Of Course, I Could be Wrong

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

The Segregated State Of Israel

So, on the day after Jeremy Corbyn was accused of being a racist for not banning Labour Party members from, among other stuff, not likening the actions of an Israeli government to the actions of the Nazis, the government of the state of Israel passes a law that restricts the right of self-determination to Jews only. Eighteen percent of the population of Israel are not Jewish. Oy vey!

The only thing necessary for the Israeli government to get away with doing evil is that liberals do not condemn them for fear of being accused of being antisemitic.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE NINETEENTH OF JULY, 2018
* Adelaide Teague Case *

OPENING PRAYER

I am heartily sorry, and beg pardon for my sins, especially for my little respect, and for wandering in my thoughts when in your presence, and for my continual infidelities to your graces; for all which I beg pardon, by the merits of the blood you shed for them. Amen.

( Lady Lucy Herbert )

CANTICLE

Yo mighty rulers of the land, give praise and glory to the Lord
and while before his throne you stand, his great and powerful acts record.

O render unto God above the honours which to him belong
and in the temple of his love, let worship flow from every tongue.

His voice is heard the earth around, when through the heavens his thunders roll;
the troubled ocean hears the sound and yields itself to his control.

When he upon the lightning rides, his voice in loudest thunder speaks;
the fiery element divides and earth to its deep centre shakes.

God on the floods has fixed his throne, his government shall never cease;
he shall his power and strength make known and bless his chosen sons with peace.

( William Wrangham 1784-1832 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Adelaide Teague Case: religious educator

Today, Saint Laika’s remembers Adelaide Teague Case (1887-1948), an Episcopalian who was interested in "progressive" religious education from the perspective of the Christian active in the world. Some of her areas of interest included the religious development of children, the teaching of religion for all ages, the Bible and religious education, social ethics and peace education. Case became the first woman appointed to full professorial rank in any Episcopal or Anglican seminary in 1941 when she joined the faculty of Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as Professor of Christian Education. At ETS, where she remained until her death, Case taught a variety of courses in religious education and directed field work.

Baptised and confirmed in the Episcopal Church, Adelaide Teague Case's religious faith followed a conventional pattern until she had a conversion experience after college. Thereafter, the living Christ became the dominant force in her life and ministry. Though she continued within the Episcopal Church, Case became a devout Anglo-Catholic, and was strongly attracted spiritually to the sacramental and liturgical life of the church.

Her passion for the religious education of children and adults in congregations rubbed off on many of her students, who later went on to ordination. They would often describe her classes as the best time they had in seminary.

Quote .”The liberal attitude toward the Bible and toward traditional theology has released Jesus of Nazareth alike from the machinery of a prearranged scheme of salvation and from the dead hand of pious superstition.”

Scripture: in the book of "Jeremiah," chapter thirty-one, verse thirty-three, we read:

"But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days," says the LORD: "I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those whose task it is to teach the Christian faith to the children of the Church, that they will speak words of truth that will maintain them in their discipleship to Christ throughout their lives.

... for an intelligent and informed faith, free from superstition and magical thinking, based on the reality of the Word made flesh.

... for those waiting for surgery.

... for those who have lost or mislaid something important to them.

... for those whose lives have been damaged by false accusations.

... 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 "Religion and the Child's Life" by Adelaide Teague Case:

In no area of life is it so true as in the area of religion that we are living suspended between two worlds: a past that has gone and a future that is yet to be. The paraphernalia and forms of our fathers' faiths are all about us, but they are like the furniture and ornaments of an empty house. Children see them, of course, and wonder about them. They hear words associated with religious experiences: "God," "Jesus," "the Sabbath," "the Bible." They see around them in familiar pictures representations of the Jewish-Christian epic: the cross, angels and figures of Christmas legends. At certain seasons of the year their environment takes on a special colouring which is in some vague way connected with religious tradition. Quaint tales and curious fables find their way to them through all sorts of unsupervised channels: their playmates at school, the cook's sister. They may perhaps have received some formal instruction and enjoy the authorised fellowship of a Sunday school or some other religious group. But that is usually a dull business. For most children the passion and the beauty and the practical serviceableness formerly associated with religious symbols and religious experiences are no longer accessible. The shell is there but not the substance. Religion is a deserted house. The people who used to live in it are in a foreign country camping on the hills; they have built for themselves other shelters and their adventures lead them in other directions. Devotion and despair speak a different tongue from the spiritual dialects of the past. And the mysteries of birth and death are quite without emotional house room.

CLOSING PRAYER

Ever-living God, we thank you for your teacher and peacemaker Adelaide Case, who inspired generations of students with a love of learning that built up the Church and their communities. Grant that we, following her example, may serve you tirelessly as learners and teachers, labouring for the transformation of the world toward your reign of peace, through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

So, the BBC has been fined £210000 for its American style, over the top reportage of the police raid on Cliff Richard's house following an allegation of sexual abuse against the entertainer, which subsequently turned out to be bogus. They are not happy and are, more than likely, going to appeal.

One wonders how much of the licence payers' money the BBC bigwigs are prepared to spend trying to defend an action that I'm pretty certain most of the licence payers believe they should all be sacked for.

Demanding the right to make unsubstantiated accusations of sexual abuse headline news on the basis that the public have the right to know is a bit rich coming from a corporation that spent over fifty years covering up the crimes of the serial sex offender, Jimmy Saville.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE EIGHTEENTH OF JULY, 2018
* Bartolomé de las Casas *

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty and everlasting God, who hates nothing that you have made and forgives the sins of all who are penitent: create and make in us new and contrite hearts that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain from you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

CANTICLE

You messengers of Christ, his sovereign voice obey;
arise and follow where he leads and peace attend your way.

The master whom you serve, will needful strength bestow;
depending on his promised aid, with sacred courage go.

Mountains shall sink to plains and hell in vain oppose;
the cause is God’s and must prevail, in spite of all his foes.

Go, spread a saviour’s name and tell his matchless grace,
to the most guilty and depraved of Adam’s numerous race.

( Bourne Hall Draper a.k.a. Mrs Vokes, 1775-1843 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Bartolomé de las Casas, fighter for justice

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Bartolomé de Las Casas, a Spanish Dominican priest, who was a fierce advocate for justice and an end to the enslavement of native peoples in North and Central America.

Bartolomé de Las Casas was born in Seville, Spain, in 1474. In 1502 he went to Cuba and for his military services there was given an estate that included the services of the Indians living on it. In about 1513 he was ordained priest (probably the first ordination in the Americas) and in 1514 he renounced all claim on his Indian serfs.

During the following seven years he made several voyages to Spain to find support for a series of new towns in which Spaniard and Indian would live together in peace and equality. In 1523 he became a Dominican friar and disappeared for a time from public controversy.

In 1540 he returned to Spain and was a force behind the passage in 1542 of laws prohibiting Indian slavery and safeguarding the rights of the Indians. He was made Bishop of Chiapas in Guatemala and returned to the Americas in 1544 to implement the new laws. However, he met considerable resistance and in 1547 he returned to Spain, where he devoted the rest of his life to speaking and writing on behalf of the Indians.

Bartolomé de las Casas is widely admired as an early pioneer of social justice, He died in Madrid on the seventeenth of July, 1566, and is remembered as a national hero in Cuba and Nicaragua.

Scripture. In the book of "Isaiah," chapter fifty-eight, verses six and seven, we read:

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for an end to the oppression and exploitation of indigenous peoples throughout the world.

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

... that the life of Nelson Mandela may continue to be an example of graciousness to all; that people around the world may be brought together in his name to fight poverty and promote peace, reconciliation and cultural diversity. 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 a good many people have been bothered by our Lord’s words, "Be ye perfect."

Some people seem to think this means, "Unless you are perfect, I will not help you," and, as we cannot be perfect, then if he meant that, our position is hopeless.

But I do not think he did mean that. I think he meant, "The only help I will give is help to become perfect. You may want something less: but I will give you nothing less."

Let me explain. When I was a child I often had toothache, and I knew that if I went to my mother she would give me something which would deaden the pain for that night and let me get to sleep. But I did not go to my mother; at least, not till the pain became very bad. And the reason I did not go was this. I did not doubt she would give me the aspirin; but I knew she would also do something else. I knew she would take me to the dentist next morning. I could not get what I wanted out of her without getting something more, which I did not want. I wanted immediate relief from pain: but I could not get it without having my teeth set permanently right. And I knew those dentists: I knew they started fiddling about with all sorts of other teeth which had not yet begun to ache. They would not let sleeping dogs lie, if you gave them an inch they took an ell.

Now, if I may put it that way, our Lord is like the dentists. If you give him an inch, he will take an ell. Dozens of people go to him to be cured of some one particular sin which they are ashamed of (like masturbation or physical cowardice) or which is obviously spoiling daily life (like bad temper or drunkenness). Well, he will cure it all right: but he will not stop there. That may be all you asked; but if once you call him in, he will give you the full treatment.

He warned people to "count the cost" before becoming Christians.

"Make no mistake," he says, "if you let me, I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in my hands, that is what you are in for. Nothing less, or other, than that. You have free will, and if you choose, you can push me away. But if you do not push me away, understand that I am going to see this job through. Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life, whatever inconceivable purification it may cost you after death, whatever it costs me, I will never rest, nor let you rest, until you are literally perfect, until my Father can say without reservation that he is well pleased with you, as he said he was well pleased with me. This I can do and will do. But I will not do anything less."

