FRIDAY THE TWENTIETH OF OCTOBER, 2017
* Sister Barbara Muttra and Her Companions *
O Lord God, father of mercies, the fountain of comfort and blessing, of life and peace, of plenty and pardon, who fills heaven with your glory, and earth with your goodness; I give you the most earnest and most humble returns of my glad and thankful heart, for you have refreshed me with your comforts and enlarged me with your blessing; for, besides the blessings of all mankind, the blessings of nature and the blessings of grace, the support of every minute and the comforts of every day, you have poured out an excellent expression of your loving-kindness upon me. You, Lord, have made me glad through your works; I will rejoice in giving praise for the operations of your hands. Blessed be the Lord who only does wondrous and gracious things. And blessed be the name of His Majesty for ever; and all the earth shall be filled with his majesty. Amen.
( Jeremy Taylor )
PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY
My soul waits for the Lord.
Out of the depths
have I cried to you, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice;
let your ears consider well
the voice of my supplication.
If you, Lord, were to mark
what is done amiss,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you shall be feared.
I wait for the Lord;
my soul waits for him;
in his word is my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord,
more than the night watch for the morning,
more than the night watch for the morning.
O Israel, wait for the Lord,
for with the Lord there is mercy;
with him is plenteous redemption
and he shall redeem Israel
from all their sins.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
My soul waits for the Lord.
Father, we commend to your faithful love those who are crying from the depths; help them to watch and pray through their time of darkness, in sure hope of the dawn of your forgiveness and redemption; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Sister Barbara Muttra and her companions,
martyrs in Liberia 1992
Today Saint Laika’s remembers five American sisters who were murdered in Liberia’s bloody civil war.
Liberia is a country in West Africa which was founded, established, colonised, and controlled by citizens of the United States and ex-Caribbean slaves as a colony for former African American slaves and their free black descendants.
Up until 1980, the country was dominated by the small minority of descendants of the free black colonists, known collectively as Americo-Liberians. Although descended from peoples of African origin, the ancestors of Americo-Liberians had been born in the United States for generations before emigrating to Africa; they held American cultural, religious and social values, shaped by their own heritage. They systematically shut the indigenous people of West Africa out of participation in the life of the country.
In 1980, an uprising of the native people caused the overthrow of the Liberian government and an end to the rule of the Americo-Liberians. It also ushered in a time of uncertainty, civil unrest, and armed struggle by rival factions. In 1989 the government of Samuel Doe, which had been in power since the coup in 1980, fell and Liberia was engaged in a civil war. One of the rebels was Charles Taylor, a warlord who led a brutal force of thugs and child soldiers, in a quest for power.
A small order of American nuns called the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, had been working in Liberia since the 1970’s as missionaries and relief workers. When the civil war erupted they continued in their ministry and were beloved for their willingness to provide relief and help to the poor and helpless people caught up in the civil war.
On the twentieth of October, 1992, soldiers of Charles Taylor brutally murdered Sister Barbara Muttra, Sister Mary Joel Kolmer, Sister Agnes Mueller, Sister Shirley Kolmer and Sister Kathleen McGuire.
By the time Charles Taylor claimed the presidency of Liberia in 1997, over six hundred thousandLiberians had been killed. In 2012, he was brought to trial, and sentenced to fifty years in prison for crimes against humanity.
Christian women and men have often placed themselves in situations of danger for the sake of serving the poor and needy. These sisters had the opportunity to flee Liberia in 1990, but all felt that faithfulness to Christ demanded that they stay. They paid the ultimate sacrifice for their faithfulness and today we honour them both for their faith and their faithfulness.
Scripture. In the sixth chapter of "Revelation," verses nine and eleven, we read:
I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given; they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number would be complete both of their fellow-servants and of their brothers and sisters, who were soon to be killed as they themselves had been killed.
... for peace in the world.
... for those Christians who, through word and action, take the good news of Jesus Christ into all the world, even at risk to their own lives.
... that children should no more be employed, either forcibly or voluntarily, as soldiers.
... for those living with osteoporosis or metabolic bone disease; for the success of those seeking better treatments and a cure for these diseases. DETAILS
... for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
To be where God is quietly talked about seems a lovely thing. But to be where God really grips us is a risky matter. As long as a living God is about and given any chance at all, it will be found dangerous to be in his presence. Dangerous, that is, to everything that is more to our liking than it is to his.
( Paul S. Rees )
Holy God we give you thanks for the life and witness of Sister Barbara Muttra and her companions, who served your people in Liberia during a time of civil war and died violently as victims of that war. Continue to raise up in your church faithful women and men, who will take the good news of Jesus Christ to people everywhere, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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