Thursday, 22 February 2018

Morning Prayer - Thursday 22 February 2018

Lent 

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.

Genesis 42.18-28
On the third day Joseph said to them, ‘Do this and you will live, for I fear God: if you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here where you are imprisoned. The rest of you shall go and carry grain for the famine of your households, and bring your youngest brother to me. Thus your words will be verified, and you shall not die.’ And they agreed to do so. They said to one another, ‘Alas, we are paying the penalty for what we did to our brother; we saw his anguish when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen. That is why this anguish has come upon us.’ Then Reuben answered them, ‘Did I not tell you not to wrong the boy? But you would not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.’ They did not know that Joseph understood them, since he spoke with them through an interpreter. He turned away from them and wept; then he returned and spoke to them. And he picked out Simeon and had him bound before their eyes. Joseph then gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to return every man’s money to his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. This was done for them.

They loaded their donkeys with their grain, and departed. When one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the lodging-place, he saw his money at the top of the sack. He said to his brothers, ‘My money has been put back; here it is in my sack!’ At this they lost heart and turned trembling to one another, saying, ‘What is this that God has done to us?’

Galatians 5.2-15
Listen! I, Paul, am telling you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. Once again I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the entire law. You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love.

You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? Such persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. I am confident about you in the Lord that you will not think otherwise. But whoever it is that is confusing you will pay the penalty. But my friends, why am I still being persecuted if I am still preaching circumcision? In that case the offence of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

The Collect
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness, and was tempted as we are, yet without sin: give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit; and, as you know our weakness, so may we know your power to save; 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.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Morning Prayer - Wednesday 21 February 2018

Ember Day

Psalm 6
O Lord, rebuke me not in your wrath; neither chasten me in your fierce anger. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am weak; Lord, heal me, for my bones are racked. My soul also shakes with terror; how long, O Lord, how long?

Turn again, O Lord, and deliver my soul; save me for your loving mercy’s sake. For in death no one remembers you; and who can give you thanks in the grave?

I am weary with my groaning; every night I drench my pillow and flood my bed with my tears. My eyes are wasted with grief and worn away because of all my enemies.

Depart from me, all you that do evil, for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer. All my enemies shall be put to shame and confusion; they shall suddenly turn back in their shame.

Psalm 17
Hear my just cause, O Lord; consider my complaint; listen to my prayer, which comes not from lying lips. Let my vindication come forth from your presence; let your eyes behold what is right. Weigh my heart, examine me by night, refine me, and you will find no impurity in me.

My mouth does not trespass for earthly rewards; I have heeded the words of your lips.
My footsteps hold fast in the ways of your commandments; my feet have not stumbled in your paths.
I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me; incline your ear to me, and listen to my words.

Show me your marvellous loving-kindness, O Saviour of those who take refuge at your right hand
from those who rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me under the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who assault me, from my enemies who surround me to take away my life.

They have closed their heart to pity and their mouth speaks proud things.
They press me hard, they surround me on every side, watching how they may cast me to the ground, like a lion that is greedy for its prey, like a young lion lurking in secret places.

Arise, Lord; confront them and cast them down; deliver me from the wicked by your sword. Deliver me, O Lord, by your hand from those whose portion in life is unending, whose bellies you fill with your treasure, who are well supplied with children and leave their wealth to their little ones.

As for me, I shall see your face in righteousness; when I awake and behold your likeness, I shall be satisfied.

Genesis 42.6-17
Now Joseph was governor over the land; it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground. When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke harshly to them. ‘Where do you come from?’ he said. They said, ‘From the land of Canaan, to buy food.’ Although Joseph had recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. Joseph also remembered the dreams that he had dreamed about them. He said to them, ‘You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land!’ They said to him, ‘No, my lord; your servants have come to buy food. We are all sons of one man; we are honest men; your servants have never been spies.’

But he said to them, ‘No, you have come to see the nakedness of the land!’ They said, ‘We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of a certain man in the land of Canaan; the youngest, however, is now with our father, and one is no more.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘It is just as I have said to you; you are spies! Here is how you shall be tested: as Pharaoh lives, you shall not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here! Let one of you go and bring your brother, while the rest of you remain in prison, in order that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you; or else, as Pharaoh lives, surely you are spies.’ And he put them all together in prison for three days.

Galatians 4.21-5.1
Tell me, you who desire to be subject to the law, will you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and the other by a free woman. One, the child of the slave, was born according to the flesh; the other, the child of the free woman, was born through the promise. Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One woman, in fact, is Hagar, from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the other woman corresponds to the Jerusalem above; she is free, and she is our mother.