And yet (this is the other and equally important side of it) this helper who will, in the long run, be satisfied with nothing less than absolute perfection, will also be delighted with the first feeble, stumbling effort you make tomorrow to do the simplest duty. As a great Christian writer, George MacDonald, pointed out, every father is pleased at the baby’s first attempt to walk: no father would be satisfied with anything less than a firm, free, manly walk in a grown-up son.

In the same way, he said, "God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy."

On the one hand, God’s demand for perfection need not discourage you in the least in your present attempts to be good, or even in your present failures. Each time you fall he will pick you up again. And he knows perfectly well that your own efforts are never going to bring you anywhere near perfection. On the other hand, you must realise from the outset that the goal towards which he is beginning to guide you is absolute perfection; and no power in the whole universe, except you yourself, can prevent him from taking you to that goal. That is what you are in for. And it is very important to realise that. If we do not, then we are very likely to start pulling back and resisting him after a certain point.

CLOSING PRAYER

Eternal God, we give you thanks for the witness of Bartolomé de las Casas, whose deep love for your people caused him to refuse absolution to those who would not free their Indian slaves. Help us, inspired by his example, to work and pray for the freeing of all enslaved people of our world, for the sake of Jesus Christ our redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE SEVENTEENTH OF JULY, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Our Father in heaven: please forgive me for the wrongs I have done, for bad temper and angry words, for being greedy and wanting the best for myself, for making other people unhappy. Forgive me, heavenly Father. Amen.

( Dick Williams )

CANTICLE

You lands, to the Lord make a jubilant noise; glory be to God!
Oh, serve him with joy, in his presence now rejoice;
sing praise unto God out of Zion!

Not we, but the Lord is our maker, our God; glory be to God!
His people we are, and the sheep led by his rod;
sing praise unto God out of Zion!

Oh, enter his gates with thanksgiving and praise; glory be to God!
To bless him and thank him our voices we will raise;
sing praise unto God out of Zion!

For good is the Lord, and his mercy is sure; glory be to God!
To all generations his truth shall endure;
sing praise unto God out of Zion!

( Ulrik V. Koren 1826-1910 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Beginning of the Great Schism, 1054

On the sixteenth of July, 1054 legates from Pope Leo the Ninth placed a notification of excommunication on the altar of the Hagia Sophia for the Patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Cerularius. He responded by excommunicating Pope Leo. The Great Schism had begun.

The relation of the Byzantine church to the Roman may be described as one of growing estrangement from the fifth to the eleventh century. The issues were many. The Byzantine church allowed for a married clergy. They used leavened, rather than unleavened bread for communion. The geo-political changes in Europe had left the pope as a temporal and spiritual leader, while the patriarch led the church alongside the Christian emperor in Constantinople. Most importantly, the Roman church had altered the ancient "Nicene Creed" to say that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son. While the Byzantine Church kept the original idea that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father alone. This controversy came to be known by the Latin word "filioque" which means “and the Son.”

Attempts have been made throughout the centuries to heal the schism. But the mutual excommunications remained in effect until 1965, when Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul the Sixth agreed to remove them. Even though the excommunication is lifted, the two great branches of the Christian Church are still not in communion with one another, though progress is being made. Forces are at work through the efforts of the current Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis, but there are also forces at work to keep the wall high between east and west. It calls for our prayer.

Scripture. In "The First Letter of John," chapter four, verses twenty and twenty-one, we read:

Those who say, "I love God," and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for all efforts to reunite the divided churches.

... that Christians may learn to put loving deeds rather than theological uniformity in the first place.

... that criminals may not escape justice by hiding behind national borders; that those who commit war crimes, genocide and other such atrocities may be brought to account before the people of all the world. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured when a suicide bomber hit a campaign rally in Mastung, Pakistan, last Friday. 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:

We begin to notice, besides our particular sinful acts, our sinfulness; begin to be alarmed not only about what we do, but about what we are. This may sound rather difficult, so I will try to make it clear from my own case.

When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected; I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself.

Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.

Apparently the rats of resentment and vindictiveness are always there in the cellar of my soul. Now that cellar is out of reach of my conscious will. I can to some extent control my acts: I have no direct control over my temperament. And if what we are matters even more than what we do, if, indeed, what we do matters chiefly as evidence of what we are, then it follows that the change which I most need to undergo is a change that my own direct, voluntary efforts cannot bring about.

And this applies to my good actions too. How many of them were done for the right motive? How many for fear of public opinion or a desire to show off? How many from a sort of obstinacy or sense of superiority which, in different circumstances, might equally have led to some very bad act? But I cannot, by direct moral effort, give myself new motives. After the first few steps in the Christian life we realise that everything which really needs to be done in our souls can be done only by God.

CLOSING PRAYER

Heavenly Father, your blessed son asked that your church be one as you and he are one. But Christians have not been united as he prayed. We have isolated ourselves from each other and failed to listen to each other. We have misunderstood and ridiculed and even gone so far as to attack each other. In so doing we have offended against you, and against all who have not believed in you because of our scandalous disunity. Forgive us, Father, and make us fully one. Blot out our sins, renew our minds, enkindle our hearts and guide us by your Holy Spirit into that oneness which is your will. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE SIXTEENTH OF JULY, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Lord help me to face the truth about myself. Help me to hear my words as others hear them, to see my face as others see me; let me be honest enough to recognise my impatience and conceit; let me recognise my anger and selfishness; give me sufficient humility to accept my own weaknesses for what they are. Give me the grace, at least in your presence, to say, "I was wrong, forgive me." Amen.

( Polycarp )

CANTICLE

You judges of the earth, be still, while God declares his righteous will:
How long in your unequal scale shall justice lose, and wrong prevail?

Let law the orphan’s claim secure: list to the friendless and the poor:
protect the weak, assert their right qnd save them from the oppressor’s spite.

Alas, ye neither know nor mark; reckless ye wander in the dark,
while earth the dire confusion feels and on its deep foundation reels.

Gods ye were named: all lands in you the children of the Highest knew:
but death your frailty shall betray and blend your forms with vulgar clay.

Rise, high-throned God, to vengeance rise; redeem the wronged, the proud chastise;
rule every realm by right divine: for all the realms of earth are thine.

( Benjamin Hall Kennedy 1804-1889 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

George Tyrrell, the priestly Tenebrae
(transferred from Sunday)

Today Saint Laika’s tells the tale of an excommunicated English Jesuit who was buried in the Anglican cemetery in Storrington. His name was George Tyrrell. He was raised in the Anglican Church of Ireland but, after moving to England, came under the influence of the Jesuits at Mayfair and became a Roman Catholic and eventually a Jesuit. He was a smart, bright theological thinker and he pursued the goal of the scientific examination of Roman Catholicism. He was concerned that the traditional presentation of the faith no longer met the needs of “modern man.”

He gained a reputation as a teacher, speaker, retreat master and personal confessor, but soon he was embroiled in what history calls the “Modernist Controversy,” and found himself pitted against the teachings of Pope Pius X, who condemned the Modernist Movement and was not afraid to punish those who advocated for it. Tyrell became convinced that the Church placed too much emphasis on the "external" manifestation of religion, with its system of norms and obligations, at the expense of what really counted: the inner workings of God in the individual soul.

Tyrrell was commanded to recant his work and his position, and when he refused, he was excommunicated. What is often missed in the study of this power struggle was the condition of Tyrrell’s inner spirit, which was Catholic to the core.

As more and more of his colleagues abandoned him, he wrote: “As at Tenebrae one after another the lights are extinguished, till one alone, and that the highest of all, is left, so it is often with the soul and her guiding stars. In our early days there are many (parents, teachers, friends, books, authorities) but, as life goes on, one by one they fail and leave us in deepening darkness, till at last none but the figure of Christ stands out luminous against the prevailing night.”

The tragedy of George Tyrrell is that he was a man born ahead of his time. Many of his positions would gain favour in the writings of the Second Vatican Council. Yet when he died, on the fifteenth of July, 1909, he had been granted conditional absolution, and anointed with the holy oil, but had never tasted of Communion. And he was buried without ceremony in an Anglican cemetery.

His priest friend Henri Bremond, who made a small sign of the cross over him, was suspended from the priesthood for doing so.

In Tyrrell’s final letter, written just a day or two before his death, we find the words: “I am glad God is to judge me and not any of his servants."

Scripture. In the eleventh chapter of "Jeremiah," at verses nineteen and twenty, we read:

But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter.

And I did not know it was against me that they devised schemes, saying, "Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will no longer be remembered!"

But you, O LORD of hosts, who judge righteously, who try the heart and the mind, let me see your retribution upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for all who have suffered at the hands of church people.

... for all who explore the teachings of the church from new perspectives.

... for all who are searching for meaning in life.

... for those who are being victimised at work or used as a scapegoat for the shortcomings and errors of others.

... for all who are unhappy in their work or place of employment.

... for firefighters presently tackling wildfires.

... for female politicians and for an end to gender inequality in the world's legislatures.

... for civilian casualties of war and insurgence.

... 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 ""Hard Sayings" by George Tyrrell:

Indeed, there are no greater enemies of human happiness than those who substitute pleasure and pain for good and evil. Pleasure is coy and will not be sought directly. She is found by those who seek her not, and flies, as does their shadow, from those who hotly pursue her. And pain is terrible chiefly to those who have learnt to view it as the ultimate evil. So that in pursuing the one phantom and flying from the other, they are not only diverted from the quest of true and solid happiness, but inevitably fail to secure even that which they seek.

