THURSDAY THE NINTH OF FEBRUARY, 2017
I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever
Creator God, we glimpse your beauty
in setting sun, mountain top, eagle’s wing.
We sense your power in thunder crash,
lightning flash and ocean’s roar.
Creator God we praise you.
Precious Jesus, we see your love
stretched out upon a cruel cross.
We stand in awe at your sacrifice,
pure love poured out for humankind.
Precious Jesus we praise you.
Holy Spirit, we see your power
in lives transformed, hearts on fire.
We listen for your still, small voice,
comforting, guiding, calling.
Holy Spirit we praise you. Amen.
Lord, let me know my end and the number of my days.
I said, "I will keep watch over my ways,
so that I offend not with my tongue.
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle
while the wicked are in my sight."
So I held my tongue and said nothing;
I kept silent but to no avail.
My distress increased, my heart grew hot within me;
while I mused, the fire was kindled
and I spoke out with my tongue:
"Lord, let me know my end and the number of my days,
that I may know how short my time is.
You have made my days but a handsbreadth,
and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight;
truly, even those who stand upright are but a breath.
We walk about like a shadow
and in vain we are in turmoil;
we heap up riches and cannot tell who will gather them.
"And now, what is my hope?
Truly my hope is even in you.
Deliver me from all my transgressions
and do not make me the taunt of the fool."
I fell silent and did not open my mouth,
for surely it was your doing.
Take away your plague from me;
I am consumed by the blows of your hand.
With rebukes for sin you punish us;
like a moth you consume our beauty;
truly, everyone is but a breath.
Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry;
hold not your peace at my tears.
For I am but a stranger with you,
a wayfarer, as all my forebears were.
Turn your gaze from me, that I may be glad again,
before I go my way and am no more.
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.
Lord, let me know my end and the number of my days.
O Christ, Son of the living God,
help us when we are too cast down to pray,
and grant that we may trust you all our days,
for you are with us in our living and our dying,
Jesus, Lord and God. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
The Martyrs of Japan
In early February 1597, what appeared to be a successful introduction of Christianity into Japan came to a screeching halt. Japanese leader Hideyoshi ordered the execution of twenty-six Christians by crucifixion in Nagasaki, Japan.
In his book “Silence” Japanese novelist Shusaku Endo pins the responsibility on “the pilot of a stranded Spanish ship, who, in an effort to impress the Japanese, boasted that the greatness of the Spanish Empire was partly due to the missionaries who always prepared the way for the armed forces of the Spanish King."
When Hideyoshi heard this, Endo says, “he ordered the immediate execution of a group of Christian Missionaries. And so twenty-six, Japanese and European, were crucified on a cold winter’s morning in February 1597.”
The Japanese were open, at first, to Christianity, when it arrived in its western form. Buddhists had long been accustomed to the presence of Christians throughout south east Asia, who were members of the Assyrian Church of the East. Their presence in Asia was almost completely wiped out in the early fifteenth century by Tamerlane.
Unfortunately the Western Christians brought with them religious rivalry between the Jesuits and the Franciscans who both evangelised Japan, and there were political rivalries along with colonial aspirations to contend with between the Spanish Empire and the Portuguese.
By 1630, what was left of Christianity in Japan was driven underground. Yet it is remarkable that two hundred and fifty years later there were found many men and women, without priests, who had preserved through the generations a vestige of Christian faith. They were known as the “Kirishitans.”
Scripture. In the third chapter of the "Book of Lamentations," at verses forty-six to forty-eight, we read:
"All our enemies have opened their mouths against us; panic and pitfall have come upon us, devastation and destruction. My eyes flow with rivers of tears because of the destruction of my people."
... for peace in the world.
... for Christians in Japan.
... 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:
So when the dry times come, when winter seems to have set in, do not be dismayed or rebellious. It is a normal feature of growth. But take great care of two things. Be
careful first that the sense of alienation from God is not caused and sustained by some continued course of wrong-doing or wrong-thinking. To defy conscience even in small ways is a sure method of sterilising the spiritual life. But be careful also to keep in mind the real nature of your spiritual hunger. What you need is God; not some gift of God in joyous confidence, or in assurance that all is well with your friends in the other world, nor any other of his priceless boons. What you need is God; not spheres of service nor hopes of world reconstruction, nor certainty of heaven after death. What you need is God himself the eternal, almighty and all-loving Father. Having God you will have also all the other things that our souls rightly crave, but which apart from him can never satisfy.
"Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks, so longeth my soul after thee, God. My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God."
"Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us."
O God our Father, source of strength to all your saints, you brought the holy martyrs of Japan through the suffering of the cross to the joys of eternal life: grant that we, encouraged by their example, may hold fast the faith we profess, even to death itself; through Jesus Christ our lord, 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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