Of Course, I Could be Wrong

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Holy Communion For The Second Sunday Of Easter

Ours is not a naive, fairy tale faith but a faith built on reality, the reality of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. When he said, “"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe," the apostle Thomas was not rejected by Christ or even chastised by him. Jesus gave Thomas the proof he, as an intelligent human being, required by revealing himself in his friend’s presence and then loving him still. In the sacrament of holy communion, Jesus Christ reveals himself to those of us who are his friends today by being present with us as we are present with each other.

At Saint Laika's everyone is welcome to take communion and be in communion, with each other and with God. There are no exceptions. So, come, join us.

If you want to physically partake of communion you will require a small piece of bread and a small amount of drink (preferably made from grapes and containing alcohol).

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Join in with us as we worship God by CLICKING HERE for the order of service, credits and details of the music featured. The words in bold type are the ones we say together.

The Eisenhauers

There is a lot of very good folk music being made in Canada at the moment. Husband and wife duo, The Eisenhauers, are responsible for a chunk of it. This is a track off their debut album, "The Road We Once Knew," which is packed with authentic, front porch sounds. Definitely recommended by me.

MadPriest On Prayer And Schrödinger’s Cat

Here is an idea that came to me as I sat on the loo before going to bed last night:

Perhaps the undecided future requires prayer (heavenly and earthly) in order to coalesce into a definite present in the same way that observation appears to be needed to create definite states out of possible states at the quantum level of existence.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE TWENTY-FIRST OF APRIL, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, kindle in us the fire of your love; help our weakness, that, strengthened in you and by you, we may take heed by good works to make our calling sure. Whatsoever our hand finds to do, may we straightway do it, with the desire to please you only, and you then become our exceeding great reward. Amen.

PSALM SEVENTY-FOUR ( abridged )

Arise, O God, maintain your own cause.

O God, why have you utterly disowned us?
Why does your anger burn
against the sheep of your pasture?
How long, O God, will the adversary scoff?
Shall the enemy blaspheme your name for ever?
Why have you withheld your hand
and hidden your right hand in your bosom?

Yet God is my king from of old,
who did deeds of salvation in the midst of the earth.

It was you that divided the sea by your might;
you cleft the rock for fountain and flood;
you dried up ever-flowing rivers.
Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you established the moon and the sun.
You set all the bounds of the earth;
you fashioned both summer and winter.

Remember now, Lord, how the enemy scoffed,
how a foolish people despised your name.
Do not give to wild beasts the soul of your turtle dove;
forget not the lives of your poor for ever.
Look upon your creation,
for the earth is full of darkness,
full of the haunts of violence.
Let not the oppressed turn away ashamed,
but let the poor and needy praise your name.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Arise, O God, maintain your own cause.

Redeeming God,
renew your broken people
with your Holy Spirit,
that they may walk your narrow way,
and greet your coming dawn
in Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

On this day in 1649, the colony of Maryland passed a toleration act which made it legal for any Trinitarian religious group to worship in Maryland without prejudice. If you were Jewish, or Unitarian, too bad. This was not total religious liberty, but rather one slow, small, first step toward it.

It is hard for people in today’s society to even imagine how intolerant people were in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries toward the practice of alternative forms of faith. In England, the Church of England became the established church to the exclusion of everyone else. Roman Catholics in England, were entirely suppressed, and to practice the Roman Catholic faith could lead to arrest, imprisonment, even death. So-called “priest-holes” were established in the homes of the gentry, where renegade Roman Catholic priests could hide from authorities, whilst travelling around celebrating mass. The Maryland Colony itself was founded as a refuge for English Roman Catholics who chose to leave England for the sake of practicing their faith freely in America.

On the continent of Europe during the same time, it was one battle after another, all over religious intolerance. The Thirty Years War, from 1618 to 1648 decimated Europe. The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 tried to hammer out which parts of Europe were to remain Roman Catholic and which parts would be Lutheran, Reformed, Calvinist. It was open season on non-Trinitarians. They were fair game for everyone. They found some small refuge in Poland, where they clung to their own faith.

In most places as the seventeenth century dawned, religious truth was publicly held truth. So obviously there could be only one true faith, and the rest imposters or heretics,. If you were one of the various Protestant faiths, Rome became the Whore of Babylon. If you were a Roman Catholic, those Protestants were the Spawn of Satan.

By the middle of the seventeenth century a weary world recognised that something had to give, and what gave was the notion of religion as public truth. As the century progressed religion came to be seen as a private opinion. When religion was privately held, people could afford to be tolerant in allowing divergent worship practices, so long as no one was compelled to worship in a way that offended his or her own conscience. The tiny colony of Maryland took a slow, small step toward toleration on this day in 1649. Other small steps were added over time.

Scripture. In the eighteenth chapter of John’s gospel, at verses thirty-seven to thirty-eight, we hear this famous exchange:

"Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’

"Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?’"

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that all may be tolerant of the peaceful, religious beliefs of others.

... for an end to the religious extremism that is causing so much pain, death and oppression in our world today.

... for the policeman shot dead and for those who were injured when an Islamist gunman opened fire on a bus on the Champs Elysees in Paris, yesterday evening.

... for an end to capital punishment for God commands us not to kill.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians":

And let the presbyters be compassionate and merciful to all, bringing back those that wander, visiting all the sick, and not neglecting the widow, the orphan, or the poor, but always “providing for that which is becoming in the sight of God and man;” abstaining from all wrath and unjust judgment; keeping far off from all covetousness, not quickly crediting an evil report against any one, not severe in judgment, as knowing that we are all under a debt of sin.

If then we entreat the Lord to forgive us, we ought also ourselves to forgive; for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God, and “we must all appear at the judgment-seat of Christ, and must every one give an account of himself.”

Let us then serve him in fear, and with all reverence, even as he himself has commanded us, and as the apostles who preached the gospel unto us, and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Lord have alike taught us.

Let us be zealous in the pursuit of that which is good, keeping ourselves from causes of offence, from false brethren, and from those who in hypocrisy bear the name of the Lord, and draw away vain men into error.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, we come before you as sinners who share the guilt of all those who, throughout time and today, slay their fellow human beings in the name of Christ. Forgive us and change us by your love, that your word of hope may be heard clearly throughout the world; through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen. 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 TWENTIETH OF APRIL, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, the lord whose ways are right, keep us in your mercy from lip-service and empty forms; from having a name that we live, but being dead. Help us to worship you by righteous deeds and lives of holiness; that our prayer also may be set forth in your sight as the incense, and the lifting up of our hands be as an evening sacrifice. Amen.

( Christina Rossetti )

PSALM SEVENTY-THREE ( abridged )

In the Lord God have I made my refuge.

Truly, God is loving to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
Nevertheless, my feet were almost gone;
my steps had well-nigh slipped.
For I was envious of the proud;
I saw the wicked in such prosperity;
for they suffer no pains
and their bodies are sleek and sound;
they come to no misfortune like other folk;
nor are they plagued as others are;
therefore pride is their necklace
and violence wraps them like a cloak.

Their iniquity comes from within;
the conceits of their hearts overflow.
They scoff, and speak only of evil;
they talk of oppression from on high.
They set their mouth against the heavens,
and their tongue ranges round the earth;
and so the people turn to them
and find in them no fault.
Behold, these are the wicked;
ever at ease, they increase their wealth.

Is it in vain that I cleansed my heart
and washed my hands in innocence?
All day long have I been stricken
and chastened every morning.

If I had said, "I will speak as they do,"
I should have betrayed the generation of your children.

Then thought I to understand this,
but it was too hard for me,
until I entered the sanctuary of God
and understood the end of the wicked:
how you set them in slippery places;
you cast them down to destruction.

When my heart became embittered
and I was pierced to the quick,
I was but foolish and ignorant;
I was like a brute beast in your presence.

Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me with your counsel
and afterwards receive me with glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing upon earth that I desire
in comparison with you.
Though my flesh and my heart fail me,
God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.

Truly, those who forsake you will perish;
you will put to silence the faithless who betray you.
But it is good for me to draw near to God;
in the Lord God have I made my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

In the Lord God have I made my refuge.

Holy God,
may we find wisdom in your presence
and set our hope not on uncertain riches
but on the love that holds us to the end;
in Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Columbine High School massacre

On this day in 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed thirteen people and injured twenty-four others before committing suicide at Columbine High School located in Jefferson County, Colorado. Although their motives remain unclear, the personal journals of the two document that they wished their actions to rival the Oklahoma City bombing, as well as other deadly attacks that occurred in the United States in the 1990s.

The magnitude of the dead and injured shocked the world. The massacre sparked debate over gun control laws, the availability of firearms within the United States and gun violence involving youths. Much discussion also centred on the nature of high school cliques, subcultures and bullying, in addition to the influence of violent movies and video games in American society.

It was, as if for an instant, the curtain was drawn back to expose an American culture out of control.

There was a lot of blaming going on, and plenty of people to blame. Where were the parents? Where were the school administrators? How could two teenagers amass so many bombs and have access to these kinds of weapons? It was a sobering thought indeed, to realise how much more deadly their attack might have been had they been more competent in building and detonating the bombs designed to explode in the school cafeteria during lunch hour.

One of the most enduring questions to remain, eighteen years later, is why the Columbine Massacre failed to generate meaningful gun control in the United States. People argue over how many school shootings have occurred since Columbine. Factcheck.org, using a rather strict definition limiting the number to shooting actually occurring at schools where at least one person has died, claims that since the twentieth of April, 1999 there have been one hundred and thirty “major school shootings” in the US. One Hundred Thirty. And still no meaningful legislation is on the table.

One area where there has been growing attention and awareness, has been the reality of school bullying. Both Harris and Klebold recorded that they had been the subject of school bullying for at least four years. The out-and-out persecution of schoolchildren by other schoolchildren, enhanced by the power of social media has produced some meaningful change in school policies and penalties.

Let today be a day to pray for all children, the bullied and the bullies, those who are popular and unpopular, those with good family support and poor family support.

Scripture: In the first chapter of "Lamentations," at verse fourteen, we read:

"My transgressions were bound into a yoke; by his hand they were fastened together; they weigh on my neck, sapping my strength; the Lord handed me over to those whom I cannot withstand."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who are bullied, unpopular people, the friendless and those who so not fit in with the in crowd; in particular young people at school.

... for those driven to the point of doing evil, to themselves or to others, because of evil done to them.

... for a universal desire to rid the world of guns, bombs and other weapons.

... for the people of Venezuela during this time of civil unrest in their country; in particular those who have been killed or injured in recent anti-government demonstrations. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians":

Wherefore, girding up your loins, serve the Lord in fear and truth, as those who have forsaken the vain, empty talk and error of the multitude and believed in him who raised up our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, and gave him glory and a throne at his right hand. To him all things in heaven and on earth are subject. Him every spirit serves. He comes as the judge of the living and the dead. His blood will God require of those who do not believe in him. But he who raised him up from the dead will raise up us also, if we do his will, and walk in his commandments, and love what he loved, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness, covetousness, love of money, evil speaking, false witness; not rendering evil for evil or railing for railing or blow for blow or cursing for cursing but being mindful of what the Lord said in his teaching: “Judge not, that ye be not judged; forgive, and it shall be forgiven unto you; be merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again;” and once more, “Blessed are the poor, and those that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God."