It is not surprising that those who estimate the evil of the world in terms of pain and sorrow should descant in no measured language on the cruelty of Nature, and should refuse to believe that behind all there is a personal God who could prevent all this misery and yet will not.

"If he could not," say they, "how is He almighty? If he will not, how is he all-loving? In either case how is he infinite; how is he God?"

Nor would the objection be without weight, were temporal enjoyment the final good of man; were there no higher good with which the lower has no common measure, being, so to say, in a different plane or category.

"If in this life only we have hope," says Saint Paul, "then are we of all men the most miserable."

A pessimism no less applicable to life viewed merely in the light of reason; if the present enjoyment of sentient creation be indeed the ultimate good, then it is hard to see the finger of the all-mighty, the all-loving God in such a result as is evident to our limited view. And therefore we find many pure, unselfish souls, bewildered with this disheartening philosophy, devoting all their energies to a fruitless contest with the inexorable laws of this seemingly cruel world, if perchance they may even by a single drop lessen the vast ocean of misery and pain, seeking no other happiness than that of procuring the happiness of others, though scarce knowing what happiness means. Their instinct of benevolence, ill-instructed though it be, is from God, the author of all charity and unselfish love. In living for the good of others they are at one with the Christian, but in their estimate of what that good consists in, they are diametrically opposed to a religion which regards pain or sorrow, not merely as an inevitable and regrettable condition of good, to be minimised as far as possible, but as a positive means to good, something to be sought out and willingly embraced in due season and measure; not merely as a bitterness incidental to the medicine of life, but as itself a medicinal bitterness; a religion, which says: "Blessed are the poor, blessed are the mourners, blessed are the persecuted, blessed are the dead;" which commends to us the example, not of one who was merely a martyr to inevitable violence, but of one who could have descended from the cross, yet would not.

CLOSING PRAYER

May the love of Jesus Christ bring us wholeness, the grace of God the Father grant us peace, the breath of Holy Spirit instil passion and the unity between them give us strength for this and every day. Amen

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

The Final Candle

A Liturgical Conundrum

Tomorrow is Saint Swithun's Day. If it rains tomorrow, it will rain for the following forty days. But tomorrow is a Sunday and all Sundays are major feast days and they always replace minor festivals and commemorations. Therefore Saint Swithun should not be celebrated tomorrow and so, if it does rain tomorrow it will not automatically rain for the following forty days.

Therefore, is Saint Swithun's Day this year transferred to Monday with the consequence that if it rains on Monday it will rain for the following forty (or even just thirty-nine) days? Alternatively, does Saint Swithun's Day simply not occur this year resulting in us having no reliable weather forecast for the next six weeks?

Trump, Trump, Trump

In the comic strip and film "Black Panther" the hero wears a suit that absorbs the kinetic energy of bullets fired at him which can then be used as a weapon against his attackers. I fear that, metaphorically, Donald Trump wears a similar suit and that protesting against him just makes him stronger. It plays into the bleeding heart liberal versus decent, hard-working white folk narrative that he has deliberately created. Ignoring him, other than for the purpose of ridiculing him, would probably be a better way to bring him down.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH OF JULY, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty and most merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from your ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against your holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done and we have done those things which we ought not to have done and there is no health in us. But you, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent according to your promises declared unto humankind in Jesus Christ our Lord and grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life to the glory of your holy name. Amen.

CANTICLE

You humble souls, approach your God with songs of sacred praise,
for he is good, immensely good, and kind are all his ways.

All nature owns his guardian care, in him we live and move;
but nobler benefits declare the wonders of his love.

He gave his son, his only son, to ransom rebel worms;
it is here he makes his goodness known in its diviner forms.

To this dear refuge, Lord, we come; it is here our hope relies;
a safe defence, a peaceful home, when storms of trouble rise.

Your eye beholds, with kind regard, the souls who trust in you;
their humble hope you will reward, with bliss divinely free.

Great God, to your almighty love, what honours shall we raise?
Not all the raptured songs above could render equal praise.

( Anne Steele, 1716-1778 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Teresa of the Andes: the vibrant faith of a young woman

On the thirteenth of  July, 1900, Juana Fernández Solar was born into a pious Roman Catholic family in Santiago, Chile. Her family was wealthy, which meant that Juana could receive an excellent education. As a child and young teenager she liked singing and dancing but also liked croquet and tennis; she was also an able swimmer and could play the piano. But her main interest was her faith and she was always drawn to religion. Her view of the world was tempered by a series of financial ups and downs that her father endured. Her older brother, fell away from the faith for a time and declared himself an atheist. Nevertheless she persisted in her belief and devotion. She was influenced by the autobiography of Saint Theresa of Liseiux which she read as a young girl. It led to her desire to become a Carmelite nun.

In September 1917 she sent a letter to the prioress of the Discalced Carmelite convent close to her home expressing her desire to enter the order. On the seventh of May, 1919, she entered the novitiate of the Discalced Carmelites in Los Andes at which time she was given the new religious name of "Teresa of Jesus"; she received the habit on the following fourteenth of October. Soon after that she contracted typhus and it was to prove the disease that took her life, when she was just short of twenty years old.

She died on the twelfth of April, 1920, shortly after Easter.

After her death, the story of her devotion to Jesus began to spread. Many people, especially young people, found meaning in her practice of the Christian faith, which inspired them to stay in the church and to step up their own practice of Christianity. Over one hundred thousand pilgrims a year began to visit her grave.

When Pope John Paul formally declared her a saint of the Church in 1993, he summed up her short life this way:

“Externally this is all there is to this young girl from Santiago, Chile. It is all rather disconcerting and a great question arises in us, ‘What was accomplished?’ The answer to such a question is equally disconcerting: living, believing, loving.”

Scripture. In the sixth chapter of John’s gospel at verses twenty-eight and twenty-nine we read:

Then they said to Jesus, "What must we do to perform the works of God?’"

Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for young Christians, that they may find meaning in their faith to sustain them during their years of growing up.

... that we may live, believe and love.

... for the people of Montenegro who celebrate their national day today. DETAILS

... for workers who have not been paid what they are owed.

... for those killed or injured in an explosion at a chemical plant in an industrial park in China's Sichuan province; for all who have suffered due to an accident at work recently. DETAILS

... for children and young people who are forced into marriage against their will. DETAILS

... for the victims of knife crime; for all the young people who have been killed or seriously injured in gang violence in the UK this year.

... 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:

And now we begin to see what it is that the "New Testament" is always talking about. It talks about Christians "being born again"; it talks about them "putting on Christ"; about Christ "being formed in us"; about our coming to "have the mind of Christ".

Put right out of your head the idea that these are only fancy ways of saying that Christians are to read what Christ said and try to carry it out, as a man may read what Plato or Marx said and try to carry it out. They mean something much more than that. They mean that a real person, Christ, here and now, in that very room where you are saying your prayers, is doing things to you. It is not a question of a good man who died two thousand years ago. It is a living man, still as much a man as you and still as much God as he was when he created the world, really coming and interfering with your very self; killing the old natural self in you and replacing it with the kind of self he has. At first, only for moments. Then for longer periods. Finally, if all goes well, turning you permanently into a different sort of thing; into a new little Christ, a being which, in its own small way, has the same kind of life as God; which shares in his power, joy, knowledge and eternity.

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord God, you have surrounded us with so great a cloud of witnesses. You blessed Teresa of the Andes with an extraordinary love and devotion to your son. Inspired by her love and devotion, may we run the race that is set before us, and come, with all your saints, to the fullness of your glory; 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 TWELFTH OF JULY, 2018
* Nathan Söderblom *

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, renew in us the gift of your Spirit so that we may be purified in the waters of repentance and with one heart we may glorify your name and proclaim your mercy. Open our minds to the scriptures that they may become for us living words and illumine our hearts. Let your Spirit fill us with love to inspire our prayers for our sisters and brothers, and for the perfect unity of your church. In the name of Jesus Christ, who reigns with you and with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

CANTICLE

Christian hearts, in love united, seek alone in Jesus rest;
has he not your love excited? Then let love inspire each breast.
Members on our head depending lights reflecting Him, our Sun,
Christians, his commands attending, we in him, our Lord, are one.

Come, then, come, O flock of Jesus, covenant with him anew;
unto him who conquered for us, pledge we love and service true;
and should our love’s union holy firmly linked no more remain,
wait you at his footstool lowly, till he draw it close again.

Grant, Lord, that with your direction, "Love each other," we comply.
Aiming with unfeigned affection your love to exemplify,
let our mutual love be glowing, so that all will plainly view
that we, as on one stem growing, living branches are in you.

O that such may be our union as yours with the Father is,
and not one of our communion ever forsake the path of bliss;
may our light shine forth with brightness, from your light reflected, pours;
thus the world will bear us witness, that we, Lord, are truly yours.

( Nikolaus L. von Zinzendorf, 1700 - 1760 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Nathan Söderblom: God’s poem

Nathan Söderblom was born in Trönö, Sweden, in 1866 and ordained in 1893. He was chaplain at the Swedish embassy in Paris from 1894 to 1901 and earned a doctorate in comparative religion from the Sorbonne. He then became professor of the history of religion at the University of Uppsala, and in 1914 became Archbishop of Uppsala and Primate of the Church of Sweden.

