Daily Prayer

FRIDAY THE TWENTY-FOURTH OF FEBRUARY, 2017
* MATTHIAS *

OPENING PRAYER

Loving God, I thank you for choosing me to be your disciple and for the gift of your son, Jesus. Help me proclaim and bear witness to the gospel by word and by deed today and every day. Open my heart to the outcast, the forgotten, the lonely, the sick and the poor. Grant me the courage to think, to choose and to live as a Christian, joyfully obedient to you. Amen.

( Heidi Busse )

CANTICLE

The eternal gifts of Christ the King,
the apostles' glory, let us sing,
and all, with hearts of gladness, raise
due hymns of thankful love and praise.

For they the Church's princes are,
triumphant leaders in the war,
in heavenly courts a warrior band,
true lights to lighten every land.

Theirs is the steadfast faith of saints,
and hope that never yields nor faints;
and love of Christ in perfect glow
that lays the prince of this world low.

In them the Father's glory shone,
in them the will of God the Son,
in them exults the Holy Ghost,
through them rejoice the heavenly host.

To thee, Redeemer, now we cry,
that thou wouldst join to them on high
thy servants, who this grace implore,
for ever and for evermore.

( Ambrose of Milan )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Matthias: the thirteenth apostle

The twenty-fourth of February is the day Saint Laika’s remembers Matthias, the thirteenth apostle of Jesus Christ.

The story of Matthias is spun out in the first chapter of "Acts." Judas had died. And Peter had announced that someone was needed to take his place. So the disciples of Jesus proposed two candidates, Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias. Now today, I’m sure we would insist on a résumé, appoint a search committee, hear them preach, or otherwise do our best to convince ourselves of the merits of one over the other.

Scripture says, “they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was added to the eleven apostles.”

The timing is interesting. Jesus had already ascended into heaven, but the promised Holy Spirit had not yet come. It was obvious that having twelve apostles was important to the first believers. Perhaps Peter reasoned that Jesus had selected twelve, so eleven would not do. Even more important, after the Spirit had come, the office of the twelve apostles fell into oblivion. As the original apostles died, they were not replaced with other apostles, but with bishops. So Matthias is something of an anomaly.

After his election, it gets a bit murkier. Where did Matthias go? What did he do?

Some say he preached in the land known today as the nation of Georgia, where he was killed and buried. Others maintain that he lived and died in and around Jerusalem. The Orthodox believe he was condemned to death by Ananias the high priest and was beheaded.

Ancient legends suggest that the feast day of Matthias is the luckiest day of the year, a day so full of luck that, should you place a bet, or purchase a lottery ticket, the odds might be in your favour. But beware! Today is the original feast day of Matthias. In the past few decades many Christians changed his observance to the fourteenth of May. But there is no evidence that the Lord has authorised a transfer of good luck to that day.

Matthias reminds us all, that God has filled the church with many gifted people. At Saint Laika’s it matters less what rank you hold, or what office, but only that you feel encouraged to live each day well, and use your gifts, whichever they may be, to bring grace, not fear, into the world.

Scripture. In "Psalm Fifteen," verses one, two and four, we find these words:

O LORD, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill? Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart; who stand by their oath even to their hurt."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who are chosen, that they may be the right choice.

... for those who are not chosen, that they may find their true vocation and not be stopped from pursuing it.

... for alcoholics and those addicted to other substances, that they may find the strength to persevere in their fight to free themselves from their addiction.

... for carpenters and tailors and all under the patronage of Saint Matthias.

... for the people of Estonia as they celebrate their national day today.

... for those who are forced into marriage against their will and those who have been disowned for refusing to obey their parents in relationship matters.

... for animals that are the victims of human cruelty.

... for those suffering from anorexia or another eating disorder.

... 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 "Issues Facing Christians Today" by John Stott:

A note of caution needs to be added at this point. Leadership is a concept shared by the church and the world. We must not assume, however, that Christian and non-Christian understandings of it are identical. Nor should
we adopt models of secular management without first subjecting them to critical Christian scrutiny. Jesus introduced into the world an altogether new style of leadership. He expressed the difference between the old and the new in these terms:

"You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and their high officials exercise authority over them. Nor so with you. Instead whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
( Mark 10:42-45 )

Among the followers of Jesus, therefore, leadership is not a synonym for lordship. Our calling is to be servants not bosses, slaves not masters. True, a certain authority attaches to all leaders, and leadership would be impossible without it. The apostles were given authority by Jesus and exercised it in both teaching and disciplining the church. Even Christian pastors today, although they are not apostles and do not possess apostolic authority, are to be respected because of their position over the congregation (1 Thessalonians 5:12ff.), and even obeyed (Hebrews 13:17). Yet the emphasis of Jesus was not on the authority of a ruler leader but on the humility of a servant leader. The authority by which the Christian leader leads is not power but love, not force but example, not coercion but reasoned persuasion. Leaders have power, but power is safe only in the hands of those who humble themselves to serve.

What is the reason for Jesus stress on the leaders service?

Partly, no doubt, because the chief occupational hazard of leadership is pride. The Pharisaic model would not do in the new community which Jesus was building. The Pharisees loved deferential titles like father, teacher, rabbi, but this was both an offence against God to whom these titles properly belong, and disruptive of the Christian brotherhood (Matthew 23:1-12).

Jesus main reason for emphasising the servant role of the leader, however, was surely that the service of others is a tacit recognition of their value.

CLOSING PRAYER

O Almighty God, who in the place of Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve: grant that your Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always walk in the light of Christ and bring the good news of your love for us to every race and nation; through Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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