THURSDAY THE TWENTY-SIXTH OF OCTOBER, 2017
* Alfred the Great *
O Lord from who all good things do come, grant to us, your humble servants, that by your holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by your merciful guiding may perform the same, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE ( abridged )
Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good.
Praise the name of the Lord;
give praise, you servants of the Lord,
you that stand in the house of the Lord,
in the courts of the house of our God.
For I know that the Lord is great
and that our Lord is above all gods.
The Lord does whatever he pleases
in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and in all the deeps.
He brings up the clouds
from the ends of the earth;
he makes lightning with the rain
and brings the winds
out of his treasuries.
The idols of the nations
are but silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but cannot speak;
eyes have they, but cannot see;
they have ears, but cannot hear;
neither is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them shall become like them,
and so will all who put their trust in them.
Bless the Lord, O house of Israel;
O house of Aaron, bless the Lord.
Bless the Lord, O house of Levi;
you who fear the Lord, bless the Lord.
Blessed be the Lord from Zion,
who dwells in Jerusalem.
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.
Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good.
Wise and gracious God, save us from the idols of our hearts and keep us in your living presence, that we may become a people for your praise in Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Today Saint Laika’s remembers Alfred the Great, king of the West Saxons, who died on the twenty-sixth of October, 899.
Alfred ruled in a very tumultuous time in the history of Britain. He watched his father and four brothers die in battle before he wore the crown of king. He was challenged by the Norsemen, the Danes who raided and pillaged Britain.
After successfully stopping the advance of the Norsemen in 878AD, he made a treaty with them. They could keep land in the North East of England, provided they accepted baptism and instruction in the Christian faith.
These forced conversions seem inappropriate to us today as it hardly seems that genuine faith in Christ can be part of the act. But it brought peace to England, and that peace enabled the Christian Church to continue its mission throughout the land without fear.
History treats Alfred as a holy king. In his early years he had aspired to become a monk. Circumstances thrust him into battle and onto the throne, but once peace was secured he turned his thoughts once again to reading and to the "Bible." He was much impressed by the provisions in the "Law of Moses" for the protection of the rights of ordinary citizens, and gave order that similar provisions should be made part of English law. He promoted the education of the clergy as he considered that the tumultuous times he lived in were a result of a lack of learning. He caused many books and ideas to be translated and circulated for study. He once reasoned that he did this so that “in the midst of earthly troubles I might sometimes think of heavenly things.”
Scripture. In "Psalm Twenty-one" we read at verses one and seven:
In your strength the king rejoices, O LORD, and in your help how greatly he exults! For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.
... for peace in the world.
... for the rulers of the nations; that they may rule for their people not over them.
... for Queen Elizabeth II; that her Christian faith may continue to be as a light to the nations.
... for intersex people. DETAILS
... for the people of Austria who celebrate their national day today.
... for the safety of the people of Kenya as they rerun their national election; that it will not result in more violence. DETAILS
... for those who lose their jobs because of suffering from mental illness. DETAILS
... for those killed or injured when a fireworks factory exploded in Tangerang, Indonesia. DETAILS
... for those killed or injured during an assassination attempt on Ukrainian MP, Ihor Mosiychuk, in Kiev. 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 "Pastoral Rule: Book One" by Gregory the Great:
What manner of man ought to come to rule.
That man, therefore, ought by all means to be drawn with cords to be an example of good living who already lives spiritually, dying to all passions of the flesh; who disregards worldly prosperity; who is afraid of no adversity; who desires only inward wealth; whose intention the body, in good accord with it, thwarts not at all by its frailness, nor the spirit greatly by its disdain: one who is not led to covet the things of others, but gives freely of his own; who through the bowels of compassion is quickly moved to pardon, yet is never bent down from the fortress of rectitude by pardoning more than is meet; who perpetrates no unlawful deeds, yet deplores those perpetrated by others as though they were his own; who out of affection of heart sympathises with another's infirmity, and so rejoices in the good of his neighbour as though it were his own advantage; who so insinuates himself as an example to others in all he does that among them he has nothing, at any rate of his own past deeds, to blush for; who studies so to live that he may be able to water even dry hearts with the streams of doctrine; who has already learned by the use and trial of prayer that he can obtain what he has requested from the Lord, having had already said to him, as it were, through the voice of experience, "While you are yet speaking, I will say, Here am I" (Isaiah 58:9).
O sovereign Lord, who brought your servant Alfred to a troubled throne that he might establish peace in a ravaged land and revive learning and the arts among the people: awake in us also a keen desire to increase our understanding while we are in this world and an eager longing to reach that endless life where all will be made clear; through Jesus Christ our 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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