Thursday, 30 October 2014

Rupert Bear on the radio

I've just turned on my radio - I do from time to time,
A man was reading Christian verse, it really was a crime,
The tone of voice 'twas dripping honey, so sincere, so blinking funny!

Thought he was speaking holy writ. Like Olivier? Nah, like a twit!
And every stanza worked so well, it really was a rhyming hell!
His tomes were reaching to God aloft - I had enough, I turned it off.

Strange how many think that Church,
being a place where people come to seek God's face
Need to make the whole thing rhyme
And yet when gazing at His creation,
Ebola, ISIS, war and starving nation:

It doesn't!


Morning Prayer - 30 October

Psalm 113
Alleluia.
Give praise, you servants of the Lord, O praise the name of the Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord, from this time forth and for evermore. From the rising of the sun to its setting let the name of the Lord be praised. The Lord is high above all nations and his glory above the heavens.

Who is like the Lord our God, that has his throne so high, yet humbles himself to behold the things of heaven and earth?

He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ashes, To set them with princes, with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a place in the house and makes her a joyful mother of children.
Alleluia.

From the rising of the sun to its setting we praise your name, O Lord; may your promise to raise the poor from the dust and turn the fortunes of the needy upside down be fulfilled in our time also, as it was in your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 115
Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name give the glory, for the sake of your loving mercy and truth.

Why should the nations say, ‘Where is now their God?’
As for our God, he is in heaven; he does whatever he pleases. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but cannot speak; eyes have they, but cannot see;
They have ears, but cannot hear; noses have they, but cannot smell;
They have hands, but cannot feel; feet have they, but cannot walk; not a whisper do they make from their throats.
Those who make them shall become like them and so will all who put their trust in them.

But you, Israel, put your trust in the Lord; he is their help and their shield. House of Aaron, trust in the Lord; he is their help and their shield. You that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord; he is their help and their shield. The Lord has been mindful of us and he will bless us; may he bless the house of Israel; may he bless the house of Aaron;
May he bless those who fear the Lord, both small and great together.
May the Lord increase you more and more, you and your children after you.
May you be blest by the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.

The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth he has entrusted to his children. The dead do not praise the Lord, nor those gone down into silence; But we will bless the Lord, from this time forth for evermore.
Alleluia.

2 Kings 19.1-19
When King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They said to him, ‘Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. It may be that the Lord your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.’ When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, ‘Say to your master, “Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. I myself will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumour and return to his own land; I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.” ’

The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah; for he had heard that the king had left Lachish. When the king heard concerning King Tirhakah of Ethiopia, ‘See, he has set out to fight against you’, he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying, ‘Thus shall you speak to King Hezekiah of Judah: Do not let your God on whom you rely deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. See, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, destroying them utterly. Shall you be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my predecessors destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?’

Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; then Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said: ‘O Lord the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, you are God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and have hurled their gods into the fire, though they were no gods but the work of human hands—wood and stone—and so they were destroyed. So now, O Lord our God, save us, I pray you, from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.’

Philippians 2.14-end
Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labour in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you—and in the same way you also must be glad and rejoice with me.

I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be cheered by news of you. I have no one like him who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. All of them are seeking their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But Timothy’s worth you know, how like a son with a father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope therefore to send him as soon as I see how things go with me; and I trust in the Lord that I will also come soon.

Still, I think it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus—my brother and co-worker and fellow-soldier, your messenger and minister to my need; for he has been longing for all of you, and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. He was indeed so ill that he nearly died. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, so that I would not have one sorrow after another. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, in order that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. Welcome him then in the Lord with all joy, and honour such people, because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for those services that you could not give me.

The Collect
Blessed Lord,
who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:help us so to hear them, to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them that, through patience, and the comfort of your holy word, we may embrace and for ever hold fast the hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

No Hallowe'en Poster

A 'No Hallowe'en' poster for those who might like to put one in their window:


There are some interesting comments regarding this ever-increasingly popular (especially if you're a retailer) event and the fact that it's becoming something very different to the 'family fun' night that many have tried to portray it as over the past few years.

Please pray for the Street Angels, Street and Town Pastors and the emergency services who can have anything but a party spirit to deal with.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

One of those 'deja vu' moments: non-Christian friends

Life, it seems, is |a funny circuitous old thing and this has been brought home to me as, oddly, I have had a 'repeat conversation' with someone along the same lines as one I had some twenty-five years ago - and, being brutally honest,  it was all a bit surreal and just a little unsettling!

