Monday, 25 September 2017

Can't make it to church - Sunday 24 September 2017

Some days it feels like life is determined by the toss of a coin. We don’t know what we’re going to get until we’ve got it as everything we have planned, the expected outcomes and the like, all go a different way.

Take Jonah as an example or this: in his attempt to do exactly not what God wanted him to do he’s been lobbed off a ship heading for a place called Tarshish and instead travelled by number eleven whale to Nineveh, the place he was told to go to in the first place!

When Jonah arrived he was to tell the people to turn away from their wrongfully actions and make peace with God - and they did - and God relented! Jonah’s response was that he’d rather die than see God’s mercy, after all these were bloody thirsty and cruel people (Visit the British Museum in London and see the Images of their cruelty in Lacshish). But God had shown mercy where Jonah wanted revenge.

Here we have righteous anger - rarely right and never righteous - and whilst the bad people repented (but only for a while, God comes and gets them in the end) - Jonah is not in the mood to make peace, apologise, or do the right thing at all - So he goes off to sulk in the shade of a plant God had provided for him. As Jonah sits there, ticking and muttering, God send a worm to destroy the plant - just as Jonah wanted God to destroy the wretched Assyrians - and a wind kicks up to add to his discomfort: He is wretched and bitter and want to die. He cares more about a plant than the people around him.
But God, pointing out that Jonah the truth about compassionate living, how vengeance and wrong justice have no place in our hearts.

If we are to serve God there is obviously judgement to be considered, for where there are wrongs, it is right and fitting that this is so, BUT, it should be measured and balanced and delivered with compassion, mercy, justice and humility (Micah 6.6-8). This what God seeks from us and this (of course) is what He does Himself.

And it leaves us with a questions: 
How do we want to be treated and who are we looking to be like - God or the bitter Prophet? 
How are we going to choose to live?
What glasses do we seek to wear: justice and love - or cruel, self-righteous, vengeance?
How are we going to choose to live?

Thankfully the  Philippians passage addresses our question nicely as Paul imprisoned and facing death at any turn offers the words, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” 

If we live, we live with Christ and to work with, and for, Him. If we die, then the promise of eternal life removes the sting of death. To say he’d rather be dead and to be with Christ, these are bold words, but how do we bear this reality in our lives. We are called to live as each moment might be our last - but we often live as if eternity is ours In this life too.

Do we, like Jonah, want It all our way? Are we forgetting who hold the keys of life and death and seeing ourselves and our ambitions before God’s call on our lives? It’s the person we serve that gives us authority (like commission officers hold but never own). Who and what are we truly living for?
And this thought turns us nicely to Matthew’s vineyard story and a parallel with the way many of us do Church as one by one, workers are added to the workforce in the vineyard. The workers are called at various times of the day (a nice analogy for the times of our lives perhaps?) and at the close of day, each receives their reward.

But each gets the same! Where’s the justice in this - if you do more, you get more - there’s no justice here at all. Where’s something I can sit under and sulk about it. Why doesn't God do the stuff I consider to be fair?

But it gets worse because the last person in gets paid first - and although it is the same money as the last person to be paid will get (which means they’ve been there even longer than the bloke with the same money who was paid first and is already on the bus home) - and it’s not fair., is it?

Or is is more than fair?

Jonah used his glasses to see how the wicked were treated and didn’t like it. They didn’t get what they, in his opinion, deserved.

Paul looked at life as saw whatever he received (life or death) was not important because the focus was Jesus and relationship with Him. But to live would benefit the kingdom and to die would be personal gain as he'd be with Jesus.

The workers in the vineyard couldn’t see that what was important was being inside the vineyard and working for, and with, the owner. Each got the same wage - just as those outside received nothing at all. 

Isn’t this a parable about the kingdom? 
So those In the kingdom receive the same benefit for being there: Not money but eternal life. It doesn’t matter when you come in to the kingdom of God - the benefits are the same for all.

And that challenges me - how about you?

How many are looking to become workers in that vineyard do you know?

How often do we think about who people are and the places they occupy when you’ve sat in church buildings for years?

Which glasses are you putting on today?

