Sunday, 25 September 2016

Can't make it to church - 25 September 2016

I’m going to move away from my usual practice of bringing all three readings into the sermon and keep on the one major thread of money, God and us and as we begin with thew Gospel there’s a bit of stand up comedian routine that beckons us to grab the microphone and open with the words, “The rich man and Lazarus – what’s that all about, eh?”

Here we have a bloke with nothing but sores and a rich geezer with nothing but full barns and bulging pockets - talk about contrasts. Not only that but we find Abraham making an appearance as the ‘Father of the multitude (the people of God)’ for those hearing the words first hand would have had him, and being in his company after death, in a very special place.

Here we are continuing to think about attitudes to money –  we know we can't serve two masters and that money and God can easily contend for domination over our lives and now we come to the final bit: the culmination of the eat, drink and be merry as tomorrow comes and the rich man, and the poor man too, dies. It’s here that the rich bloke, for the first time, notices a hitherto unnoticed beggar called Lazarus.

But now the tables are turned as the beggar sits at a table laden with good stuff whilst the rich bloke is in hell (Hades) gasping for just a sip of water. This is the stuff of contrasts and judgement – treasures on earth and those stored up in heaven – temporal and eternal stuff.  This passage was then, and is now, a shot across the bows and a call to get our lives in order whilst we can. It is not, I think, a literal statement about life and death but an illustration designed to be provocative and cautionary – so don’t expect to pop your clogs and see some rich buffoon burning far off in the distance whilst you tuck in to some eternal happy meal!

The stab to the heart, and the focus of this passage, comes when the rich man asks Abraham to allow Lazarus to pop back and warn his five brothers about the path he, and presumably they, have taken and the place to which it leads. It goes like this:

“I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets (the Old Testament); let them listen to them.”

The rich man responds, “If someone (who returns) from the dead goes to them, they will repent,” only to hear Abraham say, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

Some have always been unconvinced by God’s written word (old and new), by Jesus (God’s living Word) and His message of love and servanthood and continue to ignore Him even when He returned from the dead! Today we perhaps find ourselves among the family members, the inheritors of lifestyle and attitude, of the rich man – perhaps we have wrong attitudes towards money and are a little confused as to what is important – best listen to the man who returned from the dead, eh?

So no surprise that the New Testament passage adds a cherry to the whole thing as it reminds us that ‘we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it’ and need to learnt to be both godly and content; food and clothing, the basics being provided should be enough.  But, of course, there will always be those who fall into the trap that is the ‘love of money’ and this ‘love’ is A root of all kinds of evil; it causes people to ‘wander from the faith’ and load themselves with many griefs. (Note – the use of the word ‘A’ not ‘THE’ for the love of money is but one of the paths to separation from God!

So we should run from the wrong stuff and instead run after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness and should ‘Fight the good fight of the faith’. We should be prepared to give an answer for the reason we believe in, and follow, Jesus (the Christ) and should seek to tell those who are rich to put their hope in God rather than wealth; storing up treasures in heaven rather than in the bank!


After all – you can't take it with you, but you can send it on ahead!



Let us pray for those who have nothing, that they will have food and water, be clothed, have shelter and be free to live in safety.

Let us pray for those who have plenty that they will not be shackled by their possessions and limited buy the things that they have - may they show kindness and grace to those less fortunate and seek the things of the kingdom.

Let us pray for those who suffer in body, mind and spirit - may they know the healing touch of God's Holy Spirit and the presence of His people ministering love to them.

Let us pray for ourselves - that we may grow in grace and overcome those things which hamper us, causing us to fail and fall.

The Collect
God, our judge and saviour, teach us to be open to your truth and to trust in your love, that we may live each day with confidence in the salvation which is given through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.




Luke 16:19-31
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

1 Timothy 6:6-19
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honour and might forever. Amen.

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.






Post Communion Prayer
We praise and thank you, O Christ, for this sacred feast: for here we receive you, here the memory of your passion is renewed, here our minds are filled with grace, and here a pledge of future glory is given, when we shall feast at that table where you reign with all your saints for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Morning Prayer - Wednesday 21 September 2016

Psalm 49
Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all you that dwell in the world, You of low or high degree, both rich and poor together. My mouth shall speak of wisdom and my heart shall meditate on understanding. I will incline my ear to a parable; I will unfold my riddle with the lyre.

