THURSDAY THE TWENTY-FOURTH OF AUGUST, 2017
* Bartholomew *
O Jesus, wisdom of the Father, grant me wisdom, that I may, at all times, think, speak and do before you that which is good in your sight. And save me from evil thoughts, words and deeds. Have mercy upon your creatures, and upon me, great sinner that I am. Amen.
( Armenian prayer )
The Lord has anointed me
and sent me to bring
good news to the oppressed.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me
because he has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,
to comfort all who mourn,
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit,
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
For as the earth puts forth her blossom,
and as seeds in the garden spring up,
so shall the Lord God make righteousness and praise
blossom before all the nations.
You shall be called priests of the Lord;
they shall speak of you as ministers of our God.
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 has anointed me
and sent me to bring
good news to the oppressed.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Bartholomew, the apostle who disappeared
Today Saint Laika’s remembers Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles, according to the lists provided in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He is not listed by John, who refers instead to “Nathanael, of Cana in Galilee.” These need not be different people, for Bartholomew comes from the word “Bar-Tolmei” which means “son of the furrows”. Perhaps, son of farmers.
Like much of what we know about the apostles, information about Bartholomew is sketchy and the subject of legends. Some refer to his missionary activity in India, while other sources place the focus of his work in Armenia. He does play a large part in the heritage of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
One legend claims that he was flayed and crucified in Armenia. He is most often portrayed in art this way: carrying a knife and holding his own skin. An apocryphal gospel bearing his name purports to tell of Christ’s descent to the dead, and his freeing of the souls held in the grip of death.
Take comfort in the fact that someone so close to Jesus has faded completely into legend, so much so that the real flesh and blood apostle is unknown. Most disciples do not become famous in the service of God. Let Bartholomew be a sort of “everyman” apostle, to represent all that we do to bring forth the kingdom of God.
Scripture. In the "Gospel of John," chapter thirteen, verses sixteen and seventeen, we read.
"Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them."
... for peace in the world.
... that we may increase the fame of Jesus without seeking fame for ourselves.
... for an end to the cult of celebrity that has become a false religion in our times; that all people will come to value their own worth as children of God.
... for members of the Armenian Apostolic Church and all who claim Bartholomew as their patron.
... for those suffering from diseases of the nervous system.
... for the people of Ukraine who celebrate their national day today.
... for students receiving examination results, in particular those who are disappointed in the grades they achieved.
... for those killed or injured by Typhoon Hato and for all who have lost their homes or businesses to the storm. 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 a homily by John Chrysostom on the "First Letter to the Corinthians":
It was clear through unlearned men that the cross was persuasive, in fact, it persuaded the whole world. Their discourse was not of unimportant matters but of God and true religion, of the gospel way of life and future judgement, yet it turned plain, uneducated men into philosophers. How the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and his weakness stronger than men!
In what way is it stronger? It made its way throughout the world and overcame all men; countless men sought to eradicate the very name of the Crucified, but that name flourished and grew ever mightier. Its enemies lost out and perished; the living who waged a war on a dead man proved helpless. Therefore, when a Greek tells me I am dead, he shows only that he is foolish indeed, for I, whom he thinks a fool, turn out to be wiser than those reputed wise. So too, in calling me weak, he but shows that he is weaker still. For the good deeds which tax-collectors and fishermen were able to accomplish by God’s grace, the philosophers, the rulers, the countless multitudes cannot even imagine.
Paul had this in mind when he said: "The weakness of God is stronger than men."
That the preaching of these men was indeed divine is brought home to us in the same way. For how otherwise could twelve uneducated men, who lived on lakes and rivers and wastelands, get the idea for such an immense enterprise? How could men who perhaps had never been in a city or a public square think of setting out to do battle with the whole world? That they were fearful, timid men, the evangelist makes clear; he did not reject the fact or try to hide their weaknesses. Indeed he turned these into a proof of the truth. What did he say of them? That when Christ was arrested, the others fled, despite all the miracles they had seen, while he who was leader of the others denied him!
How then account for the fact that these men, who in Christ’s lifetime did not stand up to the attacks by the Jews, set forth to do battle with the whole world once Christ was dead if, as you claim, Christ did not rise and speak to them and rouse their courage?
Did they perhaps say to themselves: “What is this? He could not save himself but he will protect us? He did not help himself when he was alive, but now that he is dead he will extend a helping hand to us? In his lifetime he brought no nation under his banner, but by uttering his name we will win over the whole world?”
Would it not be wholly irrational even to think such thoughts, much less to act upon them?
It is evident, then, that if they had not seen him risen and had proof of his power, they would not have risked so much.
Almighty God, you gave to your apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and courageously to preach your word. Grant that we, with all your church, may proclaim to the ends of the earth, the good news of your love, revealed to us in Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
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