For it is written,
‘Rejoice, you childless one, you who bear no children,
'burst into song and shout, you who endure no birth pangs;
'for the children of the desolate woman are more numerous
'than the children of the one who is married.’

Now you, my friends, are children of the promise, like Isaac. But just as at that time the child who was born according to the flesh persecuted the child who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the scripture say? ‘Drive out the slave and her child; for the child of the slave will not share the inheritance with the child of the free woman.’ So then, friends, we are children, not of the slave but of the free woman.

The Collect
Almighty God, you have entrusted to your Church a share in the ministry of your Son our great high priest: inspire by your Holy Spirit the hearts of many to offer themselves for the ministry of your Church, that strengthened by his power, they may work for the increase of your kingdom and set forward the eternal praise of your name; 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.


Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Morning Prayer - Tuesday 20 February 2018

Lent

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.

Genesis 41.46-42.5
Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went through all the land of Egypt. During the seven plenteous years the earth produced abundantly. He gathered up all the food of the seven years when there was plenty in the land of Egypt, and stored up food in the cities; he stored up in every city the food from the fields around it. So Joseph stored up grain in such abundance—like the sand of the sea—that he stopped measuring it; it was beyond measure.

Before the years of famine came, Joseph had two sons, whom Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him. Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, ‘For’, he said, ‘God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.’ The second he named Ephraim, ‘For God has made me fruitful in the land of my misfortunes.’

The seven years of plenty that prevailed in the land of Egypt came to an end; and the seven years of famine began to come, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every country, but throughout the land of Egypt there was bread. When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do.’ And since the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. Moreover, all the world came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine became severe throughout the world.

When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, ‘Why do you keep looking at one another? I have heard’, he said, ‘that there is grain in Egypt; go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die.’ So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he feared that harm might come to him. Thus the sons of Israel were among the other people who came to buy grain, for the famine had reached the land of Canaan.

Galatians 4.8-20
Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods. Now, however, that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits? How can you want to be enslaved to them again? You are observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years. I am afraid that my work for you may have been wasted.

Friends, I beg you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong. You know that it was because of a physical infirmity that I first announced the gospel to you; though my condition put you to the test, you did not scorn or despise me, but welcomed me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. What has become of the goodwill you felt?

For I testify that, had it been possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? They make much of you, but for no good purpose; they want to exclude you, so that you may make much of them. It is good to be made much of for a good purpose at all times, and not only when I am present with you. My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, I wish I were present with you now and could change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

The Collect
Heavenly Father, your Son battled with the powers of darkness, and grew closer to you in the desert: help us to use these days to grow in wisdom and prayer that we may witness to your saving love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Can't make it to church - Sunday 18 February 2018

Ash Wednesday is past and we find ourselves in Lent and all that that means we are taken by Mark to the baptism of Jesus, the Christ which like the Transfiguration last week bring before us another ‘theophany’ (that’s God turning up).

Last week Jesus got the thumbs up and those present were told to listen to Him as the time for Him to be betrayed and put to death came near. Well today we are reminded of the ‘thumbs up’ given at the start of it all. A helpful reminded of the nature of Jesus’ ministry. Add to this the Holy Spirit getting into the act and you’ll see the commitment of the Godhead (the Trinity) – and so commissioned, Jesus goes off into the wilderness to encounter the enemy.

Perhaps this is a good time to point out that one commissioned and following the party, the battle is engaged with. Take a look at the Bible and you’ll find commissioning in the shape of calling, covenants made and anointing. Is this not the same for us with Lent? Pancakes and full bellies give way to mortality and Ash and the enemy within (sin) is engaged with.

Jesus, filled with the Spirit, goes off to begin the war – but we must take care not to consider Jesus, the man, filled and now charismatic or Pentecostal and made more than He already was. This is adoption and is no more an error than that of considering Mary to be co-redemptrix (she and Jesus sharing the salvation of the world). It's just plain wrong!

We are called to battle against satan. God made man comes to overturn the rule of sin and the penalty of death (sin’s power) and we, His followers, take up that mission by accepting His call and the victory won for us. But faith is not a safe place or lifestyle, we contend with the things that oppose God around us, and in this Lent we especially consider that back within our own lives.
And Peter helps to remind us as he reminds us of the power of the Christ’s death for us and the reconciliation with the Godhead that this makes real for us. Eternal life is ours in a sacrifice that was made ‘once for all’. But we must not lose the trials and temptations that daily came knocking at Jesus’ door in the shadow of the Cross. That one final act was encountered after a journey whose path was paved with trials, temptations and conflict (right from the start).

