Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Morning Prayer - Wednesday 18 October 2017

Luke the Evangelist
Psalm 145
I will exalt you, O God my King, and bless your name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless you and praise your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; his greatness is beyond all searching out.

One generation shall praise your works to another and declare your mighty acts.
They shall speak of the majesty of your glory, and I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
They shall speak of the might of your marvellous acts, and I will also tell of your greatness.
They shall pour forth the story of your abundant kindness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and merciful, long-suffering and of great goodness.
The Lord is loving to everyone and his mercy is over all his creatures.

All your works praise you, O Lord, and your faithful servants bless you. They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your mighty power, To make known to all peoples your mighty acts and the glorious splendour of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your dominion endures throughout all ages.

The Lord is sure in all his words and faithful in all his deeds.
The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all those who are bowed down.
The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord, and you give them their food in due season.
You open wide your hand and fill all things living with plenty.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving in all his works.
The Lord is near to those who call upon him, to all who call upon him faithfully.
He fulfils the desire of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over those who love him, but all the wicked shall he destroy.

My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

Psalm 146
Alleluia.
Praise the Lord, O my soul: while I live will I praise the Lord; as long as I have any being, I will sing praises to my God.

Put not your trust in princes, nor in any human power, for there is no help in them. When their breath goes forth, they return to the earth; on that day all their thoughts perish.

Happy are those who have the God of Jacob for their help, whose hope is in the Lord their God;
Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; who keeps his promise for ever;
Who gives justice to those that suffer wrong and bread to those who hunger. R
The Lord looses those that are bound; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous;
The Lord watches over the stranger in the land; he upholds the orphan and widow; but the way of the wicked he turns upside down.
The Lord shall reign for ever, your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
Alleluia.

Isaiah 55
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.

Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Luke 1.1-4
Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.

The Collect
Almighty God, you called Luke the physician, whose praise is in the gospel, to be an evangelist and physician of the soul: by the grace of the Spirit and through the wholesome medicine of the gospel, give your Church the same love and power to heal; 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.


SaveSave

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Morning Prayer - Tuesday 17 October 2017

Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, Martyr, c.107

Psalm 87
His foundation is on the holy mountains.

The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, Zion, city of our God. I record Egypt and Babylon as those who know me; behold Philistia, Tyre and Ethiopia: in Zion were they born. And of Zion it shall be said, ‘Each one was born in her, and the Most High himself has established her.’

The Lord will record as he writes up the peoples, ‘This one also was born there.’
And as they dance they shall sing, ‘All my fresh springs are in you.’

Psalm 89.1-18
My song shall be always of the loving-kindness of the Lord: with my mouth will I proclaim your faithfulnessthroughout all generations. I will declare that your love is established for ever; you have set your faithfulness as firm as the heavens. For you said: ‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn an oath to David my servant: “Your seed will I establish for ever and build up your throne for all generations.” ’

The heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, and your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones; For who among the clouds can be compared to the Lord?

Who is like the Lord among the host of heaven?
A God feared in the council of the holy ones, great and terrible above all those round about him.

Who is like you, Lord God of hosts?
Mighty Lord, your faithfulness is all around you. You rule the raging of the sea; you still its waves when they arise. You crushed Rahab with a deadly wound and scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.

Yours are the heavens; the earth also is yours; you established the world and all that fills it. You created the north and the south; Tabor and Hermon rejoice in your name.

You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand and high is your right hand. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before your face.

Happy are the people who know the shout of triumph: they walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance. In your name they rejoice all the day long and are exalted in your righteousness. For you are the glory of their strength, and in your favour you lift up our heads. Truly the Lord is our shield; the Holy One of Israel is our king.

2 Chronicles 18.1-27
Now Jehoshaphat had great riches and honour; and he made a marriage alliance with Ahab. After some years he went down to Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered an abundance of sheep and oxen for him and for the people who were with him, and induced him to go up against Ramoth-gilead. King Ahab of Israel said to King Jehoshaphat of Judah, ‘Will you go with me to Ramoth-gilead?’ He answered him, ‘I am with you, my people are your people. We will be with you in the war.’

