Saturday, 16 November 2019

Morning Prayer - Saturday, 16 November 2019

Morning Prayer from All Saints’ Day until the day before the First Sunday of Advent

Margaret, Queen of Scotland, Philanthropist, Reformer of the Church, 1093

Edmund Rich of Abingdon, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1240

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.

Isaiah 8.16-9.7
Bind up the testimony, seal the teaching among my disciples. I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. See, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. Now if people say to you, ‘Consult the ghosts and the familiar spirits that chirp and mutter; should not a people consult their gods, the dead on behalf of the living, for teaching and for instruction?’ surely, those who speak like this will have no dawn! They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry; when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will curse their king and their gods. They will turn their faces upwards, or they will look to the earth, but will see only distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be thrust into thick darkness.

But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Matthew 6.19-end
‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

‘The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

‘No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

The Collect
God, the ruler of all, who called your servant Margaret to an earthly throne and gave her zeal for your Church and love for your people that she might advance your heavenly kingdom: mercifully grant that we who commemorate her example may be fruitful in good works and attain to the glorious crown of your saints; 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.


Monday, 11 November 2019

Morning Prayer - Monday, 11 November 2019

Morning Prayer from All Saints’ Day until the day before the First Sunday of Advent 

Martin, Bishop of Tours, c.397

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 hearbe acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Psalm 20
May the Lord hear you in the day of trouble, the name of the God of Jacob defend you; send you help from his sanctuary and strengthen you out of Zion; remember all your offerings and accept your burnt sacrifice; grant you your heart’s desire and fulfil all your mind. May we rejoice in your salvation and triumph in the name of our God; may the Lord perform all your petitions.

Now I know that the Lord will save his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven, with the mighty strength of his right hand. Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will call only on the name of the Lord our God. They are brought down and fallen, but we are risen and stand upright.

O Lord, save the king and answer us when we call upon you.

Isaiah 5.8-24
Ah, you who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is room for no one but you, and you are left to live alone in the midst of the land! The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing: Surely many houses shall be desolate, large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant. For ten acres of vineyard shall yield but one bath, and a homer of seed shall yield a mere ephah.

Ah, you who rise early in the morning in pursuit of strong drink, who linger in the evening to be inflamed by wine, whose feasts consist of lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine, but who do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands! Therefore my people go into exile without knowledge; their nobles are dying of hunger, and their multitude is parched with thirst.

Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure; the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude go down, her throng and all who exult in her. People are bowed down, everyone is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are humbled. But the Lord of hosts is exalted by justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy by righteousness. Then the lambs shall graze as in their pasture, fatlings and kids shall feed among the ruins.

Ah, you who drag iniquity along with cords of falsehood, who drag sin along as with cart-ropes, who say, ‘Let him make haste, let him speed his work that we may see it; let the plan of the Holy One of Israel hasten to fulfilment, that we may know it!’

Ah, you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Ah, you who are wise in your own eyes, and shrewd in your own sight!

Ah, you who are heroes in drinking wine and valiant at mixing drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of their rights!

Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will become rotten, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the instruction of the Lord of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

Matthew 4.23-5.12
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The Collect
God all powerful, who called Martin from the armies of this world to be a faithful soldier of Christ: give us grace to follow him in his love and compassion for the needy, and enable your Church to claim for all people their inheritance as children of God; 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.


Saturday, 9 November 2019

Morning Prayer - Saturday, 9 November 2019

Morning Prayer from All Saints’ Day until the day before the First Sunday of Advent

Margery Kempe, Mystic, c.1440

Psalm 18.31-end
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried in the fire; he is a shield to all who trust in him. For who is God but the Lord, and who is the rock except our God? It is God who girds me about with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like hinds’ feet so that I tread surely on the heights. He teaches my hands to fight and my arms to bend a bow of bronze.

You have given me the shield of your salvation; your right hand upholds me and your grace has made me great. You enlarge my strides beneath me, yet my feet do not slide. I will pursue my enemies and overtake them, nor turn again until I have destroyed them. I will smite them down so they cannot rise; they shall fall beneath my feet. You have girded me with strength for the battle; you will cast down my enemies under me; you will make my foes turn their backs upon me and I shall destroy them that hate me.

