Of Course, I Could be Wrong

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE SEVENTEENTH OF AUGUST, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Put love into our hearts, Lord Jesus: love for you; love for those around us; love for those we find it hard to like. Amen.

CANTICLE

You who obey the immortal King, attend his holy place;
bow to the glories of his power and bless his wondrous grace.

Lift up your hands by morning light and send your souls on high;
raise your admiring thoughts by night above the starry sky.

The God of Zion cheers our hearts with rays of quickening grace;
the God that spread the heavens abroad and rules the swelling seas.

( Isaac Watts, 1674–1748 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Florence Nightingale: unorthodox servant of God
(transferred from Sunday)

Florence Nightingale was a pioneer of modern nursing. Her careful, thorough work left a huge legacy to the world. Her religious beliefs are uncertain and personal. Many biographers list her as a “Unitarian” or some as a syncretist, who saw truth in all religious traditions. It is known that she struggled with the creeds of the Church. Yet in her diary, dated the seventh of March, 1850, she wrote: “God called me in the morning and asked me would I do good for him, for him alone without the reputation,” and she considered that moment the turning point of her life.

In an entry dated the twelfth of May, she wrote: “Today I am thirty, the age Christ began his mission. Now no more childish things. No more love. No more marriage. Now Lord let me think only of your will, what you will me to do. Oh Lord your will, your will.”

Over the next decade, she went to Germany to train with the Lutheran Deaconess Community. Her most lasting contributions came during the Crimean War when she took over hospital care for soldiers in Istanbul. Sir Sidney Herbert, Secretary of War, obtained permission for Florence to lead a group of thirty-eight nurses there. She found that more of the soldiers were dying from illnesses such as typhus, typhoid, cholera and dysentery than from battle wounds. She worked tirelessly to reform the sanitary conditions in the hospital. At night, she would often patrol the wards, carrying a dim lamp, to make sure that all was well and no one was in need of help. She became known as "the Lady with the Lamp."

In 1860 she opened the Nightingale School for Nurses, to train nurses to work in hospitals, to work with the poor and to teach. By the 1880’s the Nightingale Nurses were well established across England and her influence had spread to America and around the world. In 1883 Queen Victoria awarded her the Royal Red Cross.

Her own health was precarious in the later years of her life.

In 1885, on Christmas Day, she noted in her diary: “Today, O Lord, let me dedicate this crumbling old woman to you."

She died at age ninety on the thirteenth of August, 1910.

Scripture. In the fifty-eighth chapter of "Isaiah," at verses ten and eleven, we read:

If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for nurses, auxiliary nurses, health visitors and hospital cleaners.

... for wounded soldiers.

... for the people of Gabon and Indonesia, who celebrate their national day today.

... for those who have died in monsoon floods in India's southern state of Kerala; for those who have lost their homes and possessions; for all affected by the flooding. DETAILS

... for an end to knife-crime and gang-related violence.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis:

Well, how exactly do I love myself?

Now that I come to think of it, I have not exactly got a feeling of fondness or affection for myself, and I do not even always enjoy my own society. So apparently "Love your neighbour" does not mean "feel fond of him" or "find him attractive." I ought to have seen that before, because, of course, you cannot feel fond of a person by trying.

Do I think well of myself, think myself a nice chap? Well, I am afraid I sometimes do (and those are, no doubt, my worst moments) but that is not why I love myself. In fact, it is the other way round: my self-love makes me think myself nice, but thinking myself nice is not why I love myself. So loving my enemies does not apparently mean thinking them nice either. That is an enormous relief. For a good many people imagine that forgiving your enemies means making out that they are really not such bad fellows after all, when it is quite plain that they are. Go a step further. In my most clear-sighted moments not only do I not think myself a nice man, but I know that I am a very nasty one. I can look at some of the things I have done with horror and loathing. So apparently I am allowed to loathe and hate some of the things my enemies do.

Now that I come to think of it, I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate a bad man’s actions, but not hate the bad man: or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner. For a long time, I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life, namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact, the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things. Consequently, Christianity does not want us to reduce by one atom the hatred we feel for cruelty and treachery. We ought to hate them. Not one word of what we have said about them needs to be unsaid. But it does want us to hate them in the same way in which we hate things in ourselves: being sorry that the man should have done such things, and hoping, if it is any way possible, that somehow, sometime, somewhere he can be cured and made human again.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Life-giving God, you alone have power over life and death, over health and sickness; give power, wisdom, and gentleness to those who follow the lead of your servant Florence Nightingale, that they, bearing with them your presence, may not only heal but bless and shine as lanterns of hope in the darkest hours of pain and fear; 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.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE SIXTEENTH OF AUGUST, 2018
* Brother Roger of Taizé *

OPENING PRAYER

Christ Jesus, today we give you thanks for the life of Brother Roger. The fire of your love burned in him, the love which gathers all people into one communion. Like him, we want to surrender ourselves to you with a trusting heart and to become women and men who are a leaven of peace. Amen.

( Brother Alois, b. 1954 )

CANTICLE

Hear us, O Lord, as we your servants meet from many regions underneath the skies,
to lay our love and tribute at your feet and yield ourselves, a living sacrifice;
for you, O Jesus, are our hope alone and one in you we bow before your throne.

The word you gave us in the days of yore has been proclaimed far over land and sea;
the gospel message rings from shore to shore and hymns of praise ascend unceasingly,
from rising until setting of the sun, proclaiming that the church in you is one.

O Christ, the living and eternal Word, unchanging still through all the changing years,
no sweeter name on earth was ever heard, no other voice has power to calm our fears.
Then speak once more to set your people free and make us one in love and one in you.

Now make us one in serving you, O Lord: one in the hope of glories yet to be,
one in the proclamation of the word, one in the sacred gift of charity,
one in the faith the fathers held of yore, one in the love that lives forevermore.

( John Shirley Anderson, 1895-1970 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Brother Roger of Taizé: ecumenical pilgrim

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Roger Louis Schütz-Marsauche, better known to the world as Brother Roger of Taizé.

From 1937 to 1940, Brother Roger studied Reformed theology in Strasbourg and Lausanne, where he was a leader in the Swiss Student Christian Movement, part of the World Student Christian Federation. He also struggled with tuberculosis during this time. At the onset of World War II, he felt called to serve those suffering from the war, so he came to Taizé, a small town in unoccupied France and bought an empty house, from which he and his sister ministered to any and all who would come. He helped many Jews as well as Christians to flee from the Nazis. He kept this up for over two years before receiving word that his life was in danger from the Gestapo.

In 1944, he returned to Taizé to found the "Community," initially a small semi-monastic community of men living together in poverty and obedience, open to all Christians. As their unique approach to spirituality and worship began to spread, they began to attract young people from all over Europe who were searching for meaning in the post-war, and post-nuclear weapon era. They would come to participate in the life of the Community, to listen and to worship. In the 1960’s and onward, members of the Community were often sent out to lead meetings all over the world.

Brother Roger always kept a low profile while the Community was gaining fame. His goal remained the reconciliation of all churches into Christ. His focus was on Christian youth. During a Taizé gathering in Paris in 1995, he spoke to more than one hundred thousand young people who were sitting on the floor of an exhibition hall.

“We have come here to search,” he said, “ or to go on searching through silence and prayer, to get in touch with our inner life. Christ always said, Do not worry, give yourself.”

Brother Roger was stabbed to death during the evening prayer service in Taizé on the sixteenth of August, 2005, by a young Romanian woman who was later deemed mentally ill. In a highly unusual move, the funeral of this Protestant monk was presided over by a Roman Catholic cardinal, Walter Kasper, the president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who celebrated the Mass with four priest-brothers of Taizé concelebrating.

In his homily, he said, "Yes, the springtime of ecumenism has flowered on the hill of Taizé.”

Scripture. In "The Letter to the Romans," chapter twelve, verses one and two we read:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for members of the Taizé Community and for the continuing success of their ministry.

... for young Christians.

... that all the churches may be in communion with each other.

... for the mentally ill.

... for young people receiving exam results at this time.

... for people suffering from diseases of the liver.

... for the forty-eight people who were killed and sixty-seven who were injured in a bomb explosion at an education centre in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul DETAILS; for all victims of terrorism.

... for Carnatic musicians in the southern Indian city of Chennai who are being threatened by right-wing extremists for performing music from different faith traditions. DETAILS

... for the safety and success of firefighters battling the hundreds of wildfires in British Columbia, Canada, and elsewhere in the world. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From “Make the Unity of Christ’s Body Your Passionate Concern” by Brother Alois of Taizé:

Today’s youth, with their great thirst for authenticity, make us attentive to this reality: if the commitment of Christians to foster reconciliation in the world is to be credible, it is essential that they seek visible unity among themselves.

Do we know that we have a specific gift, as Christians, to prepare paths of peace and trust on earth? We are the Body of Christ, and a deep communion among those who follow Christ can become an irreplaceable leaven of peace in the one human family. All the baptised are involved, concerned. Altogether, by our unity, we can be a credible sign of reconciliation among human beings.

Even with our limitations, even where circumstances are not favourable, God makes us creators of reconciliation with him. Going towards others, sometimes empty-handed, listening, trying to understand, and already a paralysed situation can be transformed. Person-to-person encounters are irreplaceable. Christ sends us out to heal the wounds of division and violence around us.

Our time needs courageous women and men who express the Gospel call to reconciliation by their whole lives. There do not necessarily have to be many of these men and women. Does not the Gospel compare the kingdom of God to a little yeast that leavens all the dough?

