Of Course, I Could be Wrong

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE SEVENTEENTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2018
* Hildegard of Bingen *

OPENING PRAYER

Holy Spirit, giving life to all life, moving all creatures, the root of all things,
washing them clean, wiping out their mistakes, healing their wounds;
you are our true life, luminous, wonderful, awakening the heart from its ancient sleep.

( Hildegard of Bingen )

Come, Holy Spirit. Amen.

CANTICLE

O fiery Spirit, praise to you,
who on the tympana and lyre
work and play!
By you, the human mind is set ablaze,
the tabernacle of its soul
contains its strength.
So mounts the will
and grants the soul to taste;
desire is its lamp.

In sweetest sound the intellect upon you calls,
a dwelling-place prepares for you,
with reason sweating in the golden labour.
Yet in your hand, you always hold the sword
to cut away
the deadly apple offering,
its blackened heart—a homicide,
when once that cloud reached out
to overshade the will and its desires,
in which the soul takes flight and circles round about.

But of the will and of desire the mind serves as the bond.
For when the spirit rears itself
to seek to see the evil eye, the gaping maw of wickedness,
then swiftly in your fire do you consume it, when you will.
But when the reason strays and, working evil things,
falls flat and low,
then as you will, you draw, constrain, and bring it back
through floods of trials and ordeals.

When evil yet its sword against you
draws, you break its blade into its heart;
the thrust against the fallen angel first
you made when into Hell you cast
his tower of pride.
Another tower you raised up in its place,
amongst the taxmen and the sinners;
to you their sins they do confess
by their own works and deeds.

So every creature, as it takes
its life from you returns to you its praise,
for you are that most precious balm
for broken, fetid wounds,
transforming them into
most precious gems.

Now deign to gather us, to draw us all to you
and to direct us on the upright course. Amen.

( Hildegard of Bingen )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Hildegard of Bingen: a hidden treasure come to light

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Hildegard of Bingen, whom some have called the greatest woman of the Middle Ages.

She was a phenomenon by the standards of any century. First, and above all, she was devoted to Jesus Christ, becoming a nun at the age of eighteen. As her leadership skills became evident she became the abbess of that community. She was a mystic and a visionary and she devoted many years to writing her visions down, interpreting them, and commenting on their significance. Her community of nuns had grown to the point of needing new quarters, so she moved the nuns to Bingen, and supervised the building of a new monastery for them. She corresponded with popes and high churchmen. She travelled through Germany and other parts of Europe preaching to the people.

Her use of parable and metaphor, of symbols, visual imagery and non-verbal means to communicate makes her work reach out effectively to people of our own day. She wrote and spoke extensively about social justice, about freeing the downtrodden, about the duty of seeing to it that every human being, made in the image of God, has the opportunity to develop and use the talents that God has given her or him, and to realise her or his God-given potential. This strikes a chord today.

She wrote seventy-two songs including a play set to music. Musical notation had only shortly before developed to the point where her music was recorded in a way that we can read today. She wrote at least two books of medical and pharmaceutical advice. She authored a commentary on the Gospels, and another on the Athanasian Creed.

Hildegard died in the year 1179.

For many years her work was forgotten, but in recent times she has had a marvellous resurgence. Pope Benedict XVI named her a doctor of the Church.

Quote: "Listen: there was once a king sitting on his throne. Around him stood great and wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented with ivory, bearing the banners of the king with great honour. Then it pleased the king to raise a small feather from the ground, and he commanded it to fly. The feather flew, not because of anything in itself but because the air bore it along. Thus am I, a feather on the breath of God."

Scripture. In the third chapter of "Colossians," at verses sixteen and seventeen, we read:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for female theologians, in particular, we pray that the Church will listen to them and value what they have to say.

... for women in positions of leadership within the churches.

... for those killed or injured in Typhoon Mangkhut and Hurricane Florence; for those who have lost their homes; for those whose homes are badly damaged; for those waiting to return home not knowing what awaits them; for all animals, domestic and wild, caught up in the storms.

... 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

"Who is the Trinity?" by Hildegard of Bingen:

Who is the Trinity?
You are music.
You are life.
Source of everything,
creator of everything,
angelic hosts sing your praise.
Wonderfully radiant,
deep,
mysterious.

*****

Invisible life that sustains all,
I awaken to life everything
in every waft of air.

The air is life,
greening and blossoming.

The waters flow with life.

The moon, when waning, is again
rekindled by the sun,
waxing with life once more.

The stars shine.
radiating with life-light.

All creation is gifted with the
ecstasy of God's light.

The earth,
at any point.
can be located by its relationship
to the sun.

The earth has a scaffold of stones and trees.
In the same way is a person formed:
flesh is the earth,
the bones are the trees and stones.

The soul is the firmament of the organism.
In the manner in which the soul permeates
the body with its energy, it causes and
consummates all human action.

This is how a person becomes a flowering orchard.
The person that does good works is indeed
this orchard bearing good fruit
and this is just like the earth with its ornamentation
of stone and blossoming trees.

*****

Now in the people
that were meant. to be green,
there is no more life of any kind.
There is only shrivelled barrenness.

The winds are burdened
by the. utterly awful stink of evil,
selfish goings-on.
Thunderstorms menace.

The air belches out
the filthy uncleanliness of the peoples.

There pours forth an unnatural,
a loathsome darkness,
that withers the green,
and wizens the fruit
that was to serve as food for the people.

Sometimes this layer of air
is full,
full of a fog that is the source
of many destructive and barren creatures,
that destroy and damage the earth,
rendering it incapable
of sustaining humanity.

*****

In nature, God established humankind
in power
We are dressed in the scaffold of
creation:
in seeing — to understand,
in smelling - to discern,
in tasting - to nurture,
in touching — to govern.

In this way humankind comes to know God,
for God is the author of all creation.

CLOSING PRAYERS

O God, by whose grace your servant Hildegard, kindled with the fire of your love, became a burning and shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; 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

I see that Big Brother contestant Ellis Hillon has been removed from the show following an investigation into offensive tweets. She allegedly wrote a tweet in 2014 about the 9/11 terror attacks, which contained a racial slur. She was fifteen years old at the time.

Ye gods! Thank goodness there was no such thing as social media when I was fifteen years old. I hate to think what crass, immature stuff I came out with at that age. Heck, I'm bad enough now and I'm nearly sixty.

The Gift Of Grace

Definitely my favourite Bruce Cockburn song.
Probably my favourite gospel record.
Up there with my favourite tracks of all time.

The lyrics are just the best ever.

And the lights lie tumbled out like gems,
the moon is nothing but a toothless grin;
floating out on the evening wind
the smell of sweat and lube oil pervades the night
and the rush of life in flight at the speed of light.