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord our God, you see your children growing up in an uncertain and confusing world. Walk with them in life, and keep the evil one from obstructing their path. Order their steps and guide their feet while they run the race of faith. Help us appreciate their ideals and sympathise with their frustrations, as together we look for a better world than either we or they have known; through Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

It's very difficult to suppress your anger when people keep going on about the thing that's making you angry. All this stuff about the mentally ill in the media at the moment is not doing my mental health any good whatsoever. Knowing that it will not make a scrap of difference to my situation does not help. In fact, it makes me so envious of those who will be helped that I cannot cope with it.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika

WEDNESDAY THE NINETEENTH OF APRIL, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Open wide the window of our spirits, O Lord, and fill us full of light;
open wide the door of our hearts, that we may receive and entertain you
with all our powers of adoration and praise. Amen.

( Christina Rossetti )

PSALM SEVENTY-TWO ( abridged )

The Lord is king; let the earth rejoice.

Give the king your judgements, O God,
and your righteousness to the son of a king.
Then shall he judge your people righteously
and your poor with justice.

In his time shall righteousness flourish,
and abundance of peace
till the moon shall be no more.

For he shall deliver the poor that cry out,
the needy and those who have no helper.
He shall have pity on the weak and poor;
he shall preserve the lives of the needy.
He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence,
and dear shall their blood be in his sight.

May his name remain for ever
and be established as long as the sun endures;
may all nations be blest in him
and call him blessed.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wonderful things.
And blessed be his glorious name for ever.
May all the earth be filled with his glory.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

The Lord is king; let the earth rejoice.

May your kingdom come, O God,
with deliverance for the needy,
with peace for the righteous,
with overflowing blessing for all nations,
with glory, honour and praise
for Christ, the only saviour. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

When Easter comes late or not at all

Though the date for Easter varies from year to year, an entire mechanism is engaged to lead the worshipper through from Ash Wednesday to Easter. But it doesn’t take much experience of the human heart to know that we do not operate so well on mechanical schedules. While outwardly we may be participating in the rites of Easter, inwardly we may not yet be ready, or other realities weigh upon us to make us wonder if there will be an Easter for us this year.

Christina Rossetti wrote a beautiful poem entitled “A Better Resurrection” which reflects the stubbornness of the heart, refusing to bend to the liturgical observance. See if you can take or find comfort in her tempestuous, persistent faith:

I have no wit, no words, no tears;
my heart within me like a stone
is numbed too much for hopes or fears.
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
I lift mine eyes, but dimmed with grief
no everlasting hills I see;
my life is in the falling leaf:
O Jesus, quicken me.

My life is like a faded leaf,
my harvest dwindled to a husk:
truly my life is void and brief
and tedious in the barren dusk;
my life is like a frozen thing,
no bud nor greenness can I see:
yet rise it shall, the sap of spring;
O Jesus, rise in me.

My life is like a broken bowl,
a broken bowl that cannot hold
one drop of water for my soul
or cordial in the searching cold;
cast in the fire the perished thing;
melt and remould it, till it be
a royal cup for him, my king:
O Jesus, drink of me.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who mourn whilst others are joyful.

... for those who desire to be close to God but who feel far from God.

... for the three men who were killed and the man who was injured when a gunman opened fire in Fresno, California. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus":

If you also desire to possess this Christian faith, you likewise shall receive first of all the knowledge of the Father.

For God has loved mankind, on whose account he made the world, to whom he rendered subject all the things that are in it, to whom he gave reason and understanding, to whom alone he imparted the privilege of looking upwards to himself, whom he formed after his own image, to whom he sent his only-begotten son, to whom he has promised a kingdom in heaven, and will give it to those who have loved him.

And when you have attained this knowledge, with what joy do you think you will be filled? Or, how will you love him who has first so loved you?

And if you love him, you will be an imitator of his kindness. And do not wonder that a man may become an imitator of God. He can, if he is willing. For it is not by ruling over his neighbours, or by seeking to hold the supremacy over those that are weaker, or by being rich, and showing violence towards those that are inferior, that happiness is found; nor can any one by these things become an imitator of God. But these things do not at all constitute his majesty.

On the contrary he who takes upon himself the burden of his neighbour; he who, in whatsoever respect he may be superior, is ready to benefit another who is deficient; he who, whatsoever things he has received from God, by distributing these to the needy, becomes a god to those who receive his benefits: he is an imitator of God.

Then you shall see, while still on earth, that God in the heavens rules over the universe; then you shall begin to speak the mysteries of God; then shall you both love and admire those that suffer punishment because they will not deny God; then shall you condemn the deceit and error of the world when you shall know what it is to live truly in heaven.

CLOSING PRAYER

O Lord God of time and eternity, who makes us creatures of time, that when time is over, we may attain your blessed eternity: with time, your gift, give us also wisdom to redeem the time, so our day of grace is not lost; for Lord Jesus' sake. Amen.

( Christina Rossetti )

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Mad Priest To Stand For Parliament

I am pleased to announce that I will be standing for the Bugger Off And Leave Us Alone party in the upcoming general election. Our manifesto is simple. Although the UK will continue to hold general elections at regular intervals, new legislation (should we win) will lead to all future elections being decided by the drawing of lots at constituency level and will not involve any effort on the part of the (former) electorate whatsoever. As for referenda, forget it! Never again.

Please support my bid to become England's very own Kim Jong-un ( I already have the physique ) by printing out and displaying this Bugger Off And Leave Us Alone Party logo prominently in your front window.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE EIGHTEENTH OF APRIL, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Come, O Lord, in much mercy, down into my soul, and take possession and dwell there. A homely mansion, I confess, for so glorious a majesty, but one that you are furnishing for the reception of you, by holy and fervent desires of your own inspiring. Enter then, and adorn, and make it such as you can inhabit, since it is the work of your hands. Give me your own self, without which, though you should give me all that ever you have made, yet could not my desires be satisfied. Let my soul ever seek you, and let me persist in seeking, till I have found, and am in full possession of you. Amen.

( Augustine of Hippo )

PSALM SEVENTY-ONE ( abridged )

O God, be not far from me.

In you, O Lord, do I seek refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free;
incline your ear to me and save me.

Be for me a stronghold to which I may ever resort;
send out to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, •
from the grasp of the evildoer and the oppressor.

For you are my hope, O Lord God,
my confidence, even from my youth.
Upon you have I leaned from my birth,
when you drew me from my mother's womb;
my praise shall be always of you.

7I have become a portent to many,
but you are my refuge and my strength.
Let my mouth be full of your praise
and your glory all the day long.

O God, you have taught me since I was young,
and to this day I tell of your wonderful works.
Forsake me not, O God,
when I am old and grey-headed,
till I make known your deeds to the next generation
and your power to all that are to come.

Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens;
in the great things you have done, who is like you, O God?
Therefore will I praise you upon the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel.
My lips will sing out as I play to you,
and so will my soul, which you have redeemed.
My tongue also will tell of your righteousness
all the day long.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
O God, be not far from me.

Faithful lord, living saviour,
in youth and old age,
from the womb to the grave,
may we know your protection
and proclaim your great salvation
to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Damien and Marianne: touching the lepers as Christ did

Last week, while we were celebrating Holy Week, Saint Laika’s remembered two special servants of Christ who undertook a ministry to lepers which offered dignity and care to them.

Joseph de Veuster was born in 1840 in Belgium, He took the religious name of Damien when he made his vows and he was sent to Hawaii to minister to the sick. As Father Damien began his ministry in Hawaii, leprosy was spreading rapidly throughout the Islands. In 1863, King Kamehameha V ordered those with leprosy to be sent to an isolated peninsula on the northern coast of the island of Molokai. There, those afflicted by the disease were left with no aid.

Damien was among the first priests to arrive, and he remained there for the rest of his life, building houses, an orphanage, a church, and a hospital. He ate with those he served, worshipped with them, and invited them into his home. He eventually contracted leprosy, later known as Hansen’s disease, and died in 1889.

Like Father Damien, Marianne Cope felt called to serve God as a religious. She became a Sister of Saint Francis in Syracuse, New York, in 1862, and in 1870 she began work as a nurse administrator at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, where she was criticised for accepting alcoholics and other undesirable patients. In 1883, she received a letter from a priest in Hawaii asking for help managing the hospitals and ministry to leprosy patients. She arrived in Honolulu in 1883 and immediately took over supervision of the Kaka’ako Branch Hospital, which served as a receiving centre for leprosy patients from all over the islands. She also opened a care centre for the healthy children of leprosy victims.

In 1884, she met Father Damien, and in 1886, she alone ministered to him when his illness made him unwelcome among church and government leaders. She continued her work with hospitals and sufferers of Hansen’s disease until her death in 1918.

The fact that Hansen’s disease is completely treatable today takes nothing away from their work or their sacrifice. When Jesus cleansed and even touched the untouchable lepers, he was setting an example. Thanks be to God for people like Damien and Marianne who followed Christ in this way.

Scripture. In the eleventh chapter of "Matthew," at verses four to six, we read:

"Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.’"

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those suffering from Hansen’s disease and other disfiguring illnesses and for those who care for them and minister to them.

... for the ill, both physical and mental, who are shunned by society.

... for the cultural heritage of the world, that they may not be destroyed by deliberate vandalism or neglect, and for those who care for the monuments of our past. DETAILS

... for the people of Zimbabwe who are celebrating their national day today; for an end to political corruption and oppressive leadership in their land.

... for the people of Turkey following the suspension of true democracy in their land.

... for an end to military posturing by and because of North Korea.

... for the five people killed when a small aircraft crashed near a supermarket in Tires, just west of the Portuguese capital Lisbon. DETAILS

... for those killed when a huge rubbish dump collapsed in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo and for those who are still missing. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus":

Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all others; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.

CLOSING PRAYER

God of compassion, we bless your name for the ministries of Damien and Marianne, who ministered to the lepers abandoned on Molokai in the Hawaiian Islands. Help us, following their examples, to be bold and loving in confronting the incurable plagues of our time, that your people may live in health and hope; through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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

Tell No One

The mad are really in the news in the U.K. at the moment. The breakfast news on the BBC were majoring on the royal princes coming out as emotional human beings just like ordinary folk. "Experts" were rolled out to tell us how important it is not to remain silent if you suffer from mental health problems. Apparently, if we talk about our dodgy mental ill health the stigma surrounding madness will disappear overnight.

Bollocks!

Important people, including, no doubt, leaders of the Christian church, will jump onboard the royal bandwagon and insist in public that they are on message and they will promise to include the mad in their organisations. But, in private, they will still believe that the mad are incapable of being functioning and valuable members of society and they will continue to exclude them.

Heck, I was sacked by a Church of England bishop because he did not believe a person who had suffered from clinical depression was capable of being an effective parish priest, even after recovering from their condition. If, an educated, morally astute member of the House of Lords is such a bigot what should we expect from the "man in the street?"

My advice is this. If you think you are suffering from mental ill health, by all means tell your GP as they are really good about keeping secrets. But do not, under any circumstance, tell your employer or your friends. If you do the chances are extremely high that you will end up without a job and without friends. Never trust what people say about the inclusion of those with mental health problems in society. They will be lying. Nobody wants to sit next to "the nutter on the bus," whatever they may claim to the contrary.

The Easter Liturgy

When Jesus Christ became flesh and was born of his mother, Mary, he shared so fully in our humanity that it became possible for human beings to share in his divinity. Those who choose to be one with Christ choose to die with him and to be raised to new life in him as he was raised to a new and glorious life on the first Easter morning. Through Jesus Christ we are one people worshipping the one God. It is this togetherness, both human and divine, and its fruits, that we celebrate in the sacrament of holy communion. Like Mary Magdalene outside the empty tomb we come face to face with our teacher who is present in the bread and wine. As with Mary, our meeting with Christ should compel us to rush out into the world to proclaim the good news of Easter, that Jesus Christ is risen indeed.

At Saint Laika's everyone is welcome to take communion and be in communion, with each other and with God. There are no exceptions. So, come, join us.