The conversation at the tail-end of the last century was taken up by the fact that the person on the other side of the conversation didn't have any non-Christian friends; they'd been to a conference and had been challenged as to how many 'unsaved' people they counted as friends. "Well, errr,you see, well, I don't actually have any," was the reply, "All  my friends are Christians you see!"

This response brought gasps of shock and derision  accompanied by tutting, head shaking and general acts of disapproval from those around the room. The speaker, a real 'soul winner' who is still going strong (and using the same jokes and stories they'd lifted from others then) today asked how they thought their ministry, "Could ever be valid when they lived in a Christian ghetto!"

Lunch saved the poor soul from further accusation (although not from the withering gazes of many of the obviously 'much more Christian' delegates around them) and, me being me, I decided to befriend them - something that proved a little difficult because they'd been on the wrong end of the many zealous soul-winners and were just a little wary (mind you, that might just have been because it was me) - and soon had them laughing (much to the disgust of some around us).

The bloke started telling me of the work they were engaged in and how when he started he was the only Christian in his group of friends. Then, one by one, they got saved and now, with a dozen or so in the fellowship he was helping to pastor, there were none left. The fellowship now numbered around sixty people and they were looking for inspiration as to how they might disciple those who came and spread the net further.

Seeing one of the assembled delegates looking at my new best friend with what can only charitably be called sneering contempt I decided to emulate the Mars Hill model as best I could and moved off to engage with them; and immediately it was obvious that I had picked a winner. My companion was part of the leadership team of a church plant from one of the names in 'being Church' and those standing with them were all on first name terms with many of the great and good in the Ghetto that can sometimes be called 'Church'. 

We chatted about how many new believers they'd seen during the first few months ("None, but we're hopeful!")

We chatted about how many friends they'd seen come to faith ("None, but a prophet is always without honour in their own land aren't they?)

The conversations continued and it soon became obvious that this little team were not only a team, but they were all friends too. In fact it soon became obvious that this little group were in fact the ONLY friends they really had (well them and the some of the others involved in the 'plant') every one else they referred to as friends were in fact acquaintances of the most cursory kind - but that's how friendships start so well done them (and I mean that in the best sense).

The bell rang and in true Pavlovian sense we rushed back in to be further enlightened as to how we might best build Church and then, sufficiently enabled we were asked what was the most exciting or enabling thing we'd learnt during the day. There were a few people who stood up and said nothing much about nothing much and then it sort of trailed off and one of the people on the team, knowing me, looked straight at me and said, "No one with anything more to add?"

And that's where it all went a bit downhill for some I guess as I stood up and told how I'd learnt how it was more apparently acceptable to have loads of non-Christian friends rather than loads of friends who had become Christian! I went on to point out that a bloke who'd been quite sorely treated over having no non-Christian friends needed in fact to be applauded for having introduced them to a new way of life. Not only that but the 'successful' among us were apparently not seeing the very growth that we had come to learn about (and to be honest I wondered whether the 'experts' really knew about it themselves - after all they were generally people who came, spoke, 'saw that hand', prayed and moved on!).

So the conversation I've just had with someone who has seen neighbours, friends and others come to faith through relationship (anyone else remember 'Friendship Evangelism' and Leonard Albert - a great chap?) and yet feels 'got at' because they've no non-Christian friends left!

Now that demands a pat on the back, a free meal and a reminder that it's about 'one telling another' and lives on the premise that unless we make real relationships with people and tell them then how will they know and where is authenticity in the Church.

A great conversation that left me praising God for people who bring growth and one that rekindled the passion for the lost in a more direct and dirty manner - a real wake-up call that made me hearken back to a time when I was an evangelist first and foremost and not a peddler of ersatz cobblers and shuffler of meaningless paperwork - anyone out there fancy having a new friend (or two)?






Morning Prayer - 29 October,

James Hannington, Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, Martyr in Uganda, 1885

Psalm 110
The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’

May the Lord stretch forth the sceptre of your power; rule from Zion in the midst of your enemies.
‘Noble are you on this day of your birth; on the holy mountain, from the womb of the dawn the dew of your new birth is upon you.’

The Lord has sworn and will not retract:
‘You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.’

The king at your right hand, O Lord, shall smite down kings in the day of his wrath. In all his majesty, he shall judge among the nations, smiting heads over all the wide earth. He shall drink from the brook beside the way; therefore shall he lift high his head.