A million footsteps whispering,
a guitar sounds, some voices sing;
smoke on the breeze, eyes that sting;
far in the east, a yellow cloud bank climbs
stretching away to be part of tomorrow's time.

Earthbound while everything expands,
so many grains of sand
slipping from hand to hand;
catching the light and falling into dark
the world fades out like an overheard remark
in the falling dark.

Light pours from a million radiant lives,
off of kids and dogs and the hard-shelled husbands and wives;
all that glory shining around and we're all caught taking a dive;
and all the beasts of the hills around shout, "Such a waste!
Don't you know that from the first to the last we're all one in the gift of grace!"

Nice But Dim Archbishop Screws Up In Public Again

Bishop Justin has shown up the Church of England as a bunch of "scribes and Pharisees" once again.

According to The Guardian newspaper, "In a speech to the Trades Union Congress in Manchester, Justin Welby criticised firms such as Amazon for paying 'almost nothing' in taxes and branded the so-called gig economy and zero-hours contracts as 'the reincarnation of an ancient evil'.

"However, it has now been revealed that at least two Church of England cathedrals are advertising jobs on zero-hours contracts, while the church has confirmed that the retailer Amazon is one of its twenty biggest investments worldwide."

You have to feel sorry for him. Like all Church of England bishops, he simply accepts that how he says we should all behave bears no relationship whatsoever to how his own company carries on. Of course, lay members of the C. of E. are fully aware that the lifestyle choices recommended by the clergy, week in week out, in their sermons and other communications, are not to be taken seriously. Preaching is pantomime, nothing more. Unfortunately, the godforsaken general public is no longer in on the joke, so to speak, and, so, misunderstandings like this are occurring increasingly more often.

Of course, Justin could have worded his attack on modern capitalism in such a way that the people of England would have applauded him for his courage and honesty. He could have included his own church within the entourage of the beast he was attacking. In other words, he could have been prophetic. However, as a functionary of an institution that, as a matter of course, exiles its truth-tellers and whistleblowers to the wilderness (damage limitation that he has willingly joined in with himself in the past) he was, no doubt, reluctant to play such a self-sacrificial card. Better to be called a hypocrite by all than to be taken off the Buckingham Palace Garden Party guest list.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE FOURTEENTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2018
* Holy Cross Day *

OPENING PRAYER

O God, who did will to hallow the standard of the life-giving Cross by the precious blood of your only-begotten son; grant, we beseech you, that we who rejoice in honouring the same holy cross, may rejoice also in your ever-present protection. Through the same Christ our lord. Amen.

CANTICLE

O cross of Christ, immortal tree on which our saviour died,
the world is sheltered by your arms that bore the crucified.

From bitter death and barren wood the tree of life is made;
its branches bear unfailing fruit and leaves that never fade.

O faithful cross, you stand unmoved while ages run their course;
foundation of the universe, creation’s minding force.

Give glory to the risen Christ and to his cross give praise,
the sign of God's unfailing love, the hope of all our days.

( "The Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal" )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Holy Cross Day: the beautiful, terrible cross

Today Saint Laika’s celebrates Holy Cross Day, sometimes known as the Triumph of the Cross. The story that has come down to us from history and legend is that Constantine, the first Roman emperor to profess Jesus Christ as lord, sent his mother Helena to Israel in the first decades of the fourth century, to discover the places that would have been sacred to the Christian people. It was there that she was supposed to have found preserved the true cross of Jesus, on the site which today houses the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Church was dedicated and opened for service on the fourteenth of September, 335 AD.

Over time, today’s feast came to be seen as a counterpoint to Good Friday. It gave Christians a time to celebrate the Triumph of the Cross as a sign of God’s victory.

Malcolm Boyd had the occasion to write the following as a reflection on the cross. It comes from his book: “Are You Running With Me Jesus.”

They've made the cross you hung on so pretty, Jesus.
I know the real cross wasn't pretty at all.
But I guess I understand why they want to make copies of it
out of fine woods and even semiprecious stones,
because you hung on it.
Yet doesn't this romanticise your death, Lord,
and give it a kind of gloss it didn't have?
Your death was bloody and dirty and very real.
Can't we face it that way, Jesus?
And can't we face the fact that you were a real man,
living a human life, as well as God?

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

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

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the Church in Jerusalem; for the custodians of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; for pilgrims searching for a tangible memory of Jesus Christ in the Holy Land.

... for those who are mourning the death of a friend.

... for the safety of prison staff.

... for those killed or injured when gunmen attacked a cinema in Nigeria's north-western Zamfara State. 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 discourse by Andrew of Crete:

We are celebrating the feast of the cross which drove away darkness and brought in the light. As we keep this feast, we are lifted up with the crucified Christ, leaving behind us earth and sin so that we may gain the things above. So great and outstanding a possession is the cross that he who wins it has won a treasure. Rightly could I call this treasure the fairest of all fair things and the costliest, in fact as well as in name, for on it and through it and for its sake the riches of salvation that had been lost were restored to us.

Had there been no cross, Christ could not have been crucified. Had there been no cross, life itself could not have been nailed to the tree. And if life had not been nailed to it, there would be no streams of immortality pouring from Christ’s side, blood and water for the world’s cleansing. The legal bond of our sin would not be cancelled, we should not have attained our freedom, we should not have enjoyed the fruit of the tree of life and the gates of paradise would not stand open. Had there been no cross, death would not have been trodden underfoot, nor hell despoiled.

Therefore, the cross is something wonderfully great and honourable. It is great because through the cross the many noble acts of Christ found their consummation (very many indeed), for both his miracles and his sufferings were fully rewarded with victory. The cross is honourable because it is both the sign of God’s suffering and the trophy of his victory. It stands for his suffering because on it he freely suffered unto death. But it is also his trophy because it was the means by which the devil was wounded and death conquered; the barred gates of hell were smashed, and the cross became the one common salvation of the whole world.

The cross is called Christ’s glory; it is saluted as his triumph. We recognise it as the cup he longed to drink and the climax of the sufferings he endured for our sake.

As to the cross being Christ’s glory, listen to his words: "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in him God is glorified, and God will glorify him at once."

And again: "Father, glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world came to be."

And once more: “'Father, glorify your name.' Then a voice came from heaven: 'I have glorified it and will glorify it again.'"

Here he speaks of the glory that would accrue to him through the cross.

And if you would understand that the cross is Christ’s triumph, hear what he himself also said: "When I am lifted up, then I will draw all men to myself."

Now you can see that the cross is Christ’s glory and triumph.