They will cry out, but there shall be none to help them; they will cry to the Lord, but he will not answer. I shall beat them as small as the dust on the wind; I will cast them out as the mire in the streets. You will deliver me from the strife of the peoples; you will make me the head of the nations. A people I have not known shall serve me; as soon as they hear me, they shall obey me; strangers will humble themselves before me. The foreign peoples will lose heart and come trembling out of their strongholds.

The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock! Praised be the God of my salvation, even the God who vindicates me and subdues the peoples under me! You that deliver me from my enemies, you will set me up above my foes; from the violent you will deliver me; therefore will I give you thanks, O Lord, among the nations and sing praises to your name,  to the one who gives great victory to his king and shows faithful love to his anointed, to David and his seed for ever.

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.

Isaiah 4.2-5.7
On that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel. Whoever is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, once the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgement and by a spirit of burning. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over its places of assembly a cloud by day and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night. Indeed, over all the glory there will be a canopy. It will serve as a pavilion, a shade by day from the heat, and a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

Let me sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watch-tower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; he expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.

And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?

And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.

For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his pleasant planting; he expected justice, but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry!

Matthew 4.12-22
Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the lake, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
‘Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.’ From that time Jesus began to proclaim, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

The Collect
God of glory, touch our lips with the fire of your Spirit, that we with all creation may rejoice to sing your praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Thursday, 7 November 2019

Morning Prayer - Thursday, 7 November 2019

Morning Prayer from All Saints’ Day until the day before the First Sunday of Advent 

Willibrord of York, Bishop, Apostle of Frisia, 739

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.

Psalm 15
Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle? Who may rest upon your holy hill? Whoever leads an uncorrupt life and does the thing that is right; who speaks the truth from the heart and bears no deceit on the tongue; who does no evil to a friend and pours no scorn on a neighbour; in whose sight the wicked are not esteemed, but who honours those who fear the Lord. Whoever has sworn to a neighbour and never goes back on that word; who does not lend money in hope of gain, nor takes a bribe against the innocent; whoever does these things shall never fall.

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.

Isaiah 2.12-end
For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up and high; against all the cedars of Lebanon, lofty and lifted up; and against all the oaks of Bashan; against all the high mountains, and against all the lofty hills; against every high tower, and against every fortified wall; against all the ships of Tarshish, and against all the beautiful craft. The haughtiness of people shall be humbled, and the pride of everyone shall be brought low; and the Lord alone will be exalted on that day. The idols shall utterly pass away.

Enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground, from the terror of the Lord, and from the glory of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth. On that day people will throw away to the moles and to the bats their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, to enter the caverns of the rocks and the clefts in the crags, from the terror of the Lord, and from the glory of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth. Turn away from mortals, who have only breath in their nostrils, for of what account are they?

Matthew 3
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, ‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” ’

Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptised by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

‘I baptise you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptised by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptised, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’

The Collect
God, the Saviour of all, you sent your bishop Willibrord from this land to proclaim the good news to many peoples and confirm them in their faith: help us also to witness to your steadfast love by word and deed so that your Church may increase and grow strong in holiness; 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, 6 November 2019

Morning Prayer - Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Morning Prayer from All Saints’ Day until the day before the First Sunday of Advent 

Leonard, Hermit, 6th century
William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher of the Faith, 1944

Psalm 9
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all your marvellous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will make music to your name, O Most High.
When my enemies are driven back, they stumble and perish at your presence. For you have maintained my right and my cause; you sat on your throne giving righteous judgement.

You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name for ever and ever. The enemy was utterly laid waste. You uprooted their cities; their very memory has perished. But the Lord shall endure for ever; he has made fast his throne for judgement. For he shall rule the world with righteousness and govern the peoples with equity.

Then will the Lord be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in the time of trouble. And those who know your name will put their trust in you, for you, Lord, have never failed those who seek you. Sing praises to the Lord who dwells in Zion; declare among the peoples the things he has done. The avenger of blood has remembered them; he did not forget the cry of the oppressed.

Have mercy upon me, O Lord; consider the trouble I suffer from those who hate me, you that lift me up from the gates of death; that I may tell all your praises in the gates of the city of Zion and rejoice in your salvation.

The nations shall sink into the pit of their making and in the snare which they set will their own foot be taken.

