Friday, 25 July 2014

Morning Prayer - July 25

James the Apostle

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.


Psalm 29
Ascribe to the Lord, you powers of heaven, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the honour due to his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of glory thunders; the Lord is upon the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is mighty in operation; the voice of the Lord is a glorious voice.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon; he makes Lebanon skip like a calf and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord splits the flash of lightning;the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe and strips the forests bare; in his temple all cry, ‘Glory!’

The Lord sits enthroned above the water flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king for evermore.
The Lord shall give strength to his people; the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.

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.

2 Kings 1.9-15
Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty men. He went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, ‘O man of God, the king says, “Come down.” ’ But Elijah answered the captain of fifty, ‘If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.’ Then fire came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.

Again the king sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty. He went up and said to him, ‘O man of God, this is the king’s order: Come down quickly!’ But Elijah answered them, ‘If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.’ Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.

Again the king sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. So the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and entreated him, ‘O man of God, please let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight. Look, fire came down from heaven and consumed the two former captains of fifty men with their fifties; but now let my life be precious in your sight.’ Then the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, ‘Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.’ So he set out and went down with him to the king,

Luke 9.46-56
An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.’
John answered, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.’

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set towards Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, ‘Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?’ But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.

The Collect
Merciful God,
whose holy apostle Saint James, leaving his father and all that he had,
was obedient to the calling of your Son Jesus Christ and followed him even to death:
help us, forsaking the false attractions of the world,
to be ready at all times to answer your call without delay;
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, 24 July 2014

Israel - Palestine: Proportionate and Legal?

Once again the naughty UN have put themselves into the firing line after a shell has hit a UN-run school (being used as a shelter) in Gaza - killing some 15 people and wounded something in excess of 200 injured. The Israelis are suggesting that it could have been caused by a failed Hamas rocket whilst others are suggesting that the MO points to Israel.

Foolishly thinking that they might be somewhere safe there were 'hundreds of Palestinians' taking refuge from the fighting in the school in Beit Hanoun (a place that made the news in 2006 when the Israelis shelled it).

Regardless of whose shell it turns out to be, things are looking bad with the Israeli's managing to kill one child per hour for the past couple of days. Add to this the fact that the death toll is looking rather unbalanced (Palestinians 750  - Israel's 33) and you'll see that the situation has gone past grim and is now something much worse!!!


Ban Ki-moon said in a statement regarding this:
'Many have been killed - including women and children, as well as U.N. staff'

Please pray for peace and comon sense to prevail

A most amazing image!

One of those fantastic images that catch the eye and capture the imagination:


Can't find out where it originated but my compliments and respect are surely theirs.

UKIP and Immigration: A conversation

I happened across an image of the UK with the words I have added to my version below from UKIP which was accompanied by the words in the caption:



NHS, schools overcrowded, 2.2million jobless, 
wages depressed, houses unaffordable 

CONTROL IMMIGRATION 


My response to this was:

Immigration: Something we ought to have though when we ruled the waves - poor show to waive the rules now!

Enough is enough, at the point of being overwhelmed, there now ceases to be a host community to integrate into.

Guess you're not a Londoner! 
I'm not happy with economic migration but where place of safety is required then we've a moral duty and since we've joined EU, until we leave, transfer of workers is part of package And so I guess the cultures that make our society what it is will have to remain to come, and remain, too!
But what do I know, I'm only fourth generation Cockney :-)Pax

The following questions were asked, but time, space and other factors meant that I copied them and will try to address them here:

Why do Muslims seek "a place of safety" in UK EU US and then seek to change these societies fundamentally?
Throughout the history of our nation we have become home to a number of nations ranging from Jews during the European diaspora past Wirurush and passing the  Bengalis of the 70's  and the Eastern Europeans of today. Each brings their own culture and each gathers into small enclave of national identity at times - and then they integrate into the society and dilute the concentration.

I can understand the concern you have with the issue of Islamic migrants because of those who despite being born here see themselves as something other than British and the discomfort felt when those who reside here speak of conquest and islamification of our land. 

The actions of ISIS militants against Christians and other 'infidel' in Iraq and the radicalisation of those who come to this land from the islamic faith are indeed issues for concern but they need to be addressed in a rational, measured and  open-handed manner - avoiding the developing of racist and antagonistic mindsets that mirror closely the fascist approaches of the thirties (and we know where that led don't we?).

Immigration is a reason for supporting @UKIP every nation has the moral duty of putting the welfare of its own people
Totally right. Every nation has a duty of care towards its citizens - it also has a duty to provide places of safety for those who need them and to welcome workforces from places who will come and work, pay taxes and contribute to the well-being of the nation in which they reside. Those who come and add to the burden that welfare and health care presents with nothing but the view of gaining benefits and healthcare and abusing the system should be dealt with accordingly. But again, the issue of balance and reason have to come to the fore and be presented in ways that do not encourage xenophobic attitudes.

Immigration is a mistake to believe we are in a condition of equilibrium as far as immigration we ain't seen nothing yet?
Now this is one I struggled with as 'equilibrium' in this setting means (I reckon) that we have similar numbers entering and leaving and so the population is run with some status quo situation. I'm assuming you think we will be seeing many more coming in than leave (regardless of nationalities) and  are in danger of being swamped. I can but agree that we do need to rationalise this situation - so how do we put barriers up so that, car park like, every time someone exits the bar is raised to admit another?


