TUESDAY THE TENTH OF JANUARY, 2017
Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for your people, inspire within us the desire and willpower to do as you would do in this world where evil so often predominates and people are frightened into doing nothing to stop bad things happening. Help us to be good people who dare to do good things no matter what the cost to our own wellbeing. Help us to do that which is right and not that which is expedient and in our own self-interest. Amen.
PSALM TWENTY-TWO ( abridged )
Be not far from me, O Lord.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,
and are so far from my salvation,
from the words of my distress?
O my God, I cry in the daytime,
but you do not answer;
and by night also, but I find no rest.
Yet you are the Holy One,
enthroned upon the praises of Israel.
Our forebears trusted in you;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
They cried out to you and were delivered;
they put their trust in you and were not confounded.
But as for me, I am a worm and no man,
scorned by all and despised by the people.
All who see me laugh me to scorn;
they curl their lips and wag their heads, saying,
"He trusted in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him deliver him, if he delights in him."
But it is you that took me out of the womb
and laid me safe upon my mother's breast.
On you was I cast ever since I was born;
you are my God even from my mother's womb.
Be not far from me, for trouble is near at hand
and there is none to help.
Be not far from me, O Lord;
you are my strength; hasten to help me.
Deliver my soul from the sword,
my poor life from the power of the dog.
Save me from the lion's mouth,
from the horns of wild oxen.
You have answered me!
Praise the Lord, you that fear him;
O seed of Jacob, glorify him;
stand in awe of him, O seed of Israel,
for he has not despised nor abhorred the suffering of the poor;
neither has he hidden his face from them;
but when they cried to him he heard them.
All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations shall bow before him.
For the kingdom is the Lord's
and he rules over the nations.
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.
Be not far from me, O Lord.
Restless with grief and fear,
the abandoned turn to you:
in every hour of trial,
good Lord, deliver us,
O God most holy, God most strong,
whose wisdom is the cross of Christ. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Narciso Pico: servant of the poor, martyr
On the tenth of January, 1991, Father Narciso Pico, a priest of the Philippine Independent Church, was gunned down by two men, while coming out of a coffee shop down the block from his church in Pontevedra, about five hundred kilometres southeast of Manila. Father Pico had been documenting human rights violations on the large plantations around Pontevedra, and had been active in the area of workers’ rights and land reform.
Upon hearing of his death, his bishop remarked, "His murder advances the real work of a priest who is unafraid to preach the truth, no matter what."
The Philippine Independent Church came into existence in the year 1902 after formally separating from the Roman Catholic Church. In 1898 the United States defeated Spain and took over the running of the Philippine Colony. From 1898 until 1902 the Filipino-American war was fought which ended with the defeat of the Filipino Army. Many Filipinos felt that the Catholic Church had favoured the wealthy and rich landowners who had favoured the cause of the United States. From its origin the Philippine Independent Church has been formed to encourage the aspirations of the people for freedom, democracy free from foreign influence, and the liberation of workers in their struggle against oppression.
In the case of Father Narciso Pico, it was suspected but never proven that his murderers were under the command of the Philippine Army. His life had been threatened many times, but he very much saw his ministry as the empowerment of the poor. His parish in Pontevedra had twenty thousand members.
A priest from the Church of Ireland, happened to be visiting in the Philippines at the time Father Pico was murdered. At the invitation of Father Pico’s bishop, he attended the wake.
He later wrote: “Narciso Pico had lived in the knowledge that he might face such a death. He knew that his efforts to be the servant of all, to care for the poorest of people were attracting the attention of those who wanted no change in the country. Pico was under no illusions about what it meant to walk in the way of Jesus, if anything happened to him, hadn’t the same happened to Jesus?”
Scripture: In "Psalm Seventy-Two," verses twelve to fourteen, we read:
For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight.
... for peace in the world.
... for the people of the Philippines, that their land may be without corruption and violence. For those who work to bring freedom from oppression.
... for transgender men and women detained in prison.
... for enslaved and abused domestic workers.
... for all affected by adverse weather conditions.
... for those killed or injured when a suspension bridge near the city of Villavicencio in Colombia collapsed. DETAILS
... for those who suffer from mental illness that they may receive the care they need.
... 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:
The heart of religion is communion with the eternal. We rise above the tumult and conflict, above even the moral effort, of our normal life to the realm of eternal truth where the ideal is always realised, and perfection alone is actual. Our Lord taught us to pray that God's will may be done on earth as it is in heaven. In our best worship we ascend in heart and mind to the heaven where that will is always done.
We cannot permanently live there. Duty calls us back to the world of moral striving; our faults of character stand out in the clear light of the divine presence and we sink from adoration to penitence even as Isaiah exclaimed, "Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips," so soon as his eyes had seen the Lord of Hosts and his ears heard the song of the attendant seraphim. But though we cannot dwell permanently on the heights of adoration, all our spiritual health depends upon our rising to them from time to time, and it is good for us to fix in our minds by deliberate meditation the various aspects of our vision in those sacred moments.
Among these, and perhaps chief among them, is the eternity, the changeless perfection, of God. The world in which we live is always changing; it derives its whole meaning from the changes that take place in it. The development of natural science has shown us that this is true of the animal and physical world as well as of human history. In the first impetus of this idea men began to speak of the evolution of God and to insist that he, too, derives his significance and value from the changes that pass over him.
No doubt the course of history, natural and human, deeply concerns the creator. No doubt his purpose in creation is progressively realised, and to that extent there is a progress from glory to glory which may be ascribed to God himself. But if we take this development to be the last word, we make nonsense of the
universe, and we deny the intimations that come through worship at its best and truest.
When we lift our souls to God in adoration we do not have to ascertain afresh each time what degree of perfection he has now attained. He is always the same; our understanding of his glory may develop but he himself is unchanging.
Men change; if they cease to change they are dead. But God does not change; his very life is eternal changelessness.
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 Narciso Pico, whose love for the poor and needy of Pontvedra led him to the way of the cross, and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives to your son’s victory over sin and death; for he 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.
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