The Collect
Lord God, defend your Church from all false teaching and give to your people knowledge of your truth, that we may enjoy eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Jonah 3:10-4:11
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened. But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, ‘Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.
But the Lord replied, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’
Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, ‘It would be better for me to die than to live.’
But God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?’
‘It is,’ he said. ‘And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.’
But the Lord said, ‘You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left – and also many animals?’


Philippians 1:20-30
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved – and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.



Matthew 20:1-16
‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

‘About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the market-place doing nothing. He told them, “You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went.

‘He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing.

About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, “Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?”
‘“Because no one has hired us,” they answered.
  ‘He said to them, “You also go and work in my vineyard.”

‘When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.”

‘The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius.So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. “These who were hired last worked only one hour,” they said, “and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.”

‘But he answered one of them,
“I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?
 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you.
 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?
 Or are you envious because I am generous?”

‘So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’





Post Communion Prayer
Keep, O Lord, your Church, with your perpetual mercy; and, because without you our human frailty cannot but fall, keep us ever by your help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



Morning Prayer - Monday 25 September 2017

Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, Spiritual Writer, 1626
Sergei of Radonezh, Russian Monastic Reformer, Teacher of the Faith, 1392

Psalm 27
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?

When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not be afraid, and though there rise up war against me, yet will I put my trust in him.

One thing have I asked of the Lord and that alone I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life, to behold the fair beauty of the Lord and to seek his will in his temple. For in the day of trouble he shall hide me in his shelter; in the secret place of his dwelling shall he hide me and set me high upon a rock.

And now shall he lift up my head above my enemies round about me; therefore will I offer in his dwelling an oblation with great gladness; I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Hear my voice, O Lord, when I call; have mercy upon me and answer me. My heart tells of your word, ‘Seek my face.’ Your face, Lord, will I seek. Hide not your face from me, nor cast your servant away in displeasure. You have been my helper; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. Though my father and my mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.

Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me on a level path, because of those who lie in wait for me. Deliver me not into the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me, and those who breathe out violence. I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and he shall comfort your heart; wait patiently for the Lord.

Psalm 30
I will exalt you, O Lord, because you have raised me up and have not let my foes triumph over me.

O Lord my God, I cried out to you and you have healed me. You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead; you restored me to life from among those that go down to the Pit.

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

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

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

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

1 Chronicles 28. 1-10

David assembled at Jerusalem all the officials of Israel, the officials of the tribes, the officers of the divisions that served the king, the commanders of the thousands, the commanders of the hundreds, the stewards of all the property and cattle of the king and his sons, together with the palace officials, the mighty warriors, and all the warriors. Then King David rose to his feet and said: “Hear me, my brothers and my people. I had planned to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, for the footstool of our God; and I made preparations for building. But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for my name, for you are a warrior and have shed blood.’ Yet the Lord God of Israel chose me from all my ancestral house to be king over Israel forever; for he chose Judah as leader, and in the house of Judah my father’s house, and among my father’s sons he took delight in making me king over all Israel. And of all my sons, for the Lord has given me many, he has chosen my son Solomon to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel. He said to me, ‘It is your son Solomon who shall build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be a son to me, and I will be a father to him. I will establish his kingdom forever if he continues resolute in keeping my commandments and my ordinances, as he is today.’ Now therefore in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, observe and search out all the commandments of the Lord your God; that you may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children after you forever.

 “And you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve him with single mind and willing heart; for the Lord searches every mind, and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will abandon you forever. Take heed now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary; be strong, and act.”

Mark 11.1-11
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?” just say this, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.” ’

They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’ They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
 ‘Hosanna!
  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
  Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
  Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

The Collect
Lord God,  who gave to Lancelot Andrewes many gifts of your Holy Spirit, making him a man of prayer and a pastor of your people: perfect in us that which is lacking in your gifts, of faith, to increase it, of hope, to establish it, of love, to kindle it, that we may live in the light of your grace and glory; 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, 16 September 2017

Morning Prayer - Saturday 16 September 2017

Ninian, Bishop of Galloway, Apostle of the Picts, c.432
Edward Bouverie Pusey, Priest, Tractarian, 1882

Psalm 147
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.