CLOSING PRAYERS

O God, who by the passion of your blessed son made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life and peace: grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your son, our saviour, Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE THIRTEENTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2018
* John Chrysostom *

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord Jesus Christ, open the eyes of my heart, that I may hear your word and understand and do your will, for I am a sojourner upon the earth. Hide not your commandments from me, but open my eyes, that I may perceive the wonders of your law. Speak to me the hidden and secret things of your wisdom. On you do I set my hope, O my God, that you shall enlighten my mind and understanding with the light of your knowledge, not only to cherish those things which are written but to do them; that in reading the lives and sayings of the saints I may not sin, but that such may serve for my restoration, enlightenment and sanctification, for the salvation of my soul, and the inheritance of life everlasting. For you are the enlightenment of those who lie in darkness and from you comes every good deed and every gift. Amen.

( John Chrysostom )

CANTICLE

The God of mercy be adored, who calls our souls from death;
who saves by his redeeming word and new-creating breath.

To praise the Father and the Son and Spirit, all divine,
the One in Three, and Three in One, let saints and angels join.

( Isaac Watts, 1674–1748 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

John Chrysostom, golden words from a golden mouth

Today Saint Laika’s remembers one of the Church’s greatest preachers and teachers, John Chrysostom, who began his ministry as a preacher in Antioch and was raised to become the Patriarch of Constantinople.

John was widely known for his excellent sermons. The word “Chrysostom” is not a surname but an honorific. It means “Golden-Mouth.” While others were stressing allegorical meanings for the scriptures, he preferred to preach on the plain sense of the scripture and applied them in practical ways to daily living. He often preached against the abuse of power by those who held authority in government. Against his will, he was brought from Antioch to Constantinople, for the Empress wanted to have the great preacher in her entourage. Unfortunately, John was as resolute in his preaching against government corruption in Constantinople as he was in Antioch, so the Empress quickly turned against him and he was banished into exile. He died in exile on the thirteenth of September, 407AD.

John left a significant amount of writing behind him: homilies, commentary on the scriptures, works of theology. His ongoing influence in the life of the Eastern Church is the "Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom," an order of service that has been used throughout the centuries.

Quote: "Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and his love for us. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved."

Scripture: In "Psalm Forty-Nine," verse one to verse three, we read:

Hear this, all you peoples; give ear, all inhabitants of the world, both low and high, rich and poor together. My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for God's mercy.

... for preachers.

... for the suicidal and for those who work to prevent suicide. DETAILS

... for chocolate makers.

... for the victims of sexually abusive priests.

... for those living in the path of Typhoon Mangkhut. 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 "Homily XX: On the Statues" by John Chrysostom:

It is not said merely, forego wrath; but retain it not in your mind; think not of it; part with all your resentment; do away the sore. For you suppose that you are paying him back the injury; but you are first tormenting yourself, and setting up your rage as an executioner within you in every part, and tearing up your own bowels. For what can be more wretched than a man perpetually angry? And just as maniacs, who never enjoy tranquility, so also he who is resentful, and retains an enemy, will never have the enjoyment of any peace; incessantly raging, as he does, and daily increasing the tempest of his thoughts calling to mind his words and acts, and detesting the very name of him who has aggrieved him. Do you but mention his enemy, he becomes furious at once, and sustains much inward anguish; and should he chance to get only a bare sight of him, he fears and trembles, as if encountering the worst evils. Yea, if he perceives any of his relations, if but his garment, or his dwelling, or street, he is tormented by the sight of them. For as in the case of those who are beloved, their faces, their garments, their sandals, their houses, or streets, excite us, the instant we behold them; so also should we observe a servant, or friend, or house, or street, or any thing else belonging to those we hate and hold our enemies, we are stung by all these things; and the strokes we endure from the sight of each one of them are frequent and continual.

What is the need then of sustaining such a siege, such torment and such punishment? For if hell did not threaten the resentful; yet for the very torment resulting from the thing itself we ought to forgive the offenses of those who have aggrieved us. But when deathless punishments remain behind, what can be more senseless than the man, who both here and there brings punishment upon himself, while he thinks to be revenged upon his enemy!

CLOSING PRAYERS

O God, who gave to your servant John Chrysostom grace eloquently to proclaim your righteousness and fearlessly to suffer for the honour of your name: bless all preachers of your word with wisdom and skill and bless all who minister in your name with compassion and mercy; 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.

The Messiah Will Come Again

There was a town; there was a strange little town, they called 'The World.' It was a lonely, lonely little town until one day a stranger appeared and their hearts rejoiced, and the sad little town was happy again. But there were some that doubted; they disbelieved, so they mocked him and that stranger, he went away. Now the sad little town that was sad yesterday, it's a lot sadder today.

I walked in a lot of places I never should've been
but I know that the Messiah, he will come again.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE TWELFTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2018

OPENING PRAYER

O God, mercifully grant unto us that the fire of your love may burn up in us all things that displease you and make us meet for your heavenly kingdom. Amen.

( "Roman Breviary" )

CANTICLE

Years are coming, speed them onward, when the sword shall gather rust,
and the helmet, lance and falchion, sleep in silent dust.

Earth has heard too long of battle, heard the trumpet’s voice too long;
but another age advances, seers foretold in song.

Years are coming when, forever, war’s dread banner shall be furled,
and the angel peace be welcomed, regent of the world!

Hail with song that glorious era, when the sword shall gather rust,
and the helmet, lance and falchion, sleep in silent dust.

( Adin Ballou, 1803-1890 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Mother Esther: “Thinking out a better way”
(transferred from Sunday, the ninth of September)

Saint Laika’s travels to Australia today to remember the Anglican nun who founded the Community of the Holy Name: a sisterhood committed to live and work among the poor.

Mother Esther was born in England in 1858 and in 1884 was received as a novice into the Community of Saint Mary the Virgin. Shortly thereafter she suffered a serious fall and, with a recovery time of several months looming before her, she travelled to Australia to recover in a “warmer” climate.

Melbourne, Australia, was a big city with grand buildings, built with the discovery of gold; but behind the grand buildings was poverty, disease and death. Having decided to stay in Australia, she went to work for the Church of England’s “The Mission to the Streets and Lanes of Melbourne”. This little story will give you the flavour of the times:

A midnight visit by the sisters to a gospel hall was certainly an education. Sister Christina reported, "It was the weirdest kind of place, women off the street coming in nearly always drunk, or stupid with opium. They were given strong coffee and something to eat and every now and then a voice called out 'Will a Sister lead in a word of prayer?’ Then we all sang hymns and someone got up and asked ‘Who will sign the pledge?’ As they left Sister Esther said ‘We must think out a better way than that.’" And a better way they did.

The Community of the Holy Name grew out of her desire to found a religious order who would both work and live among the poor. The sisters would be up at five o'clock in the morning to get to the markets to buy meat and vegetables, which they would bring back to feed the hungry and the poor. As the community grew in numbers and in respect, they branched out, founding hospitals to provide the poor with care and orphanages to take care of abandoned or orphaned children.