There were periods in history when, in the name of the truth of the Gospel, Christians became divided. Today, on behalf of the truth of the Gospel, we would like to do everything possible to become reconciled. We cannot pass on Christ’s message to those around us unless we are together. When Christians are separated, their message becomes inaudible. The communion between us Christians may allow God’s Word to speak to people today.

So let us dare to head towards visible unity! Will each Church have the courage not to act without taking the others into account?

CLOSING PRAYERS

Almighty God, we praise you for Brother Roger of Taizé, whom you called to renew the life of your church. Inspired by his example and guided by your Spirit, may we call the church to its tasks in our own day, and proclaim your reign of love; through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE FIFTEENTH OF AUGUST, 2018
* Dormition of the Theotokos *

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty and everlasting God, who stooped to raise fallen humanity through the child-bearing of blessed Mary: grant that we, who have seen your glory revealed in our human nature and your love made perfect in our weakness, may daily be renewed in your image and conformed to the pattern of your son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

CANTICLE

Her Virgin eyes saw God incarnate born, when she to Bethlehem came that happy morn:
how high her raptures then began to swell, none but her own omniscient son can tell.

As Eve, when she her fontal sin reviewed, wept for herself and all she should include,
blest Mary, with man's saviour in embrace, joyed for herself and for all human race.

All saints are by her son's dear influence blessed; she kept the very fountain at her breast:
the son adored and nursed by the sweet maid a thousandfold of love for love repaid.

Heaven with transcendent joys her entrance graced, near to his throne her son his mother placed;
and here below, now she is of heaven possessed, all generations are to call her blessed.

( Thomas Ken, 1637-1711 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Dormition of the Theotokos

Today Saint Laika’s remembers the Dormition of the Theotokos. Mary, mother of Jesus, has been a cause of disunity for Western Christians. Some, it is said, make too much of her, believing and teaching as doctrine things never said of her in holy scripture. Others, it is said, make too little of her, ignoring her role in Jesus’ own life and ministry and ignoring her role in the Church’s life and worship.

We express this feast in the language of the Orthodox Christians, who celebrate her dormition, her falling asleep. In the Bible “falling asleep” is often used as a metaphor for death. But it is a hopeful metaphor, for a “falling asleep” presumes a “waking up.” And for followers of Jesus, that means eternal life.

Also the Orthodox, on this feast day, call attention to her greatest work, that of being the God-bearer, the one who brings God into the world. This was proclaimed in the ancient church at the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD.

Martin Luther famously wrote this about the title Theotokos: “Men have crowned all her glory into a single word, calling her the Mother of God.“

As a servant of the Word, Mary gladly obeyed God and did what was asked of her. In this she becomes an example for us to follow. So that, having served God faithfully in our lives, we may glorify him in our deaths and share eternal life with Mary and all the saints. We are called to be “God-bearers” too, bringing God into the world by our faith.

The first centuries of the Church tell us nothing about Mary. We last see her in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost. We know not how long she lived, what she did or how she ended her days. But, in celebrating her dormition, let us make her hope, our hope. And let us, with all God’s saints, look forward with expectation to the eternal life that awaits us.

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

As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

INTERCESSIONS

As we pray to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we say with Mary: Lord, have mercy on those who fear you. Holy is your name.

Your prophet of old foretold a day when a virgin would conceive and bear a son who would be called God-with-us. Help us to look forward to your deliverance and to seek the fullness of your kingdom. Lord, have mercy on those who fear you. Holy is your name.

Your angel declared to Mary that she was to be the mother of the Saviour. Help every Christian person to be open to your word and obedient to your will. Lord, have mercy on those who fear you. Holy is your name.

Mary rejoiced with Elizabeth and sang your praise, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord." Help us to live joyful lives that sing your praise. Lord, have mercy on those who fear you. Holy is your name.

Mary bore a son of David’s line, a king whose reign would never end. Bless all the nations of the world with Christ’s gift of peace. Lord, have mercy on those who fear you. Holy is your name.

The child Jesus grew in wisdom and stature in the home of Mary and Joseph. Strengthen our homes and families and keep under your protection all those whom we love. Lord, have mercy on those who fear you. Holy is your name.

At the foot of the cross of Christ stood his mother, and from the cross she received his lifeless body in her arms. Give comfort and healing to all who suffer and all who watch the suffering of those they love. Lord, have mercy on those who fear you. Holy is your name.

The apostle John saw a vision of a woman in heaven, robed with the sun. Bring us with all those who have died in the faith of Christ to share the joy of heaven with Mary and all the saints. Lord, have mercy on those who fear you. Holy is your name.

Almighty and everlasting God, your handmaid Mary magnified your name and rejoiced in your saving love: trusting in that same love, we ask all these our prayers through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

We pray...

... for the people of the Republic of Congo, India and Liechtenstein who celebrate their national day today.

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From a sermon on the Dormition of the Theotokos by John of Kronstadt:

We say that our dead have “fallen asleep” or “passed away.” What does this mean?

This means that for the true Christian there is no death. Death was conquered by Christ on the cross. But there is a translation, i.e, a rearrangement of his condition, i.e. his soul is in another place, in another age, in another world beyond the grave, eternal, without end, that is what is meant by “falling asleep”. It is as if it were a temporary dream after which, by the voice of the Lord and the fearful yet wonderful trumpet of the Archangel, all the dead shall live and come forth each to his place: either to the resurrection of life or to the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:29). This is what the Christian means by translation. We should be ready for this translation, for the day of the general resurrection and judgment, for this indescribable world event, recorded in the Holy Scriptures.

This preparation for the meeting of the heavenly King before the dread judgment seat, after death, is essentially the person’s preparation throughout the whole of his life. This preparation means a change in all his thoughts, and the moral change of all his being, so that the whole man would be pure and white as snow, washing clean everything that defiles the body and spirit, so that he is adorned with every virtue: repentance, meekness, humility, gentleness, simplicity, chastity, mercifulness, abstention, spiritual contemplation, and burning love for God and neighbour.

Our preparation for meeting the heavenly King, and for the inheritance of eternal life in heaven, should consist of these things. The heavenly King desires souls adorned with immutable virtue, souls prepared so that the Very Lord Himself could abide in them. Do not marvel that the Very Lord wants to live in us. In fact the human soul is more spacious than the heavens and the earth, for it exists in the image of God. And if one removes sins from the soul, the Lord of all will settle in it and will fill it with Himself. “We will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (John 14:23), says the Lord about the souls who love Him.

And so, ye participants in the Christian feasts, and especially the present feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, ye who are brightly adorned with every virtue and translated to the heavenly kingdom, to Her Son and God, proclaim to each and every one about preparing their souls to be the dwelling place of the Lord, about continual repentance, and about the incorruptible adornment of Christian virtue. Let your death also be unashamed and peaceful, serving as the pledge of a good answer at the dread judgment seat of Christ.

CLOSING PRAYERS

O God, you have taken to yourself blessed Mary, mother of your incarnate son. Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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The People From A Land They Were Not Born In

I have just watched a BBC documentary about some of the problems faced by young men of Pakistani descent living in Bradford, England. All of the young people in the film had been born in England yet throughout the programme the presenter, whose father had moved to England from Kashmir in the early eighties, referred to them as Pakistani men or, occasionally, as British Pakistani men. They were not once referred to as English or, simply, as British but, if some racist thug was to tell them to go home, they would, quite rightly, claim they were home and that they were "as English" as the person harassing them. The paradox of this situation clearly shows that race is ultimately unreal. I suggest that if the human race truly wants to get on together we need to stop respecting our tribes and regarding them as sacrosanct because tribalism is the single biggest contributor to the pain and suffering in the world.

Keeping The Faith

If the worrying news about Aretha Franklin's health has got you feeling sadly nostalgic for the good old days when Afro-American singers respected themselves, each other and their God-given talent, do not despair, for there is hope. The duo featured in this video, who call themselves, The War and Treaty, make like hip-hop gangsterism never happened; they have kept the faith; for the connoisseur of soul, they are the future and all will be well. Give them a listen and be uplifted. They have released two albums. Buy them both!

Our Mud-Slinging Media

In an opinion piece on the Guardian website, Jack Bernhardt accuses Boris Johnson of being a racist and calls him a sentient sack of potatoes, stating, "Yes, this is yet another article where someone expresses outrage about the putrid racist nonsense that that red-faced goon spewed out, like so many gallons of port in a Bullingdon Club vomitorium."

I cannot identify any substantial difference between the hatred that leads to racism and the hatred that leads a person to write such words about another human being. The Guardian really has become nothing more than a Daily Mail for middle class, slightly left of centre liberals. I am as uncomfortable reading it as I would be sitting in the audience at a Roy "Chubby" Brown performance.

It is perfectly possible, easy even, to attack another person's opinion and actions without descending to the rhetorical cesspit of ad hominem attack.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika

TUESDAY THE FOURTEENTH OF AUGUST, 2018
* Jonathan Daniels *

OPENING PRAYER

O God, the well of love and father of all, make us so to love that we know not but to love every person in Jesus Christ, your son, our lord. Amen.

( fourteenth century collect )

CANTICLE

You sons of pride, that hate the just, and trample on the poor,
when death has brought you down to dust, your pomp shall rise no more.

The last great day shall change the scene; when will that hour appear?
When shall the just revive and reign over all that scorned them here?

