THURSDAY THE FIFTH OF JANUARY 2017
Lord God, creator of both space and time, as we enter into the future help us to live with the past. Redeem our disappointments and our failures, give meaning to our sorrows and forgive us for the things we have done wrong. Lead us into your kingdom where your son, our saviour, Jesus Christ, makes all things well. Amen.
We will call on the name of the Lord our God.
May the Lord hear you in the day of trouble,
the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
send you help from his sanctuary
and strengthen you out of Zion;
remember all your offerings
and accept your burnt sacrifice;
grant you your heart's desire
and fulfil all your mind.
Now I know that the Lord will save his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven,
with the mighty strength of his right hand.
Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we will call only on the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought down and fallen,
but we are risen and stand upright.
O Lord, save the king
and answer us when we call upon you.
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.
We will call on the name of the Lord our God.
purify our hearts in the flame of your Spirit
and transform our toil into an offering of praise,
that we may reject the proud rule of might
and trust in Christ alone,
for he is our Lord for ever and ever. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Kaj Munk: playwright, pastor, martyr
On this day in 1944, a body was found in a ditch alongside a road. It was Kaj Munk, a playwright and faithful parish pastor in Denmark, shot in the head by the Nazis who were occupying his country. His killers honoured Munk’s outspoken resistance to the Nazi occupation by their ruthless but futile determination to silence him. For Munk had never ceased to summon his people to act from their faith whether in support of the Norwegian church, the beleaguered Scandinavian Jews, or for their own freedom. The people heard his message. Despite the danger from the Nazis who had killed Munk, four thousand Danes came to his funeral. They commemorated him with a lively courage and faith like his own, both then and throughout the war.
Kai Munk was born in 1898. Both parents died before he was six. He was adopted into his cousin’s family and early on expressed skill in poetry and literature. Munk combined that love for the arts with skill in pastoring. He was ordained in 1924, and became pastor at Vederso, one of the smallest parishes in Denmark. It was his only parish. Munk wrote stage plays. Three of his best were “Herod the King” in 1928; “The Word” in 1932; and “He Sits at the Melting Pot” in 1938, which was an out and out attack on Hitler’s Germany, the Nazi Party, and the persecution of the Jews. After Germany occupied Denmark during World War II, his powerful sermons drew masses into the resistance, and his own resistance became so outspoken, that the Nazis banned all performances of his plays.
In 1942 Munk wrote a play about Niels Ebbesen, one of the great heroes of medieval Danish history; the "tyrant slayer" who, in 1340, was known for his killing of Count Gerhard III, a German whose forces occupied Denmark at the time. It was a very thinly veiled swipe at Nazism. Despite friends who urged Munk to go underground, he continued to preach against Danes who collaborated with the Nazis, and this led to his murder on the fifth of January, 1944.
Quote. “You say you have doubts and questions that spoil your Christmas joy. Well, who promised you joy? True Christmas joy, no matter how much or how little of it you may comprehend, means that you have Christ, and that you go where he wants you to go.”
Scripture. In the eighth chapter of "Mark," at verses thirty-four to thirty-six, we find these words of Jesus:
"If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?"
... for peace in the world.
... for those who oppose tyrants.
... for all who have lost a loved one recently, especially when the death was not foreseen.
... for those affected by inclement seasonal weather, in particular the people of the north-east of Germany whose region has been hit by a storm surge.
... 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 "Fellowship with God" by William Temple:
When our devotional life seems to dry up and to become an empty form, it is often, though of course not always, because it is finding no appropriate expression in moral activity. But that can hardly continue if we really believe that the Christ whom we adore, in whose name we present our prayers, and whom we receive in his own sacrament that he may become the very life of our souls, is waiting in the souls of those whom we neglect or despise for the word of kindness or the helping hand that we can offer if we will. Of what avail is it that I glorify him in his sanctuary or adore him in the blessed sacrament, if when I meet mim in the street I turn away from him, or if I leave him to languish uncared for in the prison? Because he is perfect love, he is perfectly united in the bonds of love with all who in virtue of his incarnation are his fellow men. As we serve them we serve him. When we neglect or ignore them, we are ignoring or neglecting him. What wonder then if worship becomes cold and dead while this continues. But what power there is in any worship, that is still real and sincere, to drive men forth to service and thereby to the rekindling also of their devotional ardour.
Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth. Inspire us with the memory of Kai Munk, whose faithfulness led him to resist tyranny, leading to his death. Give us courage in the face of tyranny today, and help us bear witness to Jesus’ victory over sin and death, 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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