Saturday, 30 April 2016

Morning Prayer - Saturday 30 April 2016

Easter Season

Pandita Mary Ramabai, Translator of the Scriptures, 1922

Psalm 146
Alleluia.
Praise the Lord, O my soul: while I live will I praise the Lord; as long as I have any being, I will sing praises to my God.
Put not your trust in princes, nor in any human power, for there is no help in them. When their breath goes forth, they return to the earth; on that day all their thoughts perish.

Happy are those who have the God of Jacob for their help, whose hope is in the Lord their God; Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them; who keeps his promise for ever; Who gives justice to those that suffer wrong and bread to those who hunger.

The Lord looses those that are bound; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous;
The Lord watches over the stranger in the land; he upholds the orphan and widow; but the way of the wicked he turns upside down.

The Lord shall reign for ever, your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
Alleluia.

Psalm 150
Alleluia.
O praise God in his holiness; praise him in the firmament of his power.

Praise him for his mighty acts; praise him according to his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the blast of the trumpet; praise him upon the harp and lyre.
Praise him with timbrel and dances; praise him upon the strings and pipe.
Praise him with ringing cymbals; praise him upon the clashing cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Alleluia.

Numbers 14.26-end
And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying: How long shall this wicked congregation complain against me? I have heard the complaints of the Israelites, which they complain against me. Say to them, ‘As I live’, says the Lord, ‘I will do to you the very things I heard you say: your dead bodies shall fall in this very wilderness; and of all your number, included in the census, from twenty years old and upwards, who have complained against me, not one of you shall come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. But your little ones, who you said would become booty, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have despised. But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness for forty years, and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day a year, you shall bear your iniquity, forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’ I the Lord have spoken; surely I will do thus to all this wicked congregation gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall come to a full end, and there they shall die.

And the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation complain against him by bringing a bad report about the land—the men who brought an unfavourable report about the land died by a plague before the Lord. But Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh alone remained alive, of those men who went to spy out the land.

When Moses told these words to all the Israelites, the people mourned greatly. They rose early in the morning and went up to the heights of the hill country, saying, ‘Here we are. We will go up to the place that the Lord has promised, for we have sinned.’ But Moses said, ‘Why do you continue to transgress the command of the Lord? That will not succeed. Do not go up, for the Lord is not with you; do not let yourselves be struck down before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites will confront you there, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned back from following the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.’ But they presumed to go up to the heights of the hill country, even though the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and Moses, had not left the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and defeated them, pursuing them as far as Hormah.

Luke 6.12-26
Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them. Then he looked up at his disciples and said:
‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
 Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.
 Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
 Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, 
 and defame you on account of the Son of Man. 
 Rejoice on that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven;
 for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. 
 But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
 Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry.
 Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.
 Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.'


The Collect
Risen Christ, your wounds declare your love for the world and the wonder of your risen life: give us compassion and courage
to risk ourselves for those we serve, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Friday, 29 April 2016

Morning Prayer - Friday 29 April 2016

Easter Season

Catherine of Siena, Teacher of the Faith, 1380 [Lesser Festival]

Psalm 138
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods will I sing praise to you. I will bow down towards your holy temple and praise your name, because of your love and faithfulness; for you have glorified your name and your word above all things. In the day that I called to you, you answered me; you put new strength in my soul. All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth. They shall sing of the ways of the Lord, that great is the glory of the Lord.

Though the Lord be high, he watches over the lowly; as for the proud, he regards them from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will preserve me; you will stretch forth your hand against the fury of my enemies; your right hand will save me. The Lord shall make good his purpose for me; your loving-kindness, O Lord, endures for ever; forsake not the work of your hands.

Psalm 149
Alleluia.
O sing to the Lord a new song; sing his praise in the congregation of the faithful. Let Israel rejoice in their maker; let the children of Zion be joyful in their king. Let them praise his name in the dance; let them sing praise to him with timbrel and lyre. For the Lord has pleasure in his people and adorns the poor with salvation. Let the faithful be joyful in glory; let them rejoice in their ranks, With the praises of God in their mouths and a two-edged sword in their hands; To execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples; To bind their kings in chains and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute on them the judgement decreed: such honour have all his faithful servants.
Alleluia.

Numbers 14.1-25
Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron; the whole congregation said to them, ‘Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become booty; would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?’ So they said to one another, ‘Let us choose a captain, and go back to Egypt.’

Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the Israelites. And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes and said to all the congregation of the Israelites, ‘The land that we went through as spies is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only, do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they are no more than bread for us; their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.’ But the whole congregation threatened to stone them.

Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. And the Lord said to Moses, ‘How long will this people despise me? And how long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? I will strike them with pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.’

But Moses said to the Lord, ‘Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for in your might you brought up this people from among them, and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, O Lord, are in the midst of this people; for you, O Lord, are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them and you go in front of them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if you kill this people all at one time, then the nations who have heard about you will say, “It is because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land he swore to give them that he has slaughtered them in the wilderness.” And now, therefore, let the power of the Lord be great in the way that you promised when you spoke, saying,
“The Lord is slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children to the third and the fourth generation.”
Forgive the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have pardoned this people, from Egypt even until now.’

Then the Lord said, ‘I do forgive, just as you have asked; nevertheless—as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord—none of the people who have seen my glory and the signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have tested me these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, shall see the land that I swore to give to their ancestors; none of those who despised me shall see it. But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me wholeheartedly, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it. Now, since the Amalekites and the Canaanites live in the valleys, turn tomorrow and set out for the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea.’

Luke 6.1-11
One sabbath while Jesus was going through the cornfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them. But some of the Pharisees said, ‘Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?’ Jesus answered, ‘Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?’ Then he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.’

On another sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, ‘Come and stand here.’ He got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?’ After looking around at all of them, he said to him, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

The Collect
God of compassion, who gave your servant Catherine of Siena a wondrous love of the passion of Christ: grant that your people may be united to him in his majesty and rejoice for ever in the revelation of his glory; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Thursday, 28 April 2016

Morning Prayer - Thursday 28 April 2016

Easter Season

Peter Chanel, Missionary in the South Pacific, Martyr, 1841

Psalm 57
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for my soul takes refuge in you; In the shadow of your wings will I take refuge until the storm of destruction has passed by. I will call upon the Most High God, the God who fulfils his purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me and rebuke those that would trample upon me; God will send forth his love and his faithfulness. I lie in the midst of lions, people whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and your glory over all the earth.

They have laid a net for my feet; my soul is pressed down; they have dug a pit before me and will fall into it themselves. My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready; I will sing and give you praise. Awake, my soul; awake, harp and lyre, that I may awaken the dawn. I will give you thanks, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praise to you among the nations. For your loving-kindness is as high as the heavens, and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and your glory over all the earth.

Psalm 148
Alleluia.
Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you his angels; praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you stars of light.
Praise him, heaven of heavens, and you waters above the heavens.
Let them praise the name of the Lord; for he commanded and they were created. He made them fast for ever and ever; he gave them a law which shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps; Fire and hail, snow and mist, tempestuous wind, fulfilling his word; Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars; Wild beasts and all cattle, creeping things and birds on the wing; Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the world; Young men and women,
old and young together; let them praise the name of the Lord.
For his name only is exalted, his splendour above earth and heaven. He has raised up the horn of his people and praise for all his faithful servants, the children of Israel, a people who are near him.
Alleluia.

Numbers 13.1-3, 17-end
The Lord said to Moses, ‘Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites; from each of their ancestral tribes you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.’ So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran, according to the command of the Lord, all of them leading men among the Israelites.

Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, ‘Go up there into the Negeb, and go up into the hill country, and see what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, and whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the towns that they live in are unwalled or fortified, and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be bold, and bring some of the fruit of the land.’ Now it was the season of the first ripe grapes.

So they went up and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, near Lebo-hamath. They went up into the Negeb, and came to Hebron; and Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the Anakites, were there. (Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) And they came to the Wadi Eshcol, and cut down from there a branch with a single cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a pole between two of them. They also brought some pomegranates and figs. That place was called the Wadi Eshcol, because of the cluster that the Israelites cut down from there.
At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, ‘We came to the land to which you sent us; it flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Yet the people who live in the land are strong, and the towns are fortified and very large; and besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the land of the Negeb; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea, and along the Jordan.’

But Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.’ Then the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We are not able to go up against this people, for they are stronger than we are.’ So they brought to the Israelites an unfavourable report of the land that they had spied out, saying, ‘The land that we have gone through as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people that we saw in it are of great size. There we saw the Nephilim (the Anakites come from the Nephilim); and to ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.’