God will my naked soul receive when separate from the flesh;
and break the prison of the grave, to raise my bones afresh.

Heaven is my everlasting home, the inheritance is sure:
let men of pride their rage resume, but I will repine no more.

( Isaac Watts, 1674–1748 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Jonathan Daniels: hid with Christ in God

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Jonathan Daniels, a seminary student from the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who was shot and killed in Selma, Alabama, in 1965, whilst working for the cause of equal rights for African-Americans. This is especially poignant as this remembrance comes after the first anniversary of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, perpetrated by white supremacists and others in the neo-Nazi movement.

Doctor Martin Luther King had issued a call for others to join him in Selma to march to the state capitol, on behalf of the Civil Rights Movement.

Daniels tells in his own words what happened to him during Evensong at the seminary: “I was singing the "Magnificat" with the special love and reverence I have always felt for Mary's glad song. Then it came. 'He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things.' I knew then that I must go to Selma. The Virgin's song was to grow more and more dear in the weeks ahead.”

He went to Selma, but realising how ineffective his own witness would be if he simply returned to Cambridge, he received permission to complete his semester off campus and he stayed in Selma through the spring of 1965, returning to Cambridge only to take exams and turn in papers. Jonathan devoted many of his Sundays in Selma to bringing small groups of Blacks, mostly high school students, to church with him in an effort to integrate the local Episcopal church. In August, he and others were arrested for picketing local businesses and spent six days in jail. Upon their release, they entered a local store, where a man met them with a loaded shotgun. He aimed his gun at one of the women in the group and Jonathan pushed her out of the way, taking the shotgun blast himself, which was fatal.

He wrote: “ I lost fear when I began to know in my bones and sinews that I had been truly baptised into the Lord's death and resurrection, that in the only sense that really matters I am already dead, and my life is hid with Christ in God.“

Scripture. In "The Book of Proverbs," the fourth chapter, from verse twenty-three to twenty-six we read:

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forwards, and your gaze be straight before you. Keep straight the path of your feet, and all your ways will be sure.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that equal civil rights may be extended to all people; that all forms of apartheid may cease; that tribalism, segregation and racism may be banished from the world.

... for the safety of all who campaign for human rights.

... that we may be prepared to "walk the talk."

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

... for those who are finding it difficult to get the medical help they need.

... for those who have been refused health care because of cost.

... for those who were injured or traumatised when a man drove a car into cyclists and pedestrians outside the British Houses of Parliament this morning; for an end to all acts of terrorism. DETAILS

... for those who died when a motorway bridge near the Italian city of Genoa collapsed. DETAILS

... for shop staff who face redundancy because more and more people are buying goods over the internet.

... for victims of pension scams and other financial fraud.

... for Aretha Franklin. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

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

If Christianity is true why are not all Christians obviously nicer than all non-Christians?

What lies behind that question is partly something very reasonable and partly something that is not reasonable at all. The reasonable part is this. If conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man’s outward actions, if he continues to be just as snobbish or spiteful or envious or ambitious as he was before, then I think we must suspect that his "conversion" was largely imaginary; and after one’s original conversion, every time one thinks one has made an advance, that is the test to apply. Fine feelings, new insights, greater interest in "religion" mean nothing unless they make our actual behaviour better; just as in an illness "feeling better" is not much good if the thermometer shows that your temperature is still going up. In that sense the outer world is quite right to judge Christianity by its results. Christ told us to judge by results. A tree is known by its fruit; or, as we say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world. The war-time posters told us that Careless Talk costs Lives. It is equally true that Careless Lives cost Talk. Our careless lives set the outer world talking; and we give them grounds for talking in a way that throws doubt on the truth of Christianity itself.

CLOSING PRAYERS

O God we give you thanks for your faithful witness Jonathan Daniels, who, in the midst of injustice and violence, risked and gave his life for another; and we pray that we, following his example, may make no peace with oppression; through Jesus Christ the just one: who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE THIRTEENTH OF AUGUST, 2018
* Octavia Hill *

OPENING PRAYER

Give us, 0 Lord, a humble spirit, that we may never presume upon your mercy, but live always as those who have been much forgiven. Make us tender and compassionate towards those who are overtaken by temptation, considering ourselves, how we have fallen in times past and may fall yet again. Make us watchful and sober-minded, looking ever unto you for grace to stand upright and to persevere unto the end. Amen.

( Dean Vaughan 1816-1907 )

CANTICLE

You sons of men, with joy record the various wonders of the Lord
and let his power and goodness sound through all your tribes, the earth around.

Let the high heavens your songs invite; those spacious fields of brilliant light,
where sun and moon and planets roll, and stars, that glow from pole to pole.

See earth in verdant robes arrayed, its herbs and flowers, its fruit and shade;
peopled with life of various forms, fishes and fowls, and beasts and worms.

View the broad sea’s majestic plains and think how wide its maker reigns;
that band remotest nations joins and on each wave his goodness shines.

But O! that brighter world above, where lives and reigns incarnate love!
God’s only son in flesh arrayed, for man a bleeding victim made.

Thither, my soul, with rapture soar: there in the land of praise adore:
this theme demands an angel’s lay, demands an undeclining day.

( Philip Doddridge, 1702-1751 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Octavia Hill: an iron sceptre twined with roses

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Octavia Hill, a British social reformer of the late nineteenth century, who established a network of homes for the poor and a system which prompted the poor to better themselves by hard work, personal responsibility and regular visitation by one of her social workers. She was also a tireless campaigner for open spaces for the poor: parks and woodlands. In her own words, “Places to sit in, places to play in, places to stroll in and places to spend a day in.”

Just two years after her birth in 1838, her father suffered both financial and mental collapse. Her mother’s father helped settle the family in a home and took over some of the parental roles from her father. He was Doctor Thomas Southwood Smith, a medical doctor with a passion for sanitary reform in hospitals and social reform in early Victorian London.

From age fourteen, Octavia was engaged in work aimed at social reform. In 1865, with the help of John Ruskin who had befriended her, she began, with his philanthropic help, the first of her housing operations. By 1874 she had over fifteen housing tracts with about three thousand clients. She based her system on the collection of weekly rent, which involved a personal visit from her or one of her staff of social workers to get to know the tenants and treat them as individuals. She spoke on many occasions against impersonal government bureaucracy.

Throughout the 1800’s her influence grew and spread to continental Europe and North America.

An American colleague described her as “ruling over a little kingdom of three thousand loving subjects with an iron sceptre twined with roses.”

In 1907 the British Parliament passed the "National Trust Act," which provided for the preservation of the open spaces she had longed for, together with wildlife habitats and historic buildings.

Octavia died of cancer on the thirteenth of August, 1912.

The Octavia Hill Society keeps her life, her work and her philosophy alive today.

Scripture. In the forty-first psalm, verses one and two, we read:

Happy are those who consider the poor;* the LORD delivers them in the day of trouble. The LORD protects them and keeps them alive; they are called happy in the land.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the homeless and for those who are struggling to find an affordable place to live; for victims of unscrupulous landlords and economic ideologies which do not take into account the welfare and happiness of people.

... that the governments of the world, at both national and local level, may pursue just housing policies that put people before profit.

... for all who work to preserve open spaces for everybody to enjoy and the buildings and places which are the heritage of the people.

... that we may be responsible stewards of the earth and good tenants of God's creation; that we may be good neighbours showing God's love within the communities we live in.

... for the left-handed people of the world. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured in an explosion at an arms depot in the village of Sarmada, northern Syria, on Sunday; for all who fell victim to the wars of the world over the weekend. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured when a bus carrying football fans overturned between the Ecuadorean towns of Cuenca and Guayaquil DETAILS; for those who are missing and feared dead after a helicopter they were travelling in had a "hard landing" in the mountains of Tajikistan DETAILS; for all who were involved in accidents whilst travelling over the weekend.

... for those killed or injured in a fire at a hospital in New Taipei City, Taiwan, early on Monday. DETAILS

... for the success of the Parker Solar Probe's journey to the sun. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "Space for the People" by Octavia Hill (Macmillan's Magazine, August 1875):

There are a few fields just north of this parish of Marylebone which indeed first put it into my head to write this article, though the thoughts contained in it have long been before me. These fields have been our constant resort for years: they are within an easy walk for most of us, and a twopenny train takes the less vigorous within a few yards of the little white gate by which they are entered. They are the nearest fields on our side of London; and there on a summer Sunday or Saturday evening you might see hundreds of working people, who have walked up there from the populous and very poor neighbourhood of Lisson Grove and Portland Town. Fathers, with a little girl by each hand, the mother with the baby, sturdy little boys and merry little girls-as they entered the small, white gate, you might see them spread over the green open space like a stream that has just escaped from between rocks. They sit down on the grass; the baby grabs at the daisies, the tiny children toddle about or tumble on the soft grass, the mother’s arms are rested, and there she sits till it is time to return; or perhaps they go on up to Hampstead Heath, to which these fields lead, which many could not reach, if these acres were covered with villas, instead of affording a welcome rest.

Acres of villas!

Yes, at last, the fields will be built over, if they cannot be saved. They are now like a green hilly peninsula or headland, stretching out into the sea of houses; the nearest fields I know to London anywhere: certainly the nearest on our side. The houses have crept round their feet, and left them till now for us. I knew them many years ago, when I used to walk out of London alone; and since then I have been there, as I say, with dozens of parties of the poor. There the May still grows; there thousands of buttercups. crown the slope with gold: there, best of all, as you when houses are built all round; for far away the view stretches over blue distances to the ridge where Windsor stands. As you come home, yes, as your children’s children come home, if you will save the fields from being built over now, will be seen from them the great sun going down, with all his clouds about him, or the fair space of cloudless summer sky, London lying hushed below you, even London hushed for you for a few minutes, so far it lies beneath, though you will be in it in a short ten minutes.

