Sunday, 31 March 2013

Surrexit Christus hodie. Alleluia!

Surrexit Christus hodie. Alleluia!
Humano pro solamine. Alleluia!
In hoc Paschali gaudio. Alleluia!
Benedicamus Domino. Alleluia!
Mortem qui passus pridie. Alleuia!
Miserrimo pro homine. Alleuia!
Laudetur sancta Trinitas. Alleluia!
Deo dicamus gratias. Alleluia!


Christ is risen today Alleluia!
For the comfort of all people. Alleluia!
Rejoice in this Easter Day. Alleluia!
Let us give thanks to God. Alleluia!
He suffered death the day before. Alleluia!
He suffered for us all. Alleluia!
Praise the Holy Trinity. Alleluia!
Give thanks to God. Alleluia!


JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN TODAY

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Holy Saturday - 'It's a day off then!'

Every tried explaining that after the eight services and stuff that demanded one's attention as the road to Calvary came to its conclusion that 'Holy Saturday' (AKA 'Easter Eve' or 'Black Saturday') is not 'a day off'.

When I tried to explain that Jesus is now in the tomb and so we, the Church, spend this as a day when little is done (outside of ministry to the sick and dying) because without the vision of hindsight I guess we're now all grieving the loss of the Teacher.

But Sunday's coming and that (just happening around the world) brings new life, new hope and the great news that Jesus, having taking sin's weapon (death) and having broken it (resurrection) had defeated sin and death and rendered it powerless.

Day off? No!

Just not doing much :-)

Waiting, watching, hoping, praying - just the usual :-)

Daily Office - Mar 30


Passiontide  - Easter Eve (Holy Saturday)

Psalm 142
I cry aloud to the Lord; to the Lord I make my supplication.
I pour out my complaint before him and tell him of my trouble.

When my spirit faints within me, you know my path;
in the way wherein I walk have they laid a snare for me.
I look to my right hand, and find no one who knows me;
I have no place to flee to, and no one cares for my soul.
I cry out to you, O Lord, and say:
‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.
‘Listen to my cry, for I am brought very low; save me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me.
‘Bring my soul out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name;
when you have dealt bountifully with me, then shall the righteous gather around me.’

Hosea 6.1-6
‘Come, let us return to the Lord;
   for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us;
   he has struck down, and he will bind us up.
After two days he will revive us;
   on the third day he will raise us up,
   that we may live before him.
Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord;
   his appearing is as sure as the dawn;
he will come to us like the showers,
   like the spring rains that water the earth.’
What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
   What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
   like the dew that goes away early.
Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets,
   I have killed them by the words of my mouth,
   and my judgement goes forth as the light.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
   the knowledge of God rather than burnt-offerings.

John 2.18-22
The Jews then said to him,
‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’

Jesus answered them,
‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’

The Jews then said,
‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’

But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

The Collect
Grant, Lord,
that we who are baptised into the death
of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
may continually put to death our evil desires
and be buried with him;
and that through the grave and gate of death
we may pass to our joyful resurrection;
through his merits,
who died and was buried and rose again for us,
your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Daily Office - Mar 29

Passiontide - Good Friday

Psalm 69
Save me, O God, for the waters have come up, even to my neck.

I sink in deep mire where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters and the flood sweeps over me.
I have grown weary with crying; my throat is raw;
my eyes have failed from looking so long for my God.

Those who hate me without any cause are more than the hairs of my head;
Those who would destroy me are mighty; my enemies accuse me falsely:
must I now give back what I never stole?

O God, you know my foolishness, and my faults are not hidden from you.
Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, Lord God of hosts;
let not those who seek you be disgraced because of me, O God of Israel.

For your sake have I suffered reproach; shame has covered my face.
I have become a stranger to my kindred, an alien to my mother’s children.
Zeal for your house has eaten me up;
the scorn of those who scorn you has fallen upon me.
I humbled myself with fasting, but that was turned to my reproach.
I put on sackcloth also and became a byword among them.
Those who sit at the gate murmur against me, and the drunkards make songs about me.
But as for me, I make my prayer to you, O Lord;
at an acceptable time, O God.
Answer me, O God, in the abundance of your mercy and with your sure salvation.
Draw me out of the mire, that I sink not;
let me be rescued from those who hate me and out of the deep waters.
Let not the water flood drown me, neither the deep swallow me up;
let not the Pit shut its mouth upon me.

Answer me, Lord, for your loving-kindness is good;
turn to me in the multitude of your mercies.
Hide not your face from your servant;
be swift to answer me, for I am in trouble.
Draw near to my soul and redeem me;
deliver me because of my enemies.

You know my reproach, my shame and my dishonour;
my adversaries are all in your sight.
Reproach has broken my heart; I am full of heaviness.
I looked for some to have pity, but there was no one,
neither found I any to comfort me.

They gave me gall to eat,
and when I was thirsty, they gave me vinegar to drink.
Let the table before them be a trap and their sacred feasts a snare.
Let their eyes be darkened, that they cannot see,
and give them continual trembling in their loins.
Pour out your indignation upon them,
and let the heat of your anger overtake them.
Let their camp be desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in their tents.
For they persecute the one whom you have stricken,
and increase the sorrows of him whom you have pierced.
Lay to their charge guilt upon guilt,
and let them not receive your vindication.
Let them be wiped out of the book of the living
and not be written among the righteous

As for me, I am poor and in misery;
your saving help, O God, will lift me up.
I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will proclaim his greatness with thanksgiving.
This will please the Lord more than an offering of oxen,
more than bulls with horns and hooves.

The humble shall see and be glad;
you who seek God, your heart shall live.
For the Lord listens to the needy, and his own who are imprisoned he does not despise.
Let the heavens and the earth praise him, the seas and all that moves in them;
For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah;
they shall live there and have it in possession.
The children of his servants shall inherit it
and they that love his name shall dwell therein.

Genesis 22.1-18
After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said,
‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’

So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt-offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men,
‘Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.’

Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘Father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ He said,
‘The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?’

Abraham said,
‘God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son.’
So the two of them walked on together.

When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’
He said,
‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’

And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt-offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said,
‘By myself I have sworn, says the Lord: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.’

Hebrews 10.1-10
Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who approach. Otherwise, would they not have ceased being offered, since the worshippers, cleansed once for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sin? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
   but a body you have prepared for me;
in burnt-offerings and sin-offerings
   you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, “See, God, I have come to do your will, O God”
   (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).’

When he said above, ‘You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt-offerings and sin-offerings’ (these are offered according to the law), then he added,
‘See, I have come to do your will.’

He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

The Collect
Almighty Father,
look with mercy on this your family
for which our Lord Jesus Christ was content to be betrayed
and given up into the hands of sinners
and to suffer death upon the cross;
who is alive and glorified with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Learning by doing - Passover and Gethsemane

As the conversations slowly came to an end, it slowly dawned on some of those who had been at the Seder tonight, as they were beginning to leave, that Jesus and the others must also have been mellow as they left for Gethsemane!

The third cup of blessing and the words of 1 Corinthians 11.23b - 26:

'On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.'

Having eaten the bread and drunk the third cup of blessing and sung, the 'communion' instituted, celebrated (and hopefully consigned to memory), we moved to  fourth and final cup - the meal completed.

That was it - the meal was done. We were leaving.

Not for Gethsemane but home.

Then came a voice asking: 'is this how the disciples were? I feel a little 'jolly' .'

'I reckon so,' said I.

'no wonder they fell asleep while He was praying,' came the reply!!

Tonight we were family as we shared the Passover with Christ and His Disciples. Tonight anamnesis  (active remembrance) was ours - hallelujah!!

Church Noticeboard - Easter

I really hope that this is a spoof but I have to say that having passed a church with a sign inviting people to their 'Eater Celebration' (you know who you are!) I have to assume that is perhaps a disaster waiting to happen if it hasn't for real.

When I first saw it, the OCD section of my being yelled, 'Where's the question mark?'

But hey ho - I know I'm sad (thinking of carrying Tippex and black Sharpie for apostrophe watch duties ;-)

Anyway - enjoy (if that's the right expression here):


Pax

If it looks too good to be true . . Car Wash

Then it possibly is!

many years ago when the earth was much younger and greener, my Father (who was at that time a Divisional Officer in the London Fire Brigade) was invited to a function at one of the local hospitals; something that gave him the opportunity to drive his nice new car (rather than be driven). So he arrives at the hospital to find that it's one of the old style asylums, replete with towers and gates and the like.

As he turns of the main road, through the gates and into the car park where he is greeted by a 'workman' in overalls who shows him to a parking spot. As my Father gets out of the car and sort his uniform out, the 'workman' comes up to him and asks whether he'd like his car washed and polished. Dad has a think and since it's but a few days old and rather shiny when clean he agrees, asking the 'workman' how much it would cost.

Hearing an answer that would have been madness had he turned it down, he forked out the money and went into the reception. Some time into the function he's chatting to the director of the place and remarks that he was impressed at the staff they had and their willingness to make visitors welcome, mentioning somewhere in the conversation about 'even getting his car cleaned whilst there.'

The Director (according to Dad) went rather pale and made for the door, stopping only to tell another staff member what was going on.

Now Dad was just a bit interested, having seen the response to his news, and so decided to follow the pair out of the doors and round to the front of the building where it was his turn to go pale as the 'workman' was scooping up buckets full of gravel and, having tossed the contents onto the bodywork, was rubbing it with a cloth. So taken up with the task was he that he didn't (apparently) hear my dear old Dad's cries to stop (and knowing Dad,  'Stop' would have had more than just the one word!).

Whilst the other member of staff led the 'workman' off, the Director tried hard to explain that his 'not so handyman' was in fact a member of the hospitals resident community.

Fortunately the old man saw the funny side of it (not so sure the insurance company did) and by the time he arrived how in his even shinier (there were patches of unpainted metal showing through) car he was rather jovial (which might have been the result of the beers he had at the pub on the way home as well methinks) and the whole episode earned him more than a solitary drink as he entertained those around him with the tale.

So, a cautionary tale in that if you ever find yourself offered something that appears to be too good at the price, it probably is.

Pax

Maundy (Mandatum Novum) Thursday

Maundy Thursday is more than, 'Just the day before Good Friday,' it is THE day when the Christian Church remembers Jesus washing His disciples feet; humbling himself and taking on the lowest of jobs to out into actions the words He'd been telling them for so long. Time was short and it was time to give them one last practical demonstration before the disciples graduated out into the world without Him by their side (physically).

The messy and lowest of the jobs are there for us to take and make our own and as we do, the more like Jesus we become: servant of all - living to make God and mankind one through LOVE. Now that's inclusive Church for sure ;-)

Today is a time for us to also remember the 'New Commandment' that Jesus left us with, the one that mirrors His prayer in John 17 regarding unity - for unity comes through 'loving one another' (easier when the three are one and the same ;-) ). And so the words of John 13. 34:

'A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another as I have loved you,'

And the 'Maundy' bit?

Well like Rotten Row in London ('Route de Roi') it is a corruption of the 'mandatum' written below (the John 13 verse in Latin) :

Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos


So as we think of Jesus, not just talking about servanthood but displaying it, here's a picture (one of my favourites) and some music:


I pray that you and yours have a wonderful and challenging climax to Passiontide and a bless├ęd Easter.


DAily Office - Mar 28

Passiontide  - Maundy Thursday

Psalm 42
As the deer longs for the water brooks,
so longs my soul for you, O God.
My soul is athirst for God, even for the living God;
when shall I come before the presence of God?

My tears have been my bread day and night,
while all day long they say to me, ‘Where is now your God?’
Now when I think on these things, I pour out my soul:
how I went with the multitude and led the procession to the house of God,
With the voice of praise and thanksgiving, among those who kept holy day.

Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul,
and why are you so disquieted within me?
O put your trust in God;
for I will yet give him thanks,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

My soul is heavy within me;
therefore I will remember you from the land of Jordan,
and from Hermon and the hill of Mizar.

Deep calls to deep in the thunder of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and waves have gone over me.
The Lord will grant his loving-kindness in the daytime;
through the night his song will be with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my rock,
‘Why have you forgotten me,
and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresses me?’

As they crush my bones, my enemies mock me;
while all day long they say to me,
‘Where is now your God?’

Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul?
and why are you so disquieted within me?

Put your trust in God;
for I will yet give him thanks,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

Psalm 43
Give judgement for me, O God,
and defend my cause against an ungodly people;
deliver me from the deceitful and the wicked.

For you are the God of my refuge;
why have you cast me from you,
and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresses me?
O send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me,
and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling,
That I may go to the altar of God,
to the God of my joy and gladness;
and on the lyre I will give thanks to you, O God my God.

Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul,
and why are you so disquieted within me?
O put your trust in God;
for I will yet give him thanks,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

Leviticus 16.2-24
The Lord said to Moses:

Tell your brother Aaron not to come just at any time into the sanctuary inside the curtain before the mercy-seat that is upon the ark, or he will die; for I appear in the cloud upon the mercy-seat. Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bull for a sin-offering and a ram for a burnt-offering. He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and shall have the linen undergarments next to his body, fasten the linen sash, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy vestments. He shall bathe his body in water, and then put them on. He shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin-offering, and one ram for a burnt-offering.

Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin-offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting; and Aaron shall cast lots on the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel. Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord, and offer it as a sin-offering; but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, so that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.

Aaron shall present the bull as a sin-offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house; he shall slaughter the bull as a sin-offering for himself. He shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of crushed sweet incense, and he shall bring it inside the curtain and put the incense on the fire before the Lord, so that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy-seat that is upon the covenant, or he will die. He shall take some of the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy-seat, and before the mercy-seat he shall sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times.

He shall slaughter the goat of the sin-offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the curtain, and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it upon the mercy-seat and before the mercy-seat. Thus he shall make atonement for the sanctuary, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel, and because of their transgressions, all their sins; and so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which remains with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. No one shall be in the tent of meeting from the time he enters to make atonement in the sanctuary until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel. Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord and make atonement on its behalf, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the blood of the goat, and put it on each of the horns of the altar. He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and hallow it from the uncleannesses of the people of Israel.

When he has finished atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. Then Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and sending it away into the wilderness by means of someone designated for the task. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a barren region; and the goat shall be set free in the wilderness.

Then Aaron shall enter the tent of meeting, and shall take off the linen vestments that he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there. He shall bathe his body in water in a holy place, and put on his vestments; then he shall come out and offer his burnt-offering and the burnt-offering of the people, making atonement for himself and for the people.

Luke 23.1-25
Then the assembly rose as a body and brought Jesus before Pilate. They began to accuse him, saying,
‘We found this man perverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.’

Then Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’

He answered, ‘You say so.’

Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds,
‘I find no basis for an accusation against this man.’

But they were insistent and said,
‘He stirs up the people by teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to this place.’

When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him off to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform some sign. He questioned him at some length, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then he put an elegant robe on him, and sent him back to Pilate. That same day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other; before this they had been enemies.

Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, and said to them,
‘You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death. I will therefore have him flogged and release him.’

Then they all shouted out together,
‘Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us!’ (This was a man who had been put in prison for an insurrection that had taken place in the city, and for murder.)

Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again; but they kept shouting,
‘Crucify, crucify him!’

A third time he said to them,
‘Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him.’

But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished.

The Collect
Almighty and everlasting God,
who in your tender love towards the human race sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh
and to suffer death upon the cross:
grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Made me Laugh: Castanets

Another one of those most amazingly funny cartoons (up there with the Holy Spirit as a Parakeet I reckon) that just made me laugh enough to worry the neighbours:


:-)

Atheists with nothing to say?

Perfick!

One of those amazingly funny cartoons that make you chuckle!

Just had to share it:


If only life were to imitate art :-)

Milliband - every boy's dream comes true!

Well, what a turn up for the books as one of the Milliband boys, never sure which is which (the nice one, not the one who looks like Wallace without Gromit]) ditches politics to make something that was once every boys dream come true.

Heard on the radio last night that Ed (or is it David?) is to join International Rescue and I have to say that I am so very envious. All those years of sitting in cardboard boxes monitoring the frequencies count for nothing it seems.

So well done my Milliband, I hope your new life away from politics, the other brother and the unions what stitched you up for the leadership of the other Tory party fade as you work, shoulder-to-shoulder, with Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon (of the Orange, not Brown variety) and John. I assume Jeff knows what he's doing picking you over all the other hopefuls (perhaps I can still get to be a Blue Peter presenter).

Say 'Hi' to Brains and give Tin-Tin a kiss for me [sob].

The better man won (unlike perhaps in the political world) and you deserve the job.

Labour party Leader?
Not when I can join International rescue!

Sigh

(Wonder if there's any truth in the rumour that Peter Ould is going to be the next Doctor?)

Daily Office - Mar 27

Passiontide - Wednesday of Holy Week

Psalm 102
O Lord, hear my prayer and let my crying come before you.
Hide not your face from me in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
when I call, make haste to answer me,
for my days are consumed in smoke and my bones burn away as in a furnace.
My heart is smitten down and withered like grass, so that I forget to eat my bread.
From the sound of my groaning my bones cleave fast to my skin.
I am become like a vulture in the wilderness, like an owl that haunts the ruins.
I keep watch and am become like a sparrow solitary upon the housetop.
My enemies revile me all the day long, and those who rage at me have sworn together against me.
I have eaten ashes for bread and mingled my drink with weeping,
because of your indignation and wrath, for you have taken me up and cast me down.
My days fade away like a shadow, and I am withered like grass.
But you, O Lord, shall endure for ever and your name through all generations.
You will arise and have pity on Zion;
it is time to have mercy upon her; surely the time has come.
For your servants love her very stones and feel compassion for her dust.
Then shall the nations fear your name, O Lord,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the Lord has built up Zion and shown himself in glory;
When he has turned to the prayer of the destitute and has not despised their plea.
This shall be written for those that come after,
and a people yet unborn shall praise the Lord.
For he has looked down from his holy height;
from the heavens he beheld the earth,
That he might hear the sighings of the prisoner and set free those condemned to die;
That the name of the Lord may be proclaimed in Zion and his praises in Jerusalem,
When peoples are gathered together and kingdoms also, to serve the Lord.
He has brought down my strength in my journey and has shortened my days.
I pray,
‘O my God, do not take me in the midst of my days; your years endure throughout all generations.
‘In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands;
‘They shall perish, but you will endure; they all shall wear out like a garment.
‘You change them like clothing, and they shall be changed; but you are the same, and your years will not fail.
‘The children of your servants shall continue, and their descendants shall be established in your sight.’

Jeremiah 11.18-20
It was the Lord who made it known to me, and I knew; then you showed me their evil deeds.
19 But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter.
And I did not know it was against me that they devised schemes, saying,
‘Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
so that his name will no longer be remembered!’

But you, O Lord of hosts, who judge righteously, who try the heart and the mind,
let me see your retribution upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.

Luke 22.54-71
Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. But Peter was following at a distance. When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, ‘This man also was with him.’ But he denied it, saying,
‘Woman, I do not know him.’

A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, ‘You also are one of them.’ But Peter said,
‘Man, I am not!’

Then about an hour later yet another kept insisting, ‘Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.’ But Peter said,
‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about!’

At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him,
‘Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.’

And he went out and wept bitterly.

Now the men who were holding Jesus began to mock him and beat him; they also blindfolded him and kept asking him,
‘Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?’
They kept heaping many other insults on him.
When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought him to their council. They said,
‘If you are the Messiah, tell us.’

He replied,
‘If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I question you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.’

All of them asked,
‘Are you, then, the Son of God?’

He said to them,
‘You say that I am.’

Then they said,
‘What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!’

The Collect
Almighty and everlasting God,
who in your tender love towards the human race sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh
and to suffer death upon the cross:
grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Making our message popular . .

Even if it's at the expense of Scripture, Tradition and reason!

People tell me how such a stance appears to be very much in vogue now and I'd have to answer that it was ever so (for indeed there truly is !nothing new under the sun).

having been listening to some of the popular personalities in the post-evangelical and emerging church world I have to say that as much as I enjoy reading many of them, the message they bring is peddling a brand of universalist faith which doesn't quite match up to, or perhaps even warrant the name of, Christianity!

I have always struggled with the word of Hebrews 9: 27 -28 for many years because it appears that we get one go on the ride that is life and then have to face the judgement, but lets look at what is written (ESV):

'And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgement, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.'

I don't see anything about secondary probation (which  [oversimply] is where you die, get 'woken up' and asked if you'd like to change your mind, and then go back in the freezer until the judgement - a sort of postmortem evangelical opportunity).

I don't see anything that reconstitutes aeons such that the end of the world comes with the fall of the Temple; neither do I see Jesus coming and changing God's mind (for previously being a Jew and circumcised [as a man] was what brought you into some sort of relationship with God but Jesus changes God's mind) so ALL are acceptable!

I don't see credibility in the argument that a twenty-year old who rejects the Gospel and chooses to act contrary to it and dies because of it must be accepted into heaven because this is what a god of love would do! I say this because the God I have come to understand is also a God who keeps the rules; He doesn't bend or corrupt the rules because He likes someone - for He loves us all but  . . .  have a think on this . .  .

If you were driving down a road which had a thirty miles per hour speed limit and were caught by a member of the local constabulary doing sixty, would you expect to be prosecuted?

I would have to suggest that you would.

Now, if the police officer who stopped you was a member of your family, would you expect to be let off even though this would mean that both of you were now breaking the law? Perhaps you'd justify it by saying that no one got hurt?

Take it up a notch: You're speeding and this causes a death, would you still expect to get off because of the family connection?

Now imagine you live down the road where the people are doing the speeding, would your views about being caught and let off be different? You hear of the driver who has killed and vanished - what do you want? I'll warrant that you want them found and dealt with by the law!

Remembering that you don't know that in either of the situations there has been part of a cover up by a family member who is also an officer - But when you find out will you want them both arrested? (silly question - of course you do!!)

This is the dilemma before a loving God, for to not apply the rules would be to make Him act against that which was in place (called 'God's laws) and would render Him and the focus of the act wrong and if this was to be, then God wouldn't be (logically or theologically). To 'let them off' or 'turn a blind eye' is to be as guilty as the person who broke the law and in the latter case would make them an accessory to a murder (or manslaughter at the very least)!

God can do one thing and that is be inside the law (even though you'd think He might be above it being God!).

SO

I am becoming rather tired with those who seek to create a popular faith where what is required is a consistent faith.

I struggle with those who want us to have a faith which congratulates and applauds us for our choices, regardless of whether they are right or wrong (using the 'old Christianity'), ignoring the outcome and attitudes relating to them.

I am afraid that Christianity does ask us to make choices and to act differently from that which our own hearts and desires might lead us towards. It does ask us to make a commitment and to live, think and act differently from the world (which is generally full of nice people who want to do their own stuff and please themselves).

We need to realise that our efforts to create communities which accept anything and everything regardless of whether or not God might consider it to be wrong is to encourage people to act wrongly; to tell them heaven is theirs, regardless of what they think, do or believe is to take people and, like the false prophets of old, make them 'twice as fit for hell as they are themselves!'

Yep - tough words, but without them there are no moral absolutes, not correctives and no rules to live by and that is my idea of hell (on earth and later).

Pax


Daily Office - Mar 26

Passiontide - Tuesday of Holy Week 

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.

Lamentations 3.1-18
I am one who has seen affliction under the rod of God’s wrath;
he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light;
against me alone he turns his hand, again and again, all day long.

He has made my flesh and my skin waste away, and broken my bones;
he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me sit in darkness like the dead of long ago.
He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;
he has put heavy chains on me; though I call and cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer;
he has blocked my ways with hewn stones, he has made my paths crooked.
He is a bear lying in wait for me, a lion in hiding;
he led me off my way and tore me to pieces;
he has made me desolate;
he bent his bow and set me as a mark for his arrow.
He shot into my vitals the arrows of his quiver; I have become the laughing-stock of all my people, the object of their taunt-songs all day long.
He has filled me with bitterness, he has glutted me with wormwood.
He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes;
my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, ‘Gone is my glory, and all that I had hoped for from the Lord.’

Luke 22.24-53
A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

‘You are those who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
‘Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death!’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know me.’
He said to them, ‘When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?’ They said, ‘No, not a thing.’ He said to them, ‘But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, “And he was counted among the lawless”; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.’ They said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ He replied, ‘It is enough.’
He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. When he reached the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’ Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.’ [[ Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.]] When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, and he said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’
While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?’ When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, ‘Lord, should we strike with the sword?’ Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!’

The Collect
Almighty and everlasting God,
who in your tender love towards the human race sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross:
grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Made me Laugh: Stressed Christian Driver

One of those little stories that make a point (and make you smile):

'A man was being tailgated by a stressed out driver on a busy street when suddenly, the lights ahead turn yellow. Doing the right thing he stops and, as a result, the tailgater hits the roof, and the horn, screaming as they miss their chance to get through the intersection.

And then, still in mid-rant, they hear a tap on their window and, turning, look straight into the face of a police officer who gets them out of the car and takes them to the police station where they are placed in a holding cell.

After a couple of hours, the policeman opened the cell door and says to the, now cool, driver:

'I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn and screaming at the guy in front of you, f'ing and blinding and waving your hands and, having noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do?' bumper sticker, the 'Follow Me to Sunday School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car!'


Of course, this would never be us now, would it?

(well it wouldn't be me: I don't do Christian stickers - the Church already has enough bad publicity!)
Pax

St Roke - Patron Saint of Curates

Many years ago, whilst attending a priesting in one of the churches in our diocese I was fortunate enough to find myself sitting before a most wonderfully decorated kneeler (AKA 'Hassock').

The design was beautifully crafted and around three of the edges were the words (name of place changed to defend feelings of kneeler's creator):

'SPLOTWORTH - ST  ROKE - ASSOCIATION'

One of those around us asked who 'St Roke' was and soon they were brought up to speed with this wonderfully colourful mediaeval Saint who was a star turn on the church circuits with his talking monkey. 



Roke would appear at church functions and the monkey would run around doing amazing things and was also heard reading the Gospel and preaching, albeit rather clumsily, on occasions.

Everyone loved the monkey and its appearance would cheer the hearts of many as it brought God's word into the place it was to be found.

As time went by, Roke was adopted as the patron saint of all curates, and this accounted for the presence of the kneeler.

All of us present, being curates felt some unseen link to this man and his simian assistant (who many of us could relate to for some strange reason) whose saint's day fall at the beginning of April!

Daily Office- Mar 25


Passiontide: Monday of Holy Week

Psalm 41
Blessed are those who consider the poor and needy;
the Lord will deliver them in the time of trouble.
The Lord preserves them and restores their life,
that they may be happy in the land;
he will not hand them over to the will of their enemies.
The Lord sustains them on their sickbed;
their sickness, Lord, you will remove.
And so I said, ‘Lord, be merciful to me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you.’
My enemies speak evil about me,
asking when I shall die and my name perish.
If they come to see me, they utter empty words;
their heart gathers mischief;
when they go out, they tell it abroad.
All my enemies whisper together against me,
against me they devise evil,
Saying that a deadly thing has laid hold on me,
and that I will not rise again from where I lie.
Even my bosom friend, whom I trusted,
who ate of my bread,
has lifted up his heel against me.
But you, O Lord, be merciful to me
and raise me up, that I may reward them.
By this I know that you favour me,
that my enemy does not triumph over me.
Because of my integrity you uphold me •
and will set me before your face for ever.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.
AllGlory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Lamentations 1.1-12a
How lonely sits the city that once was full of people!
How like a widow she has become, she that was great among the nations!
She that was a princess among the provinces has become a vassal.

She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks;
among all her lovers she has no one to comfort her;
all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies.

Judah has gone into exile with suffering and hard servitude;
she lives now among the nations, and finds no resting-place;
her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress.

The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to the festivals;
all her gates are desolate, her priests groan;
her young girls grieve, and her lot is bitter.

Her foes have become the masters, her enemies prosper,
because the Lord has made her suffer for the multitude of her transgressions;
her children have gone away, captives before the foe.

From daughter Zion has departed all her majesty.
Her princes have become like stags that find no pasture;
they fled without strength before the pursuer.

Jerusalem remembers, in the days of her affliction and wandering,
all the precious things that were hers in days of old.
When her people fell into the hand of the foe, and there was no one to help her,
the foe looked on mocking over her downfall.

Jerusalem sinned grievously, so she has become a mockery;
all who honoured her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness;
she herself groans, and turns her face away.

Her uncleanness was in her skirts;
she took no thought of her future;
her downfall was appalling, with none to comfort her.
‘O Lord, look at my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed!’

Enemies have stretched out their hands over all her precious things;
she has even seen the nations invade her sanctuary,
those whom you forbade to enter your congregation.

All her people groan as they search for bread;
they trade their treasures for food to revive their strength.
Look, O Lord, and see how worthless I have become.

Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow,
which was brought upon me,
which the Lord inflicted on the day of his fierce anger.

Luke 22.1-23
Now the festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was near. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people.

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying,
‘Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.’

They asked him,
‘Where do you want us to make preparations for it?’

‘Listen,’ he said to them,
‘when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters and say to the owner of the house, “The teacher asks you, ‘Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ ” He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.’

So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them,
‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’

Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying,
‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’

And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying,
‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!’

Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this.

The Collect
Almighty and everlasting God,
who in your tender love towards the human race sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh
and to suffer death upon the cross:
grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
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, 24 March 2013

Palm Sunday - Praise and Rejection

palm crosses blessed
and waved
sang 'Hosanna'
Said a prayer (or did I mumble?)

had fingers crossed as confessed our sins
my sins
looking to God for forgiveness
and a short memory
for sins past
and life events (failed)
'What greater love than this?'
no need to ask as the nail-pierced hand held mine
safely
assuredly

and then
without warning
there were were
on a journey

donkey with a King on its back
King with stripes on His back for a donkey (that's me)
before the religious leaders (who crucify Him still)
before the Political stooge
the Pilate who ley justice fly in the face of truth and love
before the ersatz king
the horrid who was Herod
And back again

And we cried out
Silently
above the noise of love

our lives
our hearts
our sinful
selfish
cruel ambitions
cried out: 'crucify Him, crucify Him!'

And they did
They bloody well did
gave us exactly what we demanded

and Him
scourged
bleeding
broken
went off to Golgotha

Nailed
Pierced
Broken
mocked

even by the bloke next to Him
(but not the bloke on the other side)

and then
'it is finished'
job's a good 'un

tetelestai
the debt
of sin
cancelled
paid
by THE act of love

Centurion
battle-scarred
seen men die
made men die
standing and watched
impressed?
touched?
guilty?
proclaims the dead
'a righteous man'
'a good bloke?'
'a dead good bloke' perhaps?

and taken down
wrapped up
like a Christmas present?
like an Easter present?
a 'good egg' perhaps?
He's placed in a tomb

game over?
not the Messiah?
without hindsight what would we be thinking
how would we be acting
what would this mean to us

and so
Palm Sunday done
everything on hold
we await
eagerly?
disbelieving?
hoping
for a greater comeback
than winning 5-7 from 4-1 down at half-time

Holy Week
wholly weak
we struggle to
a Good Friday
in the knowledge of
a better Sunday

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Finding one God less than You

Another cool image that made me smile today:
An interesting thought indeed!

Atheists and Christians - Both Fundamentalists?

This made me smile and so I thought I share it with you in the hope that it brightens a cold and wintry Spring day:


At Last: Atheists say believers are right!

Here's a great image - and a great opportunity to defend (or otherwise) one's position (with a smile)"

Happy Saturday people

Mission - getting them in isn't enough!

This has been one of those weeks that just has lasted for ever and yet gone by in a flash; one of those where you have done much and still managed to leave undone the things that you wanted to do! (an experience I'm sure we all share from time to time).

There have been so many highlights ranging from ALPHA course through to doing school assemblies through to engagement with people at the other end of the age range; mingling, and celebrating, with fellow believers and giving thanks for them to wondering whether, despite their labels, they are even saved!

I cannot believe that anyone who is in the Christian family can fail to be 'missional'; that ability and desire to see others come into knowledge of Jesus, the Christ, and through that knowledge to come into relationship with the Father through Him - and yet I do. For truly the, 'I'm not an evangelistic,' cries of some to the 'maintenance and parochially-minded' lack of real endeavour others I bump into almost cause my fingers to crack and my chest to tighten. 'How can we not be 'mission-minded'?

How can we ignore the calls of Jesus as written in Matthew 28:

'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.'

How can we fail to see that people coming into the building is great, but it's not salvation, for salvation is this:

‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.’
For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 

‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ 
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?
And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? 
And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?
As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’


I mentioned this passage (Romans 10) to someone last week as I tried to explain that increasing the church's 'footfall' (the number of feet on the ground: visitors) is great but 'getting them in' is only part of the job, we need to engage with the people who come in and be there for them when they come with needs.

How can they believe unless they hear and how can they hear unless we tell them?

And of course, we're not all sent, are we? We're not all called to look like Jesus, to love those caught in error, to bind up the brokenhearted, comfort those who mourn, heal the afflicted and all that stuff are we?

Oh no, it appears that we are - so what are we going to do?

Daily Office - Mar 23

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; therefore can I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.
He shall refresh my soul and guide me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me;
you have anointed my head with oil and my cup shall be full.
Surely goodness and loving mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm 127
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain.
Unless the Lord keeps the city, the guard keeps watch in vain.
It is in vain that you hasten to rise up early and go so late to rest, eating the bread of toil, for he gives his beloved sleep.
Children are a heritage from the Lord and the fruit of the womb is his gift.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.
Happy are those who have their quiver full of them:
they shall not be put to shame when they dispute with their enemies in the gate.

Jeremiah 25.1-14
The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah (that was the first year of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon), which the prophet Jeremiah spoke to all the people of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah to this day, the word of the Lord has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened. And though the Lord persistently sent you all his servants the prophets, you have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear when they said,
‘Turn now, everyone of you, from your evil way and wicked doings, and you will remain upon the land that the Lord has given to you and your ancestors from of old and for ever; do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, and do not provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.’

Yet you did not listen to me, says the Lord, and so you have provoked me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm.

Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts:
Because you have not obeyed my words, I am going to send for all the tribes of the north, says the Lord, even for King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these nations around; I will utterly destroy them, and make them an object of horror and of hissing, and an everlasting disgrace. And I will banish from them the sound of mirth and the sound of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon for seventy years. Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, says the Lord, making the land an everlasting waste. I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations. For many nations and great kings shall make slaves of them also; and I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.

John 12.36b-end
'While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.'
After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them. Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him. This was to fulfil the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
‘Lord, who has believed our message,    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’

And so they could not believe, because Isaiah also said,
‘He has blinded their eyes  and hardened their heart,
so that they might not look with their eyes,  and understand with their heart and turn -   and I would heal them.’

Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him. Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God.
Then Jesus cried aloud:
‘Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.’

The Collect
Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross we may triumph in the power of his victory;
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.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Daily Office - Mar 22


Psalm 22
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me, and are so far from my salvation, from the words of my distress?
O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer;
and by night also, but I find no rest.
Yet you are the Holy One, enthroned upon the praises of Israel.
Our forebears trusted in you;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
They cried out to you and were delivered;
they put their trust in you and were not confounded.
But as for me, I am a worm and no man, scorned by all and despised by the people.
All who see me laugh me to scorn;
they curl their lips and wag their heads, saying,
‘He trusted in the Lord; let him deliver him; •let him deliver him, if he delights in him.’

But it is you that took me out of the womb and laid me safe upon my mother’s breast.
On you was I cast ever since I was born;
you are my God even from my mother’s womb.
Be not far from me, for trouble is near at hand and there is none to help.
Mighty oxen come around me;
fat bulls of Bashan close me in on every side.
They gape upon me with their mouths, as it were a ramping and a roaring lion.
I am poured out like water;
all my bones are out of joint;
my heart has become like wax melting in the depths of my body.
My mouth is dried up like a potsherd;
my tongue cleaves to my gums;
you have laid me in the dust of death.
For the hounds are all about me;
the pack of evildoers close in on me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
I can count all my bones;
they stand staring and looking upon me.
They divide my garments among them; •
they cast lots for my clothing.

Be not far from me, O Lord;
you are my strength; hasten to help me.
Deliver my soul from the sword, my poor life from the power of the dog.
Save me from the lion’s mouth, from the horns of wild oxen.
You have answered me!
I will tell of your name to my people;
in the midst of the congregation will I praise you.
Praise the Lord, you that fear him;
O seed of Jacob, glorify him;
stand in awe of him, O seed of Israel.
For he has not despised nor abhorred the suffering of the poor;
neither has he hidden his face from them;
but when they cried to him he heard them.
From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
I will perform my vows in the presence of those that fear you.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the Lord shall praise him;
their hearts shall live for ever.
All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall bow before him.
For the kingdom is the Lord’s and he rules over the nations.
How can those who sleep in the earth bow down in worship, or those who go down to the dust kneel before him?
He has saved my life for himself;
my descendants shall serve him;
this shall be told of the Lord for generations to come.
They shall come and make known his salvation, to a people yet unborn, declaring that he, the Lord, has done it.

Psalm 126
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then were we like those who dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with songs of joy.
Then said they among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’

The Lord has indeed done great things for us, and therefore we rejoiced.
Restore again our fortunes, O Lord, as the river beds of the desert.
Those who sow in tears shall reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed, will come back with shouts of joy, bearing their sheaves with them.

Jeremiah 24
The Lord showed me two baskets of figs placed before the temple of the Lord. This was after King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon had taken into exile from Jerusalem King Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim of Judah, together with the officials of Judah, the artisans, and the smiths, and had brought them to Babylon. One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, but the other basket had very bad figs, so bad that they could not be eaten. And the Lord said to me,
‘What do you see, Jeremiah?’

I said,
‘Figs, the good figs very good, and the bad figs very bad, so bad that they cannot be eaten.’

Then the word of the Lord came to me:
Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will set my eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord; and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

But thus says the Lord:
Like the bad figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten, so will I treat King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who live in the land of Egypt. I will make them a horror, an evil thing, to all the kingdoms of the earth—a disgrace, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them. And I will send sword, famine, and pestilence upon them, until they are utterly destroyed from the land that I gave to them and their ancestors.

John 12.20-36a
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him,
‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’

Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them,
‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour. ‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’

The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’

Jesus answered,
‘This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’

He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. The crowd answered him,
‘We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains for ever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?’

Jesus said to them,
‘The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.’

After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.

The Collect
Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross we may triumph in the power of his victory;
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, 21 March 2013

Daily Office - Mar 21

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Reformation Martyr, 1556

Psalm 40
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me out of the roaring pit, out of the mire and clay;
he set my feet upon a rock and made my footing sure.
He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
many shall see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.
Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not turn to the proud that follow a lie.
Great are the wonders you have done, O Lord my God.
How great your designs for us!
There is none that can be compared with you.
If I were to proclaim them and tell of them they would be more than I am able to express.
Sacrifice and offering you do not desire but my ears you have opened;
Burnt offering and sacrifice for sin you have not required;
then said I:
‘Lo, I come.
‘In the scroll of the book it is written of me that I should do your will, O my God;
I delight to do it: your law is within my heart.’

I have declared your righteousness in the great congregation;
behold, I did not restrain my lips, and that, O Lord, you know.
Your righteousness I have not hidden in my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your loving-kindness and truth from the great congregation.
Do not withhold your compassion from me, O Lord;
let your love and your faithfulness always preserve me, for innumerable troubles have come about me;
my sins have overtaken me so that I cannot look up;
they are more in number than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Let them be ashamed and altogether dismayed who seek after my life to destroy it;
let them be driven back and put to shame who wish me evil.
Let those who heap insults upon me be desolate because of their shame.
Let all who seek you rejoice in you and be glad;
let those who love your salvation say always,
‘The Lord is great.’

Though I am poor and needy, the Lord cares for me.
You are my helper and my deliverer;
O my God, make no delay.

Psalm 125
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but stands fast for ever.
As the hills stand about Jerusalem, so the Lord stands round about his people, from this time forth for evermore.
The sceptre of wickedness shall not hold sway over the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous turn their hands to evil.
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are true of heart.
Those who turn aside to crooked ways the Lord shall take away with the evildoers;
but let there be peace upon Israel.

Jeremiah 23.9-32
Concerning the prophets:
My heart is crushed within me, all my bones shake;
I have become like a drunkard, like one overcome by wine,
because of the Lord and because of his holy words.
For the land is full of adulterers;
   because of the curse the land mourns,
   and the pastures of the wilderness are dried up.
Their course has been evil,
   and their might is not right.
Both prophet and priest are ungodly;
   even in my house I have found their wickedness,
says the Lord.

Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery paths in the darkness,
   into which they shall be driven and fall;
for I will bring disaster upon them
   in the year of their punishment,
says the Lord.

In the prophets of Samaria I saw a disgusting thing:
they prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray.
But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a more shocking thing:
they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers,
   so that no one turns from wickedness; all of them have become like Sodom to me,
   and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.
Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets:
‘I am going to make them eat wormwood, and give them poisoned water to drink;
for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land.’

Thus says the Lord of hosts: Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you; they are deluding you. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to all who stubbornly follow their own stubborn hearts, they say, ‘No calamity shall come upon you.’

For who has stood in the council of the Lord so as to see and to hear his word?
   Who has given heed to his word so as to proclaim it?
Look, the storm of the Lord!
   Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest;
   it will burst upon the head of the wicked.
The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his mind.
In the latter days you will understand it clearly.

I did not send the prophets, yet they ran;
I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied.
But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people,
and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

Am I a God near by, says the Lord, and not a God far off? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the Lord. I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ How long? Will the hearts of the prophets ever turn back—those who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart? They plan to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, just as their ancestors forgot my name for Baal. Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let the one who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? says the Lord. Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? See, therefore, I am against the prophets, says the Lord, who steal my words from one another. See, I am against the prophets, says the Lord, who use their own tongues and say, ‘Says the Lord.’ See, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, says the Lord, and who tell them, and who lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or appoint them; so they do not profit this people at all, says the Lord.

John 12.12-19
The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting,
‘Hosanna!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—
   the King of Israel!’
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:
‘Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion.
Look, your king is coming,
   sitting on a donkey’s colt!’
His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him. So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify. It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him. The Pharisees then said to one another, ‘You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!’

The Collect
Father of all mercies,
who through the work of your servant Thomas Cranmer renewed the worship of your Church
and through his death revealed your strength in human weakness:
by your grace strengthen us to worship you in spirit and in truth
and so to come to the joys of your everlasting kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Mediator and Advocate,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Daily Office - Mar 20

Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 687

Psalm 55
Hear my prayer, O God; hide not yourself from my petition.
Give heed to me and answer me; I am restless in my complaining.
I am alarmed at the voice of the enemy and at the clamour of the wicked;
For they would bring down evil upon me and are set against me in fury.
My heart is disquieted within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and a horrible dread has overwhelmed me.
And I said: ‘O that I had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away and be at rest.
‘Then would I flee far away and make my lodging in the wilderness.
‘I would make haste to escape from the stormy wind and tempest.’
Confuse their tongues, O Lord, and divide them, for I have seen violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they go about on her walls; mischief and trouble are in her midst.
Wickedness walks in her streets; oppression and guile never leave her squares.
For it was not an open enemy that reviled me, for then I could have borne it;
Nor was it my adversary that puffed himself up against me, for then I would have hid myself from him.
But it was even you, one like myself, my companion and my own familiar friend.
We took sweet counsel together and walked with the multitude in the house of God.
Let death come suddenly upon them; let them go down alive to the Pit;
for wickedness inhabits their dwellings, their very hearts.
As for me, I will call upon God and the Lord will deliver me.
In the evening and morning and at noonday I will pray and make my supplication, and he shall hear my voice.
He shall redeem my soul in peace from the battle waged against me, for many have come upon me.
God, who is enthroned of old, will hear and bring them down; they will not repent, for they have no fear of God.
My companion stretched out his hands against his friend and has broken his covenant;
His speech was softer than butter, though war was in his heart;
his words were smoother than oil, yet are they naked swords.
Cast your burden upon the Lord and he will sustain you, and will not let the righteous fall for ever.
But those that are bloodthirsty and deceitful, O God, you will bring down to the pit of destruction.
They shall not live out half their days, but my trust shall be in you, O Lord.

Psalm 124
If the Lord himself had not been on our side, now may Israel say;
If the Lord had not been on our side, when enemies rose up against us;

Then would they have swallowed us alive when their anger burned against us;
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us and the torrent gone over our soul;
over our soul would have swept the raging waters.
But blessed be the Lord who has not given us over to be a prey for their teeth.
Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowler;
the snare is broken and we are delivered.
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who has made heaven and earth.

Jeremiah 22.20-23.8
Go up to Lebanon, and cry out, and lift up your voice in Bashan;
cry out from Abarim, for all your lovers are crushed.
I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, ‘I will not listen.’
This has been your way from your youth, for you have not obeyed my voice.
The wind shall shepherd all your shepherds, and your lovers shall go into captivity;
then you will be ashamed and dismayed because of all your wickedness.
O inhabitant of Lebanon, nested among the cedars,
how you will groan when pangs come upon you,
   pain as of a woman in labour!

As I live, says the Lord, even if King Coniah son of Jehoiakim of Judah were the signet ring on my right hand, even from there I would tear you off and give you into the hands of those who seek your life, into the hands of those of whom you are afraid, even into the hands of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon and into the hands of the Chaldeans. I will hurl you and the mother who bore you into another country, where you were not born, and there you shall die. But they shall not return to the land to which they long to return.

Is this man Coniah a despised broken pot, a vessel no one wants?
Why are he and his offspring hurled out and cast away in a land that they do not know?
O land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord!
Thus says the Lord:
Record this man as childless, a man who shall not succeed in his days;
for none of his offspring shall succeed in sitting on the throne of David, and ruling again in Judah.

Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord.

Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when it shall no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives who brought the people of Israel up out of the land of Egypt’, but ‘As the Lord lives who brought out and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the land of the north and out of all the lands where he had driven them.’ Then they shall live in their own land.

John 12.1-11
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said,
‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.)

Jesus said,
‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’

When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.

The Collect
Almighty God,
who called your servant Cuthbert from following the flock to follow your Son and to be a shepherd of your people:
in your mercy, grant that we, following his example,
may bring those who are lost home to your fold;
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.