If you want to physically partake of communion you will require a small piece of bread and a small amount of drink (preferably made from grapes and containing alcohol).

CLICK HERE to access the podcast via iTunes.

To stream the service direct from this page without having to use the iTunes' facility, click on the arrow on the left of the player below.

Join in with us as we worship God by CLICKING HERE for the order of service, credits and details of the music featured. The words in bold type are the ones we say together.

Better A Prince Than A Priest

Prince Harry has revealed he sought counselling after spending nearly 20 years "not thinking" about the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, he said it was not until his late 20s that he processed the grief - after two years of "total chaos" and coming close to a "complete breakdown."

It's alright for Harry. Nobody is going to sack him, throw him out of his house and completely ruin his life in the way Bishop Martin Wharton did to me when I was suffering from depression. For people like me with no future there is no point in counselling. I mean, what the fuck is the point in getting better when there is nothing to get better for? I did that once only to be told by the Church of England that it didn't matter, they were never going to employ me again anyway.

There is a lot of campaigning going on in the UK at the moment to get better treatment and better lives for those suffering from, or who have suffered from, mental health problems. Hopefully this is good news for younger people. Unfortunately it is too late for me. I am too old to start afresh and nothing is going to persuade the bishops of the Church of England to give me my job back. Therefore, although when I watch news reports about the royals and others trying to do something for the mad I should be happy and excited, all I feel is pain and jealousy.

Lo-Fi Wi-Fi

Annoyingly, I am a victim of, if not exactly an alternative fact, then certainly a lack of fullness of truth. The campsite we are staying on this miserable Easter weekend proudly advertised the availability of wifi on its webpage. It turns out that it has wifi in the same way the stable behind the inn in Bethlehem was fully ensuite. It just about copes with a basic webpage but it is completely incapable of handling the uploading of an audio file. So, having spent days putting together the Saint Laika Easter liturgy I cannot make it available on the day it is intended for. I will upload it when I get home tomorrow afternoon but by then everyone will have done the resurrection to satiation and won't be inclined to listen to the fruits of my labours. What a waste of time and money!

Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

Saint John uses the term "the Jews" in his gospel in the same way a lot of Scottish people use the term "the English. The politically correct despise John for his blaming every Jew for the actions of a few of their leaders but applaud Scottish people when they blame every English person for the actions of a few English leaders (usually with the help of important Scottish people). I would like to say "I don't get it" but, of course, I do. Political correctness is political far more often than it is correct.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE TWELFTH OF APRIL, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Gracious God, who for our sake chose that your son should bear the yoke of the cross to drive out the enemy's power from our midst; grant that as we celebrate the suffering of Christ, so we may participate in the grace of the resurrection. We make this prayer in his name, who is alive, now and for ever. Amen.

LAMENTATION

Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow,
which was brought upon me,
which the Lord inflicted
on the day of his fierce anger.
For these things I weep;
my eyes flow with tears;
for a comforter is far from me,
one to revive my courage.
Remember my affliction and my bitterness,
the wormwood and the gall!

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that we should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
For the Lord will not reject for ever;
though he causes grief, he will have compassion,
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Judas Iscariot: hero or villain?

Wednesday in Holy Week is sometimes called “Spy Wednesday” in certain corners of the Christian church, remembering how Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles, approached the Jewish leaders with an offer to supply them an opportunity to arrest Jesus at a time when he was not surrounded by the crowds. Judas was now the spy in the midst of the Twelve.

Many people think that Judas lost faith in Jesus, when Jesus failed to seize the momentum he created by the cleansing of the temple. They believe it was then that Judas decided that Jesus was not the Messiah, not the one to lead Israel into a new flowering of freedom and independence. So for thirty pieces of silver, he looked for the opportunity to hand Jesus over.

Matthew puts it simply:

“Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I betray him to you?’

"They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.”
( Matthew 26: 14-16 )

You perhaps know how it plays out. At the Last Supper, Jesus announces that one of the Twelve will betray him.

As he dips his bread in the dish, he leans over to Judas and says, “What you do, do quickly.”

Judas leaves the Supper, only to return later to the Mount of Olives, where the temple police are ready to arrest whoever it is that Judas betrays with a kiss.

Back in 2006 the "National Geographic Magazine" published an article on “The Gospel of Judas,” a second century text , mentioned by Irenaeus of Lyon in 180AD. It had been found in the Egyptian desert. The Gospel of Judas tells that Judas was the only apostle Jesus could really trust, to set into motion the events that would lead to Jesus’ suffering and death on behalf of the world. Is Judas the hero or the villain of the story?

Betrayal is one of the worst hurts a human being can endure. Those of us who have been betrayed by a friend, or by someone who was supposed to have our back, know great emotional pain indeed. It comforts me to think that Jesus Christ knew the pain of betrayal. When I bring my pain to Jesus, he is able to sympathise. And when it is I who have betrayed him, he is able to forgive. Such is the nature of the Lord we follow.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who have been betrayed, in particular those who have been betrayed by members of the Christian faith.

... for gay men in Chechnya, who are suffering brutal persecution by the authorities. DETAILS

... for the victims of slave trading and an end to this evil practice. DETAILS

... for the male victims of honour abuse. DETAILS

... for animals living in war zones. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Dying unto Life" by Arthur C. McGill:

Every action is a losing, a letting go, a passing away from oneself of some bit of one’s own reality into the existence of others and of the world. In Jesus Christ, this character of action is not resisted, by trying to use our action to assert ourselves, extend ourselves, to impose our will and being upon situations. In Jesus Christ, this self-expending character of action is joyfully affirmed. I receive myself constantly from God’s Parenting love. But so far as some aspects of myself are at my disposal, these I receive to give away. Those who would live as Jesus did, who would act and purpose themselves as Jesus did—mean to love, i.e., they mean to expend themselves for others unto death. Their being is meant to pass away from them to others, and they make that meaning the conscious direction of their existence.

Too often the love which is proclaimed in the churches suppresses this element of loss and need and death in activity. As a Christian, I often speak of love as helping others, but I ignore what this does to the person who loves. I ignore the fact that love is self-expenditure, a real expending and losing and deterioration of the self. I speak of love as if the person loving had no problems, no needs, no limits. In other words, I speak of love as if the affluent dream were true. This kind of proclamation is heard everywhere. We hear it said: 'Since you have no unanswered needs, why don’t you go out and help those other people who are in need?' But we never hear people go on and add: 'If you do this, you too will be driven into need.' And by not stating this conclusion, people give the childish impression that Christian love is some kind of cornucopia, where we can reach to everybody’s needs and problems and still have everything we need for ourselves. Believe me, there are grown-up persons who speak this kind of nonsense. And when people try to live out this illusory love, they become terrified when the self-expending begins to take its toll. Terror of relationship is that we eat each other.

But note this very carefully: like Jesus, we too can only live to give our received selves away freely because we know our being is not thereby ended, but still and always lies in the Parenting of our God.

Those who love in the name of Jesus Christ serve the needs of others willingly, even to the point of being exposed in their own neediness. They do not cope with their own needs. They do not anguish over how their own needs may be met by the twists and turns of their circumstances, by the whims of their society, or by the strategies of their own egos. At the centre of their life, the very innermost centre, they are grateful to God, because they do not fear neediness. That is what frees them to serve the needy, to companion the needy, to become and be one of the needy.

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord our God, look with mercy upon us this day, for whom your son was willing to be betrayed and so to suffer death on the cross; who now 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

TUESDAY THE ELEVENTH OF APRIL, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

All-powerful and eternal God, grant us so to celebrate the mystery of your son's passion, that we may experience your pardon and peace. We make this prayer through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

CANTICLE

I will recount the gracious deeds of the Lord,
the praises of the Most High.

Who is this that comes from Edom,
coming from Bozrah, his garments stained crimson?
Who is this in glorious apparel,
marching in the greatness of his strength?

"It is I, who announce that right has won the day,
it is I," says the Lord, "for I am mighty to save."

Why are your robes all red, O Lord,
and your garments like theirs who tread the winepress?

"I have trodden the winepress alone,
and from the peoples no one was with me."

I will recount the gracious deeds of the Lord,
the praises of the Most High;
all that God has done for us in his mercy,
by his many acts of love.

For God said, "Surely, they are my people,
my children who will not deal falsely,"
and he became their saviour in all their distress.

So God redeemed them by his love and pity;
he lifted them up and carried them
through all the days of old.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

I will recount the gracious deeds of the Lord,
the praises of the Most High.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

The Cleansing of the Temple: even virtual temples need tidying

On this Tuesday in Holy Week a word about Christ's cleansing of the Temple.

"Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple.

"He was teaching and saying, ‘Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations”? But you have made it a den of robbers.’"
( Mark 11: 14-17 )

The gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, all tell us that following his entry into Jerusalem, Jesus went to the Temple and confronted the money-changers and those buying and selling the animals needed for sacrificing. He made a whip of cords and drove them out, overturning tables, causing havoc.

It is an unsettling image of Jesus. Those who teach about the meaning of such things will want you to understand that this is part of the divine judgment against the Temple culminating in the Temple curtain being torn in two from top to bottom on Good Friday.

But we might more profitably keep our interpretation simple. In all religious institutions, as they are run by fallible men and women, you are likely to find a share of corruption, hypocrisy, and abuse of power. At the time of the Reformation, these were the charges levelled against the Church of Rome by the so-called “Protestants.” But they themselves went on to found churches which became subject to the same spiritual erosion.

One of the reasons Saint Laika’s exists, is to provide an “internet” church to minister to those who have been hurt by a church somewhere, who have felt pushed aside, or who are nervous about belonging to such an institution. Saint Laika’s can be subject to the same kind of spiritual erosion as any other institution. One of the simplest things I can recommend to you in the spirit of Christ’s cleansing the temple, is that you honestly and sincerely pray for the ministry that is done here in Christ’s name. That you pray for Jonathan, our priest, and for the rest of us who strive to convey in our own ways the grace, mercy, and peace of Jesus to you.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for an uncorrupt Church that always places Christ before commerce and the raising of money.

... for church cleaners.

... for those injured in and those displaced by a fire that destroyed the Grande-Synthe migrant camp, near the port of Dunkirk in France. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "On the Holy Spirit" by Basil of Caesarea:

When mankind was estranged from him by disobedience, God our saviour made a plan for raising us from our fall and restoring us to friendship with himself. According to this plan Christ came in the flesh, he showed us the gospel way of life, he suffered, died on the cross, was buried and rose from the dead. He did this so that we could be saved by imitation of him, and recover our original status as sons of God by adoption.

To attain holiness, then, we must not only pattern our lives on Christ’s by being gentle, humble and patient, we must also imitate him in his death. Taking Christ for his model, Paul said that he wanted to become like him in his death in the hope that he too would be raised from death to life.

We imitate Christ’s death by being buried with him in baptism. If we ask what this kind of burial means and what benefit we may hope to derive from it, it means first of all making a complete break with our former way of life, and our Lord himself said that this cannot be done unless a man is born again. In other words, we have to begin a new life, and we cannot do so until our previous life has been brought to an end. When runners reach the turning point on a racecourse, they have to pause briefly before they can go back in the opposite direction. So also when we wish to reverse the direction of our lives there must be a pause, or a death, to mark the end of one life and the beginning of another.

Our descent into hell takes place when we imitate the burial of Christ by our baptism. The bodies of the baptised are in a sense buried in the water as a symbol of their renunciation of the sins of their unregenerate nature.

As the Apostle says, "The circumcision you have undergone is not an operation performed by human hands, but the complete stripping away of your unregenerate nature. This is the circumcision that Christ gave us, and it is accomplished by our burial with him in baptism."