These fields may be bought now, or they may be built over: which is it to be?

It is a bad thing trying to see other people’s duties: they alone can judge what they are. I can only hope that various people will take the question into consideration. I don’t know absolutely that the fields of which I have written are the cheapest to be had, nor that there may not be others nearer to dense centres of population. I happen to know the special beauties of these, and their value to our side of London, and to be personally very fond of them, which somewhat disqualifies me from judging of their relative value. I would not, therefore, plead for these fields in contradistinction to others, though they have their special beauty. What I wish to urge, and I have only introduced a practical example now vividly in my own mind as most strongly bringing home the fact, is the immense value to the education and reformation of our poorest people of some space near their homes, or within a reasonable distance of them. We all need space; unless we have it we cannot reach that sense of quiet in which whispers of better things come to us gently. Our lives in London are over-crowded, over-excited, over-strained. This is true of all classes; we all want quiet; we all want beauty for the refreshment of our souls. Sometimes we think of it as a luxury, but when God made the world, He made it very beautiful, and meant that we should live amongst its beauties, and that they should speak peace to us in our daily lives.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Lord God, your son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the world. Help us, like your servant Octavia Hill, to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help, to the honour and glory of your holy name; through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE SIXTH OF AUGUST, 2018
* The Transfiguration of the Lord *

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty God, before the passion of your son, you revealed his glory upon the holy mountain. Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross. Indeed, O Lord, give us the vision to see beyond the turmoil of our world and to behold our saviour in all his glory. Amen.

( William Loader )

CANTICLE

O love of Jesus, sweet and dear, when to the heart you do appear,
away its clouds and darkness roll and sweetness overflows the soul.

How happy those who feel your light, you who share the Father’s might,
true radiance of our native land, surpassing all we understand.

The brightness of the Father’s throne, goodness that never can be known,
the fullness of your love impart by your true presence in the heart.

All glory, Lord, to you we pay, transfigured on the mount to-day;
all glory, as is ever meet, to Father and to Paraclete.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

The Transfiguration of our Lord: light of one kind and another

Today Saint Laika’s remembers the Transfiguration of Our Lord, an event recorded in the synoptic gospels. Jesus, in the presence of Peter, James and John, was transformed into dazzling brightness. Moses and Elijah came to be with him and the voice of God was heard in the brightness and cloud which surrounded them. It was a foretaste of Jesus’ resurrected glory, the consummation of God’s planned salvation of the earth. Moses and Elijah represented the law and the prophets of the old covenant, who were thus testifying to the truth of Jesus claim, that he must suffer, die and, on the third day, be raised.

The feast day has ancient roots in Eastern Christianity, where it is considered to be one of the twelve great feasts of Orthodoxy. In the West, it was only established as a feast, to be celebrated on the sixth of August, in 1457. Many churches also celebrate the Transfiguration on the Sunday before Lent, thus placing the feast day before people at the very time the Gospels tell us Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem and began to prepare his disciples for his own suffering and death.

On the sixth of August, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, in an effort to affect Japan’s surrender near the end of the Second World War. This was followed by another bomb dropped on the city of Nagasaki, Japan on the ninth of August. Ever since that day, we have had to contemplate the fact that mortals now possess the ability to destroy ourselves and our planet. The blinding light of the atomic blast is ironically linked to the blinding light of Jesus’ transfiguration by today's date. God transfigures, mortals disfigure. Conservative estimates put the death count at one hundred and fifty thousand people, half of them dying at the moment of the bombing and the rest dying of radiation burns and sickness within the next two months.

Let the beauty of the feast and the horror of the historical event sit with you today. Perhaps the best prayer we can make in the face of both is “Kyrie Eleison!”

Scripture. In the first chapter of the "Second Letter of Peter," verses sixteen through eighteen, we read:

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.

For he received honour and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased."

We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that we may be changed by our love for Jesus Christ and all creation into people worthy of being citizens of the kingdom of God.

... for the people of Jamaica and Bolivia who celebrate their national day today.

... for those who were killed or injured and for those who lost their homes when the Indonesian island of Lombok was hit by a powerful earthquake yesterday. DETAILS

... for the human rights activists who have been detained by the Saudi Arabian authorities recently for criticising the government of the country; that the leaders of the nations will have the integrity to condemn such abuses no matter what the economic cost may be. DETAILS

... for those whose livelihood is threatened by droughts in Australia and elsewhere in the world. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From a sermon on the Transfiguration by Kallistos Ware:

The Transfiguration is par excellence the feast of Christ’s divine glory. Like Theophany (January the sixth), it is a feast of light.

During Matins the exapostilarion for the day states:  “Today on Tabor in the manifestation of your light, O Word, you who are the unaltered light from the light of the unbegotten Father, we have seen the Father as light and the Spirit as light, guiding with light the whole creation.”

Nor is this the only parallel between the two feasts.  Like Theophany, although less explicitly, the Transfiguration is a revelation of the Holy Trinity.  On Tabor, as at the baptism in Jordan, the Father speaks from heaven, testifying to the divine sonship of Christ; and the Spirit is also present, on this occasion not in the likeness of a dove, but under the form of dazzling light, surrounding Christ’s person and overshadowing the whole mountain.  This dazzling light is the light of the Spirit.

The Transfiguration then is a feast of divine glory;  more specifically of the glory of the Resurrection.  The ascent of Mount Tabor came at a critical point in our Lord’s ministry, just as he was setting out upon his last journey to Jerusalem, which he knew was to end in humiliation and death.  To strengthen his disciples for the trials that lay ahead he chose this particular moment to reveal to them something of his eternal splendour, “as far as they were able to bear it”  (Troparion of the Feast).   He encouraged them, and all of us, to look beyond the suffering of the Cross to the glory of the Resurrection.

The light of the Transfiguration, however, foreshadows not only Christ’s own resurrection on the third day but equally the resurrection glory of the righteous (ones) at his second coming.  The glory which shone from Jesus on Tabor is a glory in which all humankind is called to share.  On Mount Tabor, we see Christ’s human nature, the human substance which he took from us, filled with splendour, “made godlike” or “deified.”  What has happened to human nature in Christ can happen also to the humanity of Christ’s followers.  The Transfiguration then, reveals to us the full potentiality of our human nature: it shows us the glory which human nature once possessed and the glory which, by God’s grace, it will again recover at the last day.

This is a cardinal aspect of the present feast, to which the liturgical texts frequently revert.  For example, it is said at Great Vespers that at his Transfiguration the Lord, “in his own person showed them the nature of man, arrayed in the original beauty of the image.”  Similarly, at Matins one hears, “You was transfigured upon Mount Tabor, showing the exchange mortal people will make with your glory at your second and fearful coming, O Saviour.”

The feast of the Transfiguration, therefore, is not simply the commemoration of a past event in the life of Christ.  Possessing also an “eschatological” dimension, it is turned towards the future, towards the “splendour of the resurrection” at the last day, towards the “beauty of the divine kingdom” which all Christians hope eventually to enjoy.

CLOSING PRAYERS

O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses your well-beloved son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE THIRD OF AUGUST, 2018

* W. E. B. Du Bois and George Freeman Bragg, Jr. *

OPENING PRAYER

Take away, O Lord, from our hearts all suspiciousness, indignation, anger and contention, and whatever is calculated to wound charity or to lessen love of others.

Have mercy on me, O Lord. Have mercy on all who seek your mercy; give grace to the needy, make us so to live that we may be found worthy to enjoy the fulfilment of your grace and attain to eternal life. Amen.

( Thomas à Kempis, c.1380–1471 )

CANTICLE

You sons of earth, prepare the plough, break up your fallow ground!
The sower is gone forth to sow and scatter blessings round.

The seed that finds a stony soil shoots forth a hasty blade;
but ill repays the sower’s toil, soon withered, scorched, and dead.

The thorny ground is sure to baulk all hopes of harvest there;
we find a tall and sickly stalk, but not the fruitful ear.

The beaten path and highway side receive the trust in vain;
the watchful birds the spoil divide and pick up all the grain.

But where the Lord of grace and power has blessed the happy field,
how plenteous is the golden store the deep wrought furrows yield!

Father of mercies, we have need of your preparing grace;
let the same hand that gives me seed provide a fruitful place!

( William Cowper, 1731-1800 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

George Freeman Bragg, Jr. and W. E. B. Du Bois

Today Saint Laika's remembers two African American men who helped black Americans find their voice in the generations following the Civil War, in the aftermath of which, with the end of slavery, many states passed discriminatory laws against black Americans. They came to be known as Jim Crow laws. The phrase "Jim Crow" has often been attributed to "Jump Jim Crow", a song-and-dance caricature of blacks performed by white actor Thomas D. Rice in blackface, which first surfaced in 1832.

Booker T. Washington was one leading African-American voice. In 1895 his “Atlanta Compromise” called for avoiding confrontation over segregation and instead putting more reliance on long-term educational and economic advancement in the black community. Washington mobilised a nationwide coalition of middle-class blacks, church leaders, and white philanthropists and politicians, with a long-term goal of building the community's economic strength and pride by a focus on self-help and schooling.