So what do we make of Noah being added to our readings today? What is there in this for us?
Could it be that Noah in the covenant between him and God after the flood something important is being communicated? I think so, because God in this we get a sign that God will never again take direct action as God. No matter what, He’s going to stand back from reaching down and moving things or doing stuff to make it work like He might like.

So if God cannot directly act as God (and He can't because He's made this a covenant promise) then He has to leave the job to man, but not just any man but a man without sin, a man who will make the invisible God visible: Jesus!

And this makes for us a full circle moment as in this completeness of the readings combined we find something consistent and comforting for us.


The Collect
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness, and was tempted as we are, yet without sin: give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit; and, as you know our weakness, so may we know your power to save; 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.


Genesis 9.8-17
 ‘I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you – the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you – every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.’

And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.’

So God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.’

1 Peter 3.18-22
Christ also suffered once for sins.

The one who did what is right suffered for those who don’t do right.
He suffered to bring you to God. His body was put to death. But the Holy Spirit brought him back to life. After that, Christ went and made an announcement to the spirits in prison. Long ago these spirits did not obey.

That was when God was patient while Noah was building the ark. And only a few people went into the ark. In fact, there were only eight. Those eight people were saved through water. The water of the flood is a picture. It is a picture of the baptism that now saves you too.

This baptism has nothing to do with removing dirt from your body. Instead, it promises God that you will keep a clear sense of right and wrong. This baptism saves you by the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. He has gone into heaven. He is at God’s right hand. Angels, authorities and powers are under his control.

Mark 1.9-15
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’

At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’



Post Communion Prayer
Lord God, you have renewed us with the living bread from heaven; by it you nourish our faith, increase our hope, and strengthen our love: teach us always to hunger for him who is the true and living bread, and enable us to live by every word that proceeds from out of your mouth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



Morning Prayer - Monday 19 February 2018

Psalm 10
Why stand so far off, O Lord?
Why hide yourself in time of trouble?

The wicked in their pride persecute the poor; let them be caught in the schemes they have devised.
The wicked boast of their heart’s desire; the covetous curse and revile the Lord.
The wicked in their arrogance say, ‘God will not avenge it’; in all their scheming God counts for nothing.

They are stubborn in all their ways, for your judgements are far above out of their sight; they scoff at all their adversaries.

They say in their heart, ‘I shall not be shaken; no harm shall ever happen to me.’

Their mouth is full of cursing, deceit and fraud; under their tongue lie mischief and wrong.

They lurk in the outskirts and in dark alleys they murder the innocent; their eyes are ever watching for the helpless.

They lie in wait, like a lion in his den; they lie in wait to seize the poor; they seize the poor when they get them into their net.

The innocent are broken and humbled before them; the helpless fall before their power.

They say in their heart, ‘God has forgotten; he hides his face away; he will never see it.’

Arise, O Lord God, and lift up your hand; forget not the poor. Why should the wicked be scornful of God?

Why should they say in their hearts, ‘You will not avenge it’?

Surely, you behold trouble and misery; you see it and take it into your own hand.

The helpless commit themselves to you, for you are the helper of the orphan.

Break the power of the wicked and malicious; search out their wickedness until you find none.

The Lord shall reign for ever and ever; the nations shall perish from his land.
Lord, you will hear the desire of the poor; you will incline your ear to the fullness of their heart,
To give justice to the orphan and oppressed, so that people are no longer driven in terror from the land.

Psalm 11
In the Lord have I taken refuge;  how then can you say to me,
‘Flee like a bird to the hills,
‘For see how the wicked bend the bow and fit their arrows to the string, to shoot from the shadows at the true of heart.
‘When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?’

The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven. His eyes behold, his eyelids try every mortal being.

The Lord tries the righteous as well as the wicked, but those who delight in violence his soul abhors.
Upon the wicked he shall rain coals of fire and burning sulphur; scorching wind shall be their portion to drink.

For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds, and those who are upright shall behold his face.

Genesis 41.25-45
Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, ‘Pharaoh’s dreams are one and the same; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one. The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, as are the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind. They are seven years of famine. It is as I told Pharaoh; God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt. After them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; the famine will consume the land. The plenty will no longer be known in the land because of the famine that will follow, for it will be very grievous. And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about. Now therefore let Pharaoh select a man who is discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land, and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plenteous years. Let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and lay up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to befall the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.’

The proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find anyone else like this—one in whom is the spirit of God?’ So Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has shown you all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command; only with regard to the throne will I be greater than you.’ And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’ Removing his signet ring from his hand, Pharaoh put it on Joseph’s hand; he arrayed him in garments of fine linen, and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in the chariot of his second-in-command; and they cried out in front of him, ‘Bow the knee!’ Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.’ Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, as his wife. Thus Joseph gained authority over the land of Egypt.

Galatians 3.23-4.7
Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property; but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

The Collect
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness, and was tempted as we are, yet without sin: give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit; and, as you know our weakness, so may we know your power to save; 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, 16 February 2018

Morning Prayer - Friday 16 February 2018

Lent 

Psalm 3
Lord, how many are my adversaries; many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say to my soul, ‘There is no help for you in your God.’

But you, Lord, are a shield about me; you are my glory, and the lifter up of my head.
When I cry aloud to the Lord, he will answer me from his holy hill;
I lie down and sleep and rise again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not be afraid of hordes of the peoples that have set themselves against me all around.

Rise up, O Lord, and deliver me, O my God, for you strike all my enemies on the cheek and break the teeth of the wicked.

Salvation belongs to the Lord: may your blessing be upon your people.

Psalm 7
O Lord my God, in you I take refuge; save me from all who pursue me, and deliver me,
Lest they rend me like a lion and tear me in pieces while there is no one to help me.
O Lord my God, if I have done these things: if there is any wickedness in my hands,
If I have repaid my friend with evil, or plundered my enemy without a cause,
Then let my enemy pursue me and overtake me, trample my life to the ground, and lay my honour in the dust.

Rise up, O Lord, in your wrath; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies. Awaken, my God, the judgement that you have commanded.

Let the assembly of the peoples gather round you; be seated high above them: O Lord, judge the nations.
Give judgement for me according to my righteousness, O Lord, and according to the innocence that is in me.

Let the malice of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; for you test the mind and heart, O righteous God.

God is my shield that is over me; he saves the true of heart.
God is a righteous judge; he is provoked all day long.
If they will not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent his bow and made it ready.
He has prepared the weapons of death; he makes his arrows shafts of fire.

Behold those who are in labour with wickedness, who conceive evil and give birth to lies.
They dig a pit and make it deep and fall into the hole that they have made for others.
Their mischief rebounds on their own head; their violence falls on their own scalp.

I will give thanks to the Lord for his righteousness, and I will make music to the name of the Lord Most High.

Genesis 40
Some time after this, the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker offended their lord the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he waited on them; and they continued for some time in custody. One night they both dreamed—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison—each his own dream, and each dream with its own meaning. When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers, who were with him in custody in his master’s house, ‘Why are your faces downcast today?’ They said to him, ‘We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.’ And Joseph said to them, ‘Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.’

So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, ‘In my dream there was a vine before me, and on the vine there were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms came out and the clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.’ Then Joseph said to him, ‘This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days; within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office; and you shall place Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. But remember me when it is well with you; please do me the kindness to make mention of me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this place. For in fact I was stolen out of the land of the Hebrews; and here also I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon.’

When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favourable, he said to Joseph, ‘I also had a dream: there were three cake baskets on my head, and in the uppermost basket there were all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating it out of the basket on my head.’ And Joseph answered, ‘This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days; within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head—from you!—and hang you on a pole; and the birds will eat the flesh from you.’

On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he made a feast for all his servants, and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. He restored the chief cupbearer to his cupbearing, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand; but the chief baker he hanged, just as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

Galatians 3.1-14
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so much for nothing?—if it really was for nothing. Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?

Just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’, so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.’ For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.’ Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for ‘The one who is righteous will live by faith.’ But the law does not rest on faith; on the contrary, ‘Whoever does the works of the law will live by them.’ Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’—in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing that you have made and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: create and make in us new and contrite hearts that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may receive from you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; 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.


Thursday, 15 February 2018

Morning Prayer - Thursday 15 February 2018

Lent 
Sigfrid, Bishop, Apostle of Sweden, 1045
Thomas Bray, Priest, Founder of the SPCK and the SPG, 1730

Psalm 77
I cry aloud to God; I cry aloud to God and he will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I have sought the Lord;
by night my hand is stretched out and does not tire; my soul refuses comfort.
I think upon God and I groan; I ponder, and my spirit faints.
You will not let my eyelids close; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old; I remember the years long past;
I commune with my heart in the night; my spirit searches for understanding.