Baptism cleanses the soul from the pollution of worldly thoughts and inclinations.

"You will wash me," says the psalmist, "and I shall be whiter than snow."

We receive this saving baptism only once because there was only one death and one resurrection for the salvation of the world, and baptism is its symbol.

CLOSING PRAYER

Holy and merciful God, we pray for your Church in all the ways it is manifested throughout the world today. Fill it with all truth and peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it; where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in need, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your son, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE TENTH OF APRIL, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

God, our hope, look upon us in your compassion, for we grow faith through human weakness. Make us draw new breath by the suffering and victory of your only-begotten son, who is alive, now and for ever. Amen.

CANTICLE

At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow.

Christ Jesus was in the form of God,
but he did not cling to equality with God.
He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant,
and was born in our human likeness.
Being found in human form he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him,
and bestowed on him the name above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth;
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Monday in Holy Week: Jesus weeps

"As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognised on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognise the time of your visitation from God.’"
( Luke 19: 41-44 )

Only Luke, of all the evangelists tells us of Jesus’ tears immediately after his triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. There was much to grieve him in the city where God had caused his name to dwell. Jesus saw the conniving of the leaders, the corruption of the innocent. Jesus saw that destruction would come upon this city. And indeed it came.

There is much to shed tears over in our world today. Power still corrupts. Syrian children lie dead from Sarin gas. Terror is plotted against the innocent. Refugees seek new beginnings only to be turned away in fear.

Within the Church as well as within the world, peace and power continually contend. Just as the Judaism of Jesus' day was sundered by the forces of exclusion: those who exalted their own righteousness at the expense of others, so too the church is sundered by the self-righteous seekers after power, who are less concerned about hurting others, as they are about preserving their own rank and privilege.

We would be fools to think that we can win such a battle. Better to follow Jesus to the quiet place of tears. Saint Laika’s is very much a Palm Sunday community, a community of people who find their hopes stirred by Jesus enough to sing a hosanna or two, always with a vision of what the church could be, should be, if only, if only, if only.

This is a holy week for Saint Laika’s, a week to celebrate the God of the lost and forsaken, the God of the excluded or institutionally nervous. A high-five and hosanna to you for recognising the time of your visitation from God.

A cheer and an internet hug to all of you who can say, "Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!"

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who weep.

... for the forty-four more people who were killed and those who were injured when two Coptic churches in Egypt were attacked by Islamists; for all Christians living in fear of Islamist violence; for persecuted Christians in Islamic lands.

... for those killed or injured in protests during a by-election in Indian-administered Kashmir; for a peaceful resolution of the dispute over sovereignty in the region. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured in Stockholm at the weekend when a hijacked lorry was driven into a store.

... for those killed or injured when a block of flats collapsed in the Polish town of Swiebodzice. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From a sermon by Augustine of Hippo:

The passion of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ is the hope of glory and a lesson in patience.

What may not the hearts of believers promise themselves as the gift of God’s grace, when for their sake God’s only son, co-eternal with the Father, was not content only to be born as man from human stock but even died at the hands of the men he had created?

It is a great thing that we are promised by the Lord, but far greater is what has already been done for us, and which we now commemorate. Where were the sinners, what were they, when Christ died for them? When Christ has already given us the gift of his death, who is to doubt that he will give the saints the gift of his own life? Why does our human frailty hesitate to believe that mankind will one day live with God?

Who is Christ if not the Word of God:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God?"

This Word of God "was made flesh and dwelt among us." He had no power of himself to die for us: he had to take from us our mortal flesh. This was the way in which, though immortal, he was able to die; the way in which he chose to give life to mortal men: he would first share with us, and then enable us to share with him. Of ourselves we had no power to live, nor did he of himself have the power to die.

In other words, he performed the most wonderful exchange with us. Through us, he died; through him, we shall live.

The death of the Lord our God should not be a cause of shame for us; rather, it should be our greatest hope, our greatest glory. In taking upon himself the death that he found in us, he has most faithfully promised to give us life in him, such as we cannot have of ourselves.

He loved us so much that, sinless himself, he suffered for us sinners the punishment we deserved for our sins. How then can he fail to give us the reward we deserve for our righteousness, for he is the source of righteousness? How can he, whose promises are true, fail to reward the saints when he bore the punishment of sinners, though without sin himself?

Let us then fearlessly acknowledge, and even openly proclaim, that Christ was crucified for us; let us confess it, not in fear but in joy, not in shame but in glory.

The apostle Paul saw Christ, and extolled his claim to glory. He had many great and inspired things to say about Christ, but he did not say that he boasted in Christ’s wonderful works: in creating the world, since he was God with the Father, or in ruling the world, though he was also a man like us.

Rather, he said, "Let me not boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."

CLOSING PRAYER

Sovereign God, you have established your rule in the human heart through the servanthood of Jesus Christ. By your Spirit, keep us in the joyful procession of those who with their lips confess Jesus as lord, and with their lives praise him as saviour, 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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE SEVENTH OF APRIL, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

We most earnestly beseech you, O you who love mankind, to bless all your people, the flocks of your fold. Send down into our hearts the peace of heaven, and grant us also the peace of this life. Give life to the souls of all of us, and let no deadly sin prevail against us, or any of your people. Deliver all who are in trouble, for you are our God, who sets the captives free; who gives hope to the hopeless, and help to the helpless; who lifts up the fallen; and who is the haven of the shipwrecked. Give your pity, pardon, and refreshment to every Christian soul, whether in affliction or error. Preserve us, in our pilgrimage through this life from hurt, and danger, and grant that we may end our lives as Christians, well-pleasing to you and free from sin, and that we may have our portion and lot with all your saints. Amen.

( The Liturgy of Saint Mark )

PSALM SEVENTY

Come to me quickly, O God.

O God, make speed to save me;
O Lord, make haste to help me.

Let those who seek my life
be put to shame and confusion;
let them be turned back and disgraced
who wish me evil.
Let those who mock and deride me
turn back because of their shame.

But let all who seek you rejoice
and be glad in you;
let those who love your salvation
say always, 'Great is the Lord.'

As for me, I am poor and needy;
come to me quickly, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O Lord, do not delay.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Come to me quickly, O God.

O God, our helper and defender,
deliver us in our weakness,
answer our longings
and vindicate our faith,
that we may see your glory
in Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Tikhon of Russia: threading the needle of church and state

When the Bolshevik October Revolution occurred in 1917, Tikhon had just been made Metropolitan Archbishop of Moscow. By November 1917 he would be made Patriarch of All Russia. The October Revolution plunged Russia into civil war which culminated in the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922.

During the Russian Civil War Patriarch Tikhon was widely seen as anti-Bolshevik and many members of Orthodox clergy were jailed or executed by the new regime. Tikhon openly condemned the killings of the Tsar's family in 1918, and protested against violent attacks by the Bolsheviks on the Church. In April 1922, he was imprisoned as a saboteur against the communist state. He vigorously protested against the nationalisation of Church property.

Under intense pressure the Soviets got him to send a letter to the Orthodox faithful declaring that he was “no longer an enemy to the Soviet Power.” The Soviets were facing a lot of pressure for imprisoning Tikhon, at the same time Tikhon had to discern how best to lead the Church through these difficult and dangerous days. His letter allowed the situation to resolve peacefully. He was released from his imprisonment in June of 1923, and yet continued to have integrity and the support of his church.

Tikhon was not prepared for the role he ultimately had to play. He began as a layman to teach moral and dogmatic theology. After ordination, he served in Poland, and then as bishop was sent to Alaska where he served for nearly ten years. Before becoming bishop of Moscow, he served as bishop in Lithuania.

In 1924 the Patriarch fell ill and was hospitalised. On the fifth of April, 1925, he served his last divine liturgy, and died two days later. He was considered a martyr for the faith. In 1989, Tikhon was formally “glorified” as a saint in the Church.

Scripture. In "The Second Letter of Peter," chapter one, verses three and four we read:

His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the members of the Russian Orthodox Church.

... for those who died in the Rwandan genocide and for those who still live with the pain and anguish; for continued peace in Rwanda. DETAILS

... for the World Health Organisation. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured in the American cruise missile attack on a Syrian airbase and for this recent increase in aggression and tension in the Middle East not to get out of hand.

... for Andreea Cristea, the latest victim to die, and all killed, injured or traumatised during the Westminster terror attack. DETAILS

... for peace in Spain following Eta, the Basque separatists' announcement that they are to unilaterally disarm; for an informed and compassionate consideration of their demands. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Journey to Heaven" by Tikhon of Zadonsk:

Now Christians love to live in rich homes, sit at a rich table, dress in rich clothing, ride in rich carriages and horses, though they see the want and poverty of their neighbours. Hence it is evident that they only love themselves, and not God or their neighbours. From this comes every unhappiness, misfortune, and misery among people. Self-love is the cause of all this.

For this reason, God, who loves man, provided for our happiness and gave us the commandment, "Thou shalt love they neighbour as thyself."

That was at a time when Christians "were of one heart and one soul" (Acts 4:32).

Now we see the opposite. Now among Christians it is heart against heart and soul against soul, now all have their lips full of love, or rather flattery, but very rarely is love in anyone's heart.

For already "because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Mt 24:12).

CLOSING PRAYER

Holy and Mighty God, open our eyes, as you opened the eyes of your servant Tikhon, that we may see the faithfulness of others as we strive to be steadfast in the faith delivered to us, that the world may see you and know you; through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

You do not accidentally bomb people with nerve gas so, I think, the one thing we can be certain of is that whoever did it, Assad's forces, the Russians, Iran or the rebels themselves, it was done to provoke an unmeasured, violent response from President Trump. Whatever the plan and whoever came up with it, it has been a great success. No doubt we will discover the point of it all in due course.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE SIXTH OF APRIL, 2017
* Emily Ayckbowm *

OPENING PRAYER

O God, who through the grace of your Holy Spirit, pours the gift of love into the hearts of your faithful people, grant us health, both of mind and body, that we may love you with our whole strength, and with entire satisfaction may perform those things which are pleasing to you, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

( Sarum Breviary )

PSALM SIXTY-NINE ( abridged )

Hide not your face from your servant, O Lord.

Save me, O God,
for the waters have come up, even to my neck.
I sink in deep mire where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters and the flood sweeps over me.
I have grown weary with crying; my throat is raw;
my eyes have failed from looking so long for my God.

For your sake have I suffered reproach;
shame has covered my face.
I have become a stranger to my kindred,
an alien to my mother's children.

Zeal for your house has eaten me up;
the scorn of those who scorn you has fallen upon me.
Those who sit at the gate murmur against me,
and the drunkards make songs about me.
But as for me, I make my prayer to you, O Lord;
at an acceptable time, O God.

Answer me, O God, in the abundance of your mercy
and with your sure salvation.
Draw me out of the mire, that I sink not;
let me be rescued from those who hate me
and out of the deep waters.
Let not the water flood drown me,
neither the deep swallow me up;
let not the Pit shut its mouth upon me.

Answer me, Lord, for your loving-kindness is good;
turn to me in the multitude of your mercies.
Hide not your face from your servant;
be swift to answer me, for I am in trouble.
Draw near to my soul and redeem me;
deliver me because of my enemies.

As for me, I am poor and in misery;
your saving help, O God, will lift me up.

I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will proclaim his greatness with thanksgiving.
This will please the Lord more than an offering of oxen,
more than bulls with horns and hooves.
The humble shall see and be glad;
you who seek God, your heart shall live.
For the Lord listens to the needy,
and his own who are imprisoned he does not despise.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Hide not your face from your servant, O Lord.