But his voice was not the only voice in those days. W.E.B. DuBois, an African-American living in the North, rose to national prominence as the leader of a group of African-American activists who wanted equal rights for blacks. Du Bois and his supporters opposed the Atlanta Compromise and insisted on full civil rights and increased political representation, which he believed would be brought about by the African-American intellectual elite. He was one of the co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) in 1909. He was a tireless advocate for civil rights for blacks.

He lived to the age of ninety-five and died in 1963, just one year before the American Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law, which embodied many of the reforms DuBois had championed his entire life.

George Freeman Bragg was a contemporary of W.E.B. DuBois. He was an Episcopalian and became a priest in 1888. He helped the Episcopal Church confront its own racism and colonialism with regard to blacks. The Church was good at providing charity to its black members but did little to help them to independence by raising up lay and clergy leadership.

Bragg himself was responsible for leading at least twenty African American men into the Episcopal priesthood. He was the editor of the "Afro-American Churchman." He died in 1940.

Scripture. In "Psalm One Hundred and Thirteen," verses five to eight, we read:

Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that we may never settle for less than full justice for all people.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

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

Those divine demands which sound to our natural ears most like those of a despot and least like those of a lover, in fact, marshal us where we should want to go if we knew what we wanted. He demands our worship, our obedience, our prostration. Do we suppose that they can do him any good, or fear, like the chorus in Milton, that human irreverence can bring about "His glory’s diminution"? A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word "darkness" on the walls of his cell. But God wills our good, and our good is to love him (with that responsive love proper to creatures) and to love him we must know him: and if we know him, we shall, in fact, fall on our faces. If we do not, that only shows that what we are trying to love is not yet God, though it may be the nearest approximation to God which our thought and fantasy can attain. Yet the call is not only to prostration and awe; it is to a reflection of the divine life, a creaturely participation in the divine attributes which is far beyond our present desires. We are bidden to "put on Christ", to become like God. That is, whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want. Once more, we are embarrassed by the intolerable compliment, by too much love, not too little.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Gracious God, we thank you for the witness of W. E. B. DuBois, passionate prophet of civil rights, and for the witness of George Freeman Bragg, tireless priest and shepherd of the flock, who advanced the dignity of African-Americans in both church and state. We pray that we, like them, may use our gifts to do justice in the name of Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE SECOND OF AUGUST, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord Jesus, because, being full of foolishness, we often sin and have to ask pardon, help us to forgive as we would be forgiven; neither mentioning old offences committed against us, nor dwelling upon them in thought, nor being influenced by them in heart; but loving our brothers and sisters freely as you freely loved us. For your name’s sake. Amen.

( Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894 )

CANTICLE

Out with the mighty sword of God! Wield it in might, be strong!
The Word of God we’ll spread abroad and triumph over wrong.

You soldiers of the King of kings, your captain calls today;
Oh, heed the message that he brings, the call to arms obey.

The hosts of sin are raging round, the conflict fiercer grows;
march on, the Lord in glory crowned, has vanquished all his foes.

The victory will soon be ours, in him we never can fail;
over death, and hell and all the powers, through Christ we shall prevail.

Out with the mighty sword of God! Wield it in might, be strong!
The Word of God we’ll spread abroad and triumph over wrong.

( Alfred J. Lewis )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Ignatius of Loyola: God’s soldier

Ignatius of Loyola, after a hedonistic period in his youth and young adulthood, was seriously wounded whilst fighting as a soldier in the defence of Pamplona. A cannonball shattered his leg and left him with a permanent limp. During his recovery, he read a book about the life of Jesus Christ which transformed him. He left military service and began a period of intense devotion, centring on Thomas a Kempis’ “Imitation of Christ.” It was during this time that he wrote out his “Spiritual Exercises” which remains to this day a viable model of a deepened spiritual life and a serious commitment to follow Jesus Christ.

As he was gaining an education at the University of Salamanca, he took to preaching on street corners to the general population, and this brought him twice before the Spanish Inquisition. He was imprisoned but eventually acquitted. He was forbidden to preach as a layman.

In 1534 he founded an order of laymen entitled “The Society of Jesus.” People nicknamed them “Jesuits” and in 1537, realising the limitations that his lay status placed upon them, they were ordained as priests. Noted for their education and zeal, they served both as missionaries in foreign lands and, within Europe, as agents of the Roman Catholic Church determined to win back Protestants. He saw his society grow from ten to a thousand men over the course of his life. He died suddenly on the thirty-first of July, 1556.

Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola:

Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to ask for any reward save that of knowing that we do your will. Amen.

Scripture. In the tenth and eleventh chapter of "The First Letter to the Corinthians," Saint Paul writes:

Do everything for the glory of God. Give no offence to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for soldiers and educators and all who claim Ignatius of Loyola as their patron.

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

... for peace on the streets of Zimbabwe; for those killed or injured when security forces opened fire on protesters; for the democratic process to be respected by all Zimbabweans. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "The Spiritual Exercises" by Ignatius of Loyola:

Man was created for this end, that he might praise and reverence the Lord his
God, and, serving him, at length be saved.

But the other things which are placed on the earth were created for man's sake, that they might assist him in pursuing the end of his creation: whence it follows, that they are to be used or abstained from in proportion as they profit or hinder him in pursuing that end. Wherefore we ought to be indifferent towards all created things so that we seek not health more than sickness, nor prefer riches to poverty, honour to contempt, a long life to a short one. But it is fitting, out of all, to choose and desire those things only which lead to the end.

CLOSING PRAYERS

O God, grant that we, following the example of your servant Ignatius, may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

Of course, the UK is going to be worse off after Brexit, a lot worse off; the EU's negotiators have been clear and unambiguous about having to punish us since our decision to split from them was announced. Therefore, the question we should be asking ourselves is will the sacrifice be worth it in respect of our nation's "soul" rather than our nation's economy? After all, money isn't everything, especially if you haven't got much of it in the first place.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE FIRST OF AUGUST, 2018
* Joseph of Arimathaea *

OPENING PRAYER

We beseech you, O Lord our God, be patient with us sinners. You who know our weakness, protect the work of your hands now and in times to come, deliver us from all temptation and all danger and all the powers of darkness of this world, and bring us into the kingdom of your only son and our God. For to your most holy name be the glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and for ever, to the ages of ages. Amen.

CANTICLE

And did those feet in ancient time walk upon England's mountain green?
And was the holy Lamb of God on England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here among those dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold! Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold! Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight, nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
till we have built Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land.

( William Blake 1757-1827 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Joseph of Arimathaea: the Holy Grail to England bourne

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Joseph of Arimathaea and to those without an English or Anglican background, he is well worth remembering as the one who buried the body of Jesus in his own new tomb, which had been hewn out of rock. He is identified in the three synoptic gospels as a disciple of Jesus, a member of the ruling council, and as one who was looking forward to the kingdom of God. All of this is praiseworthy and deserving of a day of remembrance.

James Kiefer, in his brief biography of Joseph, notes: “the folk-tales of a community are part of the heritage of a community” and it is the folk-tales and legends about Joseph of Arimathaea which have so endeared him to the English people. There are tales of Joseph bringing Jesus as a teen to England on a trip to transport tin to the Middle East. There are tales of his bringing the Holy Grail (the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper) to England, to Glastonbury, in particular, where a great thorn tree grew around it to protect it. Cromwell’s soldiers cut it down, but a cutting from that tree was later replanted and is there to this day. Pilgrims to Glastonbury are pleased to purchase leaves from the Glastonbury Thorn as a remembrance of their visit.

The pertinent question to ask yourselves on this day to remember Joseph of Arimathaea, is how eager are you for the kingdom of God? And what gifts have you been given that might help God’s kingdom be seen in the midst of this sometimes dark and difficult world?

Scripture. In Luke’s gospel, chapter twenty-three, from the fiftieth to the fifty-third verse, we read:

Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that we may always find the courage within ourselves to do what is right even when all around us have chosen to do that which is evil.

... for funeral directors, tinsmiths and who claim Joseph of Arimathaea as their patron.

... for the people of Benin and Switzerland who celebrate their national day today.

... for children mourning the death of a friend.

... for the parents and loved ones of children who have died accidentally.

... for those recovering from surgery, especially those suffering complications or relapses.

... for the three Russian journalists killed in an ambush in the Central African Republic; for the safety of all journalists working in dangerous situations.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

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

There must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away ‘blindly’ so to speak.

Christ will indeed give you a real personality: but you must not go to him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is his) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for him.

Does that sound strange?

The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find him, and with him everything else thrown in.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Merciful God, whose servant Joseph of Arimathaea with reverence and godly fear prepared the body of our Lord and saviour for burial, and laid it in his own tomb: grant to us, your faithful people, grace and courage to love and serve Jesus with sincere devotion all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE THIRTY-FIRST OF JULY, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

We have not fully learned how to make peace; we have taken advantage of each other continually; we have judged each other without true knowledge; we have set up barriers of pride in possessions; we have divided people by their skin colour; we have even shown religious superiority. Forgive us, merciful God, father of our bodies, minds and spirits; let us commit our whole personalities to you. Amen.

( Rita Snowden, 1907-1999 )

CANTICLE

As Jesus sought his wandering sheep, with weary toil oppressed,
he came to Martha’s lowly roof, a loved and honoured guest.

Blessed are you, whose threshold poor those holy feet have trod,
to wait on so divine a guest and to receive your God!

