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FRIDAY THE TWENTY-SIXTH OF OCTOBER, 2018
* Alfred the Great *
Eternal God, the light of the minds that know you, the joy of the hearts that love you and the strength of the wills that serve you: grant us so to know you that we may truly love you, so to love you that we may truly serve you, whose service is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
( Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 )
The way is dark before me, black clouds over me spread;
the tempest gathers round me and forms above my head.
The sun has ceased its shining and weary grows the day;
oh, hear my prayer, my Father, and roll the clouds away.
The dreary rain is falling, the clouds are flying past;
the angry lightning flashes, the thunder is rolling fast;
I am waiting still, my Father, and longing for the day,
when you shall calm the tempest and roll the clouds away.
O Lord, dispel the darkness and let me see the light;
oh, break away the tempest and let the sun shine bright;
oh, speak the rain from falling, oh, clear my soul’s sad day;
oh, stop the thunder’s rolling, oh, roll the clouds away.
( A. J. Fish, nineteenth century )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Alfred the Great: “in the midst of earthly troubles, thinking of heavenly things”
Alfred ruled in a very tumultuous time in the history of Britain. He watched his father and four brothers die in battle before he wore the crown of king. He was challenged by the Norsemen, the Danes who raided and pillaged Britain until they were stopped by Alfred and his troops. After successfully stopping the advance of the Norsemen in 878AD, he made a treaty with them. They could keep land in the North East of England, provided they accepted baptism and instruction in the Christian faith.
These forced conversions seem inappropriate to us today as it hardly seems that genuine faith in Christ can be part of the act. But it brought peace to England, and that peace enabled the Christian Church to continue its mission throughout the land without fear.
History treats Alfred as a holy king. In his early years, he had aspired to become a monk. Circumstances thrust him into battle and onto the throne, but once peace was secured he turned his thoughts once again to reading and to the “Bible.” He was much impressed by the provisions in the “Law of Moses” for the protection of the rights of ordinary citizens and gave order that similar provisions should be made part of English law. He promoted the education of the clergy. Alfred considered that the tumultuous times he lived in were a result of a lack of learning. He caused many books and ideas to be translated and circulated for study. He once reasoned that he did this so that “in the midst of earthly troubles I might sometimes think of heavenly things.”
Scripture. In the “Twenty-First Psalm” we read at verses one and seven:
In your strength, the king rejoices, O Lord, and in your help how greatly he exults! For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.
… for peace in the world.
… for Elizabeth, Queen of England, and all Christians appointed to govern in their nations.
… that all may have access to a good education.
… that knowledge and wisdom may be promoted throughout the world and made available to all in their own language.
… for the people of Austria who celebrate their national day today.
… for those killed or injured in flash floods near the Dead Sea in Jordan. DETAILS
… for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
… for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
… for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
… for ourselves.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
From “The Tractates On The Gospel According To Saint John” by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430:
These, then, were the words of praise addressed to Jesus by the multitude, “Hosanna: blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel.”
What a cross of mental suffering must the Jewish rulers have endured when they heard so great a multitude proclaiming Christ as their king! But what honour was it to the Lord to be king of Israel? What great thing was it to the king of eternity to become the king of men? For Christ’s kingship over Israel was not for the purpose of exacting tribute, of putting swords into his soldiers’ hands, of subduing his enemies by open warfare; but he was king of Israel in exercising kingly authority over their inward natures, in consulting for their eternal interests, in bringing into his heavenly kingdom those whose faith, and hope, and love were centred in himself. Accordingly, for the Son of God, the Father’s equal, the Word by whom all things were made, in his good pleasure to be king of Israel, was an act of condescension and not of promotion; a token of compassion, and not any increase of power. For he who was called on earth the king of the Jews, is in the heavens the lord of angels.
O Sovereign Lord, who brought your servant Alfred to a troubled throne that he might establish peace in a ravaged land and revive learning and the arts among the people, awake in us also a keen desire to increase our understanding while we are in this world and an eager longing to reach that endless life where all will be made clear; through Jesus Christ our 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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