Luke 5.27-end
After this he went out and saw a tax-collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up, left everything, and followed him.

Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax-collectors and others sitting at the table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax-collectors and sinners?’ Jesus answered, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.’
Then they said to him, ‘John’s disciples, like the disciples of the Pharisees, frequently fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink.’ Jesus said to them, ‘You cannot make wedding-guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.’ He also told them a parable: ‘No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, “The old is good.” ’

The Collect
Risen Christ, your wounds declare your love for the world and the wonder of your risen life: give us compassion and courage to risk ourselves for those we serve, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Morning Prayer - Wednesday 27 April 2016

Easter Season

Christina Rossetti, Poet, 1894

Psalm 30
I will exalt you, O Lord, because you have raised me up and have not let my foes triumph over me. O Lord my God, I cried out to you and you have healed me. You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead; you restored me to life from among those that go down to the Pit.

Sing to the Lord, you servants of his; give thanks to his holy name. For his wrath endures but the twinkling of an eye, his favour for a lifetime. Heaviness may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

In my prosperity I said,
‘I shall never be moved. You, Lord, of your goodness, have made my hill so strong.’
 Then you hid your face from me and I was utterly dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cried; to the Lord I made my supplication:
‘What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the Pit?
 Will the dust praise you or declare your faithfulness?
 Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me; O Lord, be my helper.’

You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness;
Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing;
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks for ever.

Psalm 147.13-end
Sing praise to the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion; For he has strengthened the bars of your gates and has blest your children within you.
He has established peace in your borders and satisfies you with the finest wheat.
He sends forth his command to the earth and his word runs very swiftly.
He gives snow like wool and scatters the hoarfrost like ashes.
He casts down his hailstones like morsels of bread; who can endure his frost?
He sends forth his word and melts them; he blows with his wind and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and judgements to Israel.
He has not dealt so with any other nation; they do not know his laws.
Alleluia.

Numbers 12
While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had indeed married a Cushite woman); and they said, ‘Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?’ And the Lord heard it. Now the man Moses was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth. Suddenly the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, ‘Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.’ So the three of them came out. Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud, and stood at the entrance of the tent, and called Aaron and Miriam; and they both came forward. And he said,
‘Hear my words:
 When there are prophets among you,
 I the Lord make myself known to them in visions;
 I speak to them in dreams.

 Not so with my servant Moses; 
 he is entrusted with all my house.
 With him I speak face to face—clearly, not in riddles; and he beholds the form of the Lord.
 Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?’
And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed.

When the cloud went away from over the tent, Miriam had become leprous, as white as snow. And Aaron turned towards Miriam and saw that she was leprous. Then Aaron said to Moses, ‘Oh, my lord, do not punish us for a sin that we have so foolishly committed. Do not let her be like one stillborn, whose flesh is half consumed when it comes out of its mother’s womb.’ And Moses cried to the Lord, ‘O God, please heal her.’ But the Lord said to Moses, ‘If her father had but spat in her face, would she not bear her shame for seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp for seven days, and after that she may be brought in again.’ So Miriam was shut out of the camp for seven days; and the people did not set out on the march until Miriam had been brought in again. After that the people set out from Hazeroth, and camped in the wilderness of Paran.

Luke 5.12-26
Once, when he was in one of the cities, there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, ‘Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.’ Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, ‘I do choose. Be made clean.’ Immediately the leprosy left him. And he ordered him to tell no one. ‘Go’, he said, ‘and show yourself to the priest, and, as Moses commanded, make an offering for your cleansing, for a testimony to them.’ But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.

One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting nearby (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Just then some men came, carrying a paralysed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven you.’

Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, ‘Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, ‘Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven you”, or to say, “Stand up and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the one who was paralysed—‘I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home.’ Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen strange things today.’

The Collect
Risen Christ, your wounds declare your love for the world and the wonder of your risen life: give us compassion and courage to risk ourselves for those we serve, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Morning Prayer - Tuesday 26 April 2016

Easter Season

Psalm 19
The heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. One day pours out its song to another and one night unfolds knowledge to another. They have neither speech nor language and their voices are not heard, Yet their sound has gone out into all lands and their words to the ends of the world. In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun, that comes forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber and rejoices as a champion to run his course. It goes forth from the end of the heavens and runs to the very end again, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure and gives wisdom to the simple.