While Martha serves with busy feet in reverential mood,
meek Mary sits beside the judge and feeds on heavenly food.

Yea, Martha soon herself shall sit, the eternal word to hear,
and shall forget the festal hoard, to feast on holier cheer.

Sole rest of all who come to you, over all our works preside,
that we may have in you, at last, the part that shall abide. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Mary, Martha and Lazarus: Jesus’ home away from home ( transferred from Sunday )

Jesus spent his ministry travelling around from place to place preaching, teaching, healing and, in general, showing by word and deed the kingdom of God. The gospels mention three different episodes when Jesus was a guest in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. The gospels tell us that Jesus loved the three of them. They were both friends and followers of Jesus.

In one famous story, Martha is busy preparing food in the kitchen, while Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to him. Many have seen in this simple account the two sides of discipleship: studying the word, and deeds of charity and care. Martha makes a bold confession of faith in Jesus when he visits the home after Lazarus had died. Again, when Jesus is the guest at a dinner in his honour, following the raising of Lazarus, Mary took a pound of expensive nard and anointed Jesus’ feet. All in all, they provided Jesus with a place of acceptance and love in the midst of his ministry.

What a rich life Jesus lived, to have such good friends. Do your friends help you to live life well?

All who claim to be followers of Jesus, learn from Martha, Mary, and Lazarus of Bethany, to make Jesus welcome in their hearts and homes.

Scripture. In the story of Zacchaeus, in "Luke," chapter nineteen, verses five to seven, we find a very similar situation to the family at Bethany, where Jesus says:

“Hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today."

So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him.

All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner."

May Jesus always find a welcome in your home.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that we may always be attentive to the words of Jesus Christ and always willing to act in accordance with his teaching.

... that we may be a welcoming people.

... for those whose homes have been damaged by severe weather.

... for those who have been abused by aid workers. DETAILS

... for the four tourists who were killed by Islamists in Tajikistan on Sunday and the two who were injured; for all travellers in dangerous lands. DETAILS

... for victims of evil cultural practices, especially those involving the abuse of women; for those victims who have to hide from their family out of fear of being violently attacked for not conforming to tradition. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "Removing the Wall between Mary and Martha" by Mother Raphaela Wilkinson:

Again and again during the year we hear the story of the sisters Mary and Martha being visited by Jesus. While Mary sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching, Martha was busy in the kitchen.

Finally she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”

Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

I’ve always had a hunch that, before the Lord arrived, Mary was right there with Martha getting all the food ready and cleaning the house. Martha’s problem was that she didn’t know how to enjoy her parties. My guess is that Mary was a good hostess, the kind who prepares everything ahead of time so that, when the guests arrive, she can sit down and enjoy them. But Martha was sure her guests needed to be waited on hand and foot. The Lord rightly corrected her.

Martha’s error is one many of us fall into, especially if we are task oriented. In our effort to be perfect, we end up doing things that don’t need to be done. While we may gain the satisfaction of seeing many tasks or projects completed, we may lose companionship along the way.

Because of Saint Luke’s story, Mary has come to stand for the contemplative life, while Martha stands for the active life. But when we talk this way, we are taking one small episode in the lives of these sisters out of context, assuming that Martha spent her entire life busy serving while Mary was always listening.

Church tradition tells us that both women went on to be myrrhbearers. Later, according to ancient local traditions in France and England, they became apostles and evangelists.

We see Martha in a different light in Saint John’s gospel.

Here she makes the same confession of faith as Peter: “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”

The Lord had taught her a lesson and she learned it.

We should emulate both women, combining in ourselves both their good qualities. In an early story of desert monasticism, we are told of visitors who came to the monastery but were scandalised when they were asked to help with work. They complained that they had come to pray. So, the story goes, they were given use of a room in which to pray, but were not called when it was time to eat.

It doesn’t take long for humans to discover that they are not quite up to a totally non-material angelic life. Saint Paul tells us that those who choose not to work should not eat. On an empty stomach, work begins to look good.

For the healthy and able, there is no such thing as a contemplative life stripped of all activity. Balancing the two is the key to life.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Generous God, whose son Jesus Christ enjoyed the friendship and hospitality of Mary, Martha and Lazarus of Bethany: open our hearts to love you, our ears to hear you, and our hands to welcome and serve you in others, through Jesus Christ our risen Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

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Not A Load Of Balls

I've just watched a TV programme in which Ed Balls (a former Labour Party member of the UK parliament) goes to America to meet Trump voters on their own terms and allows them to speak without him being a condescending, liberal twat about it.

The bad news is that Trump is going to romp home in the mid-terms. Democrats have not learnt anything since he gained office. They are spending all their energy on trying to shame someone who is completely unshameable and pathetically grasping for some sort of legal way to get him out of office instead of putting all their effort into coming up with attractive, positive ideas that will appeal to what need be no more than ten percent of those people who voted for him last time out. Also finding a candidate that doesn't act like he or she thinks anyone who doesn't have a holiday home in Martha's Vineyard is redneck trailer trash would be a smart thing to do.

I would suggest that Ed Balls might be your man as he seems very capable of talking to working people like they are not braindead, but the Americans have this racist thing about their president having to have been born in the USA, which rules him out.

They could give Steve Earle a shot at it. That might work.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE THIRTIETH OF JULY, 2018
* William Wilberforce *

OPENING PRAYER

O holy God, whose mercy and pity made you descend from the high throne down into this world for our salvation: mercifully forgive us all the sins that we have done and thought and said. Send us cleanness of heart and purity of soul; restore us with your Holy Spirit, that we may henceforth live virtuously and love you with all our hearts; through Jesus Christ your son.”

( Richard Rolle , 1290-1349 )

CANTICLE

You servants of the almighty king, in every age his praises sing;
wherever the sun shall rise or set, the nations shall his praise repeat.

Above the earth, beyond the sky, stands his high throne of majesty;
nor time nor place his power restrain, nor bound his universal reign.

Which of the sons of Adam dare, or angels, with their God compare?
His glories how divinely bright, who dwells in uncreated light!

Behold his love! He stoops to view what saints above and angels do;
and condescends yet more to know the mean affairs of men below.

From dust and cottages obscure, his grace exalts the humble poor;
gives them the honour of his sons, and fits them for their heavenly thrones.

A word of his creating voice can make the barren house rejoice;
though Sarah’s ninety years were past, the promised seed is born at last.

With joy, the mother views her son and tells the wonders God has done:
faith may grow strong when sense despairs, if nature fails, the promise bears.

( Isaac Watts, 1674–1748 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

William Wilberforce: the conscience of a politician

Today, Saint Laika’s remembers William Wilberforce, a member of the British parliament, who persistently introduced legislation to abolish slavery in the British empire.

Slavery was a complex issue, with racial and economic implications, through the late eighteenth, early nineteenth century. The holding of slaves led the United States into a bloody civil war in the 1860’s. But in Britain, a similar conflict was avoided because of the careful and persistent work of William Wilberforce. He introduced his first anti-slavery motion in the House of Commons in 1788 and, when it was defeated, he reintroduced the same legislation in 1789, then every year until 1806, when parliament finally voted to abolish the slave trade. Having gained that important victory, Wilberforce pressed on with his campaign to free all slaves throughout the empire. Parliament finally passed this measure just four days before Wilberforce died, the twenty-ninth of July, 1833. In 1834, over eight hundred thousand slaves were set free.

The backbone of Wilberforce’s strong passion for justice was his daily practice of prayer and spiritual reading. And he was profoundly influenced by William Law's book, “A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life.”

Quote. “If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.”

Scripture. In Paul’s brief letter to Philemon, he sends Onesimus, a runaway slave, back to Philemon, and comments:

Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but as more than a slave, a beloved brother; especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for an end to slavery in whatever form it takes.

... that our nations may be governed by Godly women and men dedicated to bringing in the freedom and justice of God's kingdom in our own day.

... for whistleblowers who risk their own livelihoods to draw public attention to wrongdoing in the institutions in which they work.

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

... for children who have died in accidents recently and for those who mourn their death.

... for those who have taken their own lives recently and for their friends and family members.

... for poorly pets and their human companions who are worried for them.

... for ethnic minorities living in Assam, India, who are in danger of being forced to leave their homes an becoming stateless. DETAILS

... for peace in Zimbabwe during the country's first election without the involvement of long-time leader Robert Mugabe; that the vote may be free from corruption. DETAILS

... for those who were killed or injured during a six-point-four magnitude earthquake in Indonesia; for those who are missing or trapped. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes in this Country Contrasted with Real Christianity" by William Wilberforce:

It is the distinguishing glory of Christianity not to rest satisfied with superficial appearances, but to rectify the motives, and purify the heart. The true Christian, in obedience to the lessons of scripture, no where keeps over himself a more resolute and jealous guard, than where the desire of human estimation and distinction is in question. Nowhere does he more deeply feel the insufficiency of his unassisted strength, or more diligently and earnestly pray for divine assistance. He may well indeed watch and pray against the encroachments of a passion, which, when suffered to transgress its just limits, discovers a peculiar hostility to the distinguishing graces of the Christian temper; a passion which must insensibly acquire force, because it is in continual exercise; a passion to which almost every thing without administers nutriment, and the growth of which within is favoured and cherished by such powerful auxiliaries as pride and selfishness, the natural and perhaps inexterminable inhabitants of the human heart.

