TUESDAY THE TWENTY-THIRD OF JANUARY 2018
* Phillips Brooks *
O God, give me strength to live another day; let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties; let me not lose faith in other people; keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness; preserve me from minding little stings or giving them; help me to keep my heart clean and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity; open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things; grant me this day some new vision of thy truth; inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness; and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls; in the name of the strong deliverer, our only lord and saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
( Phillips Brooks )
O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see you lie.
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shines
the everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are met in you tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary
and, gathered all above,
while mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars, together
proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the king,
and peace to men on earth.
How silently, how silently
the wondrous gift is given.
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him still
the dear Christ enters in.
( Phillips Brooks )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Phillips Brooks: preacher, liturgist, shaper of souls
Today Saint Laika’s remembers Phillips Brooks, one of the towering figures of church life in the nineteenth century.
Brooks is so easy to praise, let me introduce him to you just shortly after he had graduated from Harvard University in 1855. He had taken a job as a school teacher at the Boston Latin School and had been fired shortly thereafter.
He wrote: “I believe I might become a stunning man: but somehow or other I do not seem in the way to come to much now.”
After this failure he entered the Virginia Theological Seminary and was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1860, serving briefly in Philadelphia. This was during the American Civil War, and Brooks gained a reputation as a patriot and preacher. His sermon on the death of President Abraham Lincoln was an early step towards securing his legacy as one of the greatest preachers of the nineteenth century.
In 1869 he became the rector of Trinity Church in Boston, a position he would hold for over twenty years. Three years into his ministry there the church was destroyed by fire. For four years the congregation worshipped in bare and drab surroundings, while Phillips Brooks, with the help of leading architects and artists, turned the new Trinity Church into a masterpiece. It had the first freestanding liturgical altar in the country, magnificent stained glass windows. There was no rush on finishing the pulpit. Phillips Brooks preferred to preach from the chancel steps.
James Bryce wrote of him, “There was no sign of art about his preaching, no touch of self-consciousness. He spoke to his audience as a man might speak to his friend, pouring forth with swift, yet quiet and seldom impassioned earnestness, the thoughts of his singularly pure and lofty spirit.”
In 1891 he became Bishop of Massachusetts. But after only fifteen months he died.
He had written, “Whatever happens, always remember the mysterious richness of human nature and the nearness of God to each one of us.”
Despite his many accomplishments, he is perhaps best known for writing the Christmas carol: “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”
Scripture. In the third chapter of "Ephesians," verses twenty and twenty-one we read:
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.
... for peace in the world.
... for preachers; for liturgists; for hymn writers.
... for church architects and church builders; for all involved in the design, fabrication and conservation of the buildings we worship God in.
... for those who are mourning the loss of a pet.
... for poorly pets and those who care for them.
... for the Tesco shop-floor workers about to lose their jobs because their bosses are not making enough money; for all workers facing redundancy. DETAILS
... for the midwives of the world, in particular, those working in hard to access regions; for pregnant women who are unable to have the help of a qualified midwife when their time comes to give birth to their new baby.
... 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 in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
From "Thought and Action," an address by Phillips Brooks:
I want to claim, that which I believe with all my soul, that he who lives in the faith of Jesus Christ lives in the freest action of his mental powers, and there sees before him and makes himself a part of the large world into which man shall enter, in which he has perfect liberty and can exercise his powers as he could never have exercised them without. It is not very strange to think that men should have sometimes come to think that the religion of Jesus Christ was a slavery that was laid upon the mind of man, because very often those who have been the disciples of that religion, those who have been the preachers and exponents of that religion, have claimed just exactly that thing. They have seemed to say to themselves and to one another, to the world to which they speak, that man does give up the powers of his reason when he enters into the powers of his faith, when he enters into the great realm of faith. Led by some sort of influence, led by some heresy with regard to the capacity of man, or with regard to the dealing of God with man, or with regard to the purposes of man's life upon the earth, they have been content to say that man must give up the power of thought in order that he might enter into the Christian life and attain to all the purposes of the Christian discipline, they have been content to say that man must give up the noblest power of his nature in order to enter upon the highest life. Well might a man hesitate, hesitate whatever the blessings that were offered to him in the fulness of the Christian experience, if he were called upon to give up that which made the very centre and glory of his life, that which linked him most immediately to the God from whom he sprang. It would be as if in the storm the ship should cast over its engine in order to save its own life. The ship might be saved a little while from going down in the depths of despair, but it never would reach the port to which it had been bound; it never would accomplish the purpose of the voyage upon which it had set forth. Let us put absolutely away from, us all such thoughts. Let us come under the inspiration of Jesus Christ Himself, who says to us, in these words which we have repeatedly read to one another, that it is the truth that is to make us free, and that the entrance of the man therefore into that freedom is the largest freedom, of every region of man's life.
O everlasting God, you revealed truth to your servant Phillips Brooks, and so formed and moulded his mind and heart that he was able to mediate that truth with grace and power: Grant, we pray, that all whom you call to preach the gospel may steep themselves in your Word, and conform their lives to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. 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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