Will the Lord cast us off for ever?
Will he no more show us his favour?
Has his loving mercy clean gone for ever?
Has his promise come to an end for evermore?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he shut up his compassion in displeasure?
And I said, ‘My grief is this: that the right hand of the Most High has lost its strength.’

I will remember the works of the Lord and call to mind your wonders of old time.
I will meditate on all your works and ponder your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy; who is so great a god as our God?
You are the God who worked wonders and declared your power among the peoples.
With a mighty arm you redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.

The waters saw you, O God; the waters saw you and were afraid; the depths also were troubled.

The clouds poured out water; the skies thundered; your arrows flashed on every side;

The voice of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lit up the ground; the earth trembled and shook.

Your way was in the sea, and your paths in the great waters, but your footsteps were not known. You led your people like sheep by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Genesis 39
Now Joseph was taken down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man; he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hands. So Joseph found favour in his sight and attended him; he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge; and, with him there, he had no concern for anything but the food that he ate.

Now Joseph was handsome and good-looking. And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Look, with me here, my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my hand. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ And although she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not consent to lie beside her or to be with her. One day, however, when he went into the house to do his work, and while no one else was in the house, she caught hold of his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me!’ But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside, she called out to the members of her household and said to them, ‘See, my husband has brought among us a Hebrew to insult us! He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice; and when he heard me raise my voice and cry out, he left his garment beside me, and fled outside.’ Then she kept his garment by her until his master came home, and she told him the same story, saying, ‘The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to insult me; but as soon as I raised my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me, and fled outside.’

When his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, saying, ‘This is the way your servant treated me’, he became enraged. And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; he remained there in prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love; he gave him favour in the sight of the chief jailer. The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s care all the prisoners who were in the prison, and whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The chief jailer paid no heed to anything that was in Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.

Galatians 2.11-end
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned; for until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction. And the other Jews joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, ‘If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?’

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law. But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

The Collect
Holy God, our lives are laid open before you: rescue us from the chaos of sin and through the death of your Son bring us healing and make us whole in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Morning Prayer - Wednesday 14 February 2018

Lent: Ash Wednesday

Psalm 38
Rebuke me not, O Lord, in your anger, neither chasten me in your heavy displeasure.
For your arrows have stuck fast in me and your hand presses hard upon me.
There is no health in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no peace in my bones because of my sin.
For my iniquities have gone over my head; their weight is a burden too heavy to bear.

My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness.
I am utterly bowed down and brought very low; I go about mourning all the day long.
My loins are filled with searing pain; there is no health in my flesh.
I am feeble and utterly crushed; I roar aloud because of the disquiet of my heart.

O Lord, you know all my desires and my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart is pounding, my strength has failed me; the light of my eyes is gone from me.
My friends and companions stand apart from my affliction; my neighbours stand afar off.
Those who seek after my life lay snares for me; and those who would harm me whisper evil and mutter slander all the day long.

But I am like one who is deaf and hears not, like one that is dumb, who does not open his mouth.
I have become like one who does not hear and from whose mouth comes no retort.
For in you, Lord, have I put my trust; you will answer me, O Lord my God.
For I said, ‘Let them not triumph over me, those who exult over me when my foot slips.’

Truly, I am on the verge of falling and my pain is ever with me.
I will confess my iniquity and be sorry for my sin.
Those that are my enemies without any cause are mighty, and those who hate me wrongfully are many in number.
Those who repay evil for good are against me, because the good is what I seek.
Forsake me not, O Lord; be not far from me, O my God.
Make haste to help me, O Lord of my salvation.

Daniel 9.3-6,17-19
Then I turned to the Lord God, to seek an answer by prayer and supplication with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying,

‘Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, keeping covenant and steadfast love with those who love you and keep your commandments, we have sinned and done wrong, acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and ordinances. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his supplication, and for your own sake, Lord, let your face shine upon your desolated sanctuary. Incline your ear, O my God, and hear. Open your eyes and look at our desolation and the city that bears your name. We do not present our supplication before you on the ground of our righteousness, but on the ground of your great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen and act and do not delay! For your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people bear your name!’

1 Timothy 6.6-19
Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honour and eternal dominion. Amen.

As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

The Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing that you have made and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: create and make in us new and contrite hearts that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may receive from you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; 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.