TUESDAY THE THIRTY-FIRST OF OCTOBER, 2017
O Lord, who promises a crown of life to those who love you, give us grace to love you for what you are more than for all which you bestow upon us; and so, loving you, to endure temptation and finish our course with joy. Amen.
( Christina G. Rossetti )
Lord, keep us steadfast in thy Word;
curb those who, fain by craft and sword,
would wrest the kingdom from thy son
and set at naught all he hath done.
Lord Jesus Christ, thy power make known,
for thou art lord of lords alone;
defend thy Christendom that we
may evermore sing praise to thee.
O comforter of priceless worth,
send peace and unity on earth.
Support us in our final strife
and lead us out of death to life.
( Martin Luther )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
On this the day in 1517 a German, Augustinian monk, name of Martin Luther, started a conversation that led to the fragmentation of church unity in Europe, by offering a critical assessment of church traditions in light of the "Bible."
Medieval people only wanted what we want today. They wanted to know what is certain about existence. What can we count on in a world where chaos so often seemed to rule? To that Medieval world, the Church offered the certainty of an institution brought to life by God, led by a pope whose spiritual authority over all others was by divine right. In effect, the Church offered, that if one followed the teaching and traditions of the Church, they were assured a place in heaven.
This worked for a long time, but then in 1378, the Church suddenly found itself with two popes each one claiming legitimacy, and before long there were three popes, vying for power, excommunicating those who favoured someone else. This papal uncertainty led people to seek a different source of authority, and so many started to turn to the "Bible." Aided by the invention of the printing press, efforts were made to translate the "Bible" into vernacular languages, and put it in the hands of as many as possible.
People like Martin Luther, began to study the biblical texts and they found out that many of the church traditions people took for granted had no warrant in the "Bible." The veneration of the saints, the teaching of Purgatory, and the sale of indulgences were the catalyst for change.
Luther was fond of drawing people back to the text of scripture to seek a way of living the faith of Jesus, not in the cloister, but in the world. He argued for a married clergy, for worship in the language people spoke, and for a dismantling of the church’s hierarchy.
Today, a different age calls for a different reformation. The internet makes possible all kinds of community unheard of in previous ages. A church like Saint Laika’s can draw upon a wider, ecumenical base to reach folks who have been hurt by the institutional church or its ministers, yet hunger for spiritual substance. In the difficult days we live in, when the world is a global village, people still are seeking certainty in an uncertain world.
Scripture. "Psalm Forty-Six" was the scriptural text behind Martin Luther’s famous hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Here are the first three verses of the psalm:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
... for peace in the world.
... for members of the Lutheran denomination throughout the world.
... for theologians and Biblical scholars; for leaders and enablers of Bible study.
... that all may enjoy freedom of religious thought without fear of being harmed.
... for refugees confined to detention centres and camps.
... 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 sermon on "Titus, chapter three, verses four to eight, by Martin Luther:
This is the teaching implied in "John," chapter fourteen, verse six:
“No one cometh unto the Father but by me.”
Christ’s sole effort in the whole Gospel is to draw us out of ourselves into himself; he spreads out his wings and calls us together beneath their shelter.
To emphasise the grace of Christ is also Paul’s design in the conclusion of this lesson, where he says: “That, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying.”
He does not say “justified by our faith” but “justified by the grace of Christ.”
Christ alone has favour with God. No one but he has done the will of God and merited eternal life. In view of the fact that he did it not for his own sake but for ours, all believers should be so perfectly one with Christ that all he has done for them will, through him and his grace, be regarded as if the believer himself had accomplished it. See what an inexpressibly beneficent thing Christian faith is — what inconceivably great blessings it brings to all believers!
Almighty God, gracious lord, pour out your Holy Spirit upon all your faithful people. Keep them steadfast in your Word, protect and comfort them in all temptations, defend them against all their enemies, and bestow on the Church your saving peace; through your son, 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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