Thirsting on the cross,
your son shared the reproach of the oppressed
and carried the sins of all;
in him, O God, may the despairing find you,
the afflicted gain life
and the whole creation know its true king,
Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Emily Ayckbowm: finding Jesus at the margins of Victorian life

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Mother Emily Ayckbowm , servant of Christ and founder of the Community of the Sisters of the Church (CSC). She was a pioneer who challenged Victorian society for the sake of all who were seen as marginal. She offered dignity as well as practical help, and was a controversial figure in her day for doing so.

In 1864 Emily founded the Church Extension Association, commonly known as the CEA. The association helped the poor, in particular, by feeding and providing a basic education to children. It supported the establishment of places of free and open worship (in opposition to pew-ownership), and it gave assistance to churches overseas.

As a fuller expression of her sense of call and mission, Mother Emily founded the CSC in 1870.

She said: “The Sisters shall consider the call to instruct the ignorant, feed the hungry and tend the poor and suffering, as a precious opportunity of showing forth their love to Jesus Christ by serving Him in His members.”

Christ’s Kingdom on Earth was also to be extended to the homeless, the poor, to children abused and neglected, to men working on the docks and building London’s underground. Orphanages were established. Convalescent homes for sick children from poor backgrounds were built.

Mother Emily felt a special call to minister to children who were often raised in appalling conditions in workhouses. She undertook to provide for children an atmosphere of kindness, order, fun and respect. She believed that a child properly nurtured stood a real chance of embarking upon a happy and creative life. In the face of virulent opposition, she cared for foundlings and illegitimate children.

Mother Emily died on this day in 1900. Today her sisters can be found not only in Britain, but in Canada, Australia, and the Solomon Islands.

Scripture. In the fourth chapter of the "First Letter of John," at verses seven and eight we read:

"Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the Community of the Sisters of the Church and for the success of their ministry to those in need.

... for those who live on the margins of society, for the despised, the shunned and the avoided.

... for orphans and homeless children; for the street children of the world.

,,, for the residents of the town of Edgecumbe on New Zealand's North Island who have all been evacuated, after severe flooding and for all who have had to leave their homes because of Cyclone Debbie. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "What Is Man?" a sermon by Martin Luther King, Junior:

Man is more than flesh and blood. Man is a spiritual being born to have communion wth the eternal God of the universe. God creates every individual for a purpose - to have fellowship wth him. This is the ultimate meaning of the image of God. It is not that man as he is in himself bears God’s likeness, but rather that man is designated for and called to a particular relation wth God. This concept of the image of God assures us that we, unlike our animal ancestry and the many inanimate objects of the universe, are privileged to have fellowship wth the divine.

Man is made for that which is high and noble.

When I see how we fight vicious wars and destroy human life on bloody battlefields, I find myself saying, “Man is not made for that.”

When I see how we live our lives in selfishness and hate, again I say, “Man is not made for that.”

When I see how we often throw away the precious lives that God has given us in riotous living, again I find myself saying, “Man is not made for that."

My friends, man is made for the stars, created for eternity, born for the everlasting. Man is a child of the almighty God, born for his everlasting fellowship.

“What is man that thou art mindful of him and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast crowned him wth glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thou hands, thou hast put all things under his feet. All sheep and oxen, yea and the beasts of the field. The fowl of the air, and the fish of sea. and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea."

This is man’s kingly prerogative. Who this afternoon will rise out of the dark and dreary valleys of sin and evil, realising that man’s proper home is in the high mountain of truth, beauty and goodness, yea even where God the eternal dwells forever.

CLOSING PRAYER

O God, by whose grace Emily Ayckbowm became a light in your Church: may we like her devote ourselves to the fulfilment of your will in a life of adoration and service; through Jesus Christ your son, 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.

Be An Angel – Support My Online Ministry

Dear friends,

Although it remains my predominant hope that I will one day get to pursue, once again, the parish ministry to which I truly believe I was called as well as continuing to have an online presence, it is very unlikely that this will happen. Therefore, as I refuse to give up my full-time priesthood, my vocation for the foreseeable future is to be an internet priest based at Saint Laika's, the online Christian community I set up some years ago to provide adult Christian worship and more for absolutely anyone who wants it (there are no exceptions).

However, without a stipend from my denomination, the Church of England, it would be impossible for me to pursue this project without the help of my very good friends who send me some of their hard earned cash every month as, not only do I have to pay the costs of keeping a website with audible content going, I also have to find money to live on. The generosity of the Saint Laika angels, as I call them (for they are my guardian angels indeed) means that I have at my disposal just over seven hundred and fifty dollars a month (six hundred pounds) which is brilliant but, unfortunately, not quite enough. I really could do with doubling this so that I do not have to worry every time a bill arrives on the doormat or my computer breaks down (I have been without a desktop computer for over six months now which makes my online ministry very cumbersome and difficult).

So, here's the thing, I need your help. To put it bluntly, if you appreciate the purpose of my ministry and you are not already one of the wonderful people who regularly donate and you can afford to, please would you commit to sending me some of your money every month. Although I greatly appreciate the one off donations that sometimes come my way, it is the regular monthly payments that keep me sane as they give me a sense of security and I am not a person who copes well with insecurity.

At the end of this post there are two PayPal widgets. One is for donations in US dollars and the other is for donations in British pounds. It does not matter which country in the world you live in, you can choose either one as PayPal converts all monies received into pounds before sending them to me. You also do not need your own PayPal account in order to donate. Just click on the up and down arrows on the right of the widget, choose how much you want to donate each month and then follow the instructions. You can cancel or alter your donation whenever you want to without notice.

Please do help me if you can. I would really love to make a go of this unexpected and unusual ministry I have stumbled into, not only for the people that I serve but also for myself. Some people have the ability to go with the flow wherever life takes them. I do not. I need direction and stability and to achieve this, I need the help of my friends.

Please help me.


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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE FIFTH OF APRIL, 2017
* Pandita Ramabai *

OPENING PRAYER

Infinite and holy one, whom we know as our Father and the father of our lord Jesus Christ, we devoutly thank you for the mercy that created us from the dust, and for the greater mercy that has created us anew by a heavenly adoption as your children. For the undying yearnings, which you have implanted in us, after things unseen. For their satisfaction in yourself, we thank you; and we rejoice that you have been willing to encourage our frail and mortal spirits, by revealing to us something of the perfections of your nature, and calling us to follow after you. Grant, we pray, that your loving-kindness may be followed by our obedience. So confirm our best purposes by renewing our sense of your presence, that we may both imitate your nature, and accept your dealings with us in the spirit of childlike trust, and by the help of your dear son, Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

( Henry Wilder Foote )

PSALM SIXTY-EIGHT ( abridged )

Sing to God, sing praises to his name.

Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered;
let those that hate him flee before him.
But let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God;
let them make merry with gladness.

Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
exalt him who rides on the clouds.
The Lord is his name; rejoice before him.

Father of the fatherless, defender of widows,
God in his holy habitation!
God gives the solitary a home
and brings forth prisoners to songs of welcome,
but the rebellious inhabit a burning desert.

Blessed be the Lord who bears our burdens day by day,
for God is our salvation.
God is for us the God of our salvation; •
God is the Lord who can deliver from death.

Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth;
make music in praise of the Lord;
he rides on the ancient heaven of heavens
and sends forth his voice, a mighty voice.
Ascribe power to God, whose splendour is over Israel,
whose power is above the clouds.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Sing to God, sing praises to his name.

Blessed are you, gracious God;
you make your home among the weak,
you deliver us from death,
you bring us joy beyond our imagining
to the praise of Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Pandita Ramabai struggles on behalf of Indian women

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Pandita Ramabai, an Indian, Brahmin caste woman, who became a Christian and devoted her life to the cause of women’s rights and women’s liberation in India.

The struggle for life itself was difficult in India in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Even though she was born in the Brahmin caste, a severe famine struck India in 1874 through 1876, while she was a teenager. Her father, mother, and sister, all died of starvation. Her only surviving brother also died in 1880.

Pandita had been taught to read and to write by her father prior to his death, and she received a scholarship to study in England. It was there that she studied and was converted to Christianity. She had already been a champion of women’s rights, and once returned to India, she felt that Christian faith provided a platform for social change. Being raised in the Brahman caste made her uniquely able to bring both men and women to Christianity due to the caste’s image as social leaders.

She wrote a book entitled “The High Caste Hindu Woman,” which exposed the cruel treatment of women within their families, by the government, and particularly the shameful matter of child brides. She advocated for more freedom for women, and more protection for widows. She founded the Arya Mahila Sabha, the first Indian feminist association. She established the Mukti Mission in 1889 as a refuge for young widows who were abused by their families. In Marathi, her native tongue, the word "mukti" means "liberation." The Mukti Mission is still active today providing housing, education, vocational training, and medical services, for many needy groups including widows, orphans, and the blind.

Pandita Ramabai died on this day in 1922.

Scripture. In "The First Letter of John," chapter three: verses sixteen and seventeen, we read:

"We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?"

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for equality, justice and freedom from abuse for women in all things, both in their homes and in public.

... for an end to all systems and conventions throughout the world that restrict the lives of people simply because of their social or family background.

... for those who will suffer because of the United States withdrawal of support from the United Nations Population Fund. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Sexism and God Talk" a sermon by Rosemary Ruether:

The critical principal of feminist theology is the promotion of the full humanity of women. Whatever denies, diminishes, or distorts the full humanity of women is, therefore, appraised as not redemptive. It must be presumed not to reflect the the divine or an authentic relationship to the divine, or to reflect the authentic nature of things or to be the message or work of an authentic redeemer or a community of redemption. What does promote the full humanity of women is of the Holy, it does reflect true relation to the divine, it is the true nature of things, the authentic message of redemption and the mission of redemptive humanity.

CLOSING PRAYER

Everliving God, we thank you for the courageous and independent spirit of your servant Pandita Ramabai, the mother of modern India; and we pray that we, like her, may embrace your gift of new life, caring for the poor, braving resentment to uphold the dignity of women, and offering the riches of our culture to our saviour Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

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 FOURTH OF APRIL, 2017
* Martin Luther King, Junior *

OPENING PRAYER

Eternal God, out of whose absolute power and infinite intelligence the whole universe has come into being, we humbly confess that we have not loved you with our hearts, souls and minds, and we have not loved our neighbours as Christ loved us. We have all too often lived by our own selfish impulses rather than by the life of sacrificial love as revealed by Christ. We often give in order to receive. We love our friends and hate our enemies. We go the first mile but dare not travel the second. We forgive but dare not forget. And so as we look within ourselves, we are confronted with the appalling fact that the history of our lives is the history of an eternal revolt against you. But you, O God, have mercy upon us. Forgive us for what we could have been but failed to be. Give us the intelligence to know your will. Give us the courage to do your will. Give us the devotion to love your will. In the name and spirit of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

( Martin Luther King, Junior )

CANTICLE

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe
we shall overcome, some day.

We shall overcome, we shall overcome,
we shall overcome, some day.

We'll walk hand in hand, we'll walk hand in hand,
we'll walk hand in hand, some day.

We shall live in peace, we shall live in peace,
we shall live in peace, some day.

We are not afraid, we are not afraid,
we are not afraid, today

The whole wide world around, the whole wide world around
The whole wide world around some day

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe
we shall overcome, some day.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Martin Luther King, Junior: “free at last”

The Biblical story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, their liberation by God from slavery to freedom, has provided inspiration to many people who struggle to gain acceptance and equality from the world.

No less did it inspire Doctor Matin Luther King, Junior the son and grandson of Baptist preachers who combined his passion with a thorough academic preparation for the ministry.