But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, ‘Inquire first for the word of the Lord.’ Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred of them, and said to them, ‘Shall we go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?’ They said, ‘Go up; for God will give it into the hand of the king.’ But Jehoshaphat said, ‘Is there no other prophet of the Lord here of whom we may inquire?’ The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one other by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies anything favourable about me, but only disaster.’ Jehoshaphat said, ‘Let the king not say such a thing.’ Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, ‘Bring quickly Micaiah son of Imlah.’ Now the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes; and they were sitting at the threshing-floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets were prophesying before them. Zedekiah son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron, and he said, ‘Thus says the Lord: With these you shall gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’ All the prophets were prophesying the same and saying, ‘Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph; the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.’

The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, ‘Look, the words of the prophets with one accord are favourable to the king; let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favourably.’ But Micaiah said, ‘As the Lord lives, whatever my God says, that I will speak.’

When he had come to the king, the king said to him, ‘Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?’ He answered, ‘Go up and triumph; they will be given into your hand.’ But the king said to him, ‘How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?’ Then Micaiah said, ‘I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd; and the Lord said, “These have no master; let each one go home in peace.” ’ The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy anything favourable about me, but only disaster?’

Then Micaiah said, ‘Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, with all the host of heaven standing to the right and to the left of him. And the Lord said, “Who will entice King Ahab of Israel, so that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?” Then one said one thing, and another said another, until a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, “I will entice him.” The Lord asked him, “How?” He replied, “I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” Then the Lord said, “You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do it.” So you see, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets; the Lord has decreed disaster for you.’

Then Zedekiah son of Chenaanah came up to Micaiah, slapped him on the cheek, and said, ‘Which way did the spirit of the Lord pass from me to speak to you?’ Micaiah replied, ‘You will find out on that day when you go in to hide in an inner chamber.’ The king of Israel then ordered, ‘Take Micaiah, and return him to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son; and say, “Thus says the king: Put this fellow in prison, and feed him on reduced rations of bread and water until I return in peace.” ’ Micaiah said, ‘If you return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.’ And he said, ‘Hear, you peoples, all of you!’

Mark 15.16-32
Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.

It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, ‘The King of the Jews.’ And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!’ In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.’ Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.

The Collect
Feed us, O Lord, with the living bread and make us drink deep of the cup of salvation that, following the teaching of your bishop Ignatius and rejoicing in the faith with which he embraced a martyr’s death, we may be nourished for that eternal life for which he longed; 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, 16 October 2017

Morning Prayer - Monday 16th October 2017

Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London, and Hugh Latimer, Bishop of Worcester, Reformation Martyrs, 1555

Psalm 80
Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, you that led Joseph like a flock; Shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim, before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your mighty strength and come to our salvation.
Turn us again, O God; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry at your people’s prayer?
You feed them with the bread of tears; you give them abundance of tears to drink.
You have made us the derision of our neighbours and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
Turn us again, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.
You made room around it, and when it had taken root, it filled the land.
The hills were covered with its shadow and the cedars of God by its boughs. It stretched out its branches to the Sea and its tendrils to the River. Why then have you broken down its wall, so that all who pass by pluck off its grapes? The wild boar out of the wood tears it off, and all the insects of the field devour it.
Turn again, O God of hosts, look down from heaven and behold;

Cherish this vine which your right hand has planted, and the branch that you made so strong for yourself.
Let those who burnt it with fire, who cut it down, perish at the rebuke of your countenance.
Let your hand be upon the man at your right hand, the son of man you made so strong for yourself. And so will we not go back from you; give us life, and we shall call upon your name.
Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

Psalm 82
God has taken his stand in the council of heaven; in the midst of the gods he gives judgement:
‘How long will you judge unjustly and show such favour to the wicked?
‘You were to judge the weak and the orphan; defend the right of the humble and needy;
‘Rescue the weak and the poor; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
‘They have no knowledge or wisdom; they walk on still in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
‘Therefore I say that though you are gods and all of you children of the Most High,
‘Nevertheless, you shall die like mortals and fall like one of their princes.’

Arise, O God and judge the earth, for it is you that shall take all nations for your possession.

2 Chronicles 17.1-12
His son Jehoshaphat succeeded him, and strengthened himself against Israel. He placed forces in all the fortified cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim that his father Asa had taken. The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father; he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the ways of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. All Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honour. His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord; and furthermore he removed the high places and the sacred poles from Judah.

In the third year of his reign he sent his officials, Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah. With them were the Levites, Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah; and with these Levites, the priests Elishama and Jehoram. They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of the Lord with them; they went around through all the cities of