Psalm 111
Alleluia.
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the faithful and in the congregation. The works of the Lord are great, sought out by all who delight in them. His work is full of majesty and honour and his righteousness endures for ever.
He appointed a memorial for his marvellous deeds; the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.
He gave food to those who feared him; he is ever mindful of his covenant.
He showed his people the power of his works in giving them the heritage of the nations.

The works of his hands are truth and justice; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever; they are done in truth and equity. He sent redemption to his people; he commanded his covenant for ever; holy and awesome is his name. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have those who live by it; his praise endures for ever.

Psalm 112
Alleluia.
Blessed are those who fear the Lord and have great delight in his commandments. Their descendants will be mighty in the land, a generation of the faithful that will be blest. Wealth and riches will be in their house, and their righteousness endures for ever. Light shines in the darkness for the upright; gracious and full of compassion are the righteous. It goes well with those who are generous in lending and order their affairs with justice, For they will never be shaken; the righteous will be held in everlasting remembrance. They will not be afraid of any evil tidings; their heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their heart is sustained and will not fear, until they see the downfall of their foes. They have given freely to the poor; their righteousness stands fast for ever; their head will be exalted with honour. The wicked shall see it and be angry; they shall gnash their teeth in despair; the desire of the wicked shall perish.

2 Kings 18.13-end
In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. King Hezekiah of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, ‘I have done wrong; withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.’ The king of Assyria demanded of King Hezekiah of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house. At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts that King Hezekiah of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria. The king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rabsaris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Fuller’s Field. When they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder.

The Rabshakeh said to them, ‘Say to Hezekiah: Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you base this confidence of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me? See, you are relying now on Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of anyone who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him. But if you say to me, “We rely on the Lord our God”, is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, “You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem”? Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master’s servants, when you rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.’

Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, ‘Please speak to your servants in the Aramaic language, for we understand it; do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall.’ But the Rabshakeh said to them, ‘Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the people sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and to drink their own urine?’

Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah, ‘Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: “Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. Do not let Hezekiah make you rely on the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: “Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will eat from your own vine and your own fig tree, and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive oil and honey, that you may live and not die. Do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, The Lord will deliver us. Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered its land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who among all the gods of the countries have delivered their countries out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?” ’

But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, ‘Do not answer him.’ Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.

Philippians 2.1-13
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death - even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

The Collect
Most merciful God, who strengthened your Church by the steadfast courage of your martyr James Hannington: grant that we also, thankfully remembering his victory of faith, may overcome what is evil and glorify your holy 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, 28 October 2014

Oh, you wanted me to do it!

An intriguing conversation in progress at the moment where one person has taken on a role in the church and the expectations and assumptions of them, the dog collar and the members are all rather disconnected and the body that is Church is rather disjointed. All in all it's rather reminiscent of a lecture I had whilst learning the role of an Industrial engineer where the lecturer brought the 'self made man' into the equation.

"The problem with many 'self made' managers is that many of them have put themselves together without any manual or construction guide and if what they do works in and shape, size or form then the assumption that they're got it right is enough to keep them repeating their mistakes until they, you, or the organisation dies!"

The real problem appears to be that those who do stuff in a Church setting are rarely properly trained to do whatever it is that they do - even when they are the problem exists in that those who do are rarely told what is expected and how they are expected to do it - and this might well be the problem with the person I'm conversing with.

Consider the hypothetical situation whereby someone takes on the role of feeding, watering and generally caring for a church's Gerbils. Now they do this on behalf of the dogcollar, the person who normally cared for the Gerbil (being charged to do so when they were licensed to the church) so that the dog collar can move away from Gerbil husbandry and move on to other more pressing needs within the Church; a situation that finds its parallels in the creation of deacons in the early Church (see the book of acts).

Now all goes well at first and the 'Gerbillator' waters, feeds and keeps the dear little creatures happy and content whilst the dogcollar goes of to do whatever it is that they've been freed up to do. A few weeks pass and there are reports that all is not well with the Gerbils; so the dogcollar pops by and casually takes a look at the situation. The reports are true and indeed the Gerbils are unhappy and generally just a little uncared for.

"This is all your fault," cry the Friends of the Gerbils, "You're the Vicar, and you've let us all down - we are unhappy and all feeling uncared for!"

The poor old dogcollar, taking it on the chin, issues a 'mea culpa' and changes the straw, feeds the Gerbils that remain and mutters apologies to all who hear (and they do!) of the poor animal husbandry on offer at St Funtzbuckets by the Green. They are universally acknowledged as b
'being poor'  - the woeful goings make for a very sad situation indeed.