The Lord makes himself known by his acts of justice; the wicked are snared in the works of their own hands. They shall return to the land of darkness, all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten and the hope of the poor shall not perish for ever.

Arise, O Lord, and let not mortals have the upper hand; let the nations be judged before your face. Put them in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but mortal.

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.

Isaiah 2.1-11
The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’

For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord! For you have forsaken the ways of your people, O house of Jacob. Indeed they are full of diviners from the east and of soothsayers like the Philistines, and they clasp hands with foreigners. Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is filled with horses, and there is no end to their chariots. Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made. And so people are humbled, and everyone is brought low—do not forgive them!

Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust from the terror of the Lord, and from the glory of his majesty. The haughty eyes of people shall be brought low, and the pride of everyone shall be humbled; and the Lord alone will be exalted on that day.

Matthew 2.16-end
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
‘A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.’

When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.’ Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He will be called a Nazorean.’

The Collect
Almighty and eternal God, you have kindled the flame of love in the hearts of the saints: grant to us the same faith and power of love, that, as we rejoice in their triumphs, we may be sustained by their example and fellowship; 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, 5 November 2019

Morning Prayer - Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Morning Prayer from All Saints’ Day until the day before the First Sunday of Advent 

Psalm 5
Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my lamentation. Hearken to the voice of my crying, my King and my God, for to you I make my prayer. In the morning, Lord, you will hear my voice; early in the morning I make my appeal to you, and look up. For you are the God who takes no pleasure in wickedness; no evil can dwell with you.

The boastful cannot stand in your sight; you hate all those that work wickedness. You destroy those who speak lies; the bloodthirsty and deceitful the Lord will abhor. But as for me, through the greatness of your mercy, I will come into your house; I will bow down towards your holy temple in awe of you.

Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness, because of my enemies; make your way straight before my face. For there is no truth in their mouth, in their heart is destruction, their throat is an open sepulchre, and they flatter with their tongue. Punish them, O God; let them fall through their own devices. Because of their many transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them sing out their joy for ever. You will shelter them, so that those who love your name may exult in you. For you, O Lord, will bless the righteous; and with your favour you will defend them as with a shield.

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.

Isaiah 1.21-end
How the faithful city has become a whore! She that was full of justice, righteousness lodged in her—but now murderers! Your silver has become dross, your wine is mixed with water. Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not defend the orphan, and the widow’s cause does not come before them.

Therefore says the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel: Ah, I will pour out my wrath on my enemies, and avenge myself on my foes! I will turn my hand against you; I will smelt away your dross as with lye and remove all your alloy. And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counsellors as at the beginning. Afterwards you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.

Zion shall be redeemed by justice, and those in her who repent, by righteousness. But rebels and sinners shall be destroyed together, and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed. For you shall be ashamed of the oaks in which you delighted; and you shall blush for the gardens that you have chosen. For you shall be like an oak whose leaf withers, and like a garden without water. The strong shall become like tinder, and their work like a spark; they and their work shall burn together, with no one to quench them.

Matthew 2.1-15
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.” ’

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son.’

The Collect
Almighty and eternal God, you have kindled the flame of love in the hearts of the saints: grant to us the same faith and power of love, that, as we rejoice in their triumphs, we may be sustained by their example and fellowship; 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.


Monday, 4 November 2019

Morning Prayer - Monday, 4 November 2019

Morning Prayer from All Saints’ Day until the day before the First Sunday of Advent 

Psalm 2
Why are the nations in tumult, and why do the peoples devise a vain plot?

The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed: ‘Let us break their bonds asunder and cast away their cords from us.’

He who dwells in heaven shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak to them in his wrath and terrify them in his fury: ‘Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.’

I will proclaim the decree of the Lord; he said to me: ‘You are my Son; this day have I begotten you. ‘Ask of me and I will give you the nations for your inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’

Now therefore be wise, O kings; be prudent, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and with trembling kiss his feet, lest he be angry and you perish from the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Happy are all they who take refuge in him.

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.

Isaiah 1.1-20
The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.

Ah, sinful nation, people laden with iniquity, offspring who do evil, children who deal corruptly, who have forsaken the Lord, who have despised the Holy One of Israel, who are utterly estranged!