Why should I fear in evil days, when the malice of my foes surrounds me, Such as trust in their goods and glory in the abundance of their riches? For no one can indeed ransom another or pay to God the price of deliverance. To ransom a soul is too costly; there is no price one could pay for it, So that they might live for ever, and never see the grave. For we see that the wise die also; with the foolish and ignorant they perish and leave their riches to others. Their tomb is their home for ever, their dwelling through all generations, though they call their lands after their own names.

Those who have honour, but lack understanding, are like the beasts that perish. Such is the way of those who boast in themselves, the end of those who delight in their own words. Like a flock of sheep they are destined to die; death is their shepherd; they go down straight to the Pit. Their beauty shall waste away, and the land of the dead shall be their dwelling. But God shall ransom my soul; from the grasp of death will he take me.

Be not afraid if some grow rich and the glory of their house increases, For they will carry nothing away when they die, nor will their glory follow after them. Though they count themselves happy while they live and praise you for your success, They shall enter the company of their ancestors who will nevermore see the light. Those who have honour, but lack understanding, are like the beasts that perish.

Psalm 117
O praise the Lord, all you nations; praise him, all you peoples. For great is his steadfast love towards us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever.
Alleluia.

1 Kings 19.15-21
Then the Lord said to him, ‘Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall kill; and whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall kill. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.’

So he set out from there, and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was ploughing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him. He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, ‘Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.’ Then Elijah said to him, ‘Go back again; for what have I done to you?’ He returned from following him, took the yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them; using the equipment from the oxen, he boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out and followed Elijah, and became his servant.

2 Timothy 3.14-17
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

The Collect
O Almighty God, whose blessed Son called Matthew the tax collector to be an apostle and evangelist:
give us grace to forsake the selfish pursuit of gain and the possessive love of riches that we may follow in the way of your Son Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.



Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Morning Prayer - Tuesday 20 September 2016

John Coleridge Patteson, First Bishop of Melanesia, and his Companions, Martyrs, 1871

Psalm 73
Truly, God is loving to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. Nevertheless, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well-nigh slipped. For I was envious of the proud; I saw the wicked in such prosperity; For they suffer no pains and their bodies are sleek and sound; They come to no misfortune like other folk; nor are they plagued as others are; Therefore pride is their necklace and violence wraps them like a cloak. Their iniquity comes from within; the conceits of their hearts overflow. They scoff, and speak only of evil; they talk of oppression from on high. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue ranges round the earth; And so the people turn to them and find in them no fault. They say, ‘How should God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?’ Behold, these are the wicked; ever at ease, they increase their wealth.

Is it in vain that I cleansed my heart and washed my hands in innocence? All day long have I been stricken and chastened every morning. If I had said, ‘I will speak as they do,’ I should have betrayed the generation of your children. Then thought I to understand this, but it was too hard for me, Until I entered the sanctuary of God and understood the end of the wicked: How you set them in slippery places; you cast them down to destruction. How suddenly do they come to destruction, perish and come to a fearful end! As with a dream when one awakes, so, Lord, when you arise you will despise their image. When my heart became embittered and I was pierced to the quick, I was but foolish and ignorant; I was like a brute beast in your presence. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with your counsel and afterwards receive me with glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing upon earth that I desire in comparison with you. Though my flesh and my heart fail me, God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever. Truly, those who forsake you will perish; you will put to silence the faithless who betray you. But it is good for me to draw near to God; in the Lord God have I made my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

1 Kings 22.1-28
For three years Aram and Israel continued without war. But in the third year King Jehoshaphat of Judah came down to the king of Israel. The king of Israel said to his servants, ‘Do you know that Ramoth-gilead belongs to us, yet we are doing nothing to take it out of the hand of the king of Aram?’ He said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?’ Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, ‘I am as you are; my people are your people, my horses are your horses.’