The statutes of the Lord are right and rejoice the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure and gives light to the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is clean and endures for ever; the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, more than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey, dripping from the honeycomb. By them also is your servant taught and in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can tell how often they offend? O cleanse me from my secret faults! Keep your servant also from presumptuous sins lest they get dominion over me; so shall I be undefiled, and innocent of great offence. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Psalm 147.1-12
Alleluia.
How good it is to make music for our God, how joyful to honour him with praise.

The Lord builds up Jerusalem and gathers together the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up all their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars and calls them all by their names. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his wisdom is beyond all telling.

The Lord lifts up the poor, but casts down the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God upon the lyre; Who covers the heavens with clouds and prepares rain for the earth; Who makes grass to grow upon the mountains and green plants to serve our needs.
He gives the beasts their food and the young ravens when they cry.
He takes no pleasure in the power of a horse, no delight in human strength; But the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their trust in his steadfast love.

Numbers 11.1-33
Now when the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, the Lord heard it and his anger was kindled. Then the fire of the Lord burned against them, and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. But the people cried out to Moses; and Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire abated. So that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned against them.

The rabble among them had a strong craving; and the Israelites also wept again, and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.’

Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its colour was like the colour of gum resin. The people went around and gathered it, ground it in mills or beat it in mortars, then boiled it in pots and made cakes of it; and the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil. When the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna would fall with it.

Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, all at the entrances of their tents. Then the Lord became very angry, and Moses was displeased. So Moses said to the Lord, ‘Why have you treated your servant so badly? Why have I not found favour in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? Did I conceive all this people? Did I give birth to them, that you should say to me, “Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a sucking child”, to the land that you promised on oath to their ancestors? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they come weeping to me and say, “Give us meat to eat!” I am not able to carry all this people alone, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once—if I have found favour in your sight—and do not let me see my misery.’

So the Lord said to Moses, ‘Gather for me seventy of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tent of meeting, and have them take their place there with you. I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take some of the spirit that is on you and put it on them; and they shall bear the burden of the people along with you so that you will not bear it all by yourself. And say to the people: Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wailed in the hearing of the Lord, saying, “If only we had meat to eat! Surely it was better for us in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall eat not only one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you—because you have rejected the Lord who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?” ’ But Moses said, ‘The people I am with number six hundred thousand on foot; and you say, “I will give them meat, that they may eat for a whole month”! Are there enough flocks and herds to slaughter for them? Are there enough fish in the sea to catch for them?’ The Lord said to Moses, ‘Is the Lord’s power limited? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.’

So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.

Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’ And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, ‘My lord Moses, stop them!’ But Moses said to him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!’ And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

Then a wind went out from the Lord, and it brought quails from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, about two cubits deep on the ground. So the people worked all that day and night and all the next day, gathering the quails; the least anyone gathered was ten homers; and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague.

Luke 5.1-11
Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.’ When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’ For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’ When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

The Collect
Risen Christ, your wounds declare your love for the world and the wonder of your risen life: give us compassion and courage to risk ourselves for those we serve, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Monday, 25 April 2016

Can't make it to church - 24th April 2016


The Easter proclamation is, by the sound of it, wearing a little thin if the tone of some of the people in church as they proclaim, “He is risen indeed, Alleluia!” is anything to go by! 

Is this the place you find yourself occupying today?

Has your faith become habit rather than passion bad are you relatively passionless about it all?

When I became a Christian, some around me smiled at the exuberant joy I possessed and knowingly commented on how, “I’d soon grow out of it.” The problem is that I did! For just as the first flush of love turns into a steady, sometimes almost habitual, being together – the same is true in the world of Christian faith – and habit missed the marvellous truth and tajes something wonderful for granted.  

The Church, as seen in Acts, is full on and passionate and this translates itself into converts because people saw, and felt, the buzz and wanted it too. Jew and Gentile were drawn into this body as their passion- their excitement – turned into lifestyle. And it was this drawing in of Gentiles that we consider today as Peter, who had been in Caesarea preaching (and living) the Gospel, finds himself and his attitudes (and the attitudes of those who were Jewish believers especially) a bit of a challenge.

