MONDAY THE TWENTIETH OF FEBRUARY, 2017
* FREDERICK DOUGLASS *
Today and every day, Lord, we get a glimpse of heaven touching earth. It comes in the glory of dawn's kiss, it thrives in the energy of life's landscape, it grasps each glimpse of humanity within us. May we learn to feel your presence graze our dreams and guide our visions that we might know you are our God. Amen.
PSALM FORTY-SIX ( abridged )
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble;
therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved,
and though the mountains tremble in the heart of the sea;
though the waters rage and swell,
and though the mountains quake at the towering seas.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place of the dwelling of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her;
therefore shall she not be removed;
God shall help her at the break of day.
Come and behold the works of the Lord,
what destruction he has wrought upon the earth.
He makes wars to cease in all the world;
he shatters the bow and snaps the spear
and burns the chariots in the fire.
"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations;
I will be exalted in the earth."
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.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
God of Jacob, when the earth shakes and the nations are in uproar, speak, and let the storm be still; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Frederick Douglass: “ forever unfit to be a slave ”
Today Saint Laika’s remembers Frederick Douglass, American abolitionist and servant of Christ. Douglass was born into slavery in Talbot County, Maryland in 1818. His mother died when he was a little boy and at age eight he was sold to the Auld Family. Mrs. Auld began to teach Frederick to read, as she was teaching her own son, but her husband put a stop to it, claiming “it would forever unfit him to be a slave.” Nevertheless Frederick continued to learn to read from other white children, and by reading the writing of those for whom he worked. Douglass was a ravenous reader. By reading he became convinced of the evil of slavery, and all his life was an advocate for equal education for all children.
Later he remarked “Those songs still follow me, to deepen my hatred of slavery, and quicken my sympathies for my brethren in bonds.”
At age twenty he escaped from his owners and headed north to Massachusetts. He joined a church and began to be associated with the abolitionist movement. He had formidable oratorical skills to match his passion for reading, and soon he was becoming well-known as a speaker against slavery. Douglass produced some regular abolitionist newspapers, including "The North Star." In 1845 he published an autobiography, which was well-read and helped to expose the brutalities of slavery to new audiences.
Legally, however, he was still considered a runaway slave. The more renowned he became, the more he had to worry about recapture. In 1845 he went to England on a speaking tour. His friends in America raised enough money to buy out his master’s legal claim to him so that he could return to the United States in safety.
In 1848, Douglass attended the first women's rights convention, the Seneca Falls Convention, as the only African American. Elizabeth Cady Stanton asked the assembly to pass a resolution asking for women's suffrage. Many of those present opposed the idea, but Douglass stood and spoke eloquently in favour; he said that he could not accept the right to vote himself as a black man if woman could not also claim that right. His powerful words rang true with enough attendees that the resolution passed.
By the time of the Civil War, Douglass was one of the most famous black men in the country. He died on this day in 1895.
Scripture. In the second chapter of "Hebrews," at verses ten and eleven we read:
"It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
... for peace in the world.
... for those who campaign for the freedom and equality of all people.
... for democracy in all nations and universal suffrage.
... for the people of eastern Ukraine and that the ceasefire in their region will hold and that Russia will deliver on its promise to remove heavy weapons from the front line. DETAILS
... for those facing famine and starvation in South Sudan. DETAILS
... for those killed or injured in a car bomb blast in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. 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 ""The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro"" by Frederick Douglass:
Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that "Declaration of Independence," extended to us and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?
Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary. Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me.
Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, "may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!"
To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this fourth of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery, the great sin and shame of America.
Almighty God, we bless you for the witness of Frederick Douglass, whose impassioned and reasonable speech moved the hearts of a president and a people to a deeper obedience to Christ. Strengthen us also to be outspoken on behalf of all victims of injustice; through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. 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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