Internationally, he is best known, however, as the architect of the ecumenical movement of the twentieth century. He had already begun to move toward intercommunion between the Swedish Church and the Church of England as early as 1909. In 1920 he arranged to have Bishop Woods of Peterborough, England, participate in the consecration of two Swedish bishops. The following year Woods welcomed Söderblom's “Life and Work” movement to Peterborough.

The Stockholm Conference in 1925, which brought together Anglican, Protestant and Orthodox Christians, was the culminating event in Söderblom's ecumenical efforts. The conference laid the basis for a future ecumenical creed, emphasised the need to reconcile the competing philosophies of subjective spirituality and of objective social action and sought to find unity in appealing for world peace. For these efforts he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1930.

Quote: “I like to quote the words of Kierkegaard, that 'life is a poem that we are able to write ourselves; but a Christian lets God write his life's poem.'”

Scripture: In "The Gospel of John," chapter thirteen, verses thirty-four and thirty-five, we read:

Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that all Christians may be united in their love for God, for each other and for all people.

... for those who work to bring people together in peace.

... that children throughout the world may have free access to education. DETAILS

... for the people of Kiribati and for the people of São Tomé and Príncipe who celebrate their national days today.

... for an end to sectarian unrest and hatred in Northern Ireland. 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 Role of the Church in Promoting Peace" by Nathan Söderblom (Nobel lecture, Eleventh of December, 1930):

(1) The unity of Christians.

When our Christian creed speaks of a universal holy church, it reminds us of the deep inner unity which all Christians possess in Christ and in the work of His spirit, irrespective of national and scriptural differences. We can say without ingratitude or unfaithfulness to the special gifts in Christian experience and thinking which each church has received from God throughout history, that this unity, found at its strongest at the Cross of Christ, can and must be improved in our way of life and in preaching.

(2) Christians and community life.

The great endeavour of the Christian community to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world can and must be realised by the Evangelical church in a spiritual way, through its preaching and its example. The church should represent the waking conscience of mankind. Together with the Christians in all nations at war, we are deeply aware of the incompatibility between war and the spirit of Christ, and we would, therefore, like to stress some main points regarding the part to be played by Christians in community life.

(a) In the past, unfortunately, the church has often stressed differences rather than unifying factors, but she must now assert the ideals of Christian fraternity, condemn selfishness, and fully participate in efforts to remove the causes of war, whether these are of a social, economic, or political nature.

(b) Christians should realise that they are partly responsible for public opinion and should serve love and truth in public, national, and international life, as well as in their personal relations. They should try to understand others, their thoughts, languages, and behaviour.

(c) The church must work for international understanding and for the settlement of international disputes through mediation and arbitration.

(3) Christians and the law.

According to the Christian point of view, our awareness of right and wrong is a divine gift, as are its outgrowths: law and civil order. Civil order, at least at a basic level, is a prerequisite for the efficient practice of the teaching of the Gospel. Every existing legal system is incomplete, requiring for its completion the development of moral consciousness.

The church must, therefore, uphold the sanctity of law and promote its development in the name of Christ, both inside and outside national boundaries. She must, therefore, fight against all glorification of violence and against any force contrary to the rule of law, and she must preach that nations and communities, like individuals, must act according to ethical principles, basing their hopes for coexistence on the principles of truth, justice, and love.

Wherever the church has erred in this respect she must humbly confess it and correct the mistakes.

The framework of law has only a limited value in itself since it must be fitted with inner moral convictions for it to be effective. To create and foster such a state of Christian brotherly love, self-discipline, and justice constitute the main duty of the church in this field."

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, who gave to your servant Nathan Soderblom a special concern for the unity of your Church and the welfare of your people: grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit we may be moved to seek an end to the barriers that divide Christian from Christian and may show forth your love to all the world in deeds of generosity, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE ELEVENTH OF JULY, 2018
* Benedict of Nursia *

OPENING PRAYER

Gracious and holy Father, give us wisdom to perceive you, intelligence to understand you, diligence to see you, patience to wait for you, eyes to behold you, a heart to meditate on you and a life to proclaim you, through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

( Benedict of Nursia )

CANTICLE

O Jesus, I have promised to serve you to the end;
be you forever near me, my master and my friend;
I shall not fear the battle if you are by my side,
nor wander from the pathway if you will be my guide.

O let me feel you near me! The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle, the tempting sounds I hear;
my foes are ever near me, around me and within;
but Jesus, draw you nearer, and shield my soul from sin.

O let me hear you speaking in accents clear and still,
above the storms of passion, the murmurs of self will.
O speak to reassure me, to hasten or control;
O speak, and make me listen, you guardian of my soul.

O Jesus, you have promised to all who follow you
that where you are in glory your servant shall be too.
And Jesus, I have promised to serve you to the end;
O give me grace to follow, my master and my friend.

O let me see your footprints, and in them plant mine own;
my hope to follow duly is in your strength alone.
O guide me, call me, draw me, uphold me to the end;
and then in Heaven receive me, my saviour and my friend.

( John E. Bode )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Benedict of Nursia: treat every guest as Christ

Much of what we know about Saint Benedict comes from legends, and their accuracy is debated by scholars. Legend holds that he was born in the mountains northeast of Rome somewhere around 480AD and was educated in Rome. Rome itself was going through political instability with the movement of the so-called Barbarian tribes. Manners and morals were set at a low standard.

Benedict fled the eternal city as a young man to become a hermit. Soon, however a community of people grew around Benedict and he and his followers moved to Monte Cassino where, somewhere near the year 540, he wrote a monastic rule. He died sometime around 540AD. He is considered to be the founder or father of western monasticism.

Those following Benedict's order own nothing personally, although they have enough food, drink, and clothing. They work with their hands for about six hours a day. Their leisure is spent reading scripture and holy writings and praying with the community. A large focus of the Benedictine rule is to show great compassion and hospitality to strangers, the young, the old, and the sick.

Benedictine monks were responsible for much of the settlement of Europe, turning forest into farmland. Also Benedictine monks were responsible for copying the texts of "The Bible" for contemporary use. They also copied many books from the older Latin and Greek authors, keeping alive literature and philosophy of ancient Greece and Rome.

Quote: "Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ, for he is going to say, 'I was a stranger, and you welcomed Me'”

Scripture: In "The Book of Proverbs," chapter two, verses six to eight, we read:

For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk blamelessly, guarding the paths of justice and preserving the way of his faithful ones.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for monks, nuns and hermits.

... that our personal rules for our lives will be based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and on his compassion for all people, especially those in need; that we may be welcoming and hospitable people.

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

... for people and animals adversely affected by hot weather.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father 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 Holy Rule of Saint Benedict":

Of Reverence at Prayer

If we do not venture to approach men who are in power, except with humility and reverence, when we wish to ask a favour, how much must we beseech the Lord God of all things with all humility and purity of devotion? And let us be assured that it is not in many words, but in the purity of heart and tears of compunction that we are heard. For this reason prayer ought to be short and pure, unless, perhaps it is lengthened by the inspiration of divine grace. At the community exercises, however, let the prayer always be short, and the sign having been given by the Superior, let all rise together.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty and everlasting God, your precepts are the wisdom of a loving father: give us grace, following the teaching and example of your servant Benedict, to walk with loving and willing hearts in the school of the Lord's service; let your ears be open to our prayers; and prosper with your blessing the work of our hands; through Jesus Christ our lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE TENTH OF JULY, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

May this eternal truth be always on our hearts, that the God who breathed this world into being, placed stars into the heavens and designed a butterfly's wing, is the God who entrusted his son to the care of ordinary people, became vulnerable that we might know how strong is the wonder of love. A mystery so deep it is impossible to grasp. A mystery so beautiful it is impossible to ignore. Amen.

( John Birch )

CANTICLE

By faith I gaze up to the heavens and know within its vastness
that this is your creation, planned and effected within eternity

By faith, I pluck an ear of corn and know within its symmetry
lies the chemistry of life, the potential of creation within my hand.

By faith, I listen for your voice and know the whisper that I hear
breathed a world into existence, yet listens to the prayer within my soul.

By faith, I strive to do your will and know the door that I approach
may lead me to shadows, where my role is to become your light.

By faith, I cling to your word and know the strength that I receive
has its source within the love that is at the centre of all things.

( John Birch )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Monkey’s uncles

In 2014 headlines in the United Kingdom proclaimed: “Creationism Banned from UK Schools.” In effect the new law said that any school receiving public funding is banned from teaching creationism. Getting rid of creationism entirely, is proving a more difficult challenge. Though banned in state-funded schools, it has taken refuge in private schools. In the United States the picture is a bit muddier, and in many places creationism, even in public education, can be taught as an alternative "theory" to the theory of evolution.

On the tenth of July, 1925, the notorious “Scopes Monkey Trial” began in Dayton, Tennessee. Substitute high school teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee's "Butler Act," which made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school. The battle between creationism and evolution continues to be waged. On the fourth of February, 2014, an internet debate was held between Bill Nye (popular star of a televised science show and self-professed atheist) and Ken Ham, director of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. Over seven hundred and fifty thousand people logged in to the website to follow the debate.

Problems arise when creationism is presented as the only Christian viewpoint. As a matter of fact, many Christian churches accept, embrace, and endorse the evolutionary idea and believe it is not incompatible with a divine creator.

The interrelationship of human and animal life shows the care and orderliness of all creation. The very idea that creation is orderly and good was a cause for the scientific curiosity that urged people to study the earth, its life, and its place in the universe. The Scopes trial offers a sobering tale of the way religion can be used to keep people in ignorance.