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.

Proverbs 31.10-end
A capable wife who can find?

She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from far away.
She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant-girls.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all her household are clothed in crimson.
She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them; she supplies the merchant with sashes.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her:
‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates.

Mark 9.30-37
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.

He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’


The Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, who called your servant Ninian to preach the gospel to the people of northern Britain: raise up in this and every land heralds and evangelists of your kingdom, that your Church may make known the immeasurable riches of your Son 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.


Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Tombs of warriors: Not merely made!

The tombs of warriors are not 'merely' made of marble,
nor only found inscribed in places of still remembrance,
but in the deep waters,
the silent moors,
the stifled laugh,
are they made real.

In the faint cry heard, then lost, upon the wind
they are found upon the hearts of those,
mourning loved ones lost,
and in the pride of a nation served,
comrades loved,
and humanity redeemed through sacrifice and loss.


© 2017 Vic Van Den Bergh

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Morning Prayer - Saturday 9 September 2017V

Charles Fuge Lowder, Priest, 1880

Psalm 120
When I was in trouble I called to the Lord; I called to the Lord and he answered me. Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue.
What shall be given to you?
What more shall be done to you, deceitful tongue?
The sharp arrows of a warrior, tempered in burning coals!

Woe is me, that I must lodge in Meshech and dwell among the tents of Kedar. My soul has dwelt too long with enemies of peace. I am for making peace, but when I speak of it, they make ready for war.

Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. He will not suffer your foot to stumble; he who watches over you will not sleep.

Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord himself watches over you;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand,
So that the sun shall not strike you by day, neither the moon by night.
The Lord shall keep you from all evil; it is he who shall keep your soul.
The Lord shall keep watch over your going out and your coming in, from this time forth for evermore.
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 122
I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’
And now our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem;
Jerusalem, built as a city that is at unity in itself.
Thither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as is decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. For there are set the thrones of judgement, the thrones of the house of David.

O pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
‘May they prosper who love you.
 Peace be within your walls and tranquillity within your palaces.’

For my kindred and companions’ sake, I will pray that peace be with you.
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek to do you good.

Proverbs 24.23-end
Partiality in judging is not good.
Whoever says to the wicked, ‘You are innocent’, will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations;  but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.

One who gives an honest answer gives a kiss on the lips.

Prepare your work outside, get everything ready for you in the field; and after that build your house.

Do not be a witness against your neighbour without cause, and do not deceive with your lips.
Do not say, ‘I will do to others as they have done to me;  I will pay them back for what they have done.’

I passed by the field of one who was lazy, by the vineyard of a stupid person; and see, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down.
Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest,  and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want, like an armed warrior.

Mark 8.1-10
In those days when there was again a great crowd without anything to eat, he called his disciples and said to them, ‘I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way—and some of them have come from a great distance.’ His disciples replied, ‘How can one feed these people with bread here in the desert?’ He asked them, ‘How many loaves do you have?’ They said, ‘Seven.’ Then he ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them to the crowd. They had also a few small fish; and after blessing them, he ordered that these too should be distributed. They ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. Now there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.

The Collect
God of constant mercy, who sent your Son to save us: remind us of your goodness, increase your grace within us, that our thankfulness may grow, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen..


Friday, 8 September 2017

Morning Prayer - Friday 8 September

The Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Psalm 139

O Lord, you have searched me out and known me; you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You mark out my journeys and my resting place and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but you, O Lord, know it altogether. You encompass me behind and before and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, so high that I cannot attain it.

Where can I go then from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I climb up to heaven, you are there;
if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there your hand shall lead me, your right hand hold me fast.

If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will cover me and the light around me turn to night,’ Even darkness is no darkness with you; the night is as clear as the day; darkness and light to you are both alike.

For you yourself created my inmost parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I thank you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are your works, my soul knows well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret and woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my form, as yet unfinished; already in your book were all my members written, As day by day they were fashioned when as yet there was none of them.

How deep are your counsels to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I count them, they are more in number than the sand, and at the end, I am still in your presence.

O that you would slay the wicked, O God, that the bloodthirsty might depart from me!
They speak against you with wicked intent; your enemies take up your name for evil.
Do I not oppose those, O Lord, who oppose you?
Do I not abhor those who rise up against you?
I hate them with a perfect hatred; they have become my own enemies also.

Search me out, O God, and know my heart; try me and examine my thoughts. See if there is any way of wickedness in me and lead me in the way everlasting.

Proverbs 22.1-16
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favour is better than silver or gold.
The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord is the maker of them all.
The clever see danger and hide; but the simple go on, and suffer for it.
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honour and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; the cautious will keep far from them.
Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of anger will fail.
Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor.
Drive out a scoffer, and strife goes out; quarrelling and abuse will cease.
Those who love a pure heart and are gracious in speech will have the king as a friend.
The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge, but he overthrows the words of the faithless.
The lazy person says, ‘There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!’
The mouth of a loose woman is a deep pit; he with whom the Lord is angry falls into it.
Folly is bound up in the heart of a boy, but the rod of discipline drives it far away.
Oppressing the poor in order to enrich oneself, and giving to the rich, will lead only to loss.

Mark 7.31-end
Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’

The Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, who stooped to raise fallen humanity through the childbearing of blessed Mary: grant that we, who have seen your glory revealed in our human nature and your love made perfect in our weakness, may daily be renewed in your image and conformed to the pattern of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Thursday, 7 September 2017

Morning Prayer - Thursday 7 September 2017

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.

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.

Proverbs 20.1-22
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
The dread anger of a king is like the growling of a lion; anyone who provokes him to anger forfeits life itself.
It is honourable to refrain from strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.
The lazy person does not plough in season; harvest comes, and there is nothing to be found.
The purposes in the human mind are like deep water, but the intelligent will draw them out.
Many proclaim themselves loyal, but who can find one worthy of trust?
The righteous walk in integrity— happy are the children who follow them!
A king who sits on the throne of judgement winnows all evil with his eyes.
Who can say, ‘I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin’?
Diverse weights and diverse measures are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
Even children make themselves known by their acts, by whether what they do is pure and right.
The hearing ear and the seeing eye— the Lord has made them both.
Do not love sleep, or else you will come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.
‘Bad, bad’, says the buyer, then goes away and boasts.
There is gold, and abundance of costly stones; but the lips informed by knowledge are a precious jewel.
Take the garment of one who has given surety for a stranger; seize the pledge given as surety for foreigners.
Bread gained by deceit is sweet, but afterwards the mouth will be full of gravel.
Plans are established by taking advice; wage war by following wise guidance.
A gossip reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a babbler.
If you curse father or mother, your lamp will go out in utter darkness.
An estate quickly acquired in the beginning will not be blessed in the end.
Do not say, ‘I will repay evil’; wait for the Lord, and he will help you.
lence.

Mark 7.24-30
From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ But she answered him, ‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’ Then he said to her, ‘For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.’ So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

The Collect
God of constant mercy, who sent your Son to save us: remind us of your goodness, increase your grace within us, that our thankfulness may grow, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Morning Prayer - Wednesday 6 September 2017

Allen Gardiner, Missionary, Founder of the South American Mission Society, 1851

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.

Proverbs 18.10-end
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.
The wealth of the rich is their strong city; in their imagination it is like a high wall.
Before destruction one’s heart is haughty, but humility goes before honour.
If one gives answer before hearing, it is folly and shame.
The human spirit will endure sickness; but a broken spirit—who can bear?
An intelligent mind acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
A gift opens doors; it gives access to the great.
The one who first states a case seems right, until the other comes and cross-examines.
Casting the lot puts an end to disputes and decides between powerful contenders.
An ally offended is stronger than a city; such quarrelling is like the bars of a castle.
From the fruit of the mouth one’s stomach is satisfied; the yield of the lips brings satisfaction.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the Lord.
The poor use entreaties, but the rich answer roughly.
Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin.

Mark 7.14-23
Then he called the crowd again and said to them, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.’

When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, ‘Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?’ (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, ‘It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.’

The Collect
God of constant mercy, who sent your Son to save us: remind us of your goodness, increase your grace within us, that our thankfulness may grow, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.