Her constant theme was that all work was to be done solely for the love of Jesus and that we need not worry about the future, because, she would say, “The future is in the hands of God, who loves us.”

She died in 1931.

Scripture. In the fifty-eighth chapter of "Isaiah," in verses six to eight, 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? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the destitute.

... for those who care for the poor.

... for the children of parents who have separated.

... for those living in the path of Hurricane Florence. DETAILS

... for those who hate their jobs; for those who fear to go into work.

... for those killed (at least sixty-eight persons) and those injured, by a suicide bomber in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan yesterday. 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 "On Forgiveness" by C. S. Lewis:

We say a great many things in church (and out of church too) without thinking of what we are saying.

For instance, we say in the Creed “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.”

I had been saying it for several years before I asked myself why it was in the Creed. At first sight, it seems hardly worth putting in.

“If one is a Christian,” I thought, “of course one believes in the forgiveness of sins. It goes without saying.”

But the people who compiled the Creed apparently thought that this was a part of our belief which we needed to be reminded of every time we went to church and I have begun to see that, as far as I am concerned, they were right. To believe in the forgiveness of sins is not nearly so easy as I thought. Real belief in it is the sort of thing that very easily slips away if we don’t keep on polishing it up. We believe that God forgives us our sins; but also that he will not do so unless we forgive other people their sins against us. There is no doubt about the second part of this statement. It is in the Lord’s Prayer; was emphatically stated by our Lord. If you don’t forgive you will not be forgiven. No part of his teaching is clearer and there are no exceptions to it. He doesn’t say that we are to forgive other people’s sins provided they are not too frightful, or provided there are extenuating circumstances or anything of that sort. We are to forgive them all, however spiteful, however mean, however often they are repeated. If we don’t, we shall be forgiven none of our own.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Almighty God, we call to mind your servant, Mother Esther, and remember her work among the homeless, destitute and the sick of Australia. Following her example help us to heal those who are broken in body, mind or spirit, to turn their sorrows into joy; 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.

Bishop Of Glasgow To Stop Pretending

I notice that the bishop of Glasgow is stepping down on the eleventh of October. A few years back I drove all the way from Newcastle Upon Tyne to the centre of Glasgow, at my own expense, to talk to him about moving into his diocese. Towards the end of the interview, I foolishly told him about the bigotry I had been subjected to by senior members of my diocese whilst I was suffering from clinical depression as well as after I had recovered. I told Bishop Gregor that I was looking forward to working in a diocese where I would be helped to move on from the pain that I had been through.

I went home and I did not hear from the bishop for over two months. Eventually, I received a letter from him saying that he had been inclined to offer me a job until I mentioned that I would be looking for healing in my new situation. He told me that he had decided that I would not be welcome in his diocese because I would bring "too much baggage" with me.

I basically gave up on life after I read his letter. I had devoted my life to a lie. The fake news that the Church and its God cared. What a fucking waste.

I hope that Bishop Gregor enjoys his voluntary retirement a lot more than I have "enjoyed" my enforced one.

A Ramble Round Saint Mary’s Loch ( September 2018 )


Looking north-east over Saint Mary's Loch from near the boat club

Saint Mary's Loch is the largest natural loch in the Scottish Borders and is situated on the south side of the A708 road between Selkirk and Moffat, about forty-five miles south of Edinburgh. It is slightly over three miles long and just under two-thirds of a mile wide. At its centre, it is around ninety feet deep.

The loch takes its name from a church dedicated to Saint Mary which once stood on its northern shore and where William Wallace was named Guardian of Scotland. Only the burial ground is now visible.


The former Tibbie Shiel's Inn

Tibbie (Isabella) Shiel was born in Ettrick in 1783, the daughter of Mary and Walter Shiel. After minimal education, she earned a living working on local farms. In 1806 she married Robert Richardson, a molecatcher and in 1823 they moved with their three sons and three daughters to Saint Mary's Cottage, rented from the local laird, Lord Napier, on land overlooking the southern end of Saint Mary's Loch.

After her husband died in 1824, Tibbie supported herself and her six children by taking in lodgers: anything up to thirty-five at a time, even though there were only thirteen guest beds. Tibbie Shiel's Inn soon established itself as a local institution, a process assisted by the patronage of writers like James Hogg and Sir Walter Scott. Other prestigious visitors included the poet William Wordsworth.

Tibbie died on the twenty-third of July, 1878, at the grand old age of ninety-five.

Sadly, the inn closed in 2017 because of ongoing trouble between a somewhat irascible innkeeper and yobs camping wild on the loch shore.


Eadric and Quiz


Engraved verse by the poet and man of letters, J. B. Selkirk

This is one of many literary quotes by different writers which can be found, in various forms, in March Wood, which is situated on the south bank of Saint Mary's Loch. The woodland is shown on one of the earliest maps of Scotland and may be a remnant of the Ettrick Forest, an ancient royal hunting ground.


Looking south from the remains of Matt Baker's Shinglehook sculpture


Looking north from the Shinglehook sculpture


Stile on the path at the far north of Saint Mary's Loch


Above: Quiz and Eadric beside the Loch of the Lowes
Below: Quiz and Eadric in the Loch of the Lowes

The Loch of the Lowes is connected to the more northerly Saint Mary's Loch by a water channel a mere hundred and fifty yards long. The loch is about a mile long and four hundred and forty yards wide. At its deepest, it is sixty feet.


Looking south over the Loch of the Lowes


The northern tip of the Loch of the Lowes


The Glen Cafe, beside the Loch of the Lowes

A popular watering hole for old men on motorbikes who, in their, now distant, youth used to illegally race around the roads of this region terrorising decent, law-abiding folk trying to go about their business. However, the cafe does serve an exceptionally good, cooked English breakfast and the Age-Concern on wheels gangs are amusing to observe.


The James Hogg monument by Andrew Currie (1812–1891)

James Hogg (1770–1835) was a Scottish poet, novelist and essayist who wrote in both Scots and English. As a young man he worked as a shepherd and farmhand, and was largely self-educated through reading. He was a friend of many of the great writers of his day, including Sir Walter Scott, of whom he later wrote an unauthorised biography. He became widely known as the "Ettrick Shepherd", a nickname under which some of his works were published. He is best known today for his novel "The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner." His other works include the long poem "The Queen's Wake" (1813), his collection of songs "Jacobite Reliques" (1819), and his two novels "The Three Perils of Man" (1822), and "The Three Perils of Woman" (1823).