Scripture. In the "Book of Job," chapter thirty-eight, verses four to seven, God challenges Job:

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?

Today, pray in thanksgiving to God for your own life, with all its potential.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for biologists, chemists, geneticists, and all who seek to advance our knowledge of the interrelatedness of life.

... for those who would pit science against religion, that they might be delivered from error.

... for the people of The Bahamas who celebrate their national day today.

... for the successful completion of the cave rescue mission in Thailand. DETAILS

... that the human rights now enjoyed by members of minorities in the USA will not be removed following the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the nation's supreme court. DETAILS

... for those killed during protests in Nicaragua over the weekend, for an end to the civil unrest and the adoption of democracy. DETAILS

... that peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea will be permanent and for and an end to government tyranny in both nations. DETAILS

... for those affected by wildfires and for the safety of those working to control the fires.

... 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 "Pollution and the Death of Man" by Francis A. Schaeffer:

The tree in the field is to be treated with respect. It is not to be romanticised as the old lady romanticises her cat (that is, she reads human reactions into it). But while we should not romanticise the tree, we must realise that God made it and it deserves respect because he made it as a tree. Christians who do not believe in the complete evolutionary scale have reason to respect nature as the total evolutionist never can because we believe that God made these things specifically in their own areas. So if we are going to argue against evolutionists intellectually, we should show the results of our beliefs in our attitudes. The Christian is a man who has a reason for dealing with each created thing on a high level of respect.

CLOSING PRAYER

O amazing Creator, there is no end to the awe we feel in the face of your magnificent creation. Words cannot convey our gratitude for such an undeserved gift. We praise you for the beauty that stops us in our tracks wherever we turn. We revere you for the fecundity of creation that has spewed forth life and goodness for billions of years. We thank you for the multitude of ways that the natural world sustains and nourishes us in body and spirit. We are humbled that we are part of such a display of your glory. Our hearts overflow with love for you revealed in the wonder of creation. May all the angels and saints join us in our song of gratitude, praising you forever and ever. Amen.

( Carol Meyer )

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE NINTH OF JULY, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Holy are you, O God!
Holy are you, O Strong One!
Holy are you O Immortal One!

Have mercy on us!

CANTICLE

You holy souls in God rejoice, your maker’s praise becomes your voice;
great is your theme, your songs be new: sing of his name, his word, his ways,
his works of nature and of grace, how wise and holy, just and true!

Justice and truth he ever loves and the whole earth his goodness proves,
his word the heavenly arches spread: how wide they shine from north to south!
and by the spirit of his mouth were all the starry armies made.

He gathers the wide flowing seas, those watery treasures know their place
in the vast storehouse of the deep. He spake, and gave all nature birth;
and fires, and seas, and heaven, and earth; his everlasting orders keep.

Let mortals tremble and adore a God of such resistless power,
nor dare indulge their feeble rage: vain are your thoughts, and weak your hands;
but his eternal counsel stands and rules the world from age to age.

( Isaac Watts )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Tear Down that Wall?

The displacement of Palestinians from their land goes back to 1948 and the creation of the state of Israel. Seven hundred thousand Palestinians were removed from Israel. After the 1967 “Six Day War” another three hundred thousand left Israel. By 2018 the number of Palestinian refugees listed with the United Nations stood at seventeen million.

Palestinians support the Palestinian right of return of refugees and their descendants to former lands and property, in Israel and the occupied territories, as well as the creation of a Palestinian state. Israel’s refusal to grant these demands over the years, despite a long peace process, has led to Palestinian protest, political action and political violence

In 2002 Israel began the construction of the “Separation Wall,” in order to restrict access to Israel by Palestinians. On the ninth of July, 2004, the International Court of Justice at The Hague in a non-binding opinion declared the barriers illegal under international law and called on Israel to dismantle the walls, return confiscated land and make reparations for damages.

On a trip to the Holy Land in 2014, Pope Francis made an unscheduled stop at the Separation Wall to pray and spontaneously invited Israeli and Palestinian leaders to join him at the Vatican to pray for peace. Not much seems to have come from this gesture, and the Separation Wall continues to be a source of friction and an obstacle to peace.

Scripture. In the "Book of Lamentations," chapter three, verses seven to nine, we read:

He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has put heavy chains on me; though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer; he has blocked my ways with hewn stones, he has made my paths crooked.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that the walls the nations have built to separate people from one another are torn down and that no new ones are built.

... for the people of Argentina, Palau, São Paulo and South Sudan, who celebrate their national days today.

... for the successful completion of the rescue of the boys and their football coach trapped in a cave in Thailand. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured by floods in Japan, for those who are missing and for all who have lost their homes. DETAILS

... for an end to sectarian violence and hatred in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

... for the people of Turkey as their nation turns from being a democracy to being a dictatorship; for all those who have been removed from their jobs by  President Erdogan. DETAILS

... for mistreated pets.

... 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

"They Want Us To Be Afraid" by Kamand Kojouri:

They want us to be afraid.
They want us to be afraid of leaving our homes.
They want us to barricade our doors
and hide our children.
Their aim is to make us fear life itself!
They want us to hate.
They want us to hate ‘the other’.
They want us to practice aggression
and perfect antagonism.
Their aim is to divide us all!
They want us to be inhuman.
They want us to throw out our kindness.
They want us to bury our love
and burn our hope.
Their aim is to take all our light!
They think their bricked walls
will separate us.
They think their damned bombs
will defeat us.
They are so ignorant they don’t understand
that my soul and your soul are old friends.
They are so ignorant they don’t understand
that when they cut you I bleed.
They are so ignorant they don’t understand
that we will never be afraid,
we will never hate
and we will never be silent
for life is ours!

CLOSING PRAYER

O God, it is your will to hold both heaven and earth in a single peace. Let the design of your great love shine on the waste of our wraths and sorrows, and give peace to your church, peace among nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts; 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

FRIDAY THE SIXTH OF JULY, 2018
* Jan Hus *

OPENING PRAYER

We thank you, O Lord and Master, for teaching us how to pray simply and sincerely to you and for hearing us when we so call upon you. We thank you for saving us from our sins and sorrows and for directing all our ways this day. Lead us ever onwards to yourself; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

( Father John of the Russian Church )

CANTICLE

To avert from men God’s wrath, Jesus suffered in our stead;
by an ignominious death he a full atonement made
and by his most precious blood brought us, sinners, nigh to God.

Hither each afflicted soul may repair, though filled with grief;
to the sick, not to the whole, the Physician brings relief;
fear not, therefore, but draw nigh, Christ will all your wants supply.

But examine first your case, whether you be in the faith;
do you long for pardoning grace? Is your only hope his death?
Then, however your soul’s oppressed, come, you are a worthy guest.

He who Jesus’ mercy knows is from wrath and envy freed.
Love unto each other shows that we are his flock indeed;
thus we may in all our ways show forth our redeemer’s praise.

( Attributed to Jan Hus )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Jan Hus, betrayed and burned in the name of Christ

The Reformation of the Church was a long time in coming, preceded by movements of reform which stayed within the institutional church, like the Franciscans, as well as those which broke away from the institutional church, like the Waldensians.

Jan Hus was a Czech priest, philosopher, and reformer who lived about a century earlier than Martin Luther. He was influenced by the early English reformer, John Wycliffe. It is important to remember that Hus lived and taught during the time of the Great Western Schism (1378-1414) in which there were first two popes and then three claiming and dividing the loyalty of the Christian people. People like Hus responded to this crisis in authority by returning to the primacy of the Bible, seeking translations in the language of the people. In particular, Hus advocated for a return to the custom of receiving the sacrament of holy communion in both kinds (bread and cup). In 1411, the controversy shifted to indulgences. The net was closing in on Jan Hus, as the Great Western Schism was drawing to a close.

The Council of Constance, (southern Germany 1414-1418) brought an end to the Great Schism by deposing all three claimants to the papacy and electing Martin V to be the unifying pope. Jan Hus, promised safe conduct by the emperor, attended the council. He hoped to present his best case for Church reform, but instead, was imprisoned, tried and sentenced to be burned at the stake for heresy.

On the sixth of July, 1414, the sentence was carried out.

Many consider him the first martyr of the Reformation. Martin Luther was called the “Saxon Hus” by his enemies, a century later.

Quote: "In the same truth of the Gospel which I have written, taught, and preached, drawing upon the sayings and positions of the holy doctors, I am ready to die today."

Scripture. In "Psalm One Hundred and Nineteen," verses forty-six to forty-seven, we read:

I will also speak of your decrees before kings, and shall not be put to shame; I find my delight in your commandments, because I love them.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those whose radical love for Jesus Christ puts them at odds with the institutional churches.

... that we may always hold fast to the words of Jesus.

... for the people of Comoros, Lithuania and Malawi who celebrate their national day today.

... for an end to all executions.

... for the safety of the divers attempting to rescue the twelve boys and their coach trapped in a cave in Thailand; for Saman Gunan, the diver who has already died and for those who mourn his death.

... for those killed or injured when a firework depot exploded in the town of Tultepec in Mexico. DETAILS

... for those who drowned and for those who are missing after a passenger boat capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in Thailand. DETAILS

... for those who have died or who have become unwell during the current heatwave in Quebec. 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 letter from Jan Hus to King Ladislaus of Poland, dated the tenth of June, 1412:

May the grace of Jesus Christ be granted to you for the ruling of your people and the attaining of the life of glory! Most serene prince, it hath brought me great joy and comfort to hear that your Majesty in the providence of Almighty God hath come to an agreement with the most illustrious King Sigismund. The people and myself are united in the prayer that God may direct the lives of both of you in the way of righteousness, and your subjects as well.