In 1954, King became pastor of a church in Montgomery, Alabama. There, the inhumane treatment of blacks by whites had been simmering for some time and finally erupted in December 1955 when Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man.

King was catapulted into national prominence as the leader of the Montgomery bus boycott. He became increasingly the articulate prophet, who could not only rally the black masses, but could also move the consciences of whites.

King founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to spearhead non-violent mass demonstrations against racism. As year followed upon year, there were many confrontations, most notably in Birmingham and Selma, Alabama, and in Chicago. King’s campaigns were instrumental to the passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, 1965 and 1968. King then turned his attention to economic empowerment of the poor and opposition to the Vietnam War, contending that racism, poverty and militarism were interrelated.

Doctor King’s leadership touched deep nerves of hatred and his life was constantly in danger. Death threats were common. But his deep faith sustained him through it all. He had a “mountain-top” experience of the Lord’s power and grace, and spoke of receiving a promise from God that he would never be left alone.

Doctor King went to Memphis in early April, 1968, in support of sanitation workers in their struggle for better wages. There, he proclaimed that he had been “to the mountain-top” and had seen “the Promised Land,” and that he knew that one day he and his people would be “free at last.” On the following day, the fourth of April, he was cut down by an assassin’s bullet.

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

Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for an end to race hatred.

... for those who are prepared to risk their lives to end injustice.

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

... for the fifty-eight people or more who were killed and those who were injured in a chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun, a rebel held town in north-western Syria. DETAILS

... for the fourteen people killed and the forty-nine people injured when a Saint Petersburg train was bombed yesterday afternoon. DETAILS

... for the mother and her two children who drowned after their car plunged into floodwaters in New South Wales, today, following torrential rain in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie and for all victims of the recent storms that have hit Australia. DETAILS

... for the success of attempts to rid the world of landmines. DETAILS

... for victims of slavery and human trafficking.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "The False God of Money," a sermon by Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior:

We have been attempting to stress throughout this series that a man's God is not his theory about God, picked up on the surface of his mind because he happens to live in the twentieth century, but a man's real God is that to which he gives his ultimate devotion, that unifying loyalty which draws his life together and gives it centrality and singleness of aim.

As soon as the matter is so stated, it becomes clear that millions today have made a god of money. Daily within our lives, altars smoke with sacrifices to this idol god. We attribute to the almighty dollar an omnipotence equal to that of the eternal God of the universe. We are always on the verge of rewriting the scriptures to read, "Seek ye first money and its power and all these other things will be added unto you" or "money is my light and my salvation, what shall I fear?”

The temptation to worship this money god is one that faces us all. To resist it we need to take high ground. This god of money is forever standing before us saying, "Worship me, I'll be your god. I'll teach you how to get rich quick; I'll teach you the shrewd methods or exploitation; I'll show you how to get a Cadillac car or a Buick convertible with little effort. Just worship Me."

Oh how many have responded to the call of this god of money. Millions today are dutifully worshipping at the shrine of the god of money.

So long as we worship this false god of money, we will not be true worshippers of the one eternal God. Would today there were another Elijah to summons the peoples or the earth to meet him on the crest of some Mount Carmel, confronting them there with the choice between their baals and the true God. For still that ancient word might well ring across this modern world: “How long go ye limping between two sides? If the Lord. be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him."

So today man does stand between the god of money and the eternal God of the universe. Choose which ye will serve. Will you serve the transitory god of money which is here today and gone tomorrow or will you serve the eternal God or the universe who is the same yesterday, today and forever? Will you serve the god who is with us only in moments or prosperity or will you serve the God who walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death and causes us to fear no evil? Will you serve the god whose power is limited to stacking up stocks and bonds or will you serve the God whose creative power stacked up the gigantic mountains as if to kiss the skies and set forth the stars to bedeck the heavens like swinging lanterns of eternity? Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve, the god of money or the eternal God or the universe.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant you led your people out of slavery, and made them free at last: grant that your church, following the example of your prophet Martin Luther King Junior, may resist oppression in the name of your love, and may secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the gospel of 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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE THIRD OF APRIL, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

O most dear and tender Father, our defender and nourisher; endue us with your grace, that we may cast off the great blindness of our minds, and carefulness of worldly things, and may put our whole study and care in keeping of your holy law; and that we may labour and travail for our necessities in this life, like the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, without care. For you have promised to be careful for us; and have commanded that upon you we should cast our care, who lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.

( from Henry VIII's primer )

PSALM SIXTY-SEVEN

God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
O let the nations rejoice and be glad,
for you will judge the peoples righteously
and govern the nations upon earth.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
Then shall the earth bring forth her increase,
and God, our own God, will bless us.

God will bless us,
and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

In the face of Jesus Christ
your light and glory have blazed forth,
O God of all the nations;
with all your people,
may we make known your grace
and walk in the ways of peace;
for your name's sake. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

John Paul II goes to the house of the Father

It was on the second of April, 2005 that Pope John Paul II died, after a long, slow decline due to Parkinson’s disease. It was just a week after Easter that year.

It was reported by those at his bedside that John Paul’s final words were “Let me go to the house of the Father.”

The year 1978 was known as the year of three popes. Paul VI, the architect of the post Vatican II Church died in August. That same month the College of Cardinals elected the Patriarch of Venice, who took the name John Paul I. Only sixty-five when elected, he suddenly died of a heart attack thirty-three days later. When the Cardinals met again in late September, they wanted someone who would be strong and youthful, and to the shock of the world, and overturning centuries of tradition, they turned to the Archbishop of Crakow, Poland, Karol Wojtyla, who took the name John Paul II. He strode into the papacy as a healthy, youthful (fifty-seven years old) man. His papacy lasted twenty-six years, the second longest papacy in history. He oversaw the demise of the Soviet Union, and raised the global profile of the Catholic Church by his many trips around the world, his personal charisma, and his strongly held faith.

All of that is a matter of public record. The figure of Pope John Paul in his final months tells a much different tale, as he suffered greatly from his Parkinson’s and he became increasingly frail. A couple of hospitalisations followed, then he returned to his apartment at the Vatican. Thousands gathered under his window that last Easter Sunday, and the Pope made an appearance. Everyone could see him struggling to pronounce the words of the blessing, but he was unable to do it, and silently blessed the crowd.

Pilgrims from all over the world gathered to pray and watch during that final week. He became a model of suffering for all to see.

Earlier in his ministry, he had written this about suffering: “In the light of Christ’s death and resurrection, illness no longer appears as an exclusively negative event. Rather, it is seen as an opportunity to release love, to transform the whole of human civilisation into a civilisation of love.”

Scripture. In the ninth chapter of "Acts," at verses fifteen and sixteen we read:

"Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for Pope Francis and the people of the Roman Catholic Church.

... for the people of Guinea who are celebrating their national day today.

... for the Kurdish-Iranian, teenage asylum seeker who was brutally attacked by a large gang in Croydon, England, on Friday; for his two friends who were also injured and for all victims of hate crimes. DETAILS

... for those who are missing following the break up of the South Korean freight ship, Stellar Daisy, in the South Atlantic on Friday. DETAILS

... for journalists in Mexico who risk their lives reporting political corruption and organised crime; for those who have already been murdered. DETAILS

... for the twenty people murdered and those who were wounded at a Sufi shrine near the city of Sargodha, in Pakistan's Punjab province. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From an Ash Wednesday sermon by Pope Paul II:

"Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me. Against you, against you only, have I sinned and done that which is evil in your sight."

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me."

In a certain sense, these words contain the very heart of Lent and, at the same time, express its essential programme. The words are taken from the fifty-first psalm, "The Miserere," in which the sinner opens his heart to God, confesses his guilt and implores forgiveness for his sins.

With the words of the Miserere psalm, the sinner not only accuses himself of his own sins, but at the same time begins a new creative journey, the way of conversion.

Authentic conversion implies doing all those works which belong to the Lenten season: almsgiving, prayer and fasting. However, these must not be performed only as an external fulfilment, but as the expression of an intimate encounter, to a certain extent unknown to men, with God himself. Conversion involves a new discovery of God. In conversion one experiences that in him resides the fullness of good, revealed in Christ's paschal mystery, and one draws from it abundantly in the inner abode of the heart.

God is waiting for this! God wants to create a pure heart in us and to renew within us a steadfast spirit. We want to open our souls to God's grace and to live intensely the journey of conversion towards Easter.

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord Jesus Christ, you came into our world as one of us, and suffered as we do. In the midst of suffering, anxiety, and pain, enfold us all in your loving grace, and teach us to know that you are very near us at all times and in all things; who live and reign with the Father 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

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Holy Communion For Passion Sunday

As Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead so too will God raise us, who are also friends of Jesus, from death to new life. In the sacrament of holy communion we are given the opportunity to experience, for now only briefly, the eternal life that will one day be ours in the Kingdom of God.

At Saint Laika's everyone is welcome to take communion and be in communion, with each other and with God. There are no exceptions. So, come, join us.

If you want to physically partake of communion you will require a small piece of bread and a small amount of drink (preferably made from grapes and containing alcohol).

CLICK HERE to access the podcast via iTunes.

To stream the service direct from this page without having to use the iTunes' facility, click on the arrow on the left of the player below.

Join in with us as we worship God by CLICKING HERE for the order of service, credits and details of the music featured. The words in bold type are the ones we say together.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE THIRTY-FIRST OF MARCH, 2017
* John Donne and Thomas Traherne *

OPENING PRAYER

We beseech you, O Lord, make us subject to you with a ready will, and evermore stir up our wills to make supplication to you. Amen.

A HYMN TO GOD THE FATHER
by John Donne

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
and do run still, though still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
for I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
a year or two, but wallow'd in, a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
for I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
my last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
but swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
and, having done that, thou hast done;
I fear no more.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

John Donne and Thomas Traherne: poets and servants of Christ

The Church’s influence on the arts of the cultures in which it lives has always been significant, and so today, Saint Laika’s remembers John Donne and Thomas Traherne, two priests and poets who used their mastery of the English language to bring the riches of Christ to people.

John Donne is by far the more famous of the two. He brought many images into the heart of English culture, for example: “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls: It tolls for thee.”

In his own time, John Donne was the best-known preacher in the Church of England. He came to that eminence by a tortuous path. Born into a wealthy and pious Roman Catholic family in 1573, he was educated at both Oxford and Cambridge, and studied law at Lincoln’s Inn. Some time later he became an Anglican and embarked upon a promising political career of service to the state. The revelation of his secret marriage in 1601 to the niece of his employer, brought his public career to an end. In 1615, he was persuaded by King James I and others to receive ordination.

Donne became Dean of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London, in 1622, a post he held until his death. He drew great throngs to the cathedral and to Paul’s Cross, a nearby open-air pulpit. His sermons reflect the wide range of learning. He brought the passionate intensity of his poetic genius. His words were always grounded by his profound devotion to Christ. He earned a reputation as an eloquent preacher and one hundred and sixty of his sermons have survived. He died on this day in 1631.

Thomas Traherne was born a few years later in 1636. He was caught up in the religious controversies which led to Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, which delayed his ordination until 1660. He died of smallpox in 1673. Most of his literary work remained unknown in his lifetime. His works were rediscovered in the early days of the twentieth century, where they have remained popular ever since. Traherne's writings frequently explore the glory of creation and what he perceived as his intimate relationship with God. His writing conveys an ardent, almost childlike love of God. His love for the natural world is frequently expressed in his works by a treatment of nature that evokes romanticism.

Scripture. In "Psalm Twenty-Seven," eleven to twelve we read…

"You speak in my heart and say, 'Seek my face.'

"Your face, Lord, will I seek. Hide not your face from me, nor turn away your servant in displeasure."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for poets and devotional writers.