But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, ‘Inquire first for the word of the Lord.’ Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred of them, and said to them, ‘Shall I go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?’ They said, ‘Go up; for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.’ But Jehoshaphat said, ‘Is there no other prophet of the Lord here of whom we may inquire?’ The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one other by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies anything favourable about me, but only disaster.’ Jehoshaphat said, ‘Let the king not say such a thing.’ Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, ‘Bring quickly Micaiah son of Imlah.’ Now the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes, at the threshing-floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets were prophesying before them. Zedekiah son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron, and he said, ‘Thus says the Lord: With these you shall gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’ All the prophets were prophesying the same and saying, ‘Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph; the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.’

The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, ‘Look, the words of the prophets with one accord are favourable to the king; let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favourably.’ But Micaiah said, ‘As the Lord lives, whatever the Lord says to me, that I will speak.’

When he had come to the king, the king said to him, ‘Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we refrain?’ He answered him, ‘Go up and triumph; the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.’ But the king said to him, ‘How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?’ Then Micaiah said, ‘I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep that have no shepherd; and the Lord said, “These have no master; let each one go home in peace.” ’ The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy anything favourable about me, but only disaster?’

Then Micaiah said, ‘Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, with all the host of heaven standing beside him to the right and to the left of him. And the Lord said, “Who will entice Ahab, so that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?” Then one said one thing, and another said another, until a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, “I will entice him.” “How?” the Lord asked him. He replied, “I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” Then the Lord said, “You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do it.” So you see, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has decreed disaster for you.’

Then Zedekiah son of Chenaanah came up to Micaiah, slapped him on the cheek, and said, ‘Which way did the spirit of the Lord pass from me to speak to you?’ Micaiah replied, ‘You will find out on that day when you go in to hide in an inner chamber.’ The king of Israel then ordered, ‘Take Micaiah, and return him to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son, and say, “Thus says the king: Put this fellow in prison, and feed him on reduced rations of bread and water until I come in peace.” ’ Micaiah said, ‘If you return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.’ And he said, ‘Hear, you peoples, all of you!’

Acts 22.22-23.11
Up to this point they listened to him, but then they shouted, ‘Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.’ And while they were shouting, throwing off their cloaks, and tossing dust into the air, the tribune directed that he was to be brought into the barracks, and ordered him to be examined by flogging, to find out the reason for this outcry against him. But when they had tied him up with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, ‘Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who is uncondemned?’ When the centurion heard that, he went to the tribune and said to him, ‘What are you about to do? This man is a Roman citizen.’ The tribune came and asked Paul, ‘Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ The tribune answered, ‘It cost me a large sum of money to get my citizenship.’ Paul said, ‘But I was born a citizen.’ Immediately those who were about to examine him drew back from him; and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.

Since he wanted to find out what Paul was being accused of by the Jews, the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and the entire council to meet. He brought Paul down and had him stand before them.

While Paul was looking intently at the council he said, ‘Brothers, up to this day I have lived my life with a clear conscience before God.’ Then the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near him to strike him on the mouth. At this Paul said to him, ‘God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting there to judge me according to the law, and yet in violation of the law you order me to be struck?’ Those standing nearby said, ‘Do you dare to insult God’s high priest?’ And Paul said, ‘I did not realize, brothers, that he was high priest; for it is written, “You shall not speak evil of a leader of your people.” ’

When Paul noticed that some were Sadducees and others were Pharisees, he called out in the council, ‘Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead.’ When he said this, a dissension began between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, or angel, or spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge all three.) Then a great clamour arose, and certain scribes of the Pharisees’ group stood up and contended, ‘We find nothing wrong with this man. What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?’ When the dissension became violent, the tribune, fearing that they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered the soldiers to go down, take him by force, and bring him into the barracks.

That night the Lord stood near him and said, ‘Keep up your courage! For just as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome.’

The Collect
God of all tribes and peoples and tongues, who called your servant John Coleridge Patteson to witness in life and death to the gospel of Christ amongst the peoples of Melanesia: grant us to hear your call to service and to respond trustfully and joyfully to Jesus Christ our redeemer, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Monday, 12 September 2016

Morning Prayer - Monday 12 September 2016

Psalm 44
We have heard with our ears, O God, our forebears have told us, all that you did in their days, in time of old; How with your hand you drove out nations and planted us in, and broke the power of peoples and set us free. For not by their own sword did our ancestors take the land nor did their own arm save them, But your right hand, your arm, and the light of your countenance, because you were gracious to them.