To this end, most illustrious prince, it appears to be a prior condition alike for your Majesty, for his excellence King Sigismund, and for the other princes, that the heresy of simony should be removed from your dominions. But is it possible to expect its banishment when it has spread its poison so widely that scarcely anywhere can clergy or people be found that have not been laid low by this heresy of simony?

Who is honest enough to present to a see for the honour of God, for the salvation of the people and for one’s own salvation? Who is so disinterested as to accept a see, a parish living or any other benefice under the constraint of these three motives? I would that there were many to refuse them as a form of bondage and human bribery!

But are not the words of Jeremiah fulfilled: From the least of them even to the greatest all follow hard after covetousness, and from the prophet even to the priest all make a lie?

Is the disciple of Christ wide of the mark when he says: All seek the things that that are their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ’s?

It is the voice of the Church weeping, because the gold is become dim and the finest colour is changed.

Once the priesthood was like gold aflame with love and burnished with virtues; but now it hath become earthy and blackened, as Bernard saith. The words of our Saviour are fulfilled: Iniquity shall abound (that is, among the clergy) and charity shall grow cold (among the people). Woe, therefore, to him that weeps not for such a time!

Most illustrious prince, it is because they hear a message like this that a simoniac, pomp-loving, luxurious, and unrestrained clergy charge me with defamation of their order and heresy-mongerings. But shall I keep silence? God forbid! Woe is me if I keep silence! It is better for me to die than not to resist the wickedness which would make me a partner in their crimes and in their hell. May it please the King of glory to preserve your Majesty from these things for the holy government of your people!

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, who gave to your servant Jan Huss boldness to confess the name of our saviour Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world and courage to die for this faith: grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

The Fifth Of July

All the fuss yesterday about July the Fourth has got me thinking about English nationalism.

There is, in fact, very little of it.

I would like to believe that this lack of tribalism was down to the English being a particularly enlightened people with high moral principles. However, I have a suspicion that it is the result of the fact that every single English person, from cradle to grave, believes themselves to be superior, as individuals, to all those foreign people in the rest of world, so we just have no need for a strong national identity to big ourselves up. Patriotism is for people who doubt themselves and we are all far too arrogant to need it.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE FIFTH OF JULY, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

We gratefully acknowledge that you are the Eternal One, our God for evermore; the rock of our life and the shield of our salvation. You are God who exists to all ages. We will therefore render thanks unto you and declare your praise for our lives, which are delivered into your hand and for our souls, which are confided in your care; for your goodness, which is displayed to us daily; for your wonders and your bounty, which are at all times given to us. You are the most gracious, for your mercies never fail. Evermore we hope in you, O Lord our God. Amen.

( "Jewish Book of Service" )

CANTICLE

Ye holy angels bright, who stand before God’s throne
and dwell in glorious light, praise ye the Lord each one.
Assist our song, or else the theme
too high doth seem for mortal tongue.

Ye blessed souls at rest, that see your saviour’s face,
whose glory, even the least, is far above our grace.
God’s praises sound, as in his sight
with sweet delight you do abound.

Ye saints, who toil below, adore your heavenly king
and onward as ye go some joyful anthem sing;
take what he gives and praise him still,
through good or ill, who ever lives!

All nations of the earth, extol the world’s great king:
with melody and mirth his glorious praises sing,
for he still reigns, and will bring low
the proudest foe that him disdains.

Sing forth Jehovah’s praise, ye saints, that on him call!
Him magnify always his holy churches all!
In him rejoice and there proclaim
his holy name with sounding voice.

My soul, bear thou thy part, triumph in God above
and with a well tuned heart sing thou the songs of love.
And all my days let no distress
nor fears suppress his joyful praise.

Away, distrustful care! I have thy promise, Lord:
to banish all despair, I have thine oath and word:
and therefore I shall see thy face
and there thy grace shall magnify.

With thy triumphant flock then I shall numbered be;
built on the eternal rock, his glory shall we see.
The heavens so high with praise shall ring
and all shall sing in harmony.

( Richard Baxter, circa 1615 - 1691 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Godelieve: her mother-in-law was wicked

Out of the middle ages comes the story of Godelieve, a Flemish woman who was born in the middle of the eleventh century, who was no more than thirty years of age when she died. Her life’s story is an amalgam of fact and fiction.

Godelieve was a pious girl who wanted to become a nun. But her father would have nothing to do with that. He arranged for her to be married to a nobleman named Berthold.

Berthold’s mother took an instant dislike to Godelieve, and so worked on her son, that he fled the wedding reception and left the marriage unconsummated. She was imprisoned by her mother-in-law in a narrow cell, and was treated with severity. It was reported that out of the meagre food she was given, she managed to share it with others who were in need. It was reported that she suffered both mental and physical abuse at the hand of her mother-in-law.

When word of Godelieve’s situation reached her own father, he enlisted the aid of the local bishop and of Berthold’s father. They threatened Berthold with prison if he did not take Godelieve as a proper wife and treat her well. He promised to do so, and for a time Godelieve’s situation improved. Yet happiness was not to be found for Godelieve. Her husband soon began to abuse her once again. While he was away on business, he ordered two of his men to strangle her and throw her into a pond, to make it seem her death was accidental.

What turned Godelieve from an unfortunate victim of brutal times, into a saint happened after her death. It seems that Berthold married a second time. He had a daughter, Edith, who was blind. She was healed by prayers made to Godelieve. This led to her husband’s confession to her murder. He travelled to Rome to seek the pope’s absolution, and both daughter Edith and father Berthold, lived the remainder of their lives as religious. We do not know what happened to the mother-in-law.

Godelieve’s feast day was kept on the sixth of July.

While the story of Godelieve may be fanciful, the reality is that many, many women live in abusive relationships every day. The haunting reality of these contemporary stories of physical, mental, and sexual abuse, drive us to both prayer and action. In many places there exist not only women’s shelters but centres where legal and medical help is available to assist women escaping these relationships. Like Godelieve, too many of these contemporary women are also murdered by their abusers.

Scripture. In the fifth chapter of "Ephesians," at verses twenty-eight and twenty-nine we read:

In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for women trapped in abusive relationships and for those who minister to them and help them seek safety and freedom.

... for those who have been forced into marriage against their will.

... for the people of the Isle of Man and Venezuela who celebrate their national day today.

... for the National Health Service in the United Kingdom which celebrates the seventieth anniversary of its inception today; for those who work in it and for its continuance in line with its original intent; that all people may enjoy healthcare that is not restricted by their ability to pay.

... 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:

What do we do next?

What difference does all this theology make?

It can start making a difference tonight. If you are interested enough to have read thus far you are probably interested enough to make a shot at saying your prayers and, whatever else you say, you will probably say the Lord’s Prayer.

Its very first words are "Our Father." Do you now see what those words mean?

They mean quite frankly, that you are putting yourself in the place of a son of God. To put it bluntly, you are dressing up as Christ. If you like, you are pretending. Because, of course, the moment you realise what the words mean, you realise that you are not a son of God. You are not a being like The Son of God, whose will and interests are at one with those of the Father: you are a bundle of self-centred fears, hopes, greeds, jealousies, and self-conceit, all doomed to death. So that, in a way, this dressing up as Christ is a piece of outrageous cheek. But the odd thing is that He has ordered us to do it.

Why?

What is the good of pretending to be what you are not?

Well, even on the human level, you know, there are two kinds of pretending. There is a bad kind, where the pretence is there instead of the real thing; as when a man pretends he is going to help you instead of really helping you. But there is also a good kind, where the pretence leads up to the real thing. When you are not feeling particularly friendly but know you ought to be, the best thing you can do, very often, is to put on a friendly manner and behave as if you were a nicer person than you actually are. And in a few minutes, as we have all noticed, you will be really feeling friendlier than you were.

Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children’s games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups: playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits so that the pretence of being grown-up helps them to grow up in earnest.

CLOSING PRAYER

Gracious God, you created us in your image and breathed life into us, a life you want us to live abundantly. We ask you to free those living with abuse physically, mentally or spiritually, from their oppression, so that they may walk in peace and enjoy a life full of your blessings. In Jesus’ name. 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.

Actress Condemned For Pretending To Be Someone She Is Not

From THE BBC:

Actress, Scarlett Johansson, has been criticised for taking on the role of a transgender man. She will play 1970s Pittsburgh crime boss Dante "Tex" Gill, who was born Jean Gill, in the film "Rub & Tug."

"There are literally so many trans actors that could've been cast in this role," one person wrote on Twitter.

What I think:

If trans actors are to be, forever, restricted to only playing trans characters, then Johnansson should not play the role if a suitable trans actor can be found to play the role. However, if trans people and their advocates want trans actors to be allowed to play non-trans roles then they should not insist on trans roles being played by only trans actors.

We are at the stage in many regions of the world where LGBT people are moving from being seperate to being included. However, as this move is not yet complete there are still many vestiges of LGBT seperateness around. In fact, many LGBT people are, no doubt, unwilling to let go of them (gay night clubs and gay pride events are examples). Some of these vestiges are still very much needed to continue the push to full inclusion. But, as full inclusion is now in sight, the demands of LGBT people should now be made in the light of future victory. In other words, they should not now demand a state of affairs that will play out as less than full inclusion in the future.

