The (Western) Church
Today the Church in the West commemorates Thomas (a) Becket (whilst the Eastern Church takes up with the 'Holy Innocents') that 'troublesome' priest from the twelfth century who, as Archbishop of Canterbury, having upset his sometime patron and friend King Henry II, was murdered by four of his (the king's) Barons. The reason being that having Henry uttering the words, 'Will no one rid me of this troublesome / turbulent / meddlesome* priest?" they assumed that he wanted the priest removed.
Such was Henry's apparent remorse at the death that he walked barefoot from London to Canterbury - mind you, a cynical lecturer of mine led me to write, 'The world around Henry was appalled and were stirred up against him because of the act - so it was an easier option to walk than war!'
And Thomas was made a saint with Canterbury Cathedral his shrine. He seems to have been a good written. Definitely a shrewd, and brave, man who (if the accounts in the clip below are accurate) stood between for what he considered to be right and knew the God he served with a passion.
Hopefully this sheds some light on the man and makes the facts a little more accessible.
* Take your pick here. I was taught 'troublesome' at school, 'turbulent' at college and 'meddlesome' at Uni' - all fit the bill :-)
Today looks at turbulence in many forms today with travel being at the forefront of the news with:
+ The apparent loss of AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501 with 163 people on board,
+ The 'Norman Atlantic' ferry fire where, having removed 316 people, 162 remain onboard awaiting rescue from the disabled vessel.
So often we glibly talk of 'journeying mercies' and yet, despite the safety record of land, sea and air transport, life is always fragile and precious. Who will you be praying for over the New Year celebrations I wonder?
How many of us pray when we read the news? Is it just 'news' or a call to reflect and pray and, where possible, become more fully engaged?
The Common Worship Lectionary
One of the greatest things I have on my phone and on my computer is Simon Kershaw's offering of an electronic Common Worship Lectionary which resides on the equally excellent Oremus site.
This application integrates into your computer's calendar and into your pocket regardless of what device you have. IPhone, Android, iCal, Outlook, iPad, Blackberry and Palm are all catered for - and it even support those who enjoy BCP too! So for those of us who promised at their ordination to study and pray, and for those who would like to know what the readings for Sunday might be (if your church uses the lectionary that is) - this is the app' for you!
Each and every day you can find the readings, the commemorations and feasts, the colours for the day (it's a traditional church thing for those of you who are now confused!) and there's also the Collects and Post Communion Prayers too.
Who could ask for anything more? This sets the benchmark for liturgical calendars
Something to listen to
And something a little newer from the Rend Collective (who are always worth listening to):
who gave grace to your servant Thomas Becket to put aside all earthly fear and be faithful even to death:
grant that we, disregarding worldly esteem, may fight all wrong, uphold your rule, and serve you to our life’s end;
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.