Tragically, the poem that he wrote which would have, no doubt, made him world famous and very wealthy was brazenly stolen by a certain Lakeland poet who often used to hang around Tibbie Shiel's public-house nicking the ideas of the other writers who were staying there whilst cadging drinks off them.

This is the first verse of that poem as written by Mr Hogg. I will leave it to you to work out the identity of the evil plagiarist.

I wandered alane as a clood
that flotters aboon where the shepherd whistles,
whan all at once I saw a crood,
a load, of blooming, purple thistles;
beside the loch, aneath the trees,
fluttering and dancing in the fecking breeze.


Tibbie Shiels Inn and the path to Ettrick village


Eadric

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE THIRTY-FIRST OF AUGUST, 2018
* Aidan of Lindisfarne *

OPENING PRAYER

Leave me alone with God as much as may be as the tide draws the waters close in upon the shore. Make me an island, set apart, alone with you, God, holy to you. Then with the turning of the tide prepare me to carry your presence to the busy world beyond, the world that rushes in on me till the waters come again and fold me back to you.

( Aidan of Lindisfarne, c590-651 )

CANTICLE

Praise the Lord for great Saint Aidan inspiration to us all;
in the presence of our Saviour his example we recall;
life of service to the needy gentleness and kindly love,
living witness to the gospel, honoured here and crowned above.

How we long to share his story, faithful in response to grace,
sign of God's eternal presence in the realm of time and space.
Now his pilgrimage completed cross of Christ his only boast,
he unites his own rejoicing with the great angelic host.

Hail Saint Aidan now in glory robed before the Saviour's face,
here we claim your intercession on your feast and in this place.
May the spirit bring us wisdom, courage and integrity.
Pray that we may share your passion for the truth that sets us free.

Praise and honour to the Father, adoration to the Son,
with the all-embracing Spirit wholly three and holy one.
All the universe, united in complete diversity,
sings as one of your endless praises, ever blessed Trinity.

( Saint Aidan's, Little Chalfont )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Aidan of Lindisfarne: monk and missionary

The tale of the spread of Christianity in England is, initially, a tale of two forms of Christianity struggling to establish themselves. Pope Gregory had sent Roman bishop, Augustine, to England, at the turn of the seventh century, to organise the church and spread the Gospel along Roman lines: a church centred around bishops and clergy, headquartered in Canterbury. Another form of Christianity predated this: a Celtic form of Christianity, based around monasteries and the labours of monks. It was less regimented and hierarchical than its Roman cousin.

The Gospel first came to the north of England in 627, when King Edwin of Northumbria was converted by a mission from Canterbury led by Bishop Paulinus, who established his headquarters at York. Edwin's death in battle in 632 was followed by a severe pagan reaction. A year later, Edwin's exiled nephew Oswald gained the kingdom and proceeded at once to restore the Christian mission.

During his exile, Oswald had lived at Columba's Celtic monastery of Iona, where he had been converted and baptised. Hence he sent to Iona, rather than to Canterbury, for missionaries. Thereupon Aidan was sent out to northern England. He centred his work, not at York, but in imitation of his home monastery, on Lindisfarne, an island off the northeast coast of England, not far south of the Scottish border, now often called simply Holy Island. It is a tidal island or semi-island.

With his fellow monks and the English youths whom he trained, Aidan restored Christianity in Northumbria, King Oswald often serving as his interpreter, and extended the mission through the Midlands as far south as London.

Aidan died at the royal town of Bamborough on the thirty-first of August, 651.

The Venerable Bede had written of him: "He neither sought nor loved anything of this world, but delighted in distributing immediately to the poor whatever was given him by kings or rich men of the world. He traversed both town and country on foot, never on horseback, unless compelled by some urgent necessity. Wherever on his way he saw any, either rich or poor, he invited them, if pagans, to embrace the mystery of the faith; or if they were believers, he sought to strengthen them in their faith and stir them up by words and actions to alms and good works."

Scripture. In the third chapter of "Philippians," verses thirteen and fourteen, we read:

Forgetting what lies behind, and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that the Celtic practice of the Christian faith may continue to be a balancing influence on the Church throughout the world, calling it away from its obsession with power, wealth and hierarchy to a more simple, Christ-centred, missionary life attuned to the eternal and unsurpassable love of the Holy Trinity.

... for those who live and work on Lindisfarne.

... for pilgrims to Lindisfarne and Bamborough, that their journey may bring them closer to God and his kingdom.

... for the people of Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia and Trinidad and Tobago who celebrate their national days today.

... for those who are in pain following surgery.

... for the dolphin, penguins and fish abandoned in a derelict aquarium in Japan and for the success of those trying to rescue them. 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

"An Irish Monk on Lindisfarne about 650AD" by Gael Turnbull, 1928-2004:

A hesitation of the tide
betrays this island, daily.

On Iona, at dusk
(ago, how long ago?)
often (did it happen?)
I saw the Lord walking
in the surf amidst the gulls,
calling, "Come. Have joy in Me."

Yes, with these eyes.

Now, on strange rocks
(faintly through the wall)
echoing, the same sea roars.

Detail is my toil.
In chapel, verse by verse —
in the kitchen, loaf by loaf -
with my pen, word by word —

by imitation,
illumination.

The patience of the bricklayer
is assumed in the dream of the architect.

*****

On the road coming, five days' travel, a Pict woman
(big mouth and small bones) gave me shelter, and
laughed (part scorn, part pity) at my journey. "What do
you hope for, even if you get there, that you couldn’t
have had twice over in Ireland?"

Then I told her of the darkness amongst the barbarians,
and of the great light in the monasteries at home, and
she replied, "Will they thank you for that, you so young
and naive, and why should you go, you out of so
many?"

I said that I heard a voice calling, and she said, "So men
dream, are unsatisfied, wear their legs out with walking,
and you scarcely a boy out of school."

So she laughed, and I leaned my head on my hands,
feeling the thickness of dust in each palm.

Then she told me there was not another of her race left
in that valley, not one, nothing left. "And all in three
generations. Once even Rome feared us. Now my
children are mongrels. And my husband has left me.
No matter. Or great matter. I am still a Pict."

Then she fed me, put herbs on my feet, wished me well,
and I blessed her but she said, "Save that for yourself;
you will need it, when your heart turns rancid, and your
joints begin to stiffen on the foreign roads. Remember
me, when you come, returning."

So she mocked; and sometimes, even now, ten years later,
I hear it as I waken (receding in a dream), that laughter,
broad, without malice.

*****

Returning,
in the mind, still there,
home:
— devout green hills
— intimate peat smoke
— a cow-bell beseeching
— warm fleece in my bed
~ fresh water, fresh, a brook

Here:
- rain clouds like beggars’ rags
- stench of burned weed
— fret of the chain-mail sea
- hard knees on cold stone
— dry saliva, salt fish

The gulls cry:
— believe
— achieve

The bells reply:
- some
- some

At the lowest ebb
you can leave dryshod
this fitful island.

CLOSING PRAYERS

O loving God, who called your servant Aidan to re-establish the Christian mission in northern England, and gave him the gifts of gentleness, simplicity, and strength: grant that we, following his example, may use our gifts to share your gospel in both word and deed, 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.

The Smell Of Ecofriendliness

Cleanliness may be next to Godliness but is it also responsible for climate change and the overexploitation of the earth's natural resources?

Back, when I was a lad in England, most people who did not work down a coal mine or in a sewerage treatment works tended to take a bath just once a week. Our clothes were clean, we wore fresh underwear every day and, I can't remember it being a smellier world back then. We had Brut aftershave and Charlie perfume to cover up any embarrassing whiffs emanating from our underscrubbed bodies.

Nowadays, my wife starts making pointed remarks about my desirability to be with if I do not shower every single day.

So, are we using seven times as much energy to be sweetsmelling these days than we did in the 1960s and 1970s and if yes how much effect does this have on the environment? Would our becoming a lot less hygiene fixated be a major step towards the slowing down of global warming and one that would require a lesser sacrifice on our part than giving up our cars, for example.

Are you prepared to stink to save the planet or are you a nimu ("not in my underarms")?

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE THIRTIETH OF AUGUST, 2018
* John Bunyan *

OPENING PRAYER

Write your blessed name, O Lord, upon my heart, there to remain so indelibly engraved, that no prosperity, no adversity shall ever move me from your love. Be to me a strong tower of defence, a comforter in tribulation, a deliverer in distress, a very present help in trouble and a guide to heaven through the many temptations and dangers of this life. Amen.

( Thomas à Kempis, 1380 – 1471 )

CANTICLE

Who would true valour see, let him come hither;
one here will constant be, come wind, come weather.
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent;
his first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.

Whoso beset him round with dismal stories,
do but themselves confound; his strength the more is.
No lion can him fright, he will with a giant fight,
he will have a right to be a pilgrim.

Hobgoblin nor foul fiend can daunt his spirit,
he knows he at the end shall life inherit.
Then fancies fly away, he will fear not what men say,
He will labour night and day to be a pilgrim.

( John Bunyan, 1628-1688 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

John Bunyan: grace abounding on a humble tinker

Today Saint Laika’s remembers John Bunyan, a humble tinker born into a modest home, imprisoned for being of the wrong Christian persuasion, a sinner who reached out and found the grace of God.

John Bunyan was born in 1628. His father was a tinker, a maker and mender of metal pots. He received little schooling and soon took up the tinker’s trade like his father. Bunyan was on the road much of the time, for a tinker travelled from town to town plying his trade. When the English Civil War broke out, Bunyan served on the Parliamentarian side in the army from 1644 to 1647. The war led to the execution of Charles I, and the establishment of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth broke the monopoly that the Church of England had on worship, and after marrying in 1650, John has a religious awakening and joined a Baptist congregation and in time became a lay preacher. When the monarchy was restored in 1650 under Charles II, Bunyan was arrested and jailed for twelve years in Bedford Prison. It was during this time that he wrote “Grace Abounding.”

He was released in 1672 but then rearrested in 1675. During this time in jail, he conceived of his masterwork, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” which for many years was second only to the Bible, in popularity. It recounts in allegorical form the experience of a person (called Christian), from his first awareness of his sinfulness and spiritual need to his personal conversion to Christ and his walk as a believer. He is shown as a pilgrim in this world on his way to the Celestial City, which will be his true home forever.

Bunyan was released after a few months and ended his days as pastor and preacher to the small Baptist flock at Bedford. He died on the thirty-first of August, 1688.

Quote: “Let everyone therefore prize a little with the fear of the Lord; gifts indeed are desirable, but yet great grace and small gifts are better than great gifts and no grace.”

Scripture. In "Psalms Forty-Nine," verses ten, eleven and fifteen, we read.

When we look at the wise, they die; fool and dolt perish together and leave their wealth to others. Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling-places to all generations. But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those imprisoned because of their beliefs; for those who are persecuted because of their faith.

... for the people of Kazakhstan, Tatarstan and the Turks and Caicos Islands, who celebrate their national days today.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From "The Acceptable Sacrifice" by John Bunyan:

The sum then is, that men that are converted to God by Christ, through the Word and Spirit (for all this must go to effectual conversion) must have their hearts broken, and spirits made contrite. Yes, and all decayed apostatised and backslidden Christians must, in order to their recovery again to God, have their hearts broken, their souls wounded, their spirits made contrite and sorry for their sins.

Come, come, conversion to God is not so easy and so smooth a thing as some would have men believe it is. Why is man’s heart compared to fallow ground, God’s Word to a plough and his ministers to ploughmen if the heart indeed has no need of breaking in order to the receiving of the seed of God unto eternal life? Who knows not that the fallow ground must be ploughed before the husbandman will venture his seed; yes, and after that oft soundly harrowed, or else he will have but a slender harvest?

Why is the conversion of the soul compared to the grafting of a tree, if that be done without cutting? The Word is the graft, the soul is the tree, and the Word, as the scion, must be let in by a wound; for to stick on the outside, or to be tied on with a string, will do no good here. Heart must be set to heart, and back to back, or your pretended ingrafting will come to nothing. I say heart must be set to heart, and back to back, or the sap will not be conveyed from the root to the branch; and I say, this must be done by a wound.

Why is Christ bid to gird his sword upon his thigh and why must he make his arrows sharp, and all, that the heart may with this sword and these arrows be shot, wounded, and made to bleed? Yea, why is he commanded to let it be so, if the people would bow and fall kindly under him, and heartily implore his grace without it?.

Alas! men are too lofty, too proud, too wild, too devilishly resolved in the ways of their own destruction; in their occasions, they are like the wild asses upon the wild mountains; nothing can break them of their purposes, or hinder them from ruining of their own precious and immortal souls, but the breaking of their hearts.

"A broken heart, a contrite spirit, God will not despise," but both you and all your service he will certainly slight and reject, if, when you come to him, a broken heart be wanting.

Wherefore here is the point: Come broken, come contrite, come sensible of and sorry for your sins, or your coming will be counted no coming to God aright; and if so, consequently you will get no benefit thereby.

CLOSING PRAYERS

God of peace, you called John Bunyan to be valiant for truth. Grant that as strangers and pilgrims we may at the last rejoice with all the faithful in your heavenly city; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE TWENTY-NINTH OF AUGUST, 2018
* The Beheading of John the Baptist *

OPENING PRAYER

Dear Lord, let us start our work in faith, continue in obedience and finish with love. Amen.