Brexit: An Avoidable Catastrophe

As an interpreter of things English to the rest of the world I have insisted, ever since the Brexit vote, that for the vast majorty of pro-Brexit voters, the overriding issue is that of the ending of unrestricted migration into Britain.

An article posted on the BBC website today shows that this is still very much the case. This means that the only type of Brexit that pro-Brexit voters will accept is one that does not allow the free movement of EU citizens across UK borders. I would go further and claim that most pro-Brexit voters do not care a fig about any other issue and would be completely ambivalent about remaining in the EU if we still had the border controls in force that existed when the UK joined the EU. This is not an attitude restricted to some English and Welsh people only as it can be found within large sections of the populations of all the EU countries that have become net receivers of EU economic migrants.

If the leaders of the old EU nations had not been so idealistically committed to immediate and complete free movement within the EU but had viewed the concept as something to be aimed for and achieved by incremental and non-disruptive changes over time, then the UK government would not now be in the position of having to achieve the impossible. Most English people will accept change but they do not like it to happen all in one go and, in that, I do not think we differ from most people.

A lot less idealism and a lot more commonsense about immigration issues would have made Brexit an unlikely reality. Sadly, for all involved, it is too late to turn back now.

Killing For Fun

From THE BBC:

A US hunter has come under criticism after pictures taken
in South Africa of her posing with a dead giraffe went viral.

What I think:

Of all the natural impulses that humans should, if they claim to be be moral beings, rise above, that of killing for fun must be one of the easiest to let go of. We really should have all stopped doing it a long time ago.

And, by the way, eating the creature you have just killed for fun does not make it more morally acceptable as it is no different in type to marrying a person you have just raped.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE FOURTH OF JULY, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Thank you, living God, for your undying love, ever at work for us and the whole world, made known in every age; for its triumphant victory in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ and for its continuing presence with us, to be proclaimed to the ends of the earth through your Holy Spirit. Amen.

( Alan Gaunt )

CANTICLE

Ye heavens, oh haste your dews to shed; ye clouds, rain gladness on our head;
thou earth, behold the time of grace and blossom forth in righteousness!

O living Sun, with joy break forth and pierce the gloomy clefts of earth;
behold, the mountains melt away like wax beneath thine ardent ray.

O life-dew of the churches, come and bid this arid desert bloom;
the sorrows of thy people see and take our human flesh on thee.

Refresh the parched and drooping mind, the broken limb in mercy bind;
us sinners from our guilt release and fill us with thy heavenly peace.

O wonder! Night no more is night. Comes then at last the longed-for light?
Ah yes, thou shinest, O true Sun in whom are God and man made one.

( Johann Campanus, circa 1500-1575 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

The fourth of July is Independence Day in the United States of America, remembering that moment in 1776 when the thirteen colonies declared their independence from Great Britain.

Whether you are celebrating Independence Day or not, it is a good day to think about freedom and the paradox that often trails behind in freedom’s wake. Simply put, how does our freedom rely on the chains of others?

You can’t tell the story of the United States, without telling of the suffering of the native peoples who were dispossessed by those same colonists who laboured so diligently to free themselves from the British government, an ocean away. You cannot tell the story of the rise of American culture without remembering the chains of slavery. You cannot tell the story of economic freedom without remembering the dismal condition of workers before the rise of organised labour. It never ends. Now Americans are torn over immigration and the shame of their “zero tolerance” policy which separates children from parents at the border.

What about Christian freedom, then? It, too, is a paradox. In Martin Luther’s famous little pamphlet “The Freedom of a Christian,” Luther sets the paradox before us.

He writes, "A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all."

In this he was reflecting on Saint Paul who, in "Galatians," chapter five, verses thirteen and fourteen, wrote:

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, "You shall love your neighbour as yourself."

Even as Children of God we are subject to freedom’s paradox, for our spiritual liberation from sin and death cost the suffering and death of Jesus, and our continued spiritual freedom came and comes at the expense of many who were persecuted and killed simply for believing in him.

Freedom remains illusory until everyone shares equally the benefits of it. And people will never share equally the benefits of it, until and unless we are willing to be bound into service to the last and the least of God’s children.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for true freedom.

... for the people of the United States of America who celebrate their national day today and for the people of the United States of America who do not.

... for animals, wild and domestic, that are terrified by fireworks.

... victims of air pollution.

... 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 birthday of Emperor Nicholas I, 1851, by Philaret of Moscow:

Some people by the word freedom understand the ability to do whatever one wants. People who have the more allowed themselves to come into slavery to sins, passions, and defilements more often than others appear as zealots of external freedom, wanting to broaden the laws as much as possible. But such a man uses external freedom only to more severely burden himself with inner slavery. True freedom is the active ability of a man who is not enslaved to sin, who is not pricked by a condemning conscience, to choose the better in the light of God’s truth and to bring it into actuality with the help of the gracious power of God. This is the freedom of which neither heaven nor earth are restrictive.

CLOSING PRAYER

Grant, O God, that we may not rest until all the peoples of the earth share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines; 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.

Money Might Not Buy Happiness But It Does Buy A Nice House

We've been thinking about moving house recently. It would appear that, within any one town or city district, the biggest influence on the price of property is the people who live in the neighbourhood. This is greater than closeness to the town centre, the reputation of local schools, access to medical facilities and availability of good public transport.

In Chester-Le-Street the houses between the railway station and the town centre are, on average, fifty thousand pounds cheaper than identical houses nearby simply because the "wrong sort of person" lives in them. In this case, "wrong" means "anti-social" but elsewhere in the region it means "Muslim" or "Eastern European, that sort of thing.

Unfortunately, this means that the less well off, such as myself, often have to put up with living surrounded by radgies making life unpleasant or in culturally alien neighbourhoods and immigrants are forced into living in what amount to ghettoes whether they want to be with their previous compatriots or not.

I've always doubted the claim that money can't buy happiness but I know for certain that not having money makes the possibility of routine unhapiness much more likely.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE THIRD OF JULY, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

We thank you, O Father, for your readiness to hear and to forgive; for your great love to us, in spite of our unworthiness; for the many blessings we enjoy above our deserving, hoping or asking. You have been so good to us in our ingratitude, thoughtlessness and forgetfulness of you. For your pity, long-suffering, gentleness and tenderness, we bow our heads in humble thankfulness of heart. We worship you who are infinite love, infinite compassion, infinite power. Accept our praise and gratitude; through Jesus Christ our lord and saviour. Amen.

( C. J. N. Child )

CANTICLE

Through the bleak and dreary street where the cold winds keenly blow,
see, a child with bare, chilled feet, wandering on amid ice and snow;
houseless, homeless. God’s own Word shall its precious comfort be:
"As you did it unto these, you have done it unto me."

In an attic cold and bare amid the dropping of the rain,
see, a woman, gaunt and wan, stitch from morn till morn again,
fainting, famished. Christian man, does not God appeal to thee:
"As you did it unto these, you have done it unto me"?

When you pass the orphan by with averted look of scorn;
while the lone one toils and sighs, faint and weak from morn to morn.
Think, there soon shall come a day when your God shall say to thee,
"As you did it unto these, you have done it unto me."

( Alonzo B. Bragdon )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Harriet Beecher Stowe; John and Henry Venn:
fighting for the abolition of slavery
( transferred from Sunday )

Today Saint Laika’s remembers three valiant fighters in the cause of the abolition of slavery, on both sides of the Atlantic: Harriet Beecher Stowe in the United States, best known as the author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” which recounted the tragic consequences of slavery on families, and John and Henry Venn, father and son, who were active in the abolitionist movement in Britain, working alongside William Wilberforce.

Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in 1811 and came from a family of Christians who practiced their faith in public. Her father, Lyman Beecher, was a famous preacher. Her mother, Roxana, was a public advocate for higher education for women. Her sister, Catherine, was a fierce opponent of Andrew Jackson’s policy of relocation of native peoples away from their ancestral lands. "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" (1852) ratcheted up the fervour of the anti-slavery movement in the United States. It was reported that upon meeting her, Abraham Lincoln said, “So this is the little lady who started this great war!”

She died on the first of July, 1896.

The Christian faith was a foundational in the Venn family. John Venn was a priest in the Church of England as was his son, Henry.

Late in the eighteenth century John became the rector of Clapham. The rectory of the church became a hub of philanthropic activity and anti-slavery activism. The group that met there regularly became known as the Clapham Sect. John’s son, Henry, was born at Clapham in 1796.

The Clapham Sect saw its efforts rewarded in 1807 when Parliament passed a bill outlawing the slave trade, but not slavery itself. That would come in 1833.

Additionally the Venns founded and guided the Church Mission Society, which recruited, trained, and supported missionaries who shared their faith in many places around the world.

John died on the first of July, 1813 and Henry died on the thirteenth of January, 1873.

Scripture. In the twenty-sixth chapter of "Isaiah," at verses eight and nine, we read:

In the path of your judgments, O LORD, we wait for you; your name and your renown are the soul’s desire. My soul yearns for you in the night, my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for an end to slavery, in all the forms it takes, throughout the world.

... for missionaries, that they may be safe in their work and successful in revealing Christ to the people of all nations.