... for preachers.

... for the people of Malta, the United States Virgin Isles and Florida who celebrate national days today.

... for the people of South Africa experiencing a period of political uncertainty. DETAILS

... for the Palestinian people as Israel approves construction of another settlement in the West Bank. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Centuries of Meditations" by Thomas Traherne:

I will not by the noise of bloody wars and the dethroning of kings advance you to glory: but by the gentle ways of peace and love. As a deep friendship meditates and intends the deepest designs for the advancement of its objects, so does it show itself in choosing the sweetest and most delightful methods, whereby not to weary but please the person it desires to advance. Where love administers physic, its tenderness is expressed in balms and cordials. It hates corrosives and is rich in its administrations. Even so, God designing to show his love in exalting you has chosen the ways of ease and repose by which you should ascend. And I after his similitude will lead you into paths plain and familiar, where all envy, rapine, bloodshed, complaint and malice shall be far removed; and nothing appear but contentment and thanksgiving. Yet shall the end be so glorious that angels will not dare hope for so great a one till they have seen it.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, the root and fountain of all being: open our eyes to see, with your servants John Donne and Thomas Traherne, that whatever has any being is a mirror in which we may behold you; 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.

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C. Of E. Unaffected By Repeal Of Human Rights Laws

Once we are no longer subject to European law the British Government will be able to repeal the maximum working hours legislation (currently forty-eight hours per week) so that all secular companies can drastically increase the working week of their employees and bring them in line with Church of England clergy (currently, at least, sixty hours per week).

The Church - defender of human rights since the Spanish Inquisition.

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE THIRTIETH OF MARCH, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

O God, author of peace and lover of concord, grant to us to be so firmly established in our love of you, that no trials whatsoever may be able to part us from you. Amen.

PSALM SIXTY-SIX ( abridged )

All the earth shall worship you, O Lord.

Be joyful in God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name;
sing the glory of his praise.

Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds!
Because of your great strength
your enemies shall bow before you.
All the earth shall worship you,
sing to you, sing praise to your name."

Come now and behold the works of God,
how wonderful he is in his dealings with humankind.
He turned the sea into dry land;
the river they passed through on foot;
there we rejoiced in him.
In his might he rules for ever;
his eyes keep watch over the nations;
let no rebel rise up against him.

Bless our God, O you peoples;
make the voice of his praise to be heard,
who holds our souls in life
and suffers not our feet to slip.

Come and listen, all you who fear God,
and I will tell you what he has done for my soul.

I called out to him with my mouth
and his praise was on my tongue.
If I had nursed evil in my heart,
the Lord would not have heard me,
but in truth God has heard me;
he has heeded the voice of my prayer.

Blessed be God, who has not rejected my prayer,
nor withheld his loving mercy from me.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

All the earth shall worship you, O Lord.

How generous is your goodness, O God,
how great is your salvation,
how faithful is your love;
help us to trust you in trial
and praise you in deliverance;
through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Innocent of Alaska: priest and missionary

Innocent of Alaska, spent a large part of his life bringing the good news of Christ to the native tribes of Alaska, providing them with a written language, and instructing them in the Bible which he translated into their native tongue. He went on to become the Archbishop of Moscow.

Throughout the nineteenth century, the Russian Orthodox Church took very seriously its mission to bring the good news to the native peoples of Alaska. As a missionary priest, Father Ioann, as he was then known, took his wife and family with him. In these territories he learned several languages and dialects of the indigenous peoples. He wrote many of the earliest scholarly works about the native peoples of Alaska, including dictionaries and grammars for their languages for which he devised writing systems; also, he wrote religious works in, and translated parts of the Bible into, several of these languages. His books were published beginning in 1840.

In 1838, Father Ioann journeyed to Saint Petersburg, Moscow and Kiev to report on his activities and request an expansion of the Church's activities in Russian America. While he was there, he received notice that his wife had died. In 1840 he became a monk and took the name Innocent. Within a few short months he was consecrated as bishop for North America. He moved his residence to Sitka and spent the next decade administering his diocese and making several long missionary journeys. In 1865 he became a member of the governing synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. His work in Alaska ended in 1867 when he was elected to be the Metropolitan Archbishop of Moscow. In his new role he undertook revisions of many church texts that contained errors, raised funds to improve the living conditions of impoverished priests, and established a retirement home for clergy. He died on the thirty-first of March, 1879.

Scripture. In "Psalm Forty-Eight," verses nine and ten we read:

"We ponder your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple. Your name, O God, like your praise, reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with victory."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the Christians of Alaska.

... for linguists and translators.

... for those killed or injured in a suicide car bomb attack on a police checkpoint in Iraq's capital Baghdad. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "The Way Into the Kingdom of Heaven" by Innocent of Alaska:

We were created to live on earth unlike animals who die and disappear with time, but with the high purpose to live with God, not for a hundred years or so, but for eternity!

Every individual instinctively strives for happiness. This desire has been implanted in our nature by the Creator himself, and therefore it is not sinful. But it is important to understand that in this temporary life it is impossible to find full happiness, because that comes from God and cannot be attained without him. Only he, who is the ultimate good and the source of all good, can quench our thirst for happiness.

Material things can never wholly satisfy us. Indeed, we know from experience that every item we have desired has pleased us only for a short while. Then it became boring, and we started to desire something else. This process of satisfaction and boredom then repeated itself many times.

It seems that in the depth of our subconscious something reminds us that we are just wanderers on this earth and that our true happiness is not here but there, in that other and better world known as Paradise or the heavenly kingdom. Let man own the whole world and everything that is in it, yet all this will interest him for no more than a short period, while the immortal soul, thirsting for personal communication with God, will remain unsatisfied.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to this earth in order to return to us our lost capacity to spend eternity in the blissful presence of God. He revealed to people that all their evil lies in sin and that no one through their own efforts can overcome the evil within themselves and attain communion with God. Sin, ingrained in our nature since the fall, stands between us and God like a high wall. If the son of God had not descended to us through his mercy for us, had not taken on our human nature, and had not by His death conquered sin, all mankind would have perished for ever! Now, thanks to him, those who wish to cleanse themselves from evil can do so and return to God and obtain eternal bliss in the kingdom of Heaven.

CLOSING PRAYER

Holy God, you blessed your people by calling Innocent to be an apostle and light to the people of Alaska. Guide our steps, that we may witness to the gospel of Christ wherever we are led, and serve you gladly in weakness and in strength; through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

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John Keble On Trump And Brexit

Some words of wisdom for the politically obsessed
from Saint John Keble on this his feast day:

"As to those who, either by station or temper, feel themselves most deeply interested, they cannot be too careful in reminding themselves, that one chief danger, in times of change and excitement, arises from their tendency to engross the whole mind. Public concerns, ecclesiastical or civil, will prove indeed ruinous to those, who permit them to occupy all their care and thoughts, neglecting or undervaluing ordinary duties, more especially those of a devotional kind."

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE TWENTY-NINTH OF MARCH, 2017
* John Keble *

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord, let me not, from now on, desire health or life, except to spend them for you, with you, and in you. You alone know what is good for me; therefore do what you consider best. Give to me, or take from me; conform my will to yours; and grant that, with humble and perfect submission, and in holy confidence, I may receive the orders of your eternal providence; and may equally adore all that comes to me from you; through Jesus Christ our lord Amen.

(Blaise Pascal )

CANTICLE

Blest are the pure in heart,
for they shall see our God;
the secret of the Lord is theirs,
their soul is Christ's abode.

The Lord, who left the heavens
our life and peace to bring,
to dwell in lowliness with men,
their pattern and their king;

still to the lowly soul
he doth himself impart
and for his dwelling and his throne
chooseth the pure in heart.

Lord, we thy presence seek;
may ours this blessing be;
give us a pure and lowly heart,
a temple meet for thee.

( John Keble and William John Hall )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

John Keble: founding father of the Oxford Movement

Today Saint Laika’s remembers John Keble, poet, pastor, servant of Christ, and the man whose vision of the Church gave birth to the Oxford Movement.

Keble was born in 1792. His father was also a priest. He won a scholarship to Oxford at age fourteen and graduated in 1811 with highest honours. His greatest written work is a book of poems entitled “The Christian Year,” in which he sought to call his readers to a deeper reverence for the rhythm of the liturgical year. He was ordained in 1816 and served the church as a priest and the University as professor of poetry for several years. In 1836, after a series of postings to small rural churches, Keble began a thirty year ministry in the village of Hursley, near Winchester. There he found great satisfaction in the life of a priest, and developed a reputation for providing solid spiritual guidance for many who wrote to him seeking help.

On the fourteenth of July 1833 he preached a sermon to the judges and officers of the court system on the occasion of the beginning of a new term of court. It was known as the Assize Sermon. It was entitled “National Apostasy,” and was a challenging call to a faithless nation, to heed the voice of the church as the prophetic voice of God. It was this sermon that ignited what history has called the Oxford Movement, which sought to re-establish for the Church of England its ancient sacramental life.

Though plunged into controversy by his leadership in this movement, his love for the church and his loyalty to Christ was unswerving. Within three years of his death at age seventy-four, a college bearing his name was established at Oxford “to give an education in strict fidelity to the Church of England.” For Keble, this would have meant dedication to learning in order “to live more nearly as we pray.”

“New every morning is the love
our wakening and uprising prove;
through sleep and darkness safely brought,
restored to life and power and thought.
New mercies, each returning day,
hover around us while we pray;
new perils past, new sins forgiven,
new thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.”

Scripture. In the twelfth chapter of "Romans," at verses nine to twelve we read:

"Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for poets.

... that we value and keep that from the past which is good whilst embracing that which is good in the present.

... for the safety of Queenslanders living in areas at danger from flooding following Cyclone Debbie. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "National Apostasy" a sermon by John Keble:

After all, the surest way to uphold or restore our endangered church, will be for each of her anxious children, in his own place and station, to resign himself more thoroughly to his God and saviour in those duties, public and private, which are not immediately affected by the emergencies of the moment: the daily and hourly duties, I mean, of piety, purity, charity, justice. It will be a consolation understood by every thoughtful churchman, that let his occupation be, apparently, never so remote from such great interests, it is in his power, by doing all as a Christian, to credit and advance the cause he has most at heart; and what is more, to draw down God's blessing upon it. This ought to be felt, for example, as one motive more to exact punctuality in those duties, personal and official, which the return of an Assize week offers to our practice ; one reason more for veracity in witnesses, fairness in pleaders, strict impartiality, self-command, and patience, in those on whom decisions depend ; and for an awful sense of God's presence in all. An apostle once did not disdain to urge good conduct upon his proselytes of lowest condition, upon the ground, that, so doing, they would adorn and recommend the doctrine of God our saviour (Titus ii. 10). Surely, then, it will be no unworthy principle, if any man be more circumspect in his behaviour, more watchful and fearful of himself, more earnest in his petitions for spiritual aid, from a dread of disparaging the holy name of the English church, in her hour of peril, by his own personal fault or negligence.

As to those who, either by station or temper, feel themselves most deeply interested, they cannot be too careful in reminding themselves, that one chief danger, in times of change and excitement, arises from their tendency to engross the whole mind. Public concerns, ecclesiastical or civil, will prove indeed ruinous to those, who permit them to occupy all their care and thoughts, neglecting or undervaluing ordinary duties, more especially those of a devotional kind.

CLOSING PRAYER

Grant, O God, that in all time of our testing we may know your presence and obey your will; that, following the example of your servant John Keble, we may accomplish with integrity and courage what you give us to do, and endure what you give us to bear; through Jesus Christ our lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

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

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

TUESDAY THE TWENTY-EIGHTH OF MARCH, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty God, who sees that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves, keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

PSALM SIXTY-FIVE

Be joyful in God, all the earth.

