Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Morning Prayer - 21 April 15

Anselm, Abbot of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher of the Faith, 1109

Psalm 98
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvellous things. His own right hand and his holy arm have won for him the victory.

The Lord has made known his salvation; his deliverance has he openly shown in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his mercy and faithfulness towards the house of Israel, and all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Sound praises to the Lord, all the earth; break into singing and make music. Make music to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the voice of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn sound praises before the Lord, the King. Let the sea thunder and all that fills it, the world and all that dwell upon it. Let the rivers clap their hands and let the hills ring out together before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. In righteousness shall he judge the world and the peoples with equity.

Psalm 99
The Lord is king: let the peoples tremble; he is enthroned above the cherubim: let the earth shake.

The Lord is great in Zion and high above all peoples. Let them praise your name, which is great and awesome; the Lord our God is holy. Mighty king, who loves justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.

Exalt the Lord our God; bow down before his footstool, for he is holy. Moses and Aaron among his priests and Samuel among those who call upon his name, they called upon the Lord and he answered them.  He spoke to them out of the pillar of cloud; they kept his testimonies and the law that he gave them. You answered them, O Lord our God; you were a God who forgave them and pardoned them for their offences.

Exalt the Lord our God and worship him upon his holy hill, for the Lord our God is holy.

Psalm 100
O be joyful in the Lord, all the earth; serve the Lord with gladness and come before his presence with a song. Know that the Lord is God; it is he that has made us and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and bless his name. For the Lord is gracious; his steadfast love is everlasting, and his faithfulness endures from generation to generation.

Deuteronomy 5.22-end
These words the Lord spoke with a loud voice to your whole assembly at the mountain, out of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, and he added no more. He wrote them on two stone tablets, and gave them to me. When you heard the voice out of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, you approached me, all the heads of your tribes and your elders; and you said, ‘Look, the Lord our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the fire. Today we have seen that God may speak to someone and the person may still live. So now why should we die? For this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any longer, we shall die. For who is there of all flesh that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and remained alive? Go near, you yourself, and hear all that the Lord our God will say. Then tell us everything that the Lord our God tells you, and we will listen and do it.’

The Lord heard your words when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me: ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you; they are right in all that they have spoken. If only they had such a mind as this, to fear me and to keep all my commandments always, so that it might go well with them and with their children for ever! Go, say to them, “Return to your tents.” But you, stand here by me, and I will tell you all the commandments, the statutes and the ordinances, that you shall teach them, so that they may do them in the land that I am giving them to possess.’ You must therefore be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn to the right or to the left. You must follow exactly the path that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you are to possess.

Ephesians 1.15-end
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

The Collect
Eternal God,who gave great gifts to your servant Anselm as a pastor and teacher:
grant that we, like him, may desire you with our whole heart and, so desiring, may seek you and, seeking, may find 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.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Can't make it to church? 19 April 15

Here we are again, another Sunday hits the calendar and we find that a piece of broiled fish is all the confirmation we need that Jesus has truly risen from the dead (do I hear a hallelujah?)

It's Easter Sunday and Jesus, having bumped into a couple of people on the road to Emmaus and as He walks along with them they talk about His death. we know it's Easter Sunday because of the narrative and the confirmation 'three days since He was crucified  remark from the men. They reach their destination and ask this stranger to stop and eat with them and it there, in the blessing of the bread, that Jesus is recognises by them - and then He is gone!

And there Jesus was - gone!

Knowing then that what Mary and the others had said about Jesus having risen to be true the two men turn around and leg it back to Jerusalem to tell the other followers, and it it whilst they are sharing that and the disciples are talking about Jesus that appears in the middle of them! 'Peace be with you,' says He and realising there's little of that He shows them the wounds and tells them to prove for themselves He is flesh and blood. This is the same incident that is reported in John 20 thus: "On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"

Now, we know they were 'terrified' that's why the door was locked and it's a small step to believe that when Jesus appears in the middle of them the word 'surprise' would  featured large  - so the 'startled' description really fits the bill; for the reality is that they are not handling the triumphant resurrection triumphantly at all! Add to this the fear of being the next to be taken off and put to death and the picture is set.

So how to make the realise that what they are seeing is real and prove that Jesus is indeed flesh and blood bit Jesus asks what they have to eat - and the answer is broiled fish - which He takes and  eats in their presence to prove it once and for all. after which the followers are told how they are witnesses to everything about Him and the promises of God and all that good stuff - just as the fish testifies to His resurrection (for ghosts don't eat - do they?) - that's what those who follow Him are also called to do (regardless of your age).