Strongly impressed, therefore, with a sense of the indispensable necessity of guarding against the progress of this encroaching principle, in humble reliance of superior aid, the true Christian thankfully uses the means, and habitually exercises himself in the considerations and motives, suggested to him for that purpose by the word of God. He is much occupied in searching out, and contemplating his own infirmities. He endeavours to acquire and maintain a just conviction of his great unworthiness; and to keep in continual remembrance, that whatever distinguishes himself from others is not properly his own, but that he is altogether indebted for it to the undeserved bounty of heaven. He diligently endeavours also, habitually to preserve a just sense of the real worth of human distinction and applause, knowing that he shall covet them less when he has learned not to overrate their value.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Just and eternal God, we give you thanks for the stalwart faith and persistence of your servant William Wilberforce who held fast to a vision of justice in which no child of yours might suffer in enforced servitude and misery. Grant that we, drawn by that same gospel vision, may persevere in serving the common good and caring for those who have been cast down, that they may be raised up through Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

I'm telling you, repenting of my own sins takes all my energy. No way can I also repent of the sins of people I've never met, many of whom are long dead. Thank goodness that Jesus never said I had to.

Repent of your own sins. Help clear up the mess caused by the sins of others.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE TWENTY-SIXTH OF JULY, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty and merciful God, the fountain of all goodness, who knows the thoughts of our hearts, we confess to you that we have sinned against you and done evil in your sight. Wash us, we beseech you, from the stains of our past sins, and give us grace and power to put away all hurtful things; so that, being delivered from the bondage of sin, we may bring forth worthy fruits of repentance. Amen.

( Alcuin of York, 735-804 )

CANTICLE

You servants of God, your master proclaim and publish abroad his wonderful name;
the name all-victorious of Jesus extol, his kingdom is glorious and rules over all.

The waves of the sea have lifted their voice, sore troubled that we in Jesus rejoice;
the floods they are roaring, but Jesus is here; while we are adoring, he always is near.

Men, devils engage, the billows arise, and horribly rage, and threaten the skies:
their fury shall never our steadfastness shock, the weakest believer is built on a rock.

God rules on high, almighty to save, and still he is nigh, his presence we have;
the great congregation his triumph shall sing, ascribing salvation to Jesus our king.

Salvation to God, who sits on the throne, let all cry aloud and honour the Son!
The praises of Jesus the angels proclaim, they fall down on their faces and worship the Lamb.

Then let us adore, and give him his right, all glory and power, and wisdom and might;
all honour and blessing, with angels above, and thanks never ceasing, and infinite love.

( Charles Wesley )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

When the Church killed
in the name of Christ.

Among the more important dates in world history, the twenty-sixth of July, 1826, would be no more than an interesting footnote. The last execution carried out under the authority of the Holy Inquisition occurred in Spain on this day. This was the execution of the school teacher, Cayetano Ripoll, for the teaching of Deism in his school.

Today we are rightly angered whenever, in the name of God, someone or some group kill others in defence of their religious beliefs. Christians are sobered to remember that under the auspices of the Roman Inquisition, and later, the Spanish Inquisition, thousands were put to death between the twelfth and nineteenth centuries.

The inquisition began in the twelfth century and was meant to target the Cathari, a group of Christians in Southern France who practised an alternative form of Christianity, a reaction to perceived corruption in the Catholic Church. Jan Hus of Bohemia was one of the most famous victims, put to death in 1414. Following the Protestant Reformation, the Inquisition was used as a tool to suppress Protestants. Jews were also killed when they were suspected of converting to Christianity merely to avoid deportation under Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. In its later stages, many women were executed for the crime of witchcraft.

Today we hear of fatwas issued against certain individuals or groups. Throughout these earlier centuries the word to be feared was “auto-da-fe”, it originally stood for the judgment of the Inquisitorial Tribunal. But by the sixteenth century, it had become synonymous with burning at the stake.

Scripture: In "The Gospel of Luke," the ninth chapter at verses fifty-two through fifty-five, we read:

And Jesus sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set towards Jerusalem.

When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?’"

But he turned and rebuked them.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for an end to the persecution of other people by Christians.

... for an end to all violence and other acts of hatred carried out in the name of religion.

... for the seven hundred and eleven migrant children still separated from their parents in the USA. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

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

I find I must borrow yet another parable from George MacDonald.

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what he is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is he up to?

The explanation is that he is building quite a different house from the one you thought of, throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but he is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it himself.

The command, "Be ye perfect" is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were "gods" and he is going to make good his words. If we let him, for we can prevent him, if we choose, he will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) his own boundless power and delight and goodness.

The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what he said.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Almighty God, in penitence we come before you, acknowledging the sin that is within us. We feel the guilt of all those who, bearing the name Christian, slay their fellow human beings because of their race or faith or nation. Forgive us and cleanse us by your grace. Turn us toward the love offered by your son, that your word of hope may be heard clearly throughout the world, through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

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What A Cynic Might Think About
The Jewish Media’s Attack On Corbyn

If I was a cynic I would probably come to the conclusion that the Israeli government, through the Jewish community and its media in the UK, is trying to scupper any chance of Jeremy Corbyn leading the Labour Party to victory at the next general election, as they know he will be sympathetic to the claims of Palestinian Arabs living in the Occupied Territories and it does not wish to lose the huge amount of influence it has enjoyed over the British government for many years. That all three of the major Jewish newspapers in the UK have attacked Corbyn and stated that "a Jeremy Corbyn-led government would pose an existential threat to Jewish life," in the same words on the same day would be regarded as a conspiracy if all the Muslim newspapers in the UK had led a similar joint attack on Theresa May, for example.

Let's get things straight. The definition of antisemitism that is being adopted by the Labour Party is not "the" definition," it is "a" definition" drawn up by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which is not a national or international legislature, independent or the Oxford English Dictionary. However, the Labour Party has volunteered to adopt their definition into its constitution. What it is, so far, refusing to do is accept all the examples of antisemitism that the IHRA has made an integral part of the definition.

If the Labour Party was to back down and include all the definitions it would mean, for example, that if a British citizen with a Palestinian ancestry was to become a member of the Labour Party and state that Israel has no right to exist because they stole the land from her ancestors (you can imagine a native American or other conquered indigenous person saying the same) then she would be labelled antisemitic and thrown out of the Labour Party. It could well be argued that a Labour government in Britain, stating that the Israeli government's recent passing of a law that makes the eighteen per cent of the population of Israel, which is not Jewish, second-class citizens with no right to self-determination, is nothing less than apartheid, would be guilty of antisemitism according to this controversial definition. If I was a cynic I would probably be tempted to think that this is exactly the control that an Israeli government would like to have over UK political discourse concerning the Middle East.

What worries me most is the number of intellectuals in Britain, including, of all people, Melvyn Bragg, who are not only joining in the attack on Jeremy Corbyn but are completely ignoring the ramifications of what they are demanding. The idea that a politician of any party and any nation should be banned from accusing her own or another nation's government of wrongdoing because of a pseudo-law drawn-up by supporters of the government doing the wrongdoing, should be an anathema. That so many British journalists, political commentators, lawmakers and potential lawmakers are championing such a restriction of our freedom of speech, is very scary indeed. If I was a cynic I might be tempted to conclude that they are saying what they have been told to say rather than thinking for themselves.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE TWENTY-FIFTH OF JULY, 2018
* James *

OPENING PRAYER

Great Spirit of the islands and countries, father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have seriously sinned in words, deeds, and thoughts. Forgive us, please, and gently guide us in the ways of peace and love. Teach us to be more caring and loving to our families and to others, and to be more responsible in the task committed to us. Amen.

( Prayer from Karibati, Micronesia )

CANTICLE

LORD, who shall sit beside you, enthroned on either hand,
when clouds no longer hide you aid all thy faithful band?

Who drinks the cup of sorrow your father gave to you
beneath shadows of the morrow in dark Gethsemane?

Who on your passion thinking can find in loss a gain
and dare to meet unshrinking your baptism of pain?

0 Jesu, form within us your likeness clear and true;
by your example win us to suffer or to do.

This law itself fulfils, Christlike to Christ is nigh,
and where the Father wills, shall sit with Christ on high.

( William Romanis )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

James: how shall we call him? 

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Saint James. You would be easily forgiven for asking, "Which one?"  The Saint Laika’s calendar remembers James three times in the year; today, the twenty-third of October and the first of May.

Today we are remembering James, the son of Zebedee, sometimes called Saint James the Greater. On the first of May, we remember James, the son of Alphaeus, also known as Saint James the Lesser, and on the twenty-third of October, we remember James of Jerusalem, also known as Saint James, the brother of the Lord. Since we know so little about any of these disciples, it’s important to tread gently.

James, the son of Zebedee, was one of the twelve apostles, the brother of the apostle John. He appears to be part of an inner circle of apostles, since the scriptures often mention that “Peter, James, and John,” were privy to special moments in Jesus’ story, such as his transfiguration on the mountain, his raising the dead girl to life and his agony in the garden.

James was the first of the apostles to be killed for his faith. The twelfth chapter of "The Book of Acts" mentions that he was killed somewhere around the year 42 AD.

There were early church traditions associating James the Greater with Spain. The Church of Saint James of Compostela became known as the burial site of James, and throughout the Middle Ages, it was one of the chief places of pilgrimage in all the western world.

Scripture. In 'The Book of Acts," chapter twelve, verses one and two we find this simple fact.

About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword.

This was King Herod Agrippa I, grandson of King Herod, who met the Magi in "Matthew," chapter two.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for all who suffer persecution for their faith in our day.