You are my King and my God, who commanded salvation for Jacob. Through you we drove back our adversaries; through your name we trod down our foes. For I did not trust in my bow; it was not my own sword that saved me; It was you that saved us from our enemies and put our adversaries to shame. We gloried in God all the day long, and were ever praising your name. But now you have rejected us and brought us to shame and go not out with our armies.
You have made us turn our backs on our enemies, and our enemies have despoiled us.
You have made us like sheep to be slaughtered, and have scattered us among the nations.
You have sold your people for a pittance and made no profit on their sale.
You have made us the taunt of our neighbours, the scorn and derision of those that are round about us.
You have made us a byword among the nations; among the peoples they wag their heads.

My confusion is daily before me, and shame has covered my face, At the taunts of the slanderer and reviler, at the sight of the enemy and avenger. All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you and have not played false to your covenant. Our hearts have not turned back, nor our steps gone out of your way, Yet you have crushed us in the haunt of jackals, and covered us with the shadow of death. If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to any strange god, Will not God search it out? For he knows the secrets of the heart. But for your sake are we killed all the day long, and are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

Rise up! Why sleep, O Lord?
Awake, and do not reject us for ever. Why do you hide your face and forget our grief and oppression?
Our soul is bowed down to the dust; our belly cleaves to the earth. Rise up, O Lord, to help us and redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.

1 Kings 12.25-13.10
Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and resided there; he went out from there and built Penuel. Then Jeroboam said to himself, ‘Now the kingdom may well revert to the house of David. If this people continues to go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, the heart of this people will turn again to their master, King Rehoboam of Judah; they will kill me and return to King Rehoboam of Judah.’ So the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold. He said to the people, ‘You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.’ He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. And this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one at Bethel and before the other as far as Dan. He also made houses on high places, and appointed priests from among all the people, who were not Levites. Jeroboam appointed a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month like the festival that was in Judah, and he offered sacrifices on the altar; so he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places that he had made. He went up to the altar that he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, in the month that he alone had prescribed; he appointed a festival for the people of Israel, and he went up to the altar to offer incense.

While Jeroboam was standing by the altar to offer incense, a man of God came out of Judah by the word of the Lord to Bethel and proclaimed against the altar by the word of the Lord, and said, ‘O altar, altar, thus says the Lord: “A son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and he shall sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who offer incense on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.” ’ He gave a sign the same day, saying, ‘This is the sign that the Lord has spoken: “The altar shall be torn down, and the ashes that are on it shall be poured out.” ’ When the king heard what the man of God cried out against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, ‘Seize him!’ But the hand that he stretched out against him withered so that he could not draw it back to himself. The altar also was torn down, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the word of the Lord. The king said to the man of God, ‘Entreat now the favour of the Lord your God, and pray for me, so that my hand may be restored to me.’ So the man of God entreated the Lord; and the king’s hand was restored to him, and became as it was before. Then the king said to the man of God, ‘Come home with me and dine, and I will give you a gift.’ But the man of God said to the king, ‘If you give me half your kingdom, I will not go in with you; nor will I eat food or drink water in this place. For thus I was commanded by the word of the Lord: You shall not eat food, or drink water, or return by the way that you came.’ So he went another way, and did not return by the way that he had come to Bethel.

Acts 19.8-20
He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. When some stubbornly refused to believe and spoke evil of the Way before the congregation, he left them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that when the handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, their diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.’ Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit said to them in reply, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ Then the man with the evil spirit leapt on them, mastered them all, and so overpowered them that they fled out of the house naked and wounded. When this became known to all residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, everyone was awestruck; and the name of the Lord Jesus was praised. Also many of those who became believers confessed and disclosed their practices. A number of those who practised magic collected their books and burned them publicly; when the value of these books was calculated, it was found to come to fifty thousand silver coins. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.

