animals tended to trust him. He had the ability to inspire in men an intense awareness of the love of God, and a readiness to respond in love and obedience. He remained close to his peasant roots.

One contemporary said of him, "He has about him the smell of fir forests."

To this day, the effect of his personality on Russian devotion remains considerable.

He died on this day in 1392.

Scripture. In the second chapter of the "First Epistle of John," verses fifteen and seventeen, we read:

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. The world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for hermits and spiritual advisers.

... for the people of the Kurdistan region of Iraq as they vote in a referendum on independence today and that, whatever the result, no violence ensues.

... for people living near Mount Agung in Bali, a volcano that it is feared may soon erupt.

... for victims of acid attacks and an end to such thuggery.

... for Melanie Smith, who was killed, and all who were injured when a masked gunman attacked the congregation of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ near Nashville, Tennessee.

... 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 "A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers" by Henry David Thoreau:

As the truest society approaches always nearer to solitude, so the most excellent speech finally falls into silence. Silence is audible to all men, at all times, and in all places. She is when we hear inwardly, sound when we hear outwardly. Creation has not displaced her, but is her visible framework and foil. All sounds are her servants, and purveyors, proclaiming not only that their mistress is, but is a rare mistress, and earnestly to be sought after. They are so far akin to silence, that they are but bubbles on her surface, which straightway burst, an evidence of the strength and prolificness of the under-current; a faint utterance of silence, and then only agreeable to our auditory nerves when they contrast themselves with and relieve the former. In proportion as they do this, and are heighteners and intensifiers of the silence, they are harmony and purest melody.

Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment; that background which the painter may not daub, be he master or bungler, and which, however awkward a figure we may have made in the foreground, remains ever our inviolable asylum, where no indignity can assail, no personality can disturb us.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Sergius of Radonezh, may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; 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

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

Why I Love Country Music…

Yesterday's "Why I Love Country Music..." selection was a song written and performed by Michael Nesmith. On his 1973 album, the wonderfully titled "Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash," he included his version of the bluegrass classic, "Uncle Penn." Here is the writer of that song, Bill Monroe, performing it in 1965.

Mental Health Diagnosis As A Weapon

So, Kim Jong-un has now called Donald Trump, mentally deranged. This is not an informed diagnosis. It is an insult.

Of course, it is possible that this jibe came straight from the dictator's mind without any outside influence. However, I expect he deliberately chose to insult Trump with an accusation of insanity in order to draw on the increasingly vociferous "madness equals badness" campaign of many Democrat voters in the USA. The fact that Trump has already responded by calling Kim Jong-un "mad" proves that there is no possibility of nipping this slander of the mentally different in the bud. It is going to take those of us who are mad years to regain the small amount of ground we had made recently in getting people to realise we are people not monsters. That those people who are now denigrating the mad by comparing us to a rude, misogynist bully of an egotist (as opposed to egomaniac) were only a few weeks ago filling their Facebook pages with the assertion that "black lives matter" and, only a couple of years ago, demanding that same gender couples should be regarded as no different to opposite gender couples, is incredibly sad. It means they have no integrity, no depth to their philosophy and no moral consistency.

When I was a kid one of the worst insults in our vocabulary was the word "spastic." This was a medical term used to describe people with cerebral palsy. It was never meant to mean anything degrading. In fact, three parents of afflicted children had set up the Spastics Society as recently as 1952. However, throughout the U.K. children (and, no doubt, many adults) had eagerly stolen the word, imbued it with negative values and added it to the slang in vogue at the time.

This use of disability as insult could also be very localised. There was a boarding school for children with cerebral palsy in a village close to where I lived. The village was called Hinwick and so the hippest name-callers called anyone they considered mentally subnormal "Hinwicks" (hinnicks).

Those who are currently employing mental health diagnosis as a weapon in their attempt to overturn the result of the last presidential election in America are no different to those vile children in small town England fifty years ago. Those children demonised the "lepers" of their time by using a medical condition as a denigrating insult. Many adults in America (and now further afield) are using mental illness in the same way. That they justify their name calling with the claim that they are only trying to save the world makes the whole thing even more embarrassing as they are just adding disingenuity to their hypocrisy.

To access older posts please use the archive feature in the sidebar.