Why do you seek further beatings? Why do you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and bleeding wounds; they have not been drained, or bound up, or softened with oil.

Your country lies desolate, your cities are burned with fire; in your very presence aliens devour your land; it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners. And daughter Zion is left like a booth in a vineyard, like a shelter in a cucumber field, like a besieged city. If the Lord of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we would have been like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah.

Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt-offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.

When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand? Trample my courts no more; bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation—I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity.  Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

Come now, let us argue it out, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Matthew 1.18-end
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
   and they shall name him Emmanuel’,
which means, ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

The Collect
God of glory, touch our lips with the fire of your Spirit, that we with all creation may rejoice to sing your praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Let’s talk about it - Grenfell

It is my responsibility as a priest to seek to bring clarity and discernment in places where conflict and pain are found. Listening to conversations and reading comments people have made, I have come to a place where I think I’d like to add my tuppence worth:

Every time the bells go down the firefighter’s heart rates goes up as the race begins to answer the shout for help. And afterwards. The public never see the cloud that hangs over a station when a child is lost, a family taken, a tragedy occurs. On their return these ‘smoke eaters’ retreat to places around the station to battle their demons and shed tears, punch lockers and brood. They take this home with them (being married to a firefighter is not always a bundle of fun) and are made different by what they’ve been part of.

There’s no section in the manual for something different, because even things that look the same, each and every shout is different through the presence of those involved and the places it’s in.

Regarding Grenfell, The vilification of the firefighters on the ground, the clamouring for a scapegoat with the blindness such events confer, adds to the tragedy of this awful episode.

 We ask small groups of people to go where it’s is dangerous to go and in doing so see things none should witness as they do things to protect and save life; and they do it as a matter of choice (none are forced).

Grenfell was the feared ‘towering inferno’ made real for us - 45 years in the making - a fire where the policy of ‘stay inside’ cost lives in the same way that ‘run to the exits’ surely also would have!

The firefighters don’t deserve the public vilification that is aimed at them; the accusations of corporate manslaughter and the anger because someone at the top of the tree gives an opinion that they didn’t like. Did the chief officer smile when she responded? Was it a flippant remark? A throwaway spoken lightly? I don’t think so.

The reality is that Grenfell was a shitstorm brought about by a combination of factors:

The cosmetic cladding (let’s discuss the approval of such material and the reasons for using it - and ask whether it is different from the domestic cladding, soffits and the like used today?)

The reason the product was chosen (was it the safest or the cheapest?)

The audit trail with the fingerprints of all contained within it and their part in this tragedy (not to apportion blame [unless obvious and culpable blame exists] but to learn from this tragic episode).

The safety of our white goods (I personally know of five individuals whose house fire was cause by a domestic appliance - should we start to think about replacement before the burnout part of an appliance’s life becomes literal?).

We need to ensure alarms and the ability to get water to the top of the building, secure fire doors and the like are present, and that all is adequate, tested and maintained (were they?)

My father was a firefighter and his fear that something like this was waiting in the wings was made real for him with the Ronan Point (1968) gas explosion and was fuelled by the ‘Towering Inferno’ film. He would fret over ‘means of escape’ and the potential for lives lost in high rise structures.

I have to say that the only thing Dany Collins did wrong in her response that she,”Wouldn’t change anything,” was that she didn’t say, “I’d knock these high density housing death traps down and get rid of all unnecessary cladding materials and combustible building products where ever we find them!”

And her insensitivity? Should she have wept and said she wished the firefighters had done it differently? (If she had then this is an admission that on the night, on the ground, they did it wrong). She responded with the right answer - insensitive? I don’t think so. Honest? Professional?

Yes, I think it was.

For someone in the control room to hear of a fire in such a setting the practice is to advise them to ‘stay inside’. To tell them to flee is to instruct them to enter into a place where smoke (and asphyxiation) may be present; a place where fire and heat (and doors opening provide oxygen to fuel things further) may be found.

To modify the old military adage: “Everything was planned, tried and tested we knew what we were doing and then we engaged the fire and realised it was like nothing we’d seen before or expected.”

To change the advice and tell people to ‘run for your lives’, now that would have been an invitation that would, in this context, cost lives.

But someone has to pay. Someone needs to be guilty.

Don’t they?