The Collect
Lord of creation, whose glory is around and within us: open our eyes to your wonders, that we may serve you with reverence and know your peace at our lives’ end, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Saturday, 10 September 2016

Morning Prayer - Saturday 10 September 2016

Psalm 41
Blessed are those who consider the poor and needy; the Lord will deliver them in the time of trouble. The Lord preserves them and restores their life,  tat they may be happy in the land; he will not hand them over to the will of their enemies. The Lord sustains them on their sickbed; their sickness, Lord, you will remove. And so I said, ‘Lord, be merciful to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.’

My enemies speak evil about me, asking when I shall die and my name perish. If they come to see me, they utter empty words; their heart gathers mischief; when they go out, they tell it abroad. All my enemies whisper together against me, against me they devise evil, Saying that a deadly thing has laid hold on me, and that I will not rise again from where I lie. Even my bosom friend, whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. But you, O Lord, be merciful to me and raise me up, that I may reward them.

By this I know that you favour me, that my enemy does not triumph over me. Because of my integrity you uphold me and will set me before your face for ever. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.

Psalm 42
As the deer longs for the water brooks, so longs my soul for you, O God. My soul is athirst for God, even for the living God; when shall I come before the presence of God?

My tears have been my bread day and night, while all day long they say to me, ‘Where is now your God?’
Now when I think on these things, I pour out my soul: how I went with the multitude and led the procession to the house of God, With the voice of praise and thanksgiving, among those who kept holy day.
Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul, and why are you so disquieted within me?
O put your trust in God; for I will yet give him thanks, who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

My soul is heavy within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of Jordan, and from Hermon and the hill of Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the thunder of your waterfalls; all your breakers and waves have gone over me. The Lord will grant his loving-kindness in the daytime; through the night his song will be with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me, and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresses me?’
As they crush my bones, my enemies mock me; while all day long they say to me, ‘Where is now your God?’
Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul? and why are you so disquieted within me?
O put your trust in God; for I will yet give him thanks, who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

Psalm 43
Give judgement for me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; deliver me from the deceitful and the wicked. For you are the God of my refuge; why have you cast me from you, and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresses me?

O send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling, That I may go to the altar of God, to the God of my joy and gladness; and on the lyre I will give thanks to you, O God my God.
Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul, and why are you so disquieted within me?
O put your trust in God; for I will yet give him thanks, who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

1 Kings 12.1-24
Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of it (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. And they sent and called him; and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke that he placed on us, and we will serve you.’ He said to them, ‘Go away for three days, then come again to me.’ So the people went away.

Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the older men who had attended his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, ‘How do you advise me to answer this people?’ They answered him, ‘If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants for ever.’ But he disregarded the advice that the older men gave him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and now attended him. He said to them, ‘What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, “Lighten the yoke that your father put on us”?’ The young men who had grown up with him said to him, ‘Thus you should say to this people who spoke to you, “Your father made our yoke heavy, but you must lighten it for us”; thus you should say to them, “My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins. Now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” ’

So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king had said, ‘Come to me again on the third day.’ The king answered the people harshly. He disregarded the advice that the older men had given him and spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, ‘My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’ So the king did not listen to the people, because it was a turn of affairs brought about by the Lord that he might fulfil his word, which the Lord had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat.

When all Israel saw that the king would not listen to them, the people answered the king,
‘What share do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.
 To your tents, O Israel! Look now to your own house, O David.’

So Israel went away to their tents. But Rehoboam reigned over the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah. When King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was taskmaster over the forced labour, all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam then hurriedly mounted his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. There was no one who followed the house of David, except the tribe of Judah alone.

When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, one hundred and eighty thousand chosen troops to fight against the house of Israel, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam son of Solomon. But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: Say to King Rehoboam of Judah, son of Solomon, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, ‘Thus says the Lord, You shall not go up or fight against your kindred the people of Israel. Let everyone go home, for this thing is from me.’ So they heeded the word of the Lord and went home again, according to the word of the Lord.

Acts 18.22-19.7
When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time there he departed and went from place to place through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

Now there came to Ephesus a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria. He was an eloquent man, well-versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord; and he spoke with burning enthusiasm and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately. And when he wished to cross over to Achaia, the believers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. On his arrival he greatly helped those who through grace had become believers, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Messiah is Jesus.

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the inland regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?’ They replied, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ Then he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ They answered, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied—altogether there were about twelve of them.