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

... for the twelve and their football coach trapped in a cave in Thailand, that now they have been found they will soon be freed and reunited with their families. 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 sermon, "On Preaching the Gospel" by John Venn:

We do not " preach the Gospel," if we represent man as in a state different from that which the Gospel supposes. If we do not describe him as fallen and corrupt; if we do not speak of him as yielding to the power of sin, and therefore obnoxious to the just displeasure of a holy God; we give a false view of the subject; such a view, indeed, as wholly supersedes the grace of the Gospel.

Again, if, allowing the corrupt state of the human race, we assert that there is sufficient power in man to restore himself by his own exertions, without referring him to the grace and power of God, we do not "preach the Gospel." This is to render the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit unnecessary. The philosophers of old did not "preach the Gospel;" for they pointed out no other means of reclaiming man than the wisdom of his own reasonings and the energy of his own exertions.

Further, if we so exalt the merit of any righteous acts which man can perform, as to suppose them sufficient to counterbalance his transgressions, and to render him acceptable in the sight of God we do not "preach the Gospel;" for thus also we make the cross of Christ of none effect. This was the error of the Jews: they had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge; for being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness of God.

Again, if we represent Christ as only an example to mankind and not as making atonement by his blood for sin; as being a mere man and not as the "only begotten son of God," who came down from heaven to become our redeemer; we do not " preach the Gospel." For "great is the mystery of godliness," that is, of the Gospel.

"God was manifest in the flesh, seen of angels, received up into glory."

In like manner, if we do not insist that the great end of Christ's coming in the flesh was to purchase to himself a holy people who should be zealous of good works, to enable them to escape the corruptions of the world, and make them partakers of a divine nature, we do not "preach the Gospel;" for we overlook the very design of Christ incoming upon earth.

In a word, if we represent man as in no need of a saviour, or if we ascribe to him the ability to deliver himself; if we leave Christ out of our view, or substitute any thing in the place of his meritorious death, perfect righteousness, and prevailing intercession; or if we do not insist on the necessity of the sanctifying influence of the Spirit; we evidently do not preach the Gospel: we do not glorify Christ, or exalt his Spirit as we ought: we give false views of the state of man, and therefore fail in rightly preparing him for eternity.

CLOSING PRAYER

Gracious God, we thank you for the witness of Harriett Beecher Stowe, and John and Henry Venn, whose passion for justice caused them to bring to light the shame and sufferings of enslaved peoples. Help us, like them, to strive for your justice, that our eyes may see the glory of your son, Jesus Christ, when he comes to reign with you and the Holy Spirit in reconciliation and peace, one God, now
and always. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE SECOND OF JULY, 2018
* Walter Rauschenbusch, Washington Gladden and Jacob Riis *

OPENING PRAYER

O God, we beseech you to save us this day from the distractions of vanity and the false lure of inordinate desires. Grant us the grace of a quiet and humble mind, and may we learn of Jesus to be meek and lowly of heart. May we not join the throng of those who seek after things that never satisfy and who draw others after them in the fever of covetousness. Save us from adding our influence to the drag of temptation. If the fierce tide of greed beats against the breakwaters of our soul, may we rest at peace in your higher contentment. In the press of life may we pass from duty to duty in tranquillity of heart and spread your quietness to all who come near. Amen.

( Walter Rauschenbusch )

CANTICLE

Where cross the crowded ways of life, where sound the cries of race and clan,
above the noise of selfish strife, we hear your voice, O Son of Man.

In haunts of wretchedness and need, on shadowed thresholds fraught with fears,
from paths where hide the lures of greed, we catch the vision of your tears.

From tender childhood's helplessness, from human grief and burdened toil,
from famished souls, from sorrow's stress, your heart has never known recoil.

The cup of water given for you still holds the freshness of your grace;
yet long these multitudes to view the sweet compassion of your face.

O Master, from the mountainside, make haste to heal these hearts of pain;
among these restless throngs abide; O tread the city's streets again;

Till all the world shall learn your love, and follow where your feet have trod;
till glorious from your heaven above shall come the city of our God.

( Frank Mason North )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Walter Rauschenbusch, Washington Gladden and Jacob Riis

Washington Gladden (February 11, 1836 – July 2, 1918) was a leading American Congregational pastor and early leader in the Social Gospel movement. He was a leading member of the Progressive Movement, serving for two years as a member of the Columbus, Ohio city council and campaigning against Boss Tweed as acting editor of the New York Independent. Gladden was probably the first leading U.S. religious figure to support unionisation of the workforce; he also opposed racial segregation. He was a prolific writer, with forty books to his credit, as well as a number of hymns.

Jacob August Riis (May 3, 1849 - May 26, 1914), was a Danish American social reformer, muckraking journalist and social documentary photographer.

He is known for his dedication to using his photographic and journalistic talents to help the impoverished in New York City, which was the subject of most of his prolific writings and photography.

Walter Rauschenbusch (October 4, 1861 - July 25, 1918) was a Christian theologian and Baptist minister. He was a key figure in the Social Gospel movement in the USA.

His view of Christianity was that its purpose was to spread the Kingdom of God, not through a fire and brimstone style of preaching but by leading a Christlike life.

Rauschenbusch did not view Jesus' death as an act of substitutionary atonement but in his words, he died "to substitute love for selfishness as the basis of human society."

He wrote that "Christianity is in its nature revolutionary" and tried to remind society of that. He explained that the Kingdom of God "is not a matter of getting individuals to heaven, but of transforming the life on earth into the harmony of heaven."

Quote: "Whoever uncouples the religious and the social life has not understood Jesus. Whoever sets any bounds for the reconstructive power of the religious life over the social relations and institutions of men, to that extent denies the faith of the Master"

( "Christianity and the Social Crisis" by Walter Rauschenbusch )

Scripture: In the "Letter of James," chapter two, verses fifteen and sixteen, we read:

If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that we may live out our faith in the world as well as talk about it.

... for an end to poverty, oppression and all suffering that it caused by the greed of the rich and powerful.

... that we may be generous people, expressing in our restricted way the eternal and infinite generosity of God.

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

... for the safety of those involved in fighting wildfires.

... for an end to gang related violence; for an end to knife crime.

... for those killed or injured during a suicide bombing in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad and all other recent victims of terrorism. 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 Church and Modern Life" by Washington Gladden:

It is the business of the church to train the consciences of men for the moral problems that confront them and this work has been but indifferently done. The first step in the redemption of the social order is the education of the Christian conscience to discern the smokeless sins. It is with evils of this character that the nation is now in a life and death grapple; the church ought to be able, by its testimony, to lend effective aid in this conflict.

The nature of the testimony needed may be indicated by a typical instance.

Not many years ago a very prosperous manufacturing company was doing business in a thriving American village, giving employment to fifteen hundred men and women, many of whom had purchased homes, in the expectation of having permanent occupation and livelihood. It was known to be a well-paying business; its stock, which was in few hands, was not in the market.

Suddenly a project of reorganisation was announced and stock amounting to five times the value of the property was placed upon the market. It was eagerly taken, for the reputation of the company was very high. With the proceeds of this sale of securities the managers made themselves very rich men. It was not necessary for them to do business any longer. Indeed, they could not have continued to pay dividends on the amount of stock which they had sold; they had never expected to do any such thing. What they did was promptly to close the business. The price of the stock dropped immediately to the neighbourhood of zero, millions of values were cancelled and thousands of investors were made to suffer loss. But the direct consequences were seen in the village whose prosperity was suddenly destroyed. Fifteen hundred men and women were deprived, at a stroke, of employment and livelihood. In many homes there was destitution and hunger; hundreds of men were compelled to seek employment elsewhere, sacrificing the homes whose value had been greatly reduced; businesses that depended on the patronage of the mill hands were ruined; churches were paralysed; families were scattered; discouraged men fell into ways of dissipation; young women were led into the paths of shame.

All this was done under the forms of law, and yet it would be hard to find in the annals of crime an instance more flagitious. And the men who did this thing were church members, members in good standing, leading members of an evangelical church. Nor does it appear that they suffered any discredit in the church to which they belonged, and to whose revenues they continued to contribute out of the plunder by which they had impoverished and ruined so many. The church had not sufficient moral sense to reprove and denounce this iniquity. What is worse, the church had not had enough moral sense to make these men see beforehand that such an act was infamous.

Undoubtedly they would have promptly justified themselves. "Such transactions," they would have said, "are occurring every day; what the law does not forbid, and what everybody else does, cannot be wrong. The property was ours, and we had a right to put our own price on it and sell it for what it would bring. The business was ours, and we had a right to do what we pleased with it, to keep it running or shut it down when we got ready: it is a free country: do you think you can compel a man to go on doing business when he prefers to quit? We never guaranteed permanent employment to these people: we paid them their wages while they worked for us, and that is the end of our obligation to them."

Some such answer they would, no doubt, have made to any one who called in question their conduct; and by such an answer they would have revealed the failure of the church to which they belonged to bring home to them their social obligations.

The existing social order can never be redeemed unless a fire can be kindled on the earth in whose clear shining light such deeds as these can be seen in all their deformity and in whose purifying flame such excuses as these will be utterly consumed. We must have laws to make such wrongs impossible; but behind the laws must be the moral insight and the social passion which shall make them effective and it is the business of the church to furnish these. When this is done we shall have made a good beginning in the work of social redemption.

CLOSING PRAYER

Loving God, you call us to do justice and love kindness: may we be ever mindful of the suffering of those who are poor, and work diligently for the reform of our communities; 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.

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

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