Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE NINETEENTH OF DECEMBER, 2016
* LILLIAN TRASHER *

OPENING PRAYER

God of the watching and waiting ones,
God of the shepherds adoring the babe,
God of the wise men at the end of their quest,
God of the angels giving him the glory,
God of Mary and Joseph,
God made man in Bethlehem, giving us the word of love,
may we prepare for your coming
with open hearts and minds
and lovingly receive you,
the lord of life. Amen.

CANTICLE

When came in flesh the incarnate Word,
the heedless world slept on,
and only simple shepherds heard
that God had sent his son.

When comes the Saviour at the last,
from east to west shall shine
the awful pomp, and earth aghast
shall tremble at the sign.

Then shall the pure of heart be blest;
as mild he comes to them,
as when upon the virgin's breast
he lay at Bethlehem.

As mild to meek eyed love and faith,
only more strong to save;
strengthened by having bowed to death,
by having burst the grave.

Lord, who could dare see thee descend
in state, unless he knew
thou art the sorrowing sinner's friend,
the gracious and the true?

Dwell in our hearts, O Saviour blest;
so shall thine advent's dawn
'twixt us and thee, our bosom-guest,
be but the veil withdrawn.

( Joseph Anstice )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Lillian Trasher: she took up "The Bible" to read, and it sent her to Egypt

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Lillian Trasher, an American-born missionary and servant of God. She was born in 1887 in Georgia, and as a young women she worked at an orphanage in North Carolina, not knowing at the time that her life’s work would be devoted to caring for abandoned children. She became engaged to a man she loved deeply, but felt a restlessness about the marriage, as if her conscience was being touched by God.

Much like Saint Augustine in ancient days had heard a voice calling him to “Take up and read,” Lillian opened her "Bible" to this verse: "Acts," chapter seven, verse thirty-four:

“I have surely seen the mistreatment of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Come now, I will send you to Egypt.”

On the strength of that moment she abandoned her plans for marriage and made plans to go to Egypt.

In 1910, she arrived in Alexandria, Egypt, with her sister Jenny, and they found their way to the village of Asyut near the Nile. Shortly after arriving, Lillian was called to the bedside of a dying mother whose malnourished daughter was also near death. Though ordered by the mission directors to return the child to the village, Lillian refused to abandon her to poverty and certain death. In 1911 she rented a small house and some furniture and nursed the child back to health.

As she took in additional children, she had to rely on charity, though she eventually received aid from the newly formed Assemblies of God in the United States. In 1916 she was able to purchase additional land, the buildings for which were built from bricks which Lillian and the older children made themselves. In 1919 she was ordered out of the country by the British government in the midst of political turmoil, and when she returned, she took in widows and the blind in addition to children. Despite the Nazi invasion of Egypt and the subsequent violence during World War II, she kept her orphanage running. When she died in 1961, she had become known as the “Mother of the Nile” and had cared for nearly twenty-five thousand Egyptian children. Her orphanage remains open today.

Scripture: In the "Book of Psalms," chapter ten, verses seventeen and eighteen we find:

"O LORD, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed, so that those from earth may strike terror no more."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the people of Egypt, in particular, at this time, those of the Christian faith, that God may protect them from their persecutors.

... for orphans.

... for those who have been widowed.

... for the Yemeni soldiers who were killed or injured when they were attacked by an ISIS suicide bomber as they queued for their paycheques. 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 Feast for Advent" by Delia Smith:

How good the news must have sounded to John in his prison cell! The more we get to the heart of scripture the better we can understand that the characters we read about were all human beings just like us. John, who devoted his life to prayer and fasting to prepare people for the coming of Jesus, is apparently rewarded with incarceration and impending death. But then comes the message of hope, don't worry, everything is going to plan. Death is not the end, even the dead are raised to life. Happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.

As we continue to prepare for the coming of the Messiah, we too should be full of expectant hope. As we get ready to celebrate this new birth, it must happen that the word will become flesh within us, opening our eyes and ears to the wonder of what God means to us. It's ironic, really, that more than at any other time of the year we are likely to have less time for God during this hallowed season; and I speak from bitter experience. For years I have been a slave to the pride of perfection: all the Christmas cards must be sent, the parcels beautifully wrapped, and hours spent agonising over whether so-and-so would like this or that. I have in effect spent my advent in panic. No matter how hard I worked, so-and-so already had such and such (and I didn't send cards to the people I received them from!).

One of the ways in which we can follow John's message of repentance is to be prepared to fail, to be humble enough to opt out of what the world makes of Christmas, to make a radical pruning of ourChristmas activities. We need to give ourselves time to reflect on this great mystery of how it can be that almighty God can take human flesh, and as a man communicate directly to people the message of eternal life. It is a tragedy that we find ourselves preoccupied instead with tinsel and wrapping paper, running in a race against time that only ends when the key is turned on the last cash register on Christmas Eve. Twenty-four hours later all our efforts, like the wrapping paper, are torn up and forgotten and we watch the queues for the January sales assembling on our TV screens! What we're really anticipating and awaiting in joyful hope is liberation from that kind of slavery. So let us pray for the wisdom to ponder this great mystery we are about to celebrate, and to be lovingly attentive to its meaning and purpose in our lives.

CLOSING PRAYER

Loving God, we thank you for moving the heart of Lillian Trasher to heroic hospitality on behalf of orphaned children in great need, and we pray that we also may find our hearts awakened and our compassion stirred to care for your little ones, 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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