Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE THIRD OF FEBRUARY, 2017
* THE DORCHESTER CHAPLAINS *

OPENING PRAYER

God was with the people of Israel when they left Egypt.
God is with us now.

God gave the people hope as they traveled through the desert.
God gives us the courage to step out in faith.

God is with us wherever we go.
Come, let us worship the Lord.

Holy God, your power fills the universe with light and love.
Your tender hand caresses those who are suffering and wounded.
You welcome strangers and care for the lonely.
We are awed by the amazing extent of your compassion.
Meet us where we are.
Speak to us in ways that we understand.
Come to us, O God, in our time of worship.
Still our hearts and minds.
Renew our spirits and fill us with the life that only you can offer. Amen.

( Richard J. Fairchild )

PSALM THIRTY-SIX ( abridged )

With you, O God, is the well of life.

Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens
and your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness stands like the strong mountains,
your justice like the great deep;
you, Lord, shall save both man and beast.

How precious is your loving mercy, O God!
All mortal flesh shall take refuge
under the shadow of your wings.
They shall be satisfied with the abundance of your house;
they shall drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the well of life
and in your light shall we see light.

O continue your loving-kindness to those who know you
and your righteousness to those who are true of heart.

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.

With you, O God, is the well of life.

O God, the well of life,
make us bright with wisdom,
that we may be lightened with the knowledge of your glory
in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

The Dorchester Chaplains: going down with the ship

A priest, two ministers, and a rabbi walk onto a ship… Sounds like the beginning of a joke, yet the wonder of the Dorchester Chaplains is the way four men, in an attempt to save others, bravely gave up their life jackets, joined arms, said prayers, and sang hymns as they went down with the ship.

The ship was the Dorchester, a civilian cruise ship, pressed into military service and refitted as a troop transport ship. A liner designed for three hundred and fourteen passengers and ninety crew would now be able to carry slightly more than nine hundred passengers and crew.

The Dorchester set out from New York on the twenty-third of January, 1943, en route to Greenland, carrying the four chaplains and approximately nine hundred others. During the early morning hours of the third of February, 1943, at five minutes past midnight., the vessel was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Newfoundland. The torpedo knocked out the Dorchester's electrical system, leaving the ship dark. Panic set in among the men on board, many of them trapped below decks. The chaplains sought to calm the men and organise an orderly evacuation of the ship, and helped guide wounded men to safety. As life jackets were passed out to the men, the supply ran out before each man had one. The chaplains removed their own life jackets and gave them to others.

One of the survivors recorded what he saw from his life boat: “I looked back. The flares had lighted everything. The bow came up high and she slid under. The last thing I saw, the Four Chaplains were up there praying for the safety of the men. They had done everything they could. I did not see them again. They themselves did not have a chance without their life jackets.”

Other survivors reported hearing English prayers, mixing with Hebrew prayers, and the Latin of the Catholic prayers, as the ship went down. Some two hundred and thirty of the men aboard the ship were rescued. Life jackets offered little protection from hypothermia, which killed most men in the water. Nevertheless the sacrifice of the four chaplains would be remembered as one of the most touching stories of the Second World War. Lieutenant George L. Fox, Methodist; Lieutenant Alexander D. Goode, Jewish; Lieutenant John P. Washington, Catholic; and Lieutenant Clark V. Poling, Reformed, were honoured posthumously with the Four Chaplains Medal approved by a unanimous act of the United States Congress on the fourteenth of July, 1960.

Scripture. In the fifteenth chapter of "John," we find these words of Jesus in verses twelve and thirteen:

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who have given their lives for others.

... for military chaplains.

... for sailors and all in peril on the sea.

... for the people of Ukraine now that fighting between pro-Russia insurgents and government forces has flared up again; for those who been killed or injured and for all in Eastern Europe and elsewhere who fear Russian expansionism. 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 "Fellowship with God" by William Temple:

Priesthood becomes evil just when it is thought of as belonging to the ordained ministry exclusively, instead of representatively. In every right priestly act, the agent is Christ himself; and the body of Christ on earth is not the clergy but the whole Church, which exercises certain of its priestly functions through the organs which exist for that purpose; but the act is the act of the whole body.

We are then all of us called to be priests unto our God. The special activity of a priest is usually sacrifice; but our part in the Christian sacrifice must claim our whole attention on another occasion. To-day let us ask ourselves if we take seriously this ministry that is ours.

Do we try to bring the healing love of Christ into all our dealings with men? Do we carry with us the spirit of God's pardon, ending alienation and bitterness and resentment? Do we seek by self-examination and communion with God in Christ to deepen our insight so that men find in us the sympathy and wisdom of Jesus? Are we the friends of the outcast, the upholders of the oppressed? Do we proclaim the kingdom of God and act adventurously as those who believe in its reality?

Christ has in great measure entrusted his cause in the world to us. He yearns for his love to men to be declared; are you declaring it? He hums with anger against pride and self-complacency and the search for riches; are you condemning these things in yourself and others? He died to bring his gospel true; are you doing anything or suffering anything to teach men the reality of God's fatherhood and sovereignty?

We are called to be a kingdom and priests unto our God; woe be to us if we are negligent in our priesthood or traitorous citizens of his kingdom.

CLOSING PRAYER

Holy God, you inspired the Dorchester chaplains to be models of steadfast sacrificial love in a tragic and terrifying time: Help us to follow their example, that their courageous ministry may inspire chaplains and all who serve, to recognise your presence in the midst of peril; through Jesus Christ our saviour, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. 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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Comments

Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s — 1 Comment

  1. I’ve long been overwhelmingly moved and inspired and interiorly strengthened by the example of the Dorchester chaplains. I’m so glad to see their legacy honored here.