The Collect
Lord God, defend your Church from all false teaching and give to your people knowledge of your truth, that we may enjoy eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Friday, 9 September 2016

Morning Prayer - Friday 9 September 2016

Charles Fuge Lowder, Priest, 1880

Psalm 31
In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Incline your ear to me; make haste to deliver me. Be my strong rock, a fortress to save me, for you are my rock and my stronghold; guide me, and lead me for your name’s sake. Take me out of the net that they have laid secretly for me, for you are my strength. Into your hands I commend my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

I hate those who cling to worthless idols; I put my trust in the Lord. I will be glad and rejoice in your mercy, for you have seen my affliction and known my soul in adversity. You have not shut me up in the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in an open place. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in trouble; my eye is consumed with sorrow, my soul and my body also. For my life is wasted with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails me because of my affliction, and my bones are consumed. I have become a reproach to all my enemies and even to my neighbours, an object of dread to my acquaintances; when they see me in the street they flee from me. I am forgotten like one that is dead, out of mind; I have become like a broken vessel. For I have heard the whispering of the crowd; fear is on every side; they scheme together against me, and plot to take my life

But my trust is in you, O Lord. I have said,
‘You are my God. My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me. Make your face to shine upon your servant, and save me for your mercy’s sake.’

Lord, let me not be confounded for I have called upon you; but let the wicked be put to shame; let them be silent in the grave. Let the lying lips be put to silence that speak against the righteous with arrogance, disdain and contempt.

How abundant is your goodness, O Lord, which you have laid up for those who fear you; which you have prepared in the sight of all for those who put their trust in you. You hide them in the shelter of your presence from those who slander them; you keep them safe in your refuge from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the Lord! For he has shown me his steadfast love when I was as a city besieged. I had said in my alarm, ‘I have been cut off from the sight of your eyes.’
Nevertheless, you heard the voice of my prayer when I cried out to you.

Love the Lord, all you his servants; for the Lord protects the faithful, but repays to the full the proud.
Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait in hope for the Lord.

1 Kings 11.26-end
Jeroboam son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, a servant of Solomon, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, rebelled against the king. The following was the reason he rebelled against the king. Solomon built the Millo, and closed up the gap in the wall of the city of his father David. The man Jeroboam was very able, and when Solomon saw that the young man was industrious he gave him charge over all the forced labour of the house of Joseph. About that time, when Jeroboam was leaving Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Ahijah had clothed himself with a new garment. The two of them were alone in the open country when Ahijah laid hold of the new garment he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. He then said to Jeroboam: Take for yourself ten pieces; for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘See, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon, and will give you ten tribes. One tribe will remain his, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city that I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. This is because he has forsaken me, worshipped Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites, and has not walked in my ways, doing what is right in my sight and keeping my statutes and my ordinances, as his father David did. Nevertheless, I will not take the whole kingdom away from him but will make him ruler all the days of his life, for the sake of my servant David whom I chose and who did keep my commandments and my statutes; but I will take the kingdom away from his son and give it to you—that is, the ten tribes. Yet to his son I will give one tribe, so that my servant David may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put my name. I will take you, and you shall reign over all that your soul desires; you shall be king over Israel. If you will listen to all that I command you, walk in my ways, and do what is right in my sight by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you, and will build you an enduring house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you. For this reason I will punish the descendants of David, but not for ever.’ Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam; but Jeroboam promptly fled to Egypt, to King Shishak of Egypt, and remained in Egypt until the death of Solomon.
Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, all that he did as well as his wisdom, are they not written in the Book of the Acts of Solomon? The time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. Solomon slept with his ancestors and was buried in the city of his father David; and his son Rehoboam succeeded him.

Acts 18.1-21
After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them, and they worked together—by trade they were tentmakers. Every sabbath he would argue in the synagogue and would try to convince Jews and Greeks.

When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with proclaiming the word, testifying to the Jews that the Messiah was Jesus. When they opposed and reviled him, in protest he shook the dust from his clothes and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.’ Then he left the synagogue and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshipper of God; his house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the official of the synagogue, became a believer in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul became believers and were baptized. One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people.’ He stayed there for a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. They said, ‘This man is persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to the law.’ Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, ‘If it were a matter of crime or serious villainy, I would be justified in accepting the complaint of you Jews; but since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves; I do not wish to be a judge of these matters.’ And he dismissed them from the tribunal. Then all of them seized Sosthenes, the official of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of these things.