Immigration is a real question of justice to the host communities worldwide people do not have a human right to trespass
Again I agree - the right to migrate to another nation is an issue of balance and mutuality and to assume that you have the right to set up home where you like is something that will leave you rather disappointed (I know, I've been looking at how picky some nations are when it comes to letting people settle in their country). The issue of justice is one of great concern to all and not one to be taken lightly.

And there it is, my responses to the immigration issue as it hit me yesterday.

It's a kneejerk response rather than something read about and developed (which I will now do) and is something I think ALL Christians need to have a view on. Here begins my journey.

Pax


Dogcollars - the saga ends

Yes indeedy - after a journey of many months I have the last two bits of plastic safely in my possessions (well I assume I do, I haven't opened the envelope yet!).

But here's the proof:


The edges have both been taped and so, regardless of whatever the Post Office's automated mail sort equipment can throw at the envelope - the contents are all (I assume) present and correct.

Well done to H R Denne, the manufacturer/supplier for their commitment to service (I'd have been happy with four and calling it a day) and to D M Hay for being such fun during this whole saga.

I might just frame the three envelops and hang it in the church building as a testimony to persistent faith :-)

ps. have opened the envelope and the order has indeed been filled - PTL or what?

Morning Prayer - July 24

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.

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.

1 Samuel 2.27-end
A man of God came to Eli and said to him, ‘Thus the Lord has said, “I revealed myself to the family of your ancestor in Egypt when they were slaves to the house of Pharaoh. I chose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to offer incense, to wear an ephod before me; and I gave to the family of your ancestor all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. Why then look with greedy eye at my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honour your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?” Therefore the Lord the God of Israel declares: “I promised that your family and the family of your ancestor should go in and out before me for ever”; but now the Lord declares: “Far be it from me; for those who honour me I will honour, and those who despise me shall be treated with contempt. See, a time is coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your ancestor’s family, so that no one in your family will live to old age. Then in distress you will look with greedy eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed upon Israel; and no one in your family shall ever live to old age. The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep out his eyes and grieve his heart; all the members of your household shall die by the sword. The fate of your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you—both of them shall die on the same day. I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed one for ever. Everyone who is left in your family shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread, and shall say, Please put me in one of the priest’s places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.” ’

Luke 20.9-19
He began to tell the people this parable: ‘A man planted a vineyard, and leased it to tenants, and went to another country for a long time. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants in order that they might give him his share of the produce of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Next he sent another slave; that one also they beat and insulted and sent away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third; this one also they wounded and threw out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, “What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.” But when the tenants saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, “This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance may be ours.” So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.’ When they heard this, they said, ‘Heaven forbid!’ But he looked at them and said, ‘What then does this text mean:
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”?

 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.’ When the scribes and chief priests realised that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people.

The Collect
Almighty and everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified:
hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in their vocation and ministry they may serve you in holiness and truth to the glory of your name;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Integrity amongst the nations

Now, although some might think I'm totally against Israel I have to say that I am not at all pro-Palestinian (as some have suggested).

BUT

As much as I think it is right to take up arms against a bunch of people whose stated intent is to eradicate Israel. I also think it is right to get down and dirty with people who are firing rockets into Israel with the intention of making life uncomfortable and bringing them harm with said rockets.

AND

My beef with Israel is that they need to comply with international law in the way that they engage and the people that they seek to wound - for at the moment they are (from what I see and hear and read) sitting on the wrong side of the line that separates right from wrong).

I see the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) have been discussing the situation and have voted on a resolution to establishing  an independent Commission of Inquiry into violations that may have been committed during Israel's latest military offensive in Gaza.

How did your country do?

Sad to see that amongst abstentions we find the United Kingdom but at least they didn't join with the United States who had the solitary 'No' vote :-(

It was good to see the emphasis, by UNHRC's Navi Pillar has said that Israel might have committed war crimes during its current military campaign in Gaza. Speaking of accountability she said,  'The first step toward ensuring the cycle of human rights violations and impunity is brought to an end. . .  A lasting peace can only begin with respect for human rights and human dignity on both sides, and ultimately, in the full realisation of the right to self-determination.'

Pillar went on to condemned Hamas' practice of using indiscriminate rocket fire on Israeli civilians and spoke of them, 'Locating military assets in densely populated areas or launching attacks from such areas.' Words that are right and most welcome and yet destined to be as much ignored by Hamas as the other words will be by Israel I would imagine.

Pillar rightly pointed out what any right thinking person already knows:

'International law clearly states that the actions of one party does not absolve the other party of the need to respect its obligations under international law!'



So here we are with rockets on one side and a lack of restraint on the either.

Neither hold the morally high ground of integrity and in terms of proportionality Israel is a good few goals down as I see it.

This needs to stop and there needs to be a truce and some real move towards curbing expansion, stilling the rockets and getting something real and meaningful in place with regards to bringing about a peaceful settlement to all this.

But of course that was probably needed in 1948 I guess :-(

Please pray for peace in this troubled place.

Punctuation - what is it good for?

Absolutely everything!

As this newsflash (apparently from AP) so clearly demonstrates:


I have a sneaky feeling that this might benefit from a comma between the words crash and lands.

Well , I hope so anyway!