THURSDAY THE TWENTY-THIRD OF NOVEMBER 2017
O God, who has taught us to do unto others as we would they should do unto us; give me grace to cleanse my heart and hands from all fraud and wrong, that I may hurt nobody by word or deed, but be true and just in all my dealings; that so, keeping innocency and taking heed unto the thing that is right, I may have peace at the last; through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.
( "Pocket Manual of Prayers" 1860 )
PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-SIX
The Lord shall reign for ever.
Praise the Lord, O my soul:
while I live will I praise the Lord;
as long as I have any being,
I will sing praises to my God.
Put not your trust in princes,
nor in any human power,
for there is no help in them.
When their breath goes forth,
they return to the earth;
on that day all their thoughts perish.
Happy are those who have
the God of Jacob for their help,
whose hope is in the Lord their God;
who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them;
who keeps his promise for ever;
who gives justice to those that suffer wrong
and bread to those who hunger.
The Lord looses those that are bound;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous;
the Lord watches over the stranger in the land;
he upholds the orphan and widow;
but the way of the wicked he turns upside down.
The Lord shall reign for ever,
your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
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 shall reign for ever.
Lord of all, our breath and being come from you, yet our earthly end is dust; as you loose the bound and feed the hungry, so bring us in your mercy through the grave and gate of death to the feast of eternal life, where you reign for evermore. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Lazarus and the rich man
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.A.
Walter Brueggemann, in his book “The Threat of Life,” shares a sermon he once wrote on the story of Lazarus and the rich nan in the sixteenth chapter of Saint Luke’s gospel, verses nineteen to thirty-one. Some call it a parable of reversal. Lazarus has nothing here on earth, dies, and winds up in the bosom of Abraham. The rich man has everything here on earth, dies, and spends eternity in torment in Hades.
Brueggemann writes: “Well, at least for a while there is nothing in common between them. In an instant, however, they have everything in common. What they have in common overcomes all that was different between them. At the top of verse twenty-two, the poor man dies. You knew he would, quickly and unnoticed, perhaps of infection, or perhaps because of malnutrition, or perhaps simply of neglect. By the end of the same verse, one phrase later, the rich man dies. It is a moment of dreadful equity: alike for an instant. The rich and poor are very different in life, very alike in death.”
Brueggemann unwraps the parable for the reader in a clear and vivid way. He reminds us that the poor man died first, and comments that it was probably the only time in his life that he had been first. He surmises the rich man most likely assumed that he would be the one headed for the bosom of Abraham. He comments on the significance of the rich man’s asking for mercy.
“Remember,” he tells us, “that back before he died, the rich man had not asked for mercy, because he did not need it.”
At the end Brueggemann says: “This is a hard, demanding story. There is nothing her about what one must do, nothing about being liberal or conservative, nothing about ‘welfare’ or ‘the private sector,’ nothing about how to vote or spend or share or save. Jesus, this terrible storyteller, gives us a zinger. There is nothing to do with the story but to be haunted by it, haunted in this age and in the age to come, haunted at feast and in poverty, haunted through hope and amidst warning.”
Then Brueggemann gives the reader a zinger of his own, and I had to admit that, as many times as I had read this story, I hadn’t realised it quite this way.
Brueggemann concludes: “While you are haunted, consider this very odd fact. The poor man is remembered. We know his name, Lazarus, as does father Abraham. The rich man never had a name or an identity. He had only a social role that was temporary and did not last. He is forgotten, unnamed, and abandoned. No name, and no comfort, no future, no water. His future haunts our present.”
Something to think about if you are feasting sumptuously today.
Scripture. In "First Timothy," chapter six, at verse nine, we read:
But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
... for peace in the world.
... for the poor and for the rich; that their lives may be changed by knowing God in their earthly lives.
... for the native peoples of America.
... for those enduring inclement weather and floods.
... for the crew of the missing Argentinian submarine and for the success of those looking for them.
... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, 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.
From a homily by John Chrysostom on "The First Letter to the Thessalonians" chapters nineteen to twenty-two:
Have you suffered anything contrary to your wishes? Yet nothing like what that poor man suffers. You have lost an eye, but he both his. You have long laboured under disease but he has one that is incurable. You have lost your children, but he even the health of his own body. You have suffered a great loss, but you are not yet reduced to supplicate from others. Give thanks to God. You see them in the furnace of poverty, and begging indeed from all, but receiving from few. When you are weary of praying, and do not receive, consider how often you have heard a poor man calling upon you, and have not listened to him, and he has not been angry nor insulted you. And yet you indeed act thus from cruelty; but God from mercy even declines to hear. If therefore you, yourself from cruelty not hearing your fellow servant, expect not to be found fault with, do you find fault with the Lord, who out of mercy does not hear his servant? See you how great the inequality, how great the injustice?
Merciful creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the needs of every living creature. Make us always thankful for your loving providence and grant that we, remembering the account that we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your good gifts, 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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