Peter is hauled before the believers in Jerusalem to give an account for his actions for they had heard that he wasn’t just teaching them about Jesus but was eating with them and this, in their Jewish thinking meant being defiled. They were happy with taking the message out to the Gentiles but there were limits you know – there were the old ways to consider, after all ‘The Way’ was a Jewish sect and so the old rituals and practices needed to be upheld. Kosher food, circumcision and the like were part of it, weren’t they? Well actually, they weren’t and this is to be the opening shot in a battle which later sees Paul talk about the ‘judaisers’ (those who demanded that Jewish custom and practice was an essential part of being what we now call ‘Christian’.

Peter is erasing the things that divided Jews and Gentiles – what was he doing? If everyone started doing what he did then soon there would soon be no difference between them (the superior race) and the gentiles (the ‘dogs’) then where would the Church be?

This is frightening stuff and so they summoned Peter and acted as frightened people so often do – badly!

But challenged, Peter responds by recounting a vision he had had – one in which he was called upon by God to get up, kill and eat animals which he had previously considered to be forbidden. Baulking at the call Peter responded by saying: “No way God - nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.” So God called him again to eat with a bit of a hint about what he could eat: “What God has made clean, you must not call unclean.”

Men arrive whilst Peter is wondering what God might really be talking about; after all, if the food the Gentiles eat is clean then this must mean that they are also clean – now where does that leave a good Jewish boy? 

The question is about to be answered for him once and for all - and when it is, well if the Gentiles were obviously filled with the Holy Spirit and if they were good enough for God then who was he to stand in the way? The question was settled once and for all.

And those who had called and challenged Peter, on hearing these words, suddenly realised the validity of his them and rejoiced giving thanks to God that Jesus was so effective in His ministry though Jesus that it even reached the people other faiths could not reach (what I like to think of as a ‘Heineken’ moment). Would that we might learn a lesson from this and understand that ‘nothing we are, nothing we’ve been, nothing we’ve seen, nothing we’ve done or are going to do can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8)!”

The resurrection of Jesus breaks the power of death and that in turn removed the power of sin in our lives – and if this is true, how can we not shout with joy:

He is risen indeed – Alleluia!

May the power of the risen Christ and the indwelling of His Holy Spirit fill you, free you and set you free this morning.



Acts 11.1-18
Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, ‘Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?’ Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying,

‘I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision.

There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. I also heard a voice saying to me, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” But I replied, “By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.”

But a second time the voice answered from heaven, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.”

This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven.
At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were.

The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, “Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.” And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, “John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.” If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?’ When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, ‘Get in! God has given the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life, not just to us (Jews) but to the Gentiles too.’

Postscript
Our Gospel today adds a cherry to this marvellous cake by bringing us back to the day before Good Friday as we are reminded of the 'New Commandment' (the mandate ovum that gives us 'Maundy Thursday' that we love each other as Jesus, the Christ, has loved us.

A handy thing to be reminded ofI reckon for it is too easy to become legalistic and bound up in our own salvation and rightness and forget this basic instruction rearing those around us.

Simple innit - so why do we all too often fail to live it in our own lives?

God has indeed made all things new and the spring of the water of life is made ours through the sacrificial love of Jesus - Death is overcome and we, and eternity, are newly created through Him.

Alleluia!


The Collect
Risen Christ, your wounds declare your love for the world and the wonder of your risen life: give us compassion and courage to risk ourselves for those we serve, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.


John 13.31-35
When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’

Revelation 21.1-6
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.’

And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.

Post Communion Prayer
Eternal God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life:  grant us to walk in his way, to rejoice in his truth, and to share his risen life; who is alive and reigns, now and for ever. Amen.



Morning Prayer - Monday 25 April 2016

Easter Season

Mark the Evangelist

Psalm 37.23-41
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.

Psalm 148
Alleluia.
Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you his angels; praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you stars of light.
Praise him, heaven of heavens, and you waters above the heavens.
Let them praise the name of the Lord; for he commanded and they were created. He made them fast for ever and ever; he gave them a law which shall not pass away. R

Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps; Fire and hail, snow and mist, tempestuous wind, fulfilling his word; Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars; Wild beasts and all cattle, creeping things and birds on the wing; Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the world; Young men and women, old and young together; let them praise the name of the Lord. For his name only is exalted, his splendour above earth and heaven. He has raised up the horn of his people and praise for all his faithful servants, the children of Israel, a people who are near him.
Alleluia.


Isaiah 62.6-10
Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have posted sentinels; all day and all night they shall never be silent.
You who remind the Lord, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it renowned throughout the earth.

