WEDNESDAY THE TWENTY-FIRST OF DECEMBER, 2016
* THOMAS THE APOSTLE *
Lord, fill my heart with your goodness.
Dwell in me and let me know your peace.
Enter into the dark places of my life
that I may overflow with your love
and reflect your forgiveness,
bringing forth the fruits of love, hope, joy and peace. Amen.
O Son of God, we wait for thee,
in love for thine appearing;
we know thou sittest on the throne,
and we thy name are bearing,
who trusts in thee, may joyful be,
and see thee, Lord, descending,
to bring us bliss unending.
We wait for thee ’mid toil and pain,
in weariness and sighing;
but glad that thou our guilt hast borne,
and canceled it by dying;
hence cheerfully may we with thee
take up our cross and bear it,
till we relief inherit.
We wait for thee; here Thou hast won
Our hearts to hope and duty;
but while our spirits feel thee near,
our eyes would see thy beauty;
we fain would be at rest with thee
in peace and joy supernal,
in glorious life eternal.
We wait for thee; sure thou wilt come;
the time is swiftly nearing;
in this we also now rejoice,
and long for thine appearing.
Oh, bliss ’twill be when thee we see,
homeward thy people bringing,
with transport and with singing!
( Philipp F. Hiller )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Thomas the Apostle: here and there in the Jesus story
Today Saint Laika’s remembers the apostle Thomas, known primarily for his absence on the night of the first Easter, and who subsequently doubted the reality of Jesus’ resurrection, until Jesus appeared to him one week later, and invited him to see and believe. Thomas then became known for his confession: “My lord and my God.”
When Jesus tells his disciples in "John," chapter eleven, that, despite the threats against him, he will go to Jerusalem to visit the family of Lazarus who had died it was Thomas who rallied the others: "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
In "John," chapter fourteen, when Jesus is speaking about going to his father’s house to prepare places for them all, it is Thomas who says: “Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
This prompts Jesus to say: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
Finally in "John," chapter twenty-one, Thomas is mentioned as one of the apostles who went fishing with Peter up in Galilee.
Legends about Thomas travelling to India are very consistently reported in the early church, and indeed, a very ancient Christian church, the Mar Thoma Church, was discovered by Portuguese explorers and merchants centuries later. Subsequently it was learned that these Mar Thoma Christians had been under the jurisdiction of the Assyrian Church of the East at various times, and the Syrian Orthodox Church at other times. The burial place of Thomas in Mylapore, India draws thousands of pilgrims each year.
In 1945, near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi, twelve codices of ancient texts were found in a sealed jar. Most prominent among them was a document called “The Gospel of Thomas” which begins with: "These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymus Judas Thomas recorded." This Gospel has gained critical attention for some of the sayings attributed to Jesus appear to be more primitive sayings that parallel the words of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels.
As we approach the Christmas feast, perhaps we can honour the memory of Thomas by taking as our own, his Easter confession, “My lord and my God,” and placing it in Bethlehem, as we welcome into this world, the one we say is this world’s saviour.
Scripture. In the first chapter of "First Peter," at verses eight and nine, we read:
"Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
... for peace in the world.
... for members of the Mar Thoma church throughout the world; for Christians living in Kerala and throughout India.
... for those who doubt and that we may know Jesus as our lord and our God.
... for architects and builders; for the buildings of the persecuted church, that they may not be desecrated or maliciously damaged.
... for those who were killed or injured in an explosion at a fireworks market outside Mexico City. 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.
From "Seeds of Hope" by Henri J. M. Nouwen:
"A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him."
These words have stayed with me during the day.
Our salvation comes from something small, tender, and vulnerable, something hardly noticeable. God, who is the creator of the universe, comes to us in smallness, weakness, and hiddenness. I find this a hopeful message. Somehow, I keep expecting loud and impressive events to convince me and others of God's saving power, but over and over again I am reminded that spectacles, power plays, and big events are the ways of the world. Our temptation is to be distracted by them and made blind to the shoot that shall sprout from the stump.
When I have no eyes for the small signs of God's presence the smile of a baby, the carefree play of children, the words of encouragement and gestures of love offered by friends I will always remain tempted to despair. The small child of Bethlehem, the unknown young man of Nazareth, the rejected preacher, the naked man on the cross, he asks for my full attention. The work of our salvation takes place in a world that continues to shout, scream, and overwhelm us with its claims and promises.
But the promise is hidden in the shoot and sprouts from the stump, a shoot that hardly anyone notices. I remember seeing a film on the human misery and devastation brought by the bomb on Hiroshima. Among all
the scenes of terror and despair emerged one image of a man quietly writing a word in calligraphy. All his
attention was directed to writing that one word. That image made this gruesome film a hopeful film. Is that what God is doing? Writing the divine word of hope in the midst of our dark world?
Almighty and everliving God, who strengthened your apostle Thomas with sure and certain faith in your son's resurrection: Grant us so perfectly and without doubt to believe in Jesus Christ, our lord and our God, that our faith may never be found wanting in your sight; through him 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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