CANTICLE

John's light is dimmed, his prison, dark; his head the plaything for a feast.
The jealous spurn God's righteousness, just judge of both the great and least.

John's voice proclaimed the coming Light, whose radiance frees the darkened heart;
who levels mountains, paves the way, proves love, not hate, the better part.

O Bridegroom, closest of John's friends, let what he died for still endure:
may we the heralds of your joy be true, courageous, bold and pure.

( Aelred Seton Shanley )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

The Beheading of John the Baptist: when power meets fear

Today Saint Laika’s remembers the beheading of John the Baptist. Both Matthew and Mark relate the occasion. A lurid tale of a birthday party for Herod Antipas, the dance of Salome, which led Herod to promise her anything she wanted, “even half my kingdom.” The conniving of Herodias, Salome’s mother, goading her to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter, Herod’s reluctant approval of her request.

Herod Antipas is portrayed as a fearful man. Matthew tells us he was fearful of the crowds, who believed John was a holy prophet. Mark tells us Herod was afraid of John. Herod was afraid to lose face among his birthday guests. After he brazenly made his promise to Salome, how could he now go back on his word?

Mark writes: “Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him.”

What a strange relationship Herod had with John. John had the courage to speak against Herod’s illicit relationship with Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. Herod’s fearful nature caused his moral collapse and directly led to John’s beheading.

We can only wonder at how many innocent men and women have been put to death because powerful people succumbed to fear. We know it happened to Jesus, for Pontius Pilate had a similar fear of the crowd. How many other tyrants in the sad history of our planet slew their purported enemies out of fear?

Speaking truth to power comes with an awful price. Yet today we honour one holy man’s integrity and remember one king’s moral cowardice.

Scripture. In the first chapter of "The Second Letter to the Corinthians," verses seventeen to twenty, we read:

Do I make my plans according to ordinary human standards, ready to say "Yes, yes" and "No, no" at the same time?

As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been "Yes and No." For the son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not "Yes and No;" but in him, it is always "Yes." For in him every one of God’s promises is a "Yes." For this reason, it is through him that we say the "Amen," to the glory of God.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that we may proclaim aloud the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ among his people with courage and power.

... that we may never shun our duty to speak the truth even when it concerns powerful and influential people.

... for political prisoners.

... for an end to all nuclear tests and for a world without nuclear weapons. DETAILS

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

... for all involved in sports.

... for young people who feel compelled to self-harm.

... for the people of Venezuela as the crisis in their country continues; for the wellbeing of those attempting to flee the country.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From a homily by Bede the Venerable:

As forerunner of our Lord’s birth, preaching and death, the blessed John showed in his struggle a goodness worthy of the sight of heaven.

In the words of scripture: "Though in the sight of men he suffered torments, his hope is full of immortality."

We justly commemorate the day of his birth with a joyful celebration, a day which he himself made festive for us through his suffering and which he adorned with the crimson splendour of his own blood. We do rightly revere his memory with joyful hearts, for he stamped with the seal of martyrdom the testimony which he delivered on behalf of our Lord.

There is no doubt that blessed John suffered imprisonment and chains as a witness to our Redeemer, whose forerunner he was, and gave his life for him. His persecutor had demanded not that he should deny Christ, but only that he should keep silent about the truth. Nevertheless, he died for Christ.

Does Christ not say: "I am the truth?"

Therefore, because John shed his blood for the truth, he surely died for Christ.

Through his birth, preaching and baptising, he bore witness to the coming birth, preaching and baptism of Christ, and by his own suffering, he showed that Christ also would suffer.

Such was the quality and strength of the man who accepted the end of this present life by shedding his blood after the long imprisonment. He preached the freedom of heavenly peace, yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men; he was locked away in the darkness of prison, though he came bearing witness to the Light of life and deserved to be called a bright and shining lamp by that Light itself, which is Christ. John was baptised in his own blood, though he had been privileged to baptize the Redeemer of the world, to hear the voice of the Father above him, and to see the grace of the Holy Spirit descending upon him. But to endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John; rather it was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward.

Since death was ever near at hand through the inescapable necessity of nature, such men considered it a blessing to embrace it and thus gain the reward of eternal life by acknowledging Christ’s name.

Hence the apostle Paul rightly says: "You have been granted the privilege not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for his sake."

He tells us why it is Christ’s gift that his chosen ones should suffer for him: "The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us."

CLOSING PRAYERS

O God, you chose John the Baptist to be the forerunner of your son both in birth and in death. Grant that, as John laid down his life for truth and justice, we too may strive with courage to bear witness to your word; 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

TUESDAY THE TWENTY-EIGHTH OF AUGUST, 2018
* Moses the Black *

OPENING PRAYER

Lord of the loving heart, may mine be loving too. Lord of the gentle hands, may mine be gentle too. Lord of the willing feet, may mine be willing too. So may I grow more like you in all I say and do. Amen.

( Phyllis Garlick )

CANTICLE

You who his temple throng, Jehovah’s praise prolong, new anthems sing;
you saints with joy declare, your maker’s loving care
and let the children there joy in their king.

O let his name employ your every note of joy, his praises speak;
he looks with loving face upon his chosen race
and will with every grace adorn the meek.

You saints your joy proclaim and glory in the name of God above;
and when the daylight dies, ere sleep shall close your eyes,
let praise to God arise for all his love.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Moses the Black (also known as Moses the Ethiopian), a fourth-century gang-banger turned monk. After losing his civil service job under suspicion of theft and attempted murder, Moses joined up with a gang of bandits. On one occasion, he was hiding out from the local authorities, and he took shelter with a group of Monks in the Egyptian desert. He was impressed with their dedication. The sense of peace and contentment he experienced was palpable and so he left his criminal past behind and joined their community.

Over time he became known as a contemplative. Once he was asked to be part of a group of monks assigned to evaluate the faults of a brother monk and mete out a proper penance. He arrived carrying a leaky jug of water on his shoulder.

He said: “My sins run out behind me and I do not see them, but today I am coming to judge the errors of another."

They decided instead to forgive the erring monk.

Over time Moses became the leader of a group of desert hermits, He was ordained in order to minister to their spiritual needs.

In about 405 AD, at an advanced age, he was advised that an armed contingent of Berbers was advancing on their enclosure. The brothers wanted to defend themselves, but he ordered them to retreat. He and seven others remained behind and greeted the invaders with open arms, but all eight were martyred by the bandits.

Scripture: In "Psalm Eighty-Six," verses eleven to thirteen, we read:

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name for ever. For great is your steadfast love towards me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that God may draw us into his peace.

... that we may desire the forgiveness of our own sins rather than the punishment of the sins of others.