The Lord has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: I will not again give your grain to be food for your enemies, and foreigners shall not drink the wine for which you have laboured; but those who garner it shall eat it and praise the Lord, and those who gather it shall drink it in my holy courts.

Go through, go through the gates, prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway, clear it of stones, lift up an ensign over the peoples.

Acts 12.25 - 13.13
Then after completing their mission Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem and brought with them John, whose other name was Mark.

Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the ruler, and Saul. While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John also to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they met a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet, named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God. But the magician Elymas (for that is the translation of his name) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, ‘You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now listen—the hand of the Lord is against you, and you will be blind for a while, unable to see the sun.’ Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he went about groping for someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord.

Then Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. John, however, left them and returned to Jerusalem;

The Collect
Almighty God,
who enlightened your holy Church through the inspired witness of your evangelist Saint Mark:
grant that we, being firmly grounded in the truth of the gospel,
may be faithful to its teaching both in word and deed;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Friday, 22 April 2016

Morning Prayer - Friday, 22 April 2016

Easter Season

Psalm 33
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, for it is good for the just to sing praises. Praise the Lord with the lyre; on the ten-stringed harp sing his praise. Sing for him a new song; play skilfully, with shouts of praise. For the word of the Lord is true and all his works are sure. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the loving-kindness of the Lord. By the word of the Lord were the heavens made and all their host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers up the waters of the sea as in a waterskin and lays up the deep in his treasury.

Let all the earth fear the Lord; stand in awe of him, all who dwell in the world. For he spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to naught; he frustrates the designs of the peoples. But the counsel of the Lord shall endure for ever and the designs of his heart from generation to generation. Happy the nation whose God is the Lord and the people he has chosen for his own.

The Lord looks down from heaven and beholds all the children of earth. From where he sits enthroned he turns his gaze on all who dwell on the earth. He fashions all the hearts of them and understands all their works. No king is saved by the might of his host; no warrior delivered by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; for all its strength it cannot save. Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear him, on those who wait in hope for his steadfast love, To deliver their soul from death and to feed them in time of famine. Our soul waits longingly for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. Indeed, our heart rejoices in him; in his holy name have we put our trust. Let your loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us, as we have set our hope on you.

Exodus 35.20-36.7
Then all the congregation of the Israelites withdrew from the presence of Moses. And they came, everyone whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and brought the Lord’s offering to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the sacred vestments. So they came, both men and women; all who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earings and signet rings and pendants, all sorts of gold objects, everyone bringing an offering of gold to the Lord. And everyone who possessed blue or purple or crimson yarn or fine linen or goats’ hair or tanned rams’ skins or fine leather, brought them. Everyone who could make an offering of silver or bronze brought it as the Lord’s offering; and everyone who possessed acacia wood of any use in the work, brought it. All the skilful women spun with their hands, and brought what they had spun in blue and purple and crimson yarns and fine linen; all the women whose hearts moved them to use their skill spun the goats’ hair. And the leaders brought onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and the breastpiece, and spices and oil for the light, and for the anointing-oil, and for the fragrant incense. All the Israelite men and women whose hearts made them willing to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done, brought it as a freewill-offering to the Lord.
Then Moses said to the Israelites: See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; he has filled him with divine spirit, with skill, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft. And he has inspired him to teach, both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do every kind of work done by an artisan or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and in fine linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of artisan or skilled designer.

Bezalel and Oholiab and everyone skilful to whom the Lord has given skill and understanding to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded.

Moses then called Bezalel and Oholiab and everyone skilful to whom the Lord had given skill, everyone whose heart was stirred to come to do the work; and they received from Moses all the freewill-offerings that the Israelites had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill-offerings every morning, so that all the artisans who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task being performed, and said to Moses, ‘The people are bringing much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.’ So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp: ‘No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.’ So the people were restrained from bringing; for what they had already brought was more than enough to do all the work.

Luke 4.14-30
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
 He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,
 to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’

And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’ All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’ He said to them, ‘Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, “Doctor, cure yourself!” And you will say, “Do here also in your home town the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.” ’ And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s home town. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up for three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.’ When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

The Collect
Risen Christ,
faithful shepherd of your Father’s sheep: teach us to hear your voice and to follow your command, that all your people may be gathered into one flock, to the glory of God the Father.Amen.