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion;
to you that answer prayer shall vows be paid.
To you shall all flesh come to confess their sins;
when our misdeeds prevail against us,
you will purge them away.

Happy are they whom you choose
and draw to your courts to dwell there.
We shall be satisfied with the blessings of your house,
even of your holy temple.

With wonders you will answer us in your righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
O hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas.

In your strength you set fast the mountains
and are girded about with might.
You still the raging of the seas,
the roaring of their waves
and the clamour of the peoples.

Those who dwell at the ends of the earth
tremble at your marvels;
the gates of the morning and evening sing your praise.

You visit the earth and water it;
you make it very plenteous.
The river of God is full of water;
you prepare grain for your people,
for so you provide for the earth.
You drench the furrows and smooth out the ridges;
you soften the ground with showers and bless its increase.
You crown the year with your goodness,
and your paths overflow with plenty.

May the pastures of the wilderness flow with goodness
and the hills be girded with joy.
May the meadows be clothed with flocks of sheep
and the valleys stand so thick with corn
that they shall laugh and sing.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Be joyful in God, all the earth.

May the richness of your creation, Lord,
and the mystery of your providence
lead us to that heavenly city
where all peoples will bring their wealth,
forsake their sins and find their true joy,
Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Stephen Harding: seeking a more austere path

Monasticism was critical for the development of Europe. Groups of men or women, dedicated to God, and seeking a life of prayer, moved into sparsely settled land. They cleared the rocks and farmed the fields, regularly offering up their daily prayer to God. They were highly successful at what they did, and soon were providing employment for others who helped the monks farm. Eventually towns formed around the monasteries and so Europe was settled, little by little, a very reliable fusion of church and secular society.

Over time the monasteries became wealthy and the initial fervour for a strict life of prayer and labour waned. This inevitably led some to reject the wealth of the monastic system, and, in the name of reform, to seek again a more austere form of monasticism.

Stephen Harding was an English monk and scholar who traveled throughout Europe and eventually ended up in Burgundy, at the Abbey of Molesme. The abbot, Robert, was trying to reform the abbey, but it was wealthy and resistant to reform. Robert, Stephen Harding and about two dozen monks received permission to start a new, more austere form of monasticism in a marshy swamp near Dijon, France, called Citeaux.

Stephen Harding became the abbot of the new monastery for twenty-five years. It was his organisational skill that helped to give birth to the Cistercian order of monks. He recruited a monk named Bernard to form a new community of Cistercians at Clairvaux and before long the Cistercian order was springing up throughout Europe.

Under Stephen Harding’s leadership the Cistercians became known for their unique lifestyle and liturgy. He laboured in the scriptorium of the monastery and the “Harding Bible” was among the most famous of medieval manuscripts. By the time of Stephen Harding’s death on this date in 1134, the Cistercians had already brought his legacy back to England with the Rievaulx Abbey (1131) and Fountains Abbey (1132). In Scotland, Melrose Abbey was founded in 1136.

Scripture. In the third chapter of "Genesis," at the nineteenth verse, we read:

"By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Stewards and also Sons of God" a sermon by John Henry Newman:

And so as regards the "Parable of the Steward," on which I am now remarking, fields and market-gardens and woods yield a produce, and are the means of wealth; such are hay, wheat and other kinds of corn, and various fruits and vegetables in this country; such are olive yards, vineyards, sugar canes, and other produce of the land abroad. As then money creates money, as the land bears bread, wine and oil, so our souls should yield the due return to God for the many gifts which he has bestowed upon us.

I am speaking of those gifts which belong to our nature, our birth or our circumstances; gifts of this world. He has given us the means of worshipping him and doing him service. He has given us reason, and a certain measure of abilities, more or less. He has given us health, more or less. He has placed us in a certain station of life, high or low. He has given us a certain power of influencing others. He has given us a certain circle of persons, larger or smaller, who depend on us, whom our words and our actions affect for good or for evil, and ought to affect for good. He has given us our share of opportunities of doing good to others. All these are God's gifts to us, and they are given us, not to be wasted, but to be used, to be turned to account. The steward in the parable wasted them; and was made responsible for his waste. And so in our own case, we may waste them, as most men waste them; nay worse, we may not only squander them away, we do not know how; but we may actually misapply them, we may use them actually to the injury of him who has given them to us; but whether we do nothing with them for God, or actually go on to use them to his dishonour and against the interests of truth and religion, (and the latter is more likely than the former, for not to do good with them is in fact to do evil) anyhow we shall have one day to answer for our use of them.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God by prayer, discipline, hard work, and single-minded devotion, you called Saint Stephen Harding to renew the monastic calling. Give us the same single-minded devotion to serve you in our own callings, and lead us evermore on the straight path to you; through your son, Jesus Christ our lord, 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.

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Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE TWENTY-SEVENTH OF MARCH, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty God, of your fullness grant to us who need so much, who lack so much, who have so little, wisdom and strength. Bring our wills in line with your will. Lift our understandings into your heavenly light; that we thereby beholding those things which are right, and being drawn by your love, may bring our will and our understanding together to your service, until at last, body and soul and spirit may be all yours, and you are our father and our eternal friend. Amen.

PSALM SIXTY-FOUR ( abridged )

The righteous shall rejoice in the Lord.

Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint;
preserve my life from fear of the enemy.
Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked,
from the gathering of evildoers.

They sharpen their tongue like a sword
and aim their bitter words like arrows,
That they may shoot at the blameless from hiding places;
suddenly they shoot, and are not seen.

They hold fast to their evil course;
they talk of laying snares, saying 'Who will see us?'

But God will shoot at them with his swift arrow,
and suddenly they shall be wounded.
Their own tongues shall make them fall,
and all who see them shall wag their heads in scorn.

All peoples shall fear and tell what God has done,
and they will ponder all his works.
The righteous shall rejoice in the Lord
and put their trust in him,
and all that are true of heart shall exult.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

The righteous shall rejoice in the Lord.

Cut through the malice of our hearts, redeeming God,
with the Spirit's sword,
wound the pride of our rebellion
with the grace that makes righteous
and bring near the day of Christ,
when love shall reign in joy;
for he is alive and reigns, now and for ever. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Dr Jonas Salk announces vaccine to prevent polio in 1953

It is difficult for us today to understand the fear of polio that existed in the post-World War II world. It was said that people feared the atomic bomb first, and polio second. The 1952 U.S. epidemic was the worst outbreak in the nation's history. Of nearly 58,000 cases reported that year, 3,145 people died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis, with most of its victims being children. Because parents felt so helpless in the face of this epidemic, they organised support for funding the medical research necessary through organisations like the March of Dimes.

Jonas Salk enrolled in the New York University School of Medicine. While excelling in his studies, it became clear to him that he did not want to practice medicine as a physician, but he wanted to be a research scientist. His areas of expertise were bacteriology and virology. In the 1940’s he worked with the army to develop an influenza vaccine that was soon in wide use in military bases around the world. After the war, he was invited to join the fight against polio. The devastating numbers of polio victims in 1952 pushed him harder into the research.

On the twenty-sixth of March, 1953, Doctor Jonas Salk announced on a national radio show that he had successfully tested a vaccine against poliomyelitis, the virus that causes the crippling disease of polio. For promising eventually to eradicate the disease, which is known as “infant paralysis” because it mainly affects children, Salk was celebrated as the great doctor-benefactor of his time. The vaccine was rigorously field tested, and in April 1955, it was ready for the public. By the summer of 1957, one hundred million doses had been distributed throughout the United States and "reported complications following their administration have been remarkably rare", noted the scientists at the International Polio Conference in Geneva. By the end of 1990, an estimated five hundred thousand annual cases worldwide of paralysis resulting from polio had been prevented due to immunisation programmes carried out by the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, and many other organisations, and in 1991, transmission of polio was declared as "interrupted" in the Western Hemisphere.

It is interesting that Jonas Salk refused to take out a patent for his polio vaccine. He wanted it to have the widest distribution as fast as possible.

In the fourteenth chapter of "John" at verse twelve we read:

"Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father."

Jonas Salk stands in that long line of humanitarians who applied his gifts and skills to the eradication of disease. Today say a prayer for all research doctors and scientists who are doing research on cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other crippling diseases, asking God to rid the world of that which harms us and to keep and preserve us for eternal life.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for all doctors and scientists who are doing research on cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other crippling diseases.

... for the safety of the people of Queensland, Australia, and all in the path of Cyclone Debbie. DETAILS

... for the eight Japanese high school students feared dead, after they were caught in an avalanche at a ski resort earlier today near Nasu in Tochigi prefecture, Japan; for their families, teachers and friends. DETAILS

... for the people of Northern Ireland as the the deadline to form a new power-sharing executive passes with no sign of agreement; for the continuation of peace and cooperation in the province.

... for the six aid workers who have been killed in an ambush in South Sudan. DETAILS

... for those injured when several buildings collapsed in a suspected gas explosion on Merseyside, England. DETAILS

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

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

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

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "Surrender to God," a sermon by John Henry Newman:

Our Lord's temptation in the wilderness began, you will observe, with an attempt on the part of the evil one to make him break his fast improperly. It began, but it did not end there. It was but the first of three temptations, and the other two were more addressed to his mind, not his bodily wants. One was to throw himself down from the pinnacle, the other the offer of all the kingdoms of the world. They were more subtle temptations. By a subtle temptation or a subtle sin, I mean one which it is very difficult to find out. Everyone knows what it is to break the ten commandments, the first, the second, the third, and so on. When a thing is directly commanded, and the devil tempts us directly to break it, this is not a subtle temptation, but a broad and gross temptation. But there are a great many things wrong which are not so obviously wrong. They are wrong as leading to what is wrong or the consequence of what is wrong, or they are wrong because they are the very same thing as what is forbidden, but dressed up and looking differently. The human mind is very deceitful; when a thing is forbidden, a man does not like directly to do it, but he goes to work if he can to get at the forbidden end in some way. It is like a man who has to make for some place. First he attempts to go straight to it, but finds the way blocked up; then he goes round about it. At first you would not think he is going in the right direction; he sets off perhaps at a right angle, but he just makes one little bend, then another, till at length he gets to his point. Or still more it is like a sailing vessel at sea with the wind contrary, but tacking first this way, and then that, the mariners contrive at length to get to their destination. This then is a subtle sin, when it at first seems not to be a sin, but comes round to the same point as an open direct sin.

To take some examples. If the devil tempted one to go out into the highway and rob, this would be an open, bold temptation. But if he tempted one to do something unfair in the course of business, which was to one's neighbour's hurt and to one's own advantage, it would be a more subtle temptation. The man would still take what was his neighbour's but his conscience would not be so much shocked. So equivocation is a more subtle sin than direct lying. In like manner a person who does not intoxicate himself, may eat too much. Gluttony is a more subtle sin than drunkenness, because it does not show so much. And again, sins of the soul are more subtle sins than sins of the body. Infidelity is a more subtle sin than licentiousness.

Even in our blessed Lord's case the Tempter began by addressing himself to his bodily wants. He had fasted forty days, and afterwards was hungered. So the devil tempted him to eat. But when he did not consent, then he went on to more subtle temptations. He tempted him to spiritual pride, and he tempted him by ambition for power. Many a man would shrink from intemperance, of being proud of his spiritual attainments; that is, he would confess such things were wrong, but he would not see that he was guilty of them.

CLOSING PRAYER

In darkness and in light,
in trouble and in joy,
help us, heavenly Father,
to trust your love,
to serve your purpose,
and to praise your name;
through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

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

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