... for the remnant of the church of Christ in North Africa; that it may be free from persecution and one day enjoy the universal return of the Christian faith to its ancestral home.

... for pacifists and all who are committed to non-violence.

... for the safety of those who are travelling.

... for those undergoing surgery today.

... for children living in disgusting conditions in refugee camps. DETAILS

... for homeless drug addicts and alcoholics.

... for those who have been killed or injured in road traffic accidents recently.

... 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:

Our warped natures, the devils who tempt us and all the contemporary propaganda for lust, combine to make us feel that the desires we are resisting are so "natural," so "healthy," and so reasonable, that it is almost perverse and abnormal to resist them. Poster after poster, film after film, novel after novel, associate the idea of sexual indulgence with the ideas of health, normality, youth, frankness, and good humour. Now this association is a lie. Like all powerful lies, it is based on a truth, the truth that sex in itself (apart from the excesses and obsessions that have grown around it) is "normal" and "healthy" and all the rest of it. The lie consists in the suggestion that any sexual act to which you are tempted at the moment is also healthy and normal. Now this, on any conceivable view, and quite apart from Christianity, must be nonsense. Surrender to all our desires obviously leads to impotence, disease, jealousies, lies, concealment and everything that is the reverse of health, good humour and frankness.

CLOSING PRAYERS

God of transforming power and transfiguring mercy: listen to the prayers of all who, like Moses the Black, cry to you, seeking a more perfect knowledge and love of you. Draw them and all of us from unbelief to faith and from violence into your peace, through the cross of Jesus our saviour; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

I think it is more than a bit sick the way that saints often become the patron of those working in occupations related to the method of the saint's execution; for example, the apostle Bartholomew was flayed alive and became the patron saint of leatherworkers. Every time someone calls them up to ask a favour the poor saint is reminded of the pain of their gruesome demise.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE TWENTY-FOURTH OF AUGUST, 2018
* Bartholomew *

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord our God, grant us grace to desire you with our whole heart, that so desiring, we may seek and find you, and so finding you we may love you; and loving you we may hate those sins from which you have redeemed us; for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.

( Anselm, 1033/4-1109 )

CANTICLE

King of saints, to whom the number of your starry host is known,
many a name, by man, forgotten, lives forever round your throne;
lights, which earth-born mists have darkened, there are shining full and clear,
princes in the court of Heaven, nameless, unremembered here.

In the roll of your apostles one there stands, Bartholomew,
he for whom today we offer, year by year, our praises due;
how he toiled for you and suffered none on earth can now record;
all his saintly life is hidden in the knowledge of his Lord.

Was it he, beneath the fig tree seen by you, and guileless found;
he who saw the good he longed for rise from Nazareth’s barren ground;
he who met his risen master on the shore of Galilee;
he to whom the word was spoken, greater things you yet shall see?

None can tell us; all is written in the Lamb’s great book of life,
all the faith, and prayer, and patience, all the toiling, and the strife;
there are told your hidden treasures; number us, O Lord, with them,
when you make up the jewels of your living diadem.

( John Ellerton, 1826–1893 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Bartholomew, the apostle who disappeared

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles, according to the lists provided in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He is not listed by John, who refers instead to “Nathanael, of Cana in Galilee.” These need not be different people, for Bartholomew comes from the word “Bar-Tolmei” which means “son of the furrows”. Perhaps, son of farmers.

Like much of what we know about the apostles, information about Bartholomew is sketchy and the subject of legends. Some refer to his missionary activity in India, while other sources place the focus of his work in Armenia. He does play a large part in the heritage of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Again the legends say he was flayed and crucified in Armenia. He is most often portrayed in art this way: carrying a knife and holding his own skin. An apocryphal gospel bearing his name purports to tell of Christ’s descent to the dead and his freeing of the souls held in the grip of death.

Take comfort in the fact that someone so close to Jesus has faded completely into legend, so much so that the real flesh and blood apostle is unknown. Most disciples do not become famous in the service of God. Let Bartholomew be a sort of “everyman” apostle, to represent all that we do to bring forth the kingdom of God.

Scripture. In the "Gospel of John," chapter thirteen, verses sixteen and seventeen, we read.

Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for all the countless disciples of Christ who do good without receiving fame and public acknowledgement of their deeds and that we may be content to do the same.

... for leatherworkers and plasterers and all people and institutions that claim Bartholomew as their patron.

... for members of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

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

... for those killed or injured during the recent upsurge in violence in Eastern Ukraine. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

READING

From a homily on the first letter to the Corinthians by John Chrysostom:

It was clear through unlearned men that the cross was persuasive, in fact, it persuaded the whole world. Their discourse was not of unimportant matters but of God and true religion, of the Gospel way of life and future judgement, yet it turned plain, uneducated men into philosophers. How the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and his weakness stronger than men!

In what way is it stronger? It made its way throughout the world and overcame all men; countless men sought to eradicate the very name of the Crucified, but that name flourished and grew ever mightier. Its enemies lost out and perished; the living who waged a war on a dead man proved helpless. Therefore, when a Greek tells me I am dead, he shows only that he is foolish indeed, for I, whom he thinks a fool, turn out to be wiser than those reputed wise. So too, in calling me weak, he but shows that he is weaker still. For the good deeds which tax-collectors and fishermen were able to accomplish by God’s grace, the philosophers, the rulers, the countless multitudes cannot even imagine.

Paul had this in mind when he said, "The weakness of God is stronger than men."

That the preaching of these men was indeed divine is brought home to us in the same way. For how otherwise could twelve uneducated men, who lived on lakes and rivers and wastelands, get the idea for such an immense enterprise? How could men who perhaps had never been in a city or a public square think of setting out to do battle with the whole world? That they were fearful, timid men, the evangelist makes clear; he did not reject the fact or try to hide their weaknesses. Indeed he turned these into a proof of the truth. What did he say of them? That when Christ was arrested, the others fled, despite all the miracles they had seen, while he who was the leader of the others denied him!

How then account for the fact that these men, who in Christ’s lifetime did not stand up to the attacks by the Jews, set forth to do battle with the whole world once Christ was dead, if, as you claim, Christ did not rise and speak to them and rouse their courage?

Did they perhaps say to themselves: “What is this? He could not save himself but he will protect us? He did not help himself when he was alive, but now that he is dead he will extend a helping hand to us? In his lifetime he brought no nation under his banner, but by uttering his name we will win over the whole world?”

Would it not be wholly irrational even to think such thoughts, much less to act upon them?

It is evident, then, that if they had not seen him risen and had proof of his power, they would not have risked so much.

CLOSING PRAYERS

Almighty God, you gave to your apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and courageously to preach your word. Grant that we, with all your church, may proclaim to the ends of the earth, the good news of your love, revealed to us in 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.

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