... for all pilgrims, especially those in Compostela right now.

... for veterinarians, equestrians, tanners, pharmacists, travellers; for those living with rheumatism or arthritis; for all people and institutions who claim Saint James the Greater as their patron.

... for those seeking a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.

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

... for those who are missing after the wildfires in Greece and for those who search for them. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured in the violence surrounding the election in Pakistan. DETAILS

... for children who have been excluded from school because of bad behaviour.

... for those throughout the world who are suffering from tuberculosis. DETAILS

... for people affected by Down's syndrome, that they may be fully included within society, and for the success of the World Down Syndrome Congress taking place in Glasgow from today. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

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

On the one hand we must never imagine that our own unaided efforts can be relied on to carry us even through the next twenty-four hours as "decent" people. If God does not support us, not one of us is safe from some gross sin. On the other hand, no possible degree of holiness or heroism which has ever been recorded of the greatest saints is beyond what God is determined to produce in every one of us in the end. The job will not be completed in this life; but God means to get us as far as possible before death.

That is why we must not be surprised if we are in for a rough time. When a man turns to Christ and seems to be getting on pretty well (in the sense that some of his bad habits are now corrected) he often feels that it would now be natural if things went fairly smoothly. When troubles come along (illnesses, money troubles, new kinds of temptation) he is disappointed. These things, he feels, might have been necessary to rouse him and make him repent in his bad old days; but why now? Because God is forcing him on, or up, to a higher level: putting him into situations where he will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving, than he ever dreamed of being before. It seems to us all unnecessary: but that is because we have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing God means to make of us.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Merciful God, whose holy apostle James, the son of Zebedee, leaving his father and all that he had, was obedient to the calling of your son Jesus Christ and followed him even to death: help us, forsaking the false attractions of the world, to be ready at all times to answer your call without delay; 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. 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.

Tearing Down The Walls

If we want to get rid of national borders, first we need to standardise wages and taxes throughout the world and have just one world currency worth exactly the same in every country. This will reduce the problem of people migrating on mass to the richest country at any one time and the devastating effect that would have on the infrastructures of the nations. But this would come at a huge cost to most people in the developed world. If all the wealth of the world was distributed equally among all people (men, women and children) we would have about $9000 each. Are we prepared to cut our coat according to our ideology?

Another problem for Western liberals would be a cultural one. I doubt that unrestricted migration of Latin Americans into the USA would undermine any of the freedoms and equalities that liberal America has won over the last fifty years; in fact, some Latin American nations are more liberal than many American states. However, what if people from areas of the world where the cultural/religious beliefs differ greatly from those of liberal, "Christian" westerners, were to enter the USA (for example) in such numbers that their votes meant the overturning of the human rights legislation that liberals have fought so hard for? True freedom of movement would allow for the possibility of this happening.

Basically, are we prepared to put our money where our mouth is? Are we prepared to lose our freedom to win freedom for everyone?

Please note, this is not an attack on anyone. It is a question to myself really. Personally, like, I expect, most on the left of politics, I want my cake and to eat it too.

Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

My definition of a true friend is a person who rings you up to see if you want to go out or just to have a chat.

A friend who is not a true friend is a person who might agree to go out somewhere if you call them but who will never call you first.

If these definitions are correct I have only ever had two true friends in my life, my wife and my mother.

The evidence suggests that I am no fun to be with.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE TWENTY-FOURTH OF JULY, 2018
* Thomas à Kempis *

OPENING PRAYER

Grant, most sweet and loving Jesus, that I may seek my repose in You above every creature; above all health and beauty; above every honour and glory; every power and dignity; above all knowledge and cleverness, all riches and arts, all joy and gladness; above all fame and praise, all sweetness and consolation; above every hope and promise, every merit and desire; above all the gifts and favours that you can give or pour down upon me; above all the joy and exultation that the mind can receive and feel; and finally, above the angels and archangels and all the heavenly host; above all things visible and invisible; and may I seek my repose in you above everything that is not you, my God. For you, O Lord my God, are above all things the best. You alone are most high, you alone most powerful. You alone are most sufficient and most satisfying, you alone most sweet and consoling. You alone are most beautiful and loving, you alone most noble and glorious above all things. In you is every perfection that has been or ever will be. Therefore, whatever you give me besides yourself, whatever you reveal to me concerning yourself, and whatever you promise, is too small and insufficient when I do not see and fully enjoy you alone. For my heart cannot rest or be fully content until, rising above all gifts and every created thing, it rests in you. Amen.

( Thomas à Kempis )

CANTICLE

Light’s abode, celestial Salem, vision whence true peace doth spring,
brighter than the heart can fancy, mansion of the highest king;
O how glorious are the praises which of thee the prophets sing!

There for ever and for ever "Alleluia" is outpoured,
for unending and unbroken is the feast day of the Lord;
all is pure and all is holy that within thy walls is stored.

There no cloud nor passing vapour dims the brightness of the air;
endless noonday, glorious noonday, from the sun of suns is there;
there no night brings rest from labour, for unknown are toil and care.

O how glorious and resplendent, fragile body, shall you be,
when endued with so much beauty, full of health, and strong, and free,
full of vigour, full of pleasure that shall last eternally!

Now with gladness, now with courage, bear the burden on you laid,
that hereafter these your labours may with endless gifts be paid,
and in everlasting glory, you with brightness be arrayed.

Laud and honour to the Father, laud and honour to the Son,
laud and honour to the Spirit, ever three, and ever one,
consubstantial, co-eternal, while unending ages run.

( Thomas à Kempis )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Thomas à Kempis: God’s little hammer

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Thomas à Kempis, priest, monk and spiritual writer.

The one hundred years between the mid-fourteenth and mid-fifteenth century was a time of spiritual creativity across Europe. The Great Western Schism (1378-1414) caused upheavals in the Christian Church of the West and set many on the path of Bible study, spiritual exercises and prayer. Jan Hus led such a movement in Bohemia; Bridget of Sweden founded the Brigittines in Sweden and from the Netherlands to Germany, the Brethren of the Common Life were taking root, practising a simple piety, centred on prayer, worship, good works and communal life. They started many religious schools and attracted some of the most famous characters of the times, including Nicholas of Cusa, Erasmus and even Martin Luther.

Thomas Haemerken ("little hammer") was born in Kempen, Germany in 1380. At the age of twelve, he began to attend school under the tutelage of the Brethren of the Common Life. At the age of twenty-six, he entered the Monastery of Mount Saint Agnes in the Netherlands, eventually becoming a priest. He was best known as a copyist and spiritual writer. In 1441 he compiled his most famous work “The Imitation of Christ.” Thanks to his care as compiler and editor, the "Imitation" became and has remained, after the Bible, the most widely read book in the world.

Quotes:

"Without the Way, there is no going, without the Truth, there is no knowing, without the Life, there is no living."

"At the Day of Judgment we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done."

"For man proposes, but God disposes."

Scripture: In the book of "Ecclesiastes," the ninth chapter, verses seventeen and eighteen, we read.

The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouting of a ruler among fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one bungler destroys much good.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for Christian women and men living in community together.

... for writers of works of spiritual encouragement and that their words may lead to us striving harder to become more like Christ.

...  for those who have died, for those who have been injured and for those who have lost their homes as a result of wildfires in the Attica region around Athens in Greece. DETAILS

... for the people of Nicaragua, especially those who have been killed or injured during recent protests in the country; for peace and democracy to become a longlasting reality in the nation. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured after a dam under construction collapsed in south-east Laos; for those who are missing. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas à Kempis:

Vain is the man who puts his trust in men, in created things.

Do not be ashamed to serve others for the love of Jesus Christ and to seem poor in this world. Do not be self-sufficient but place your trust in God. Do what lies in your power and God will aid your good will. Put no trust in your own learning nor in the cunning of any man, but rather in the grace of God Who helps the humble and humbles the proud.

If you have wealth, do not glory in it, nor in friends because they are powerful, but in God Who gives all things and Who desires above all to give Himself. Do not boast of personal stature or of physical beauty, qualities which are marred and destroyed by a little sickness. Do not take pride in your talent or ability, lest you displease God to Whom belongs all the natural gifts that you have.

Do not think yourself better than others lest, perhaps, you be accounted worse before God Who knows what is in man. Do not take pride in your good deeds, for God’s judgments differ from those of men and what pleases them often displeases Him. If there is good in you, see more good in others, so that you may remain humble. It does no harm to esteem yourself less than anyone else, but 11 it is very harmful to think yourself better than even one. The humble live in continuous peace, while in the hearts of the proud are envy and frequent anger.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, you have nourished and strengthened your Church by the writings of your servantThomas à Kempis: Grant that we may learn from him to be conformed to Christ in all things; 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.

Heron Aid

There was a major incident going on in Riverside Park this morning while I was walking the dogs. It involved a fire engine with all its lights flashing, the river rescue unit, a land rover towing a large dinghy and the R.S.P.C.A.

A heron had got caught up in barbed wire on the riverbank and a major rescue operation was underway to free it. This is so typical of the English - we make the countryside a life-threatening obstacle course for our wildlife and then spend a fortune rescuing the victims of our cost-cutting land management choices because we hate seeing animals suffer. Go figure!

Happy Birthday Dear Edric!

It is Edric's third birthday today. This is him on his birthday visit to the beach this evening. Afterwards, we went to a pub where the barperson (female) gave him lots of treats and then he helped us dispatch an excessively large fish and chip supper. Finally back home for tea.

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