THURSDAY THE TWENTY-FIRST OF DECEMBER 2017
* Thomas the Apostle *
Loving God, enlarge our souls with a divine charity, that we may hope all things, endure all things; and become messengers of your healing mercy to the grievances and infirmities of humankind. In all things attune our hearts to the holiness and harmony of your kingdom and hasten the time when your kingdom shall come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
( James Martineau )
Incarnate God, immortal love,
whom we, that have not seen your face,
by faith, and faith alone, embrace,
believing where we cannot prove.
You will not leave us in the dust;
you gave us life, we know not why.
We trust we were not made to die,
for you have made us, you are just.
In you meet human and divine,
the highest, holiest union known.
We falsely call our powers our own
until our wills with yours combine.
Our little systems have their day;
they have their day and cease to be;
they are but fleeting certainty,
and you, O Christ, are more than they.
We have but faith; we cannot know,
for knowledge is of things proved true;
and yet we trust it comes from you,
a sign of promise; let it grow.
Let knowledge grow from more to more,
but more of reverence in us dwell;
that mind and soul, according well,
may make one music as before.
( Alfred Lord Tennyson )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Thomas the Apostle: here and there in the Jesus story
Today Saint Laika’s remembers the apostle Thomas, known primarily for his absence on the night of the first Easter and who subsequently doubted the reality of Jesus’ resurrection until Jesus appeared to him one week later and invited him to see and believe.
Thomas is featured primarily in the "Gospel of John." When Jesus tells his disciples in "John," chapter eleven, that, despite the threats against him, he will go to Jerusalem to visit the family of Lazarus who had died, it was Thomas who rallied the others: "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
In "John," chapter fourteen, when Jesus is speaking about going to his father’s house to prepare places for them all, it is Thomas who says: “Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
This prompts Jesus to say: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
Finally in "John," chapter twenty-one, Thomas is mentioned as one of the apostles who went fishing with Peter up in Galilee.
Legends about Thomas travelling to India are very consistently reported in the early Church, and indeed, a very ancient Christian church, the Mar Thoma Church, was discovered by Portuguese explorers and merchants centuries later. Subsequently it was learned that these Mar Thoma Christians had been under the jurisdiction of the Assyrian Church of the East at various times, and the Syrian Orthodox Church at other times. The burial place of Thomas in Mylapore, India draws thousands of pilgrims each year.
In 1945, near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi, twelve codices of ancient texts were found in a sealed jar. Most prominent among them was a document called “The Gospel of Thomas” which begins with: "These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymus Judas Thomas recorded." This gospel has gained critical attention for some of the sayings attributed to Jesus appear to be more primitive sayings that parallel the words of Jesus in the synoptic gospels.
As we approach the Christmas feast, perhaps we can honour the memory of Thomas by taking as our own, his Easter confession, “My lord and my God,” and placing it in Bethlehem, as we welcome into this world, the one we say is this world’s saviour.
Scripture. In the first chapter of "The First Letter of Peter," at verses eight and nine, we read:
Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
... for peace in the world.
... for those who doubt God and for the strengthening of our own faith.
... that we may see Jesus.
... for architects, construction workers, masons, stonecutters, surveyors, geometricians, theologians, blind people, the Christians of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and all people, congregations and institutions who hold Thomas to be their patron.
... for those who were injured when a man deliberately drove a car into a crowd in Melbourne, Australia. DETAILS
... for the people of Catalonia as they go to the polls today to elect new political leaders; that, whatever the outcome of the election, there will be no resultant violence in the region.
... for children displaced and traumatised by war.
... for those who have died recently 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 "Letters to a Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke:
And your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become criticism. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it perhaps bewildered and embarrassed, perhaps also protesting. But don't give in, insist on arguments, and act in this way, attentive and persistent, every single time, and the day will come when, instead of being a destroyer, it will become one of your best workers; perhaps the most intelligent of all the ones that are building your life.
Almighty and everliving God, who strengthened your apostle Thomas with sure and certain faith in your son's resurrection: grant us so perfectly and without doubt to believe in Jesus Christ, our lord and our God, that our faith may never be found wanting in your sight; through him 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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