After staying there for a considerable time, Paul said farewell to the believers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut, for he was under a vow. When they reached Ephesus, he left them there, but first he himself went into the synagogue and had a discussion with the Jews. When they asked him to stay longer, he declined; but on taking leave of them, he said, ‘I will return to you, if God wills.’ Then he set sail from Ephesus.

The Collect
Lord God, defend your Church from all false teaching and give to your people knowledge of your truth, that we may enjoy eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen,


Thursday, 8 September 2016

Morning Prayer - Thursday 8 September 2016

The Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Psalm 37
Fret not because of evildoers; be not jealous of those who do wrong. For they shall soon wither like grass and like the green herb fade away. Trust in the Lord and be doing good; dwell in the land and be nourished with truth. Let your delight be in the Lord and he will give you your heart’s desire.Commit your way to the Lord and put your trust in him, and he will bring it to pass. He will make your righteousness as clear as the light and your just dealing as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait for him; do not fret over those that prosper as they follow their evil schemes. Refrain from anger and abandon wrath; do not fret, lest you be moved to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait upon the Lord shall possess the land.

Yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; you will search for their place and find them gone. But the lowly shall possess the land and shall delight in abundance of peace. The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash at them with their teeth. The Lord shall laugh at the wicked, for he sees that their day is coming. The wicked draw their sword and bend their bow to strike down the poor and needy, to slaughter those who walk in truth. Their sword shall go through their own heart and their bows shall be broken. The little that the righteous have is better than great riches of the wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.


The Lord knows the days of the godly, and their inheritance shall stand for ever. They shall not be put to shame in the perilous time, and in days of famine they shall have enough. But the wicked shall perish; like the glory of the meadows the enemies of the Lord shall vanish; they shall vanish like smoke. The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous are generous in giving. For those who are blest by God shall possess the land, but those who are cursed by him shall be rooted out.

When your steps are guided by the Lord and you delight in his way, Though you stumble, you shall not fall headlong, for the Lord holds you fast by the hand. I have been young and now am old, yet never have I seen the righteous forsaken, or their children begging their bread. All the day long they are generous in lending, and their children also shall be blest.

Depart from evil and do good and you shall abide for ever. For the Lord loves the thing that is right and will not forsake his faithful ones. The unjust shall be destroyed for ever, and the offspring of the wicked shall be rooted out. The righteous shall possess the land and dwell in it for ever. The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and their tongue speaks the thing that is right. The law of their God is in their heart and their footsteps shall not slide. The wicked spy on the righteous and seek occasion to slay them.

The Lord will not leave them in their hand, nor let them be condemned when they are judged. Wait upon the Lord and keep his way; he will raise you up to possess the land, and when the wicked are uprooted, you shall see it. I myself have seen the wicked in great power and flourishing like a tree in full leaf. I went by and lo, they were gone; I sought them, but they could nowhere be found. Keep innocence and heed the thing that is right, for that will bring you peace at the last. But the sinners shall perish together, and the posterity of the wicked shall be rooted out. The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.

The Lord shall stand by them and deliver them; he shall deliver them from the wicked and shall save them, because they have put their trust in him.

1 Kings 11.1-13
King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the Israelites, ‘You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you; for they will surely incline your heart to follow their gods;’ Solomon clung to these in love. Among his wives were seven hundred princesses and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon followed Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not completely follow the Lord, as his father David had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who offered incense and sacrificed to their gods.

Then the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this matter, that he should not follow other gods; but he did not observe what the Lord commanded. Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of your father David I will not do it in your lifetime; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. I will not, however, tear away the entire kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.’

Acts 17.16-end
While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he argued in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and also in the market-place every day with those who happened to be there. Also some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers debated with him. Some said, ‘What does this babbler want to say?’ Others said, ‘He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign divinities.’ (This was because he was telling the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.) So they took him and brought him to the Areopagus and asked him, ‘May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? It sounds rather strange to us, so we would like to know what it means.’ Now all the Athenians and the foreigners living there would spend their time in nothing but telling or hearing something new.

Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, ‘Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, “To an unknown god.” What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For “In him we live and move and have our being”; as even some of your own poets have said,
“For we too are his offspring.”
Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.’

When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some scoffed; but others said, ‘We will hear you again about this.’ At that point Paul left them. But some of them joined him and became believers, including Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

The Collect
Almighty and everlasting God,
who stooped to raise fallen humanity through the child-bearing of blessed Mary:
grant that we, who have seen your glory revealed in our human nature and your love made perfect in our weakness, may daily be renewed in your image and conformed to the pattern of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Morning Prayer - Wednesday 7 September 2016

Psalm 34
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall ever be in my mouth. My soul shall glory in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Look upon him and be radiant and your faces shall not be ashamed.

This poor soul cried, and the Lord heard me and saved me from all my troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and delivers them. O taste and see that the Lord is gracious; blessed is the one who trusts in him. Fear the Lord, all you his holy ones, for those who fear him lack nothing. Lions may lack and suffer hunger, but those who seek the Lord lack nothing that is good. Come, my children, and listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

Who is there who delights in life and longs for days to enjoy good things?
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from lying words. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to root out the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry and the Lord hears them and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and will save those who are crushed in spirit.

Many are the troubles of the righteous; from them all will the Lord deliver them. He keeps all their bones, so that not one of them is broken. But evil shall slay the wicked and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The Lord ransoms the life of his servants and will condemn none who seek refuge in him.

1 Kings 10.1-25

When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, (fame due to the name of the Lord), she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her. When the queen of Sheba had observed all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his valets, and his burnt-offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her.

So she said to the king, ‘The report was true that I heard in my own land of your accomplishments and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. Not even half had been told me; your wisdom and prosperity far surpass the report that I had heard. Happy are your wives! Happy are these your servants, who continually attend you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel for ever, he has made you king to execute justice and righteousness.’ Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, a great quantity of spices, and precious stones; never again did spices come in such quantity as that which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

Moreover, the fleet of Hiram, which carried gold from Ophir, brought from Ophir a great quantity of almug wood and precious stones. From the almug wood the king made supports for the house of the Lord, and for the king’s house, lyres also and harps for the singers; no such almug wood has come or been seen to this day.

Meanwhile, King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba every desire that she expressed, as well as what he gave her out of Solomon’s royal bounty. Then she returned to her own land, with her servants.

The weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold, besides that which came from the traders and from the business of the merchants, and from all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the land. King Solomon made two hundred large shields of beaten gold; six hundred shekels of gold went into each large shield. He made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three minas of gold went into each shield; and the king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. The king also made a great ivory throne, and overlaid it with the finest gold. The throne had six steps. The top of the throne was rounded in the back, and on each side of the seat were arm rests and two lions standing beside the arm rests, while twelve lions were standing, one on each end of a step, on the six steps. Nothing like it was ever made in any kingdom. All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver—it was not considered as anything in the days of Solomon. For the king had a fleet of ships of Tarshish at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the fleet of ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.

Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. The whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind. Every one of them brought a present, objects of silver and gold, garments, weaponry, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year.

Acts 17.1-15
After Paul and Silas had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three sabbath days argued with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, ‘This is the Messiah, Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you.’ Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews became jealous, and with the help of some ruffians in the market-places they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. While they were searching for Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly, they attacked Jason’s house. When they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some believers before the city authorities, shouting, ‘These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has entertained them as guests. They are all acting contrary to the decrees of the emperor, saying that there is another king named Jesus.’ The people and the city officials were disturbed when they heard this, and after they had taken bail from Jason and the others, they let them go.

That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas off to Beroea; and when they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. These Jews were more receptive than those in Thessalonica, for they welcomed the message very eagerly and examined the scriptures every day to see whether these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, including not a few Greek women and men of high standing. But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Beroea as well, they came there too, to stir up and incite the crowds. Then the believers immediately sent Paul away to the coast, but Silas and Timothy remained behind. Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and after receiving instructions to have Silas and Timothy join him as soon as possible, they left him.

The Collect
Lord God, defend your Church from all false teaching and give to your people knowledge of your truth, that we may enjoy eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.