A few days later our hapless dog collar bumps into the 'Gerbillator' who is full of smiles and wearing their Gerbil Minister Badge with pride. Upon asking how things are going (knowing full well that they are perhaps a little out of control already) the dog collar is stunned to hear that all is going 'wonderfully well' as the keeper of the Gerbils has been away on an eight-week cruise around the world!

Out comes a bundle of photographs of the places visited and the meals consumed and for dessert the comment is made that some of the members are quite concerned about the Gerbils and the care they have received from the church (which of course means the dog collar)!

So, taking courage in both hands, the dog collar remarks, "But that's your area of responsibility!"
The response is one that every person who dares to delegate fears: "Yes, but I've been busy doing my own thing haven't I?"


Now, unless some church I know nothing of does have Gerbils, this is hopefully a safe portrayal of the conversation I have been having. My friend is stuck somewhere up a gum tree because at the end of the day they are indeed responsible for the delivery of whatever has in my story become Gerbils!

The reality is that what should have been done has not and at the end of the day and in the final analysis (and all those other great expressions) - the blame lies quite squarely at the dogcollars feet (but should 'blame' ever be part of Church I have to ask - another thought for another day!).

The problem is that we are entering the world of 'can't live with them - can't function without them' and this is where it gets interesting.

My friend has encountered this before and when they tried to address it the previous Gerbillator left in high dudgeon because 'too much was expected' of them. Not only that but supporters of both the Gerbils and the Gerbillator also left because of the poor care exhibited and the way their friend (the Gerbillator) was treated - going off to the promised land, a place of straw and water (milk and honey don't do it for Gerbils you know), and overflowing Gerbil nuts (the food, not the characteristics of the congregation - mind you, now I think of it ....).

So some pleas:

If you take on a role, discharge it as well as you can - make sure you have what you need to do the job and if you decide to take a world cruise (or just go to Blackpool for the week) please let those who need to know that you're not doing whatever it is that you're supposed to be doing so they can arrange cover (or you could do that yourself) and make sure that no Gerbils are injured during the making of that thing called Church!

If you happen to be a leader in Church - please make sure you keep a weather eye on the things happening (or perhaps not happening) on your patch - it might upset those who are doing stuff (but it is NOT 'checking up on them) but it will avoid the mea culpa situations later. It's good to do regular chats and have staff meetings and the like but it's the stuff you find out from others (usually as they're leaving) that speaks loudest.

AND

If you're doing something and it's going wrong - or perhaps you're not doing stuff and that's why it's going wrong - switch on the grey matter and talk to the dog collar, not the rest of the blessed Church, because the minister, not those around you, need to know there's a need to be resolved - it's called being team.

Now - when my friend reads this will they show it to their Gerbillator I wonder?

Morning Prayer - 28 October

Simon and Jude, Apostles

Psalm 116
I love the Lord, for he has heard the voice of my supplication; because he inclined his ear to me on the day I called to him. The snares of death encompassed me; the pains of hell took hold of me; by grief and sorrow was I held. Then I called upon the name of the Lord:
‘O Lord, I beg you, deliver my soul.’

Gracious is the Lord and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord watches over the simple; I was brought very low and he saved me. Turn again to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has been gracious to you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears and my feet from falling.

I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I believed that I should perish
for I was sorely troubled; and I said in my alarm,
‘Everyone is a liar.’

How shall I repay the Lord for all the benefits he has given to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.
I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.

O Lord, I am your servant, your servant, the child of your handmaid; you have freed me from my bonds.
I will offer to you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the name of the Lord.
I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the Lord, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Alleluia.

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

Isaiah 45.18-26
For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it he established it; he did not create it a chaos, he formed it to be inhabited!):
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in chaos.’
I the Lord speak the truth, I declare what is right.

Assemble yourselves and come together, draw near, you survivors of the nations! They have no knowledge—those who carry about their wooden idols, and keep on praying to a god that cannot save. Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together!
Who told this long ago?
Who declared it of old?
Was it not I, the Lord?

There is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Saviour, there is no one besides me.  Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return:
‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.’

Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; all who were incensed against him shall come to him and be ashamed. In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall triumph and glory. .
Luke 6.12-16
Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

The Collect
Almighty God, who built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ himself as the chief cornerstone: so join us together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; 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, 27 October 2014

So this Vicar come up to me and says: Hip Hop

This should have turned up on Friday - but some deep (and challenging) issues cropped up to get in the way - so instead it's a 'start the week' offering: