Thursday, 31 October 2013

Night Prayer - Oct 31

Martin Luther, Reformer, 1546
Eve of All Saints Day


The Lord almighty grant us a quiet night and a perfect end. Amen.

Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.

A period of silence for reflection on the past day followed by an act of penitence:
Most merciful God, I confess to you, before the whole company of heaven,
that I have sinned in thought, word and deed and in what I have failed to do.
Forgive me my sins, heal me by your Spirit
and raise me to new life in Christ. Amen.

O God, make speed to save us. O Lord, make haste to help us.
Glory to the Father and to the So and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.  Alleluia.

Before the ending of the day, Creator of the world, we pray
That you, with steadfast love, would keep our watch around us while we sleep.
From evil dreams defend our sight, from fears and terrors of the night;
Tread underfoot our deadly foe that we no sinful thought may know.
O Father, that we ask be done through Jesus Christ, your only Son;
And Holy Spirit, by whose breath our souls are raised to life from death.

Psalm 16

The Lord is at my right hand; I shall not fall.
Preserve me, O God, for in you have I taken refuge;
I have said to the Lord, You are my lord, all my good depends on you.
All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land, upon those who are noble in heart.
Though the idols are legion that many run after, •their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, neither make mention of their names upon my lips.
The Lord himself is my portion and my cup; in your hands alone is my fortune.
My share has fallen in a fair land; indeed, I have a goodly heritage.
I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel, and in the night watches he instructs my heart.
I have set the Lord always before me; he is at my right hand; I shall not fall.
Wherefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my flesh also shall rest secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Death, nor suffer your faithful one to see the Pit.
You will show me the path of life;
in your presence is the fullness of joy and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.
Glory 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.
The Lord is at my right hand; I shall not fall.

Give to us, Lord Christ, the fullness of grace, your presence and your very self,
for you are our portion and our delight, now and for ever.

Matthew 24.13,14a
The one who endures to the end will be saved. And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations.

Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
For you have redeemed me, Lord God of truth.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Keep me as the apple of your eye. Hide me under the shadow of your wings.

The Nunc Dimittis (Song of Simeon)
O King most blessed, on the day of judgement number us among your chosen.

Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace: your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people;
A light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.
Glory 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.

O King most blessed, on the day of judgement number us among your chosen.

Intercessions and thanksgivings may be offered here.

The Collect
Almighty God,
you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord:
grant us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living
that we may come to those inexpressible joys that you have prepared for those who truly love 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.

The Conclusion
In peace we will lie down and sleep; for you alone, Lord, make us dwell in safety.
Abide with us, Lord Jesus, for the night is at hand and the day is now past.
As the night watch looks for the morning, so do we look for you, O Christ.
Come with the dawning of the day and make yourself known in the breaking of the bread.

The Lord bless us and watch over us;
the Lord make his face shine upon us and be gracious to us;
the Lord look kindly on us and give us peace. Amen.

Thought for the Day: Seven Dangers

I love this and thought that it might just make a good point for reflection today - especially as it will also enable those who moan about me being 'too Christian' (like Duh!) to have someone who was not a Christian as the source for a change.


Daily Office - Oct 31

Martin Luther, Reformer, 1546

Psalm 37
Fret not because of evildoers; be not jealous of those who do wrong.
For they shall soon wither like grass and like the green herb fade away.
Trust in the Lord and be doing good; dwell in the land and be nourished with truth.
Let your delight be in the Lord and he will give you your heart’s desire.
Commit your way to the Lord and put your trust in him, and he will bring it to pass.
He will make your righteousness as clear as the light and your just dealing as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait for him;
do not fret over those that prosper as they follow their evil schemes.
Refrain from anger and abandon wrath; do not fret, lest you be moved to do evil.
For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait upon the Lord shall possess the land.
Yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; you will search for their place and find them gone.
But the lowly shall possess the land and shall delight in abundance of peace.

The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash at them with their teeth.
The Lord shall laugh at the wicked, for he sees that their day is coming.
The wicked draw their sword and bend their bow to strike down the poor and needy, to slaughter those who walk in truth.
Their sword shall go through their own heart and their bows shall be broken.
The little that the righteous have is better than great riches of the wicked.
For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.

The Lord knows the days of the godly, and their inheritance shall stand for ever.
They shall not be put to shame in the perilous time, and in days of famine they shall have enough.
But the wicked shall perish; like the glory of the meadows the enemies of the Lord shall vanish;
they shall vanish like smoke.

The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous are generous in giving.
For those who are blest by God shall possess the land, but those who are cursed by him shall be rooted out.
When your steps are guided by the Lord and you delight in his way, though you stumble, you shall not fall headlong, for the Lord holds you fast by the hand.

I have been young and now am old, yet never have I seen the righteous forsaken, or their children begging their bread.
All the day long they are generous in lending, and their children also shall be blest.
Depart from evil and do good and you shall abide for ever.
For the Lord loves the thing that is right and will not forsake his faithful ones.
The unjust shall be destroyed for ever, and the offspring of the wicked shall be rooted out.
The righteous shall possess the land and dwell in it for ever.
The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and their tongue speaks the thing that is right.
The law of their God is in their heart and their footsteps shall not slide.
The wicked spy on the righteous and seek occasion to slay them.
The Lord will not leave them in their hand, nor let them be condemned when they are judged.

Wait upon the Lord and keep his way; he will raise you up to possess the land,
and when the wicked are uprooted, you shall see it.
I myself have seen the wicked in great power and flourishing like a tree in full leaf.
I went by and lo, they were gone; I sought them, but they could nowhere be found.
Keep innocence and heed the thing that is right, for that will bring you peace at the last.
But the sinners shall perish together, and the posterity of the wicked shall be rooted out.

The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
The Lord shall stand by them and deliver them; he shall deliver them from the wicked and shall save them, because they have put their trust in him.

Habakkuk 1.12-2.5
Are you not from of old, O Lord my God, my Holy One? You shall not die.
O Lord, you have marked them for judgement; and you, O Rock, have established them for punishment. Your eyes are too pure to behold evil, and you cannot look on wrongdoing; why do you look on the treacherous, and are silent when the wicked swallow those more righteous than they? You have made people like the fish of the sea, like crawling things that have no ruler.

The enemy brings all of them up with a hook; he drags them out with his net, he gathers them in his seine;so he rejoices and exults. Therefore he sacrifices to his net and makes offerings to his seine; for by them his portion is lavish, and his food is rich. Is he then to keep on emptying his net, and destroying nations without mercy?

I will stand at my watch-post, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint. Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.

Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith. Moreover, wealth is treacherous; the arrogant do not endure. They open their throats wide as Sheol; like Death they never have enough.  They gather all nations for themselves, and collect all peoples as their own.

John 20.1-10
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

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


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Night Prayer (Compline) - Oct 30

The Lord almighty grant us a quiet night and a perfect end. Amen.
Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.

A period of silence for reflection on the past day may follow.

Most merciful God, I confess to you,
before the whole company of heaven,
that I have sinned in thought, word and deed
and in what I have failed to do.
Forgive me my sins,
heal me by your Spirit
and raise me to new life in Christ. Amen.

O God, make speed to save us. O Lord, make haste to help us.
Glory 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.
Alleluia.


Before the ending of the day, Creator of the world, we pray
That you, with steadfast love, would keep your watch around us while we sleep.

From evil dreams defend our sight, from fears and terrors of the night;
Tread underfoot our deadly foe that we no sinful thought may know.

O Father, that we ask be done through Jesus Christ, your only Son,
And Holy Spirit, by whose breath our souls are raised to life from death.

Psalm 31 vv 1-5, 19-end
In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.
Incline your ear to me; make haste to deliver me.
Be my strong rock, a fortress to save me, for you are my rock and my stronghold;
guide me, and lead me for your names sake.
Take me out of the net that they have laid secretly for me, for you are my strength.
Into your hands I commend my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

How abundant is your goodness, O Lord,
which you have laid up for those who fear you;
which you have prepared in the sight of all for those who put their trust in you.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence from those who slander them;
you keep them safe in your refuge from the strife of tongues.

Blessed be the Lord!
For he has shown me his steadfast love when I was as a city besieged.
I had said in my alarm, I have been cut off from the sight of your eyes.
Nevertheless, you heard the voice of my prayer when I cried out to you.
Love the Lord, all you his servants;
for the Lord protects the faithful, but repays to the full the proud.
Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait in hope for the Lord.
Glory 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.
Into your hands I commend my spirit.

Lord Jesus Christ,
when scorn and shame besiege us and hope is veiled in grief,
hold us in your wounded hands and make your face shine on us again,
for you are our Lord and God.

1 Peter 5.6,7
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.

Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
For you have redeemed me, Lord God of truth.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

Keep me as the apple of your eye. Hide me under the shadow of your wings.

The Nunc Dimittis (Song of Simeon)
Save us, O Lord, while waking, and guard us while sleeping,
that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep may rest in peace.

Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace: your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people;
A light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.
Glory 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.

Save us, O Lord, while waking,  and guard us while sleeping,
that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep may rest in peace.

Intercessions and thanksgivings may be offered here.

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

The Conclusion
In peace we will lie down and sleep; for you alone, Lord, make us dwell in safety.
Abide with us, Lord Jesus, for the night is at hand and the day is now past.
As the night watch looks for the morning, so do we look for you, O Christ.
Come with the dawning of the day and make yourself known in the breaking of the bread.

The Lord bless us and watch over us;
the Lord make his face shine upon us and be gracious to us;
the Lord look kindly on us and give us peace. Amen.

Why, and how, do we evangelise?

Thanks to yesterday's post about 'converting them' I have had a few emails from people wanting to discuss evangelism (pity they don't do it on the blog, but hey ho - it's the engagement and dialogue that helps me grow, know or let go). Some have asked what I think evangelism is and who, how and why we do it - and here's my response and definitions (not complete or comprehensive, merely what comes off the top of the deck as I deal the cards):

Evangelism - the spreading of the 'Good News' that is the Gospel (for that is what it means - Good News) about humanity and the Creator being reconciled (meaning 'brought together' or 'made one') by the at-one-ing (atoning) act of Jesus (who's job title is 'The Christ' meaning 'the anointed one of God')). It is all about explaining who He is and who we are, and can be by means of what I (and many others - not my word by the way) a kerygma (a word coming from the root that means herald or messenger like a town crier).

The kerygma is cool because it is something we deliver as historic (man, God and sin) current (in that it is our story) and physically present (because of how we think, act and engage with people and situations).

So I would talk about sin coming into the world, Jesus coming in to the world to remove the separation from me and God (which means the cross), my acceptance and growth and development and experiences and the reasons I think it is so amazing that I want to share it (just as I share good eating places and the like).

And that's the 'What' of evangelism and much of the 'Why' - which has alongside my wanting to share something good that I have found the fact that I am also told to do it by Jesus. This being told bit goes like this: 'Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to do what God tells us to do.'

Simple really - we have to get off our bottoms and get out there, not sit behind closed doors with out little closed minds looking to keep our hands clean, and share the Good News of Jesus looking to bring people to a place where what they see is so good they want it too.

We don't frighten them into heaven ('If you don't become a Christian you'll burn in hell') and we don't bribe them ('Become a Christian and you can have job/home/education/hospital' - delete as applicable) like we have seen across the globe as part of the benefit of missions work!

We bring them to a place where they want to join the club and when they do, we engage with them in the membership service - Baptism.

To be baptised they have to:

i. Want to be baptised, and

ii. Understand what they're joining and what benefits AND demands it places upon them.

BUT

Should have been baptised before (and if they have then to do it again is quite wrong as I understand the Bible - hint being: There is but one baptism and this is done in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit) then a warm handshake and prayer suffices! The wet bit has been done (and if it was Anglican then there's oil and candles involved too).

And when this has been done we nurture and teach them to read, pray and understand (challenging, questioning and bringing forth dialogue) to become fully engaged, brain switched on and intelligent Christians.

Of course to do this we need to be out there where the need is and this is one of the reasons why finding Christians out there being engaged and working with people where the needs are is so important. If we do Church expecting people to come to the place we have prepared for them (our place) then we can close our doors now because people cannot 'Come Back' to a place they have never been. We need to go out into their places (because EVERYWHERE is God's) and bless what God is going outside of our church buildings.

We need to bee seen to be normal people who are fun to be around and as people realise that this is indeed the case they also realise that there's something we have that they'd like (or having met some Christians, they merely realise their assumptions about us were totally right and we are indeed a bunch of Blinking loonies!).

So there we are Jane, John, Tom and Dave - some answers for you. I look forward to your assessment (and long for you to post it on the blog instead :-) )

Pax





Daily Office - Oct 30

Psalm 34
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall ever be in my mouth.
My soul shall glory in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Look upon him and be radiant and your faces shall not be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and the Lord heard me and saved me from all my troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and delivers them.
O taste and see that the Lord is gracious; blessed is the one who trusts in him.
Fear the Lord, all you his holy ones, for those who fear him lack nothing.
Lions may lack and suffer hunger, but those who seek the Lord lack nothing that is good.
Come, my children, and listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is there who delights in life and longs for days to enjoy good things?
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from lying words.
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their cry.
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to root out the remembrance of them from the earth.
The righteous cry and the Lord hears them and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and will save those who are crushed in spirit.
Many are the troubles of the righteous;
from them all will the Lord deliver them.
He keeps all their bones, so that not one of them is broken.
But evil shall slay the wicked and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord ransoms the life of his servants and will condemn none who seek refuge in him.

Habakkuk 1.1-11
O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save?

Why do you make me see wrongdoing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—therefore judgement comes forth perverted.

Look at the nations, and see! Be astonished! Be astounded!
For a work is being done in your days that you would not believe if you were told.
For I am rousing the Chaldeans, that fierce and impetuous nation, who march through the breadth of the earth to seize dwellings not their own.

Dread and fearsome are they: their justice and dignity proceed from themselves.
Their horses are swifter than leopards, more menacing than wolves at dusk; their horses charge. Their horsemen come from far away; they fly like an eagle swift to devour. They all come for violence, with faces pressing forward; they gather captives like sand.
At kings they scoff, and of rulers they make sport. They laugh at every fortress, and heap up earth to take it. Then they sweep by like the wind; they transgress and become guilty; their own might is their god!

John 19.31-end
Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘None of his bones shall be broken.’ And again another passage of scripture says, ‘They will look on the one whom they have pierced.’

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

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

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Evangelism - it's not about 'converting' people

As our town moves nearer to Street Angels being a reality I was told of a conversation with a 'fellow Christian' (I'm sure you'll understand the inverted comma in a minute) regarding the opportunities it presented 'the Church' to get involved with those who are in town of an evening.

Their first response, having been told a bit about Street Angels, was, 'When do you convert them?' This was met with the observation, 'I don't think that we are there to convert or tell them about Jesus, but that, for that short time, we are there to be Jesus for them; to pick them up and help get them home safely.'

So they asked another question, 'What do you do the following night?' The response to which was, 'We pick them up again, and get them home, again!'

It was at this point that they declined to be involved on the grounds that what we were doing with Street Angels wasn't 'doing enough to grow the Kingdom' - And this is the reason why you will find in some churches see no real fruits because where they want scalps where Jesus wants servants.

The saddest thing is that many of those with attitudes like that displayed above are repositories of everything that is weird and off-putting to those outside and pretty distasteful to those within to as they live in their pathetic little 'holier than thou - avoid the unholy brethren' huddles! (Can you tell I'm frustrated? Problem is I've met it so many times with missioner hat on and yet I'm still shocked and frustrated as if it was the first time :-) )

So, for those of you in our area who have a servant heart for, and of, God - Street Angels is ready, willing and waiting for us to take up the challenge to minister God's grace (alongside those of no faith) because that is what Jesus would have us do. For in doing so we look, smell and act like Him.

We are not called to sit in our pathetic little huddles 'protecting ourselves from the world, the fallen and those whose theology and thinking we disagree with' - that's called being a cult!

(Yes, I am definitely niggled :-)  )

Jesus calls us to be salt, light and balm to the world - to take up our cross and follow Him, denying our sensibilities to cross the road and minister (ever read the 'Good Samaritan'?) to those who are neither of our faith or our friends.

This is how we fulfil the calling we have - not by hunting scalps and sharing the Gospel without first sharing bread, showing love and making Christ real!


Pax

Jesus Saves: Ribeiro's Second Third Coming!

Back in the seventies I met a racing car driver who looked tipped, along with his team mate Gunnar Nilssson, to be a star of the future. Sadly that never happened and after some absence from the sport the 'Jesus Saves' emblem is back on the track again:


The team has won the 2013 British Classic Formula Ford Championship.

How cool is that?

Faith: 'Not as clear cut as you might think!'

had a most interesting conversation this morning, the pinnacle of which was the statement: 'Christianity is not as clear cut as you might think!' which provided me with plenty of food for thought. After all, I've always known that, as has any thinking and open Christian, so why the surprise? Probably because the issue under discussion was one that actually I considered to be pretty clear cut!

The conversation centred along the lines that the defining Bible passage for everything was the 'golden rule' - that we treat others as you'd we'd to be treated and this was the basis upon which every attitude and act was judged. That we just loved our neighbour as ourselves and
made real the words of Matthew Chapter seven's account of the sermon on the mount as we refrained from judging and accepted whatever others did, approving and affirming rather than rebuking or denying.

Apparently the key to removing what some consider to be 'sin' is to remove the label sin from it. What we need to do is accept that people are different and the 'one size fits all' approach of Christianity is flawed and doomed to fail from the start. Better to accept that we're all different and concentrate on the things we can agree on and agree to accept the things (perhaps ignore is a better term) we can't.

The Church is an evolving body of people and they are realising that what we believed in centuries past is no longer relevant or valid. People are apparently realising that these days 'we are not called to live and act' as they did before and 'happiness' is the universal indicator of the rectitude of such thinking.

Having heard what they had to say, I have to be honest and say that I thought their views to be flawed and not merely self-indulgent and approving but actually, if Christian is what we are as a breed, a terminal disease!

There are many good things to be found in this world and many that are obviously bad - or are they? After all, I hear more and more people proposing that we should act illegally to deal with people who act wrongly - so the old statement 'two wrongs don't make a right' has now obviously itself become wrong.

One of the joys of being Christian is that we have, or at least should have, doors, arms and hearts that are open to everybody - for Church is an 'inclusive' entity. The problem for many comes with the reality that it is not a 'permissive' entity.

So this morning, whilst I heard what was said I really couldn't agree with it because what was being demanded was that I put aside my views in favour of theirs in the name of some misplaced understanding of love. I was being told that the only way to be loving was to ignore those things I considered wrong in the name of unity and 'being kind'.

The stumbling block for me came with the parting shot in that the other party considered that what they were asking for was exactly what Jesus would have done.


Obviously not only a different theology on display here but a different Jesus too!


Daily Office - Oct 29

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

Psalm 32
Happy the one whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered.
Happy the one to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

For I held my tongue; my bones wasted away through my groaning all the day long.
Your hand was heavy upon me day and night;
my moisture was dried up like the drought in summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and my iniquity I did not hide.
I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Therefore let all the faithful make their prayers to you
in time of trouble;
in the great water flood, it shall not reach them.
You are a place for me to hide in;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with songs of deliverance.
‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you should go;
 I will guide you with my eye.

‘Be not like horse and mule which have no understanding;
whose mouths must be held with bit and bridle,
or else they will not stay near you.’

Great tribulations remain for the wicked,
but mercy embraces those who trust in the Lord.
Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice in the Lord;
shout for joy, all who are true of heart.

Psalm 36
Sin whispers to the wicked, in the depths of their heart;
there is no fear of God before their eyes.
They flatter themselves in their own eyes that their abominable sin will not be found out.
The words of their mouth are unrighteous and full of deceit;
they have ceased to act wisely and to do good.
They think out mischief upon their beds and have set themselves in no good way;
nor do they abhor that which is evil.
Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens and your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness stands like the strong mountains,
your justice like the great deep;
you, Lord, shall save both man and beast.

How precious is your loving mercy, O God!
All mortal flesh shall take refuge under the shadow of your wings.
They shall be satisfied with the abundance of your house;
they shall drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the well of life and in your light shall we see light.
O continue your loving-kindness to those who know you
and your righteousness to those who are true of heart.
Let not the foot of pride come against me,
nor the hand of the ungodly thrust me away.
There are they fallen, all who work wickedness.
They are cast down and shall not be able to stand.

Micah 7.8-end
Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.
I must bear the indignation of the Lord,
because I have sinned against him,
until he takes my side and executes judgement for me.
He will bring me out to the light;
I shall see his vindication.
Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me,
‘Where is the Lord your God?’
My eyes will see her downfall;
now she will be trodden down like the mire of the streets.

A day for the building of your walls!
In that day the boundary shall be far extended.
In that day they will come to you from Assyria to Egypt,
and from Egypt to the River,
from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.
But the earth will be desolate because of its inhabitants,
for the fruit of their doings.

Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock that belongs to you,
which lives alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land;
let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old.
As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt,
show us marvellous things.
The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might;
they shall lay their hands on their mouths;
their ears shall be deaf;
they shall lick dust like a snake,
like the crawling things of the earth;
they shall come trembling out of their fortresses;
they shall turn in dread to the Lord our God,
and they shall stand in fear of you.

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over the transgression
of the remnant of your possession?
He does not retain his anger for ever,
because he delights in showing clemency.
He will again have compassion upon us;
he will tread our iniquities under foot.
You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
You will show faithfulness to Jacob
and unswerving loyalty to Abraham,
as you have sworn to our ancestors from the days of old.

John 19.17-30
And carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews”, but, “This man said, I am King of the Jews.” ’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’ When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.’ This was to fulfil what the scripture says,
‘They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.’
And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

The Collect
Most merciful God,
who strengthened your Church by the steadfast courage of your martyr James Hannington:
grant that we also,
thankfully remembering his victory of faith,
may overcome what is evil and glorify your holy name;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Daily Office - Oct 28

Simon and Jude, Apostles

Psalm 116

I love the Lord,
for he has heard the voice of my supplication;
because he inclined his ear to me on the day I called to him.
The snares of death encompassed me;
the pains of hell took hold of me;
by grief and sorrow was I held.
Then I called upon the name of the Lord:
‘O Lord, I beg you, deliver my soul.’
Gracious is the Lord and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The Lord watches over the simple;
I was brought very low and he saved me.
Turn again to your rest, O my soul,
for the Lord has been gracious to you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears and my feet from falling.
I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
I believed that I should perish for I was sorely troubled;
and I said in my alarm, ‘Everyone is a liar.’
How shall I repay the Lord for all the benefits he has given to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.
I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.
O Lord, I am your servant, your servant, the child of your handmaid;
you have freed me from my bonds.
I will offer to you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the name of the Lord.
I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the Lord, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Alleluia.

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

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

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

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

Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me,
are righteousness and strength;
all who were incensed against him
shall come to him and be ashamed.
In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall triumph and glory.

Luke 6.12-16
Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

The Collect
Almighty God,
who built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
with Jesus Christ himself as the chief cornerstone:
so join us together in unity of spirit by their doctrine,
that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Mental illness is not a passport ...

To be mad!

It was with these words that I was pulled us short during a conversation with someone who has been diagnosed with, and locked up, a mental health issue.

We were talking about a mutual acquaintance who also has troubles, trials and issues as a result if their mental health situation and they, like many suffer from the ebb and flow of the well-being and stable tides. I made the comment that they were often visibly 'not in a good place' and received a broadside as I was told that whilst mental state was something that wavered it was not the aforementioned passport to madness and neither was it something that granted the right to behave badly or be treaded badly either!

Intrigued I asked them to continue, and goodness me - they did!

'There are days when it just goes wrong and you need people to understand that you need a bit if slack - a smile and bit of encouragement. This says, 'You're human and you're valued, lived, respected and most of all - valid. After all, who wants to be an 'in valid'? There are days when it takes all your energy to leave the house but if you don't then the next day gets harder and the day after harder still until they break down the door and take you to the morgue!'

They went on to tell me how, in their opinion, Mental illness is not permission to behave badly and those who do yet don't have to (for some apparently choose to make it what they choose along with the forced) do others who are mentally ill a great disservice.

If you break a leg then you have to get it mended. If when the break is healed you continue to limp then you limp - that's a fact of life. The same goes for broken minds,

Some days the leg will hurt and you'll limp more - could be you've done too much the day before I ruts cold or damp or so etching - it's the same with a broken mind!

But some people like to make the limp more pronounced and other try hard to look normal. So e will be victims and others will be sufferers, but not even they know which they are sometimes and so we treat the limpets with respect, give them love, support and care.

But not indulgence and that's the problem because the system is over stretched and useless at times and people just see the limp and not the person the broken limb (leg, brain, heart, etc.) is attached to. They become a client or a bloody nuisance - a scrounged or a naughty child who lives to their own desires and dances to their own tunes and uses the limp as the excuse if challenged. But we have control, not always complete but we we do have it most of the time, and so we should live in that reality - not the fiction some choose to pretend is real, not the fiction that the attitudes of those without limps would have you believe consists of 'Pulling yourself together or cheering up,' would bring.

Mental health is like having legs. Some walk without a limp, some with a slight limp, others have days when it is worse and they can hardly walk - some need sticks or wheelchairs every day. The question is:

Do you know that person you see limping?

Do you know their story?

Do you know their needs?

Do you call yourself a Christian?

If you do and you've said 'No' to the first three questions then you need to ask yourself what being a Christian is - because you don't only have a choice as to how you behave and act but you also have commandments and instructions to guide you:

'If anyone has the means to bring relief and sees someone in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in the? How can they call themselves Christian? 
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.' 
1 John 3:17-18

I was going to post this on World Mental Health day but reasons: pastoral and personal meant it was better left for another time. Please think about the words and he call within it it to challenge who, how and what is true about you.

Please pray for those with limps and for those who care for them.

Please pray for churches with open doors, arms and hearts.

Please act for justice and support for those who continue with their limps today.

Pax

Saturday, 26 October 2013

God, heaven and hell!

I find it just a trifle funny that considering the people I happen across who take time out to tell me that they don't believe in God almost all of them have some belief in an afterlife! These are generally the people who regard nature as some sentient entity ('Ooh, isn't nature clever - it knows when to make the snowdrops come up and the birds build their nests!' You know the sort of stuff) rather than see it as something that runs along previously laid tracks (which begets the question, 'So who laid them?').

Now some people are expecting nothing after this life and whilst they might not be disappointed, I have a theological understanding that says they will, for their is a heaven and a hell. Heaven is not going to be in a Viking long hall situated in Valhalla drinking, telling stories and wenching (all of which sounds like my rugger days) but will be what we call being in God's presence (and that's open to your own imaginings I guess - Angels, clouds, harps or Arsenal victories perhaps). Hell, for me at least, appears to be spending an eternity in the absence of God (and you can make up your own images for that too!).

Some, having a supposedly kindly God, have created a theology where those who don't make the cut at the final judgement are merely annihilated - they are zapped and it is as if they never were - which will please those who are expecting nothing I guess. But of course this troubles me for there's no separation from God, merely an extinguishing of them and that doesn't fit what I find in the Bible.

But the real challenge for me is the number of people who have an expectation of more and the fact that they all want to run away from 'hell' and want to think of their already departed loved ones all populating heaven and sitting around up there looking down benignly upon us that they invent the various theologies that open the doors to all.

Some take me to task because they see in their own professed faith (Christianity) an exclusive entity that exists to separate rather than welcome all in.  'What about those who don't come to Jesus,' they cry, 'Surely God being a god of love will welcome all in whether they know Him or not?' The problem is that life itself is exclusive - after all, only those born, adopted or married into a family are part of a family. Those who belong to a club are members and have the rights, privileges and opportunities that members have whilst, of course, those who aren't, don't - and yet few have problems with this do they (and if they do then they set about finding out how to join, don't they?).

Others tell me that we need to lower our standards and become 'more accepting'. This is really a call to put aside requirements in terms of mindset, attitude or lifestyle so that we might gain more members. The problem we have is that by changing the constitution we change the values as well as the shape and I'm not sure we can populate heaven according to our own standards even though friends suggest we might - my fear is that we could be supply fodder for the other place.

So here we are, some scribbles and a bit of a dialogue with the clanging contents of my brain for you to contemplate and as you do I leave you with this thought from a friend:

 'If there's nothing bad to be realistically saved from there's no need for a Saviour and there can be no salvation!'

And that's the thought to be taken up next time.

Daily Office - Oct 26

Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons, Scholar, 899
Cedd, Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of the East Saxons, 664

Psalm 20
May the Lord hear you in the day of trouble,
the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
Send you help from his sanctuary and strengthen you out of Zion;
Remember all your offerings and accept your burnt sacrifice;
Grant you your heart’s desire and fulfil all your mind.
May we rejoice in your salvation and triumph in the name of our God;
may the Lord perform all your petitions.
Now I know that the Lord will save his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven,
with the mighty strength of his right hand.
Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we will call only on the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought down and fallen,
but we are risen and stand upright.
O Lord, save the king and answer us when we call upon you.

Psalm 21
The king shall rejoice in your strength, O Lord;
how greatly shall he rejoice in your salvation!
You have given him his heart’s desire and have not denied the request of his lips.
For you come to meet him with blessings of goodness and set a crown of pure gold upon his head.
He asked of you life and you gave it him, length of days, for ever and ever.
His honour is great because of your salvation;
glory and majesty have you laid upon him.
You have granted him everlasting felicity and will make him glad with joy in your presence.
For the king puts his trust in the Lord;
because of the loving-kindness of the Most High,
he shall not be overthrown.
Your hand shall mark down all your enemies;
your right hand will find out those who hate you.
You will make them like a fiery oven in the time of your wrath;
the Lord will swallow them up in his anger and the fire will consume them.
Their fruit you will root out of the land and their seed from among its inhabitants.
Because they intend evil against you and devise wicked schemes which they cannot perform,
You will put them to flight when you aim your bow at their faces.
Be exalted, O Lord, in your own might;
we will make music and sing of your power.

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.

Micah 6
Hear what the Lord says:
   Rise, plead your case before the mountains,
   and let the hills hear your voice.
Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord,
   and you enduring foundations of the earth;
for the Lord has a controversy with his people,
   and he will contend with Israel.

‘O my people, what have I done to you?
   In what have I wearied you? Answer me!
For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
   and redeemed you from the house of slavery;
and I sent before you Moses,
   Aaron, and Miriam.
O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised,
   what Balaam son of Beor answered him,
and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
   that you may know the saving acts of the Lord.’

‘With what shall I come before the Lord,
   and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings,
   with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
   with tens of thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
   the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
   and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
   and to walk humbly with your God?

The voice of the Lord cries to the city
   (it is sound wisdom to fear your name):
Hear, O tribe and assembly of the city!
   Can I forget the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked,
   and the scant measure that is accursed?
Can I tolerate wicked scales
   and a bag of dishonest weights?
Your wealthy are full of violence;
   your inhabitants speak lies,
   with tongues of deceit in their mouths.
Therefore I have begun to strike you down,
   making you desolate because of your sins.
You shall eat, but not be satisfied,
   and there shall be a gnawing hunger within you;
you shall put away, but not save,
   and what you save, I will hand over to the sword.
You shall sow, but not reap;
   you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;
   you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.
For you have kept the statutes of Omri
   and all the works of the house of Ahab,
   and you have followed their counsels.
Therefore I will make you a desolation, and your inhabitants an object of hissing;
   so you shall bear the scorn of my people.

John 18.28-end
Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate went out to them and said, ‘What accusation do you bring against this man?’ They answered, ‘If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.’ The Jews replied, ‘We are not permitted to put anyone to death.’ (This was to fulfil what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?’
After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, ‘I find no case against him. But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ They shouted in reply, ‘Not this man, but Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas was a bandit.

The Collect
God, our maker and redeemer,
we pray you of your great mercy
and by the power of your holy cross
to guide us by your will and to shield us from our foes:
that, after the example of your servant Alfred,
we may inwardly love you above all things;
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.

Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons, Scholar, 899
Cedd, Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of the East Saxons, 664, Psalm 20, Psalm 21, Psalm 23, Micah 6, John 18.28-end, collect, morning prayer, daily office, Oct 26
May the Lord hear you in the day of trouble,
the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
Send you help from his sanctuary and strengthen you out of Zion;
Remember all your offerings and accept your burnt sacrifice;
Grant you your heart’s desire and fulfil all your mind.
May we rejoice in your salvation and triumph in the name of our God;
may the Lord perform all your petitions.
Now I know that the Lord will save his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven,
with the mighty strength of his right hand.
Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we will call only on the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought down and fallen,
but we are risen and stand upright.
O Lord, save the king and answer us when we call upon you.

Psalm 21
The king shall rejoice in your strength, O Lord;
how greatly shall he rejoice in your salvation!
You have given him his heart’s desire and have not denied the request of his lips.
For you come to meet him with blessings of goodness and set a crown of pure gold upon his head.
He asked of you life and you gave it him, length of days, for ever and ever.
His honour is great because of your salvation;
glory and majesty have you laid upon him.
You have granted him everlasting felicity and will make him glad with joy in your presence.
For the king puts his trust in the Lord;
because of the loving-kindness of the Most High,
he shall not be overthrown.
Your hand shall mark down all your enemies;
your right hand will find out those who hate you.
You will make them like a fiery oven in the time of your wrath;
the Lord will swallow them up in his anger and the fire will consume them.
Their fruit you will root out of the land and their seed from among its inhabitants.
Because they intend evil against you and devise wicked schemes which they cannot perform,
You will put them to flight when you aim your bow at their faces.
Be exalted, O Lord, in your own might;
we will make music and sing of your power.

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.

Micah 6
Hear what the Lord says:
   Rise, plead your case before the mountains,
   and let the hills hear your voice.
Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord,
   and you enduring foundations of the earth;
for the Lord has a controversy with his people,
   and he will contend with Israel.

‘O my people, what have I done to you?
   In what have I wearied you? Answer me!
For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
   and redeemed you from the house of slavery;
and I sent before you Moses,
   Aaron, and Miriam.
O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised,
   what Balaam son of Beor answered him,
and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
   that you may know the saving acts of the Lord.’

‘With what shall I come before the Lord,
   and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings,
   with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
   with tens of thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
   the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
   and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
   and to walk humbly with your God?

The voice of the Lord cries to the city
   (it is sound wisdom to fear your name):
Hear, O tribe and assembly of the city!
   Can I forget the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked,
   and the scant measure that is accursed?
Can I tolerate wicked scales
   and a bag of dishonest weights?
Your wealthy are full of violence;
   your inhabitants speak lies,
   with tongues of deceit in their mouths.
Therefore I have begun to strike you down,
   making you desolate because of your sins.
You shall eat, but not be satisfied,
   and there shall be a gnawing hunger within you;
you shall put away, but not save,
   and what you save, I will hand over to the sword.
You shall sow, but not reap;
   you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;
   you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.
For you have kept the statutes of Omri
   and all the works of the house of Ahab,
   and you have followed their counsels.
Therefore I will make you a desolation, and your inhabitants an object of hissing;
   so you shall bear the scorn of my people.

John 18.28-end
Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate went out to them and said, ‘What accusation do you bring against this man?’ They answered, ‘If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.’ The Jews replied, ‘We are not permitted to put anyone to death.’ (This was to fulfil what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?’
After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, ‘I find no case against him. But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ They shouted in reply, ‘Not this man, but Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas was a bandit.

The Collect
God, our maker and redeemer,
we pray you of your great mercy
and by the power of your holy cross
to guide us by your will and to shield us from our foes:
that, after the example of your servant Alfred,
we may inwardly love you above all things;
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, 25 October 2013

Something for the weekend?

Have a great journey home and remember:


So look at the person with the loud cellphone conversation, the 'too loud' ear pods, the wally driver in front of you and the person who's nodded off and drooling on your shoulder and keep banging the rocks together people!

They're ALL Saved

The seats that is - just been pointed to this image and it has to be added to the blog.

Now cats aside, who do you know like this?



Not Anglicans that's for sure (unless you're talking about the seats at the back of the church that is ;-)

Universalism in a nutshell

Everybody wants to go to heaven and they come up with some amazing theology to ensure that they can rest easy

Well it seems that for some there's no 'but' involved because they are 'Universalists'. One of those whom I know (and love) holds the view that Jesus, having died for everyone, guarantees that all are now destined for heaven. They contend that it whether you have a faith or not, regardless of how you have lived, you are 'in' - Faith in Jesus is not a requirement for us to be 'saved'.

When I point to John 3.16: 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,' I am told that I believe this because I have too high a Christology!

The same criticism (too high a Christology) is thrown at me when I come to John 14.5,6: 'Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'.

I feel that the two passages conspire together to make for a message that says that whilst Jesus did indeed die for everyone, there is an element of recognition and reception required. The ticket to the game is yours but unless you take it and journey towards it, you will never get to see it - the same is true of eternity (as I understand it) for jesus is the turnstile by which we enter.
__________

The second group I encounter tell me that regardless of what we do in this life, we have a second chance - a post-mortem salvation opportunity - once we have left it. It's like Jesus wakes us up, tells us that we've died and asks if we'd like to reconsider our rejection of God and come into heaven. Now, if I was dead and was 'woken' with an offer like that I'd be a bit of a mug to pass it by, wouldn't I?

My struggle here is that the words of Hebrews 9.26-28:
'But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 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 am of the understanding, thanks to this passage, that we live - die (once)  - and are then judged and to be honest, the wake you up from the dead / second chance bit appears to be a conveniently created accommodation to me. Mind you, like the first option, I can understand it as after all, who wants to think of loved ones not making it? Then again both mean that one of the benchmarks many use when challenging me about faith, grace and forgiveness, namely Hitler, makes it into heaven using them I reckons - so it wouldn't sit well with many inside or outside the Church!

An interesting aside to this is the belief some have that hell is but a temporary condition and that whilst serving our time there the opportunity for parole and release into heaven will be made ours at some time - so all may sin and continue to fall short - but in the end it doesn't matter!


__________

Some tell me that what matters is the moment of death - as long as you call on god with you're last breath then this bringing of god into your life, regardless of how short or even what god is called - the general concept of there being a god is enough or so one of my clergy colleagues tells me! I think that there has to be a little more than this but then again they base their view on the the passage that says (Joel 2.32): 'And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'

But in doing so are speaking of calling upon god rather than God and when you consider that the word LORD (for the upper case) means 'YAWEH' - it is a specific name not a general name 'elohim' - then we can see that the idea of calling on god as the entry into the afterlife is merely a wistful, fingers crossed, bit of being hopeful!


__________

So at the moment I have to say that that leaves me thinking that that's three strikes and those who pin their hopes on something more for having lived as something less than God calls us to be will now have to sit down.

I think I regard this issue as residing in a place where I have a clue about some people from their professions and attempts to live as the Bible requires but even then I won't be sure until the end - and then I might only know because I'm outside and know who's out there with me and assuming those who aren't have made the cut.

Thankfully we don't have the right, or ability, to say who is in or not and I actually reckon that's the best way - I'm not concerned with judging people but helping them to be the best they can be and to keep God's laws and commandments and live in love and peace with all.

At the end of the day, as I understand it,  it all comes down to being:

i. Reconciled to God by the atoning death of Jesus, the Christ,

ii. Living a life that keeps the commandments and lives in peace with all, and

iii. Recognising that we are all fallen and sinful and not regarding ourselves as better than those around us but as brothers and sisters with them.

There are some who seem to take joy in those whom they consider to be 'out' whilst of course they are (or so they think) 'in' and this is wrong on so many levels. And for those who want to see God as a Father Christmas figure who have presents for everyone, even when they've actively kept away from His presence - good luck with that. As much as I would like to agree I'm afraid that my theology doesn't fit in with that - sorry, I think you're wrong too!


So here we are - a very simplistic explanation of some of the thinking around eternity - hopefully it will provide a basis for some deeper dialogue and thinking.

Pax

Daily Office - Oct 25

Crispin and Crispinian, Martyrs at Rome, c.287

Psalm 17
Hear my just cause, O Lord; consider my complaint;
listen to my prayer, which comes not from lying lips.
Let my vindication come forth from your presence;
let your eyes behold what is right.
Weigh my heart, examine me by night,
refine me, and you will find no impurity in me.
My mouth does not trespass for earthly rewards;
I have heeded the words of your lips.
My footsteps hold fast in the ways of your commandments;
my feet have not stumbled in your paths.
I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me;
incline your ear to me, and listen to my words.
Show me your marvellous loving-kindness,
O Saviour of those who take refuge at your right hand from those who rise up against them.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me under the shadow of your wings,
From the wicked who assault me,
from my enemies who surround me to take away my life.
They have closed their heart to pity and their mouth speaks proud things.
They press me hard, they surround me on every side,
watching how they may cast me to the ground,
Like a lion that is greedy for its prey,
like a young lion lurking in secret places.
Arise, Lord; confront them and cast them down;
deliver me from the wicked by your sword.
Deliver me, O Lord, by your hand from those whose portion in life is unending,
Whose bellies you fill with your treasure,
who are well supplied with children and leave their wealth to their little ones.
As for me, I shall see your face in righteousness;
when I awake and behold your likeness, I shall be satisfied.

Psalm 19
The heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
One day pours out its song to another and one night unfolds knowledge to another.
They have neither speech nor language and their voices are not heard,
Yet their sound has gone out into all lands and their words to the ends of the world.
In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun,
that comes forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber and rejoices as a champion to run his course.
It goes forth from the end of the heavens and runs to the very end again,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure and gives wisdom to the simple.
The statutes of the Lord are right and rejoice the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure and gives light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean and endures for ever;
the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, more than much fine gold,
sweeter also than honey, dripping from the honeycomb.
By them also is your servant taught and in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can tell how often they offend?
O cleanse me from my secret faults!
Keep your servant also from presumptuous sins lest they get dominion over me;
so shall I be undefiled, and innocent of great offence.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Micah 5.2-end
But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
   who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
   one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
   from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
   when she who is in labour has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
   to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,
   in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
   to the ends of the earth;
and he shall be the one of peace.

   If the Assyrians come into our land
   and tread upon our soil,
we will raise against them seven shepherds
   and eight installed as rulers.
They shall rule the land of Assyria with the sword,
   and the land of Nimrod with the drawn sword;
they shall rescue us from the Assyrians
   if they come into our land
   or tread within our border.

Then the remnant of Jacob,
   surrounded by many peoples,
shall be like dew from the Lord,
   like showers on the grass,
which do not depend upon people
   or wait for any mortal.
And among the nations the remnant of Jacob,
   surrounded by many peoples,
shall be like a lion among the animals of the forest,
   like a young lion among the flocks of sheep,
which, when it goes through, treads down
   and tears in pieces, with no one to deliver.
Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries,
   and all your enemies shall be cut off.

On that day, says the Lord,
   I will cut off your horses from among you
   and will destroy your chariots;
and I will cut off the cities of your land
   and throw down all your strongholds;
and I will cut off sorceries from your hand,
   and you shall have no more soothsayers;
and I will cut off your images
   and your pillars from among you,
and you shall bow down no more
   to the work of your hands;
and I will uproot your sacred poles from among you
   and destroy your towns.
And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance
   on the nations that did not obey.

John 18.12-27
So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter, ‘You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing round it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus answered, ‘I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.’ When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, ‘Is that how you answer the high priest?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?’ Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, ‘You are not also one of his disciples, are you?’ He denied it and said, ‘I am not.’ One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, ‘Did I not see you in the garden with him?’ Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

The Collect
Grant, we beseech you, merciful Lord,
to your faithful people pardon and peace,
that they may be cleansed from all their sins
and serve you with a quiet mind;
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.

Compline (Night Prayer ) - Oct 24

The Lord almighty grant us a quiet night and a perfect end. Amen.

Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.

A period of silence for reflection on the past day, followed by confession:

Most merciful God, I confess to you,
before the whole company of heaven,
that I have sinned in thought, word and deed
and in what I have failed to do.
Forgive  me my sins,
heal me by your Spirit
and raise me to new life in Christ. Amen.

O God, make speed to save us. O Lord, make haste to help us.
Glory 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.
Alleluia.

Before the ending of the day, Creator of the world, we pray
That you, with steadfast love, would keep Your watch around us while we sleep.

From evil dreams defend our sight, from fears and terrors of the night;
Tread underfoot our deadly foe that we no sinful thought may know.

O Father, that we ask be done through Jesus Christ, your only Son;
And Holy Spirit, by whose breath our souls are raised to life from death.

Psalm 16

Refrain: The Lord is at my right hand; I shall not fall.

Preserve me, O God, for in you have I taken refuge;
I have said to the Lord, You are my lord,
all my good depends on you.
All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land,
upon those who are noble in heart.
Though the idols are legion that many run after,
their drink offerings of blood I will not offer,
neither make mention of their names upon my lips.
The Lord himself is my portion and my cup;
in your hands alone is my fortune.
My share has fallen in a fair land;
indeed, I have a goodly heritag
I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel,
and in the night watches he instructs my heart.
I have set the Lord always before me;
he is at my right hand; I shall not fall.
Wherefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices;
my flesh also shall rest secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Death,
nor suffer your faithful one to see the Pit.
You will show me the path of life;
in your presence is the fullness of joy and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.
Glory 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.

Refrain: The Lord is at my right hand; I shall not fall.

Give to us, Lord Christ, the fullness of grace,
your presence and your very self,
for you are our portion and our delight,
now and for ever.

1 Peter 5.8,9
Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, seeking for someone to devour. Resist him, strong in the faith.

Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
For you have redeemed me, Lord God of truth.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Keep me as the apple of your eye.
Hide me under the shadow of your wings.

The Nunc Dimittis (Song of Simeon
Save us, O Lord, while waking, and guard us while sleeping,
that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep may rest in peace.

Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace: your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people;
A light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.
Glory 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.

Save us, O Lord, while waking, and guard us while sleeping,
that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep may rest in peace.

Intercessions and thanksgivings may be offered here.

The Collect
Grant, we beseech you, merciful Lord,
to your faithful people pardon and peace,
that they may be cleansed from all their sins
and serve you with a quiet mind;
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.

The Conclusion
In peace we will lie down and sleep; for you alone, Lord, make us dwell in safety.
Abide with us, Lord Jesus, for the night is at hand and the day is now past.
As the night watch looks for the morning, so do we look for you, O Christ.

Come with the dawning of the day and make yourself known in the breaking of the bread.]
The Lord bless us and watch over us;
the Lord make his face shine upon us and be gracious to us;
the Lord look kindly on us and give us peace. Amen.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Growing Church: A checklist

During a discussion on church growth and effective ministry I started doodling along the lines of what made for an effective ministry and facilitated growth in our various (and many) churches.

One of the biggest problems is that all too often the measure used to determine a growing church is that of BOPS (Bums on Pews) or money, subjects that most conversations will come round to when the knotty issue of sustainability crops up!

The reality is that a growing church is not always one that can pay its way and this is especially true in the missional expressions of church that find themselves inhabiting Estate churches or ministering in Urban Priority Settings? The problem is that unless 'generosity' becomes more than something that is accompanied by a wistful sigh from bishops, the reality is that we are sometime soon going to find ourselves in a place where the neediest places will be the most bereft when it comes to ministry provision.

Of course there is always the hope that a new generation of worker priests will spring up but the reality is that the demands of such places often puts too much stress on those clergy who seek to function in the SSM/NSM (Self Supporting/Non-Stipendiary Ministries) and although this can be addressed by using OLM (ordained Local Ministers) the reality among many of those is that they function well as assistant clergy but many feel the pioneering and pastoral demands are outside of scope in terms of calling, ability and training (something I'm sure we will address in the years to come).

So what makes for a growing church if it is not BOPS and Pound coins? Here's some of my addled thinking of what makes for a growing church for you to ponder and challenge me over (in no particular order) where we are seeing people:

i. Come forward to take part in courses which develop Biblical understanding (Bishop's Certificate, etc.),

ii. Come forward to develop skills/abilities to enable them to be effective in ministry areas,

iii. Called out to minister in the local church - Covenanted Teams, lay or licensed lay/ordained ministry,

iv. Seeing people called out to minister in the wider church in licensed lay/ordained (stipendiary) ministry,

v. Come forward to be involved in the various ministry roles and projects as team members,

vi. Show a willingness to take responsibility and lead when needed and follow when called to,

vii. Come forward and give of their time without being asked in a consistent and reliable manner,

viii. Take pleasure in seeing others come to faith and grow in it such that they become peers,

ix. Put aside their own pleasures and interests to be at services or to fulfil commitments,

x. Want to spend time in prayer, study and fellowship.

I've limited the points to ten (and I could have gone on - and perhaps will sometime soon) and as I did I was blessed as I saw the faces of those to whom each point applied and saddened as I saw the faces of some for who each point did not apply (wondering whether I could have done more to facilitate or support).

How many people do we know for whom one or more of the above points apply? I would content that a happy, growing church is one where the members can lay claim to them in some measure. Not only that but I will be thinking and praying over each one of our members to see where I think they are and what I need to do to help them fulfil their baptismal calling and and take more ground for God in their lives. All-member ministry is the only way to grow church and the elements above are indicators and encouragement of same.

More soon - please come back to me and challenge - dialogue - amend and offer correction/suggestions.

Made me Laugh: When Letters go bad!

This was one of those wonderfully visual cartoons that made me chuckle because it's just instant humour.

So I thought that having apparently been 'really heavy' with fresh Expressions and the like (according to some) I'd lean towards the lighter side today (for now at least):



Happy Thursday

Daily Office - Oct 24

Psalm 14
The fool has said in his heart,‘There is no God.’
Corrupt are they, and abominable in their wickedness;
there is no one that does good.
The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the children of earth,
to see if there is anyone who is wise and seeks after God.
But every one has turned back;
all alike have become corrupt:
there is none that does good; no, not one.
Have they no knowledge, those evildoers,
who eat up my people as if they ate bread and do not call upon the Lord?
There shall they be in great fear;
for God is in the company of the righteous.
Though they would confound the counsel of the poor,
yet the Lord shall be their refuge.
O that Israel’s salvation would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
then will Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.

Psalm 15
Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle?
Who may rest upon your holy hill?
Whoever leads an uncorrupt life and does the thing that is right;
Who speaks the truth from the heart and bears no deceit on the tongue;
Who does no evil to a friend and pours no scorn on a neighbour;
In whose sight the wicked are not esteemed,
but who honours those who fear the Lord.
Whoever has sworn to a neighbour and never goes back on that word;
Who does not lend money in hope of gain,
nor takes a bribe against the innocent;
Whoever does these things shall never fall.

Psalm 16
Preserve me, O God, for in you have I taken refuge;
I have said to the Lord, ‘You are my lord, all my good depends on you.’
All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land,
upon those who are noble in heart.
Though the idols are legion that many run after,
their drink offerings of blood I will not offer,
neither make mention of their names upon my lips.
The Lord himself is my portion and my cup;
in your hands alone is my fortune.
My share has fallen in a fair land;
indeed, I have a goodly heritage.
I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel,
and in the night watches he instructs my heart.
I have set the Lord always before me;
he is at my right hand; I shall not fall.
Wherefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices;
my flesh also shall rest secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Death,
nor suffer your faithful one to see the Pit.
You will show me the path of life;
in your presence is the fullness of joy
and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

Micah 4.1-5.1
In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised up above the hills.
Peoples shall stream to it, and many nations shall come and say:
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more;
but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees,
and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.

For all the peoples walk, each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.

On that day, says the Lord,
I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away,
and those whom I have afflicted.
The lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation;
and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion now and for evermore.

And you, O tower of the flock, hill of daughter Zion,
to you it shall come,
the former dominion shall come,
the sovereignty of daughter Jerusalem.

Now why do you cry aloud?
Is there no king in you?
Has your counsellor perished,
that pangs have seized you like a woman in labour?
Writhe and groan, O daughter Zion,
like a woman in labour;
for now you shall go forth from the city
and camp in the open country;
you shall go to Babylon.
There you shall be rescued,
there the Lord will redeem you
from the hands of your enemies.

Now many nations are assembled against you,
saying, ‘Let her be profaned, and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.’
But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord;
they do not understand his plan,
that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing-floor.
Arise and thresh, O daughter Zion,
for I will make your horn iron and your hoofs bronze;
you shall beat in pieces many peoples,
and shall devote their gain to the Lord,
their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth.

Now you are walled around with a wall;
siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the ruler of Israel upon the cheek.

John 18.1-11
After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, ‘For whom are you looking?’ They answered, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus replied, ‘I am he.’ Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, ‘I am he’, they stepped back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, ‘For whom are you looking?’ And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.’ This was to fulfil the word that he had spoken, ‘I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.’ Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?’

The Collect
Grant, we beseech you, merciful Lord,
to your faithful people pardon and peace,
that they may be cleansed from all their sins
and serve you with a quiet mind;
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.