This passage makes a good point in that it is by the simple everyday things that the truth about Jesus is to be found and made real. There were no clever words or persuasive argument - just a piece of fish! The same is true of us and our testimony, for it is in set ordinary everyday experiences that we have the ability to communicate the love of God as seen through the cross of jesus, the Christ, and his resurrection power working in and through us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

And this leads us so very nicely into the Acts account which today sees some hard, and to those listening offensive, words as Simon Peter calls those who had previously acted in ignorance to set ignorance aside (something Christianity does extremely well if you intoner those who claim we leave our brains at the door and engage then, and others, to dialogue and to reason - something we do with respect and love - because of the love the Father has given us and the love shown by the servanthood and sacrifice of Jesus (the Christ). A love which when those far off and caught up in sin will provide an answer and show them good: good behaviour, good responses to the needs of the world and god in terms of their own lifestyle and actions.

It's all so blinking simple and so obviously logical and rational - we love because God first loved us and we correct others in ways that restore them to right thinking and living and do it through the simple everyday things and objects - and pray that with us too Jesus is to be found in the breaking of bread and the sharing of His word.

The Collect
Risen Christ, you filled your disciples with boldness and fresh hope:
strengthen us to proclaim your risen life and fill us with your peace,
to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Acts 3.12-19
When Peter saw it, he addressed the people, ‘You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk?
The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.

‘And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out,

Psalm 4
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness; you set me at liberty when I was in trouble; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
How long will you nobles dishonour my glory; how long will you love vain things and seek after falsehood?
But know that the Lord has shown me his marvellous kindness; when I call upon the Lord, he will hear me.

Stand in awe, and sin not; commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put your trust in the Lord.

There are many that say, ‘Who will show us any good?’
Lord, lift up the light of your countenance upon us. 
You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their corn and wine and oil increase.

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for it is you Lord, only, who make me dwell in safety.

1 John 3.1-7
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.

Luke 24.36b-48
While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.

Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

Post Communion Prayer
Living God, your Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread:
open the eyes of our faith, that we may see him in all his redeeming work;
who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.Amen.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

When are you too old for salvation?

I would assume that those reading the heading of this piece would have sucked their breath in through their teeth and said, 'You're never too old (or young) to find salvation and reconciliation with God through the cross of Christ.'

Recently I was challenged by someone who, having had the misfortune of hearing me preach, wanted to take me to task over my making the old and disabled feel criticised and abused when I said, 'Building church was not the responsibility of the paid clergy or those who take upon themselves the role of leadership but is something every member of the Church should be doing.'

What, apparently, I should have said is, 'Well done you good and faithful servants, you are now too old to witness and we thank you for the part you have played and now respect the fact that you are no longer able to witness or share your faith in any way - enjoy your retirement !'

Now what happened next was quite a change in method for me, for instead of my usual, 'Oooh, that's an interesting take on it, let me go away and think about it,' I told the person challenging me that as I understood it neither age or disability provided an exeat for those in possession of a baptismal calling and so thought my comments were correct - a viewpoint that didn't appear to go down too well I'm afraid.

But let's take a look at the background to this situation, which is the words of Acts 4 as found in last week's Sunday readings:

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

As I have pointed out on many occasions, the cheery verses from Acts 2 and 4 make for great reading for those who like to think of unity and fellowship (koinonia) and church growth and the needy being dealt with and everything is wonderful at St Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Fellowship. Well it is fine until I point out that the model of Church shown in Acts requires people to:

+ Meet the needs of others whenever a need arises

+ To share in the duty of pastoral care - ministering to those who are in need, contacting    
   those who are noticed as being absent from church meetings and all that stuff

+ Taking the time to meet with others to share Bible study and to pray together

+ Being reading to give an answer for the hope that they have in Jesus, the Christ, to 
   anyone who might ask (1 Peter 3. 15), and I quote:
   'Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you about the hope you have.
    Be ready to give the reason for it. But do it gently and with respect.'

+ To be willing to share their faith, in and out of season, in whatever way they feel is most  
    accessible to them. It might require words, it could be actions, it could be something as 
    simple and being hospitable - find your means and engage with others

Now I have checked my Bible again and can find no place where it says there is an upper age limit when it comes to salvation, or witnessing, or leading people into relationship with God through the Gospel of Jesus, or even ministering before the Lord (we leave that to the apparently ageist attitudes found in the Church these days!). Such findings lead me to consider my views, however unpopular, to be correct and so the issuing of what we call in the Army, a 'Biff Chit*' on grounds of age of medical problem is just not going to happen - end of!

The problem with Church growth is that all too often there isn't any and the all too often reason for this is that of finding an excuse for us not to get out there and do what we are called to do, which is:

Witness the love of God as shown through the servanthood and sacrifice of the Christ

Share  in the care and support of those around us

Live - in such a manner that others realise that you are, and have, something different from 
          that which the world has and offers

Learn - Everything you can about God and His dealings with the world and the solution for 
             the problems that is Jesus - read your Bible (and do it with others)

Pray - and do it regularly (and 'No' - praying for the bus doesn't count as prayer time) and 
           intelligently and with others and check what needs there are and what your prayer 
           might be doing - and keep doing it!

None of this is rocket science - but the lack of it is the reason Church Growth isn't

Now - anyone else want an apology - because the person who took me to task has just had one**

* A light duties permission issued by the medicos to those excused boots, running and much, much, more.

** apologia: an answer or defence of who we are and what we believe.

Morning Prayer - 18 April 15

Psalm 63
O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you; my soul is athirst for you. My flesh also faints for you, as in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So would I gaze upon you in your holy place, that I might behold your power and your glory.

Your loving-kindness is better than life itself and so my lips shall praise you. I will bless you as long as I live and lift up my hands in your name. My soul shall be satisfied, as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips, When I remember you upon my bed and meditate on you in the watches of the night. For you have been my helper and under the shadow of your wings will I rejoice.

My soul clings to you; your right hand shall hold me fast. But those who seek my soul to destroy it shall go down to the depths of the earth; Let them fall by the edge of the sword and become a portion for jackals. But the king shall rejoice in God; all those who swear by him shall be glad, for the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.

Psalm 84
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
My soul has a desire and longing to enter the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God. The sparrow has found her a house and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young: at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.

Blessed are they who dwell in your house: they will always be praising you.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion, Who going through the barren valley find there a spring, and the early rains will clothe it with blessing. They will go from strength to strength and appear before God in Zion.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; listen, O God of Jacob.
Behold our defender, O God, and look upon the face of your anointed. For one day in your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of ungodliness.

For the Lord God is both sun and shield; he will give grace and glory; no good thing shall the Lord withhold from those who walk with integrity.O Lord God of hosts, blessed are those who put their trust in you.

Deuteronomy 4.32-40
For ask now about former ages, long before your own, ever since the day that God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of heaven to the other: has anything so great as this ever happened or has its like ever been heard of? Has any people ever heard the voice of a god speaking out of a fire, as you have heard, and lived? Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by terrifying displays of power, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? To you it was shown so that you would acknowledge that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him. From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, while you heard his words coming out of the fire. And because he loved your ancestors, he chose their descendants after them. He brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, giving you their land for a possession, as it is still today. So acknowledge today and take to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Keep his statutes and his commandments, which I am commanding you today for your own well-being and that of your descendants after you, so that you may long remain in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for all time.

John 21.20-end
Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’ So the rumour spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’

This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

The Collect
Almighty Father, you have given your only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through the merits 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.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Tamworth Hustings - the manifestos

Below are links to the manifestos of the parties standing in Tamworth - so rather than wonder what the political parties stand for, why not click on a link and have a read?




Liberal Democrat

Green Party


Being a Priest and the world of politics

Those of us who are privileged to be called into leadership in the Church have many roles and responsibilities. One of those which becomes more apparent and demanding from time to time is to encourage and inform those we serve with a view to getting them voting, and voting thoughtfully, whenever elections come around.

This is a task wherein many pitfalls and stumbling blocks are to be found and there is a danger that rather than lead those around us into a balanced, and hopefully Christian and Bible based, direction we merely peddle our own political views.

There are some of my colleagues who seem to think that the pulpit is a place for their own particular campaigns and prejudices to be aired and it does sometimes seem that we preach more about the world as we see (and want or don't want) it to be than we do about the Gospel of Jesus and the reconciliation of the human race to God through His (Jesus) atoning act on the cross.

And election time is no different - for it provides us with an opportunity to bring Micah's call to us of living as people of justice, mercy and humility to the fore and to remind us of the service and servanthood, the caring for the weak, the poor, the marginalised and the downtrodden that following Jesus, and being a tune disciple, demands; it brings a call to care for the native and the alien in our midst.

Over the next few days I will be trying to encourage and inform with regard to the parties with candidates in the area I live and minister in. I hope this will prove to be as useful for you as it will hopefully be for me.

Below are links to the manifestos of the parties standing in Tamworth - they are the same for every constituency so rather than wonder, why not click on a link and have a read- and when you have, talk to others and see the candidates questions - something essential because party politics aside, you are electing someone to speak for you, so find out whether they would before you vote. 

I have often found the best candidate doesn't always come from the party you might naturally support and so asking questions about issues that matter and hearing their response is an important part of the voting process. Perhaps you could organise a hustings event where you are (there's still time if you hurry)?




Liberal Democrat

Green Party


Morning Prayer - 17 April 15

Psalm 57
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for my soul takes refuge in you; In the shadow of your wings will I take refuge until the storm of destruction has passed by.

I will call upon the Most High God, the God who fulfils his purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me and rebuke those that would trample upon me; God will send forth his love and his faithfulness. I lie in the midst of lions, people whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and your glory over all the earth.

They have laid a net for my feet; my soul is pressed down; they have dug a pit before me and will fall into it themselves. My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready; I will sing and give you praise. Awake, my soul; awake, harp and lyre, that I may awaken the dawn. I will give you thanks, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praise to you among the nations. For your loving-kindness is as high as the heavens, and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and your glory over all the earth.

Psalm 61
Hear my crying, O God, and listen to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to you with fainting heart; O set me on the rock that is higher than I. For you are my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent for ever and take refuge under the cover of your wings. For you, O God, will hear my vows; you will grant the request of those who fear your name. You will add length of days to the life of the king, that his years may endure throughout all generations.
May he sit enthroned before God for ever; may steadfast love and truth watch over him. So will I always sing praise to your name, and day by day fulfil my vows.

Deuteronomy 4.15-31
Since you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire, take care and watch yourselves closely, so that you do not act corruptly by making an idol for yourselves, in the form of any figure—the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. And when you look up to the heavens and see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, do not be led astray and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples everywhere under heaven. But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron-smelter, out of Egypt, to become a people of his very own possession, as you are now.

The Lord was angry with me because of you, and he vowed that I should not cross the Jordan and that I should not enter the good land that the Lord your God is giving for your possession. For I am going to die in this land without crossing over the Jordan, but you are going to cross over to take possession of that good land. So be careful not to forget the covenant that the Lord your God made with you, and not to make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything that the Lord your God has forbidden you. For the Lord your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God.

When you have had children and children’s children, and become complacent in the land, if you act corruptly by making an idol in the form of anything, thus doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, and provoking him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to occupy; you will not live long on it, but will be utterly destroyed. The Lord will scatter you among the peoples; only a few of you will be left among the nations where the Lord will lead you. There you will serve other gods made by human hands, objects of wood and stone that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. From there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and soul. In your distress, when all these things have happened to you in time to come, you will return to the Lord your God and heed him. Because the Lord your God is a merciful God, he will neither abandon you nor destroy you; he will not forget the covenant with your ancestors that he swore to them.

John 21.15-19
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’

The Collect
Almighty Father, you have given your only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through the merits 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, 16 April 2015

Morning Prayer 16 April 15

Isabella Gilmore, Deaconess, 1923

Psalm 28>/b>
To you I call, O Lord my rock; be not deaf to my cry, lest, if you do not hear me, I become like those who go down to the Pit. Hear the voice of my prayer when I cry out to you, when I lift up my hands to your holy of holies. Do not snatch me away with the wicked, with the evildoers, who speak peaceably with their neighbours while malice is in their hearts. Repay them according to their deeds and according to the wickedness of their devices. Reward them according to the work of their hands and pay them their just deserts.

They take no heed of the Lord’s doings, nor of the works of his hands; therefore shall he break them down and not build them up. Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard the voice of my prayer. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart has trusted in him and I am helped; Therefore my heart dances for joy and in my song will I praise him. The Lord is the strength of his people, a safe refuge for his anointed. Save your people and bless your inheritance; shepherd them and carry them for ever.

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.

Deuteronomy 4.1-14
So now, Israel, give heed to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to observe, so that you may live to enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God with which I am charging you. You have seen for yourselves what the Lord did with regard to the Baal of Peor—how the Lord your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor, while those of you who held fast to the Lord your God are all alive today.

See, just as the Lord my God has charged me, I now teach you statutes and ordinances for you to observe in the land that you are about to enter and occupy. You must observe them diligently, for this will show your wisdom and discernment to the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and discerning people!’ For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him? And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law that I am setting before you today?

But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children—how you once stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Assemble the people for me, and I will let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me as long as they live on the earth, and may teach their children to do so’; you approached and stood at the foot of the mountain while the mountain was blazing up to the very heavens, shrouded in dark clouds. Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. He declared to you his covenant, which he charged you to observe, that is, the ten commandments; and he wrote them on two stone tablets. And the Lord charged me at that time to teach you statutes and ordinances for you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy.

John 21.1-14
After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

The Collect
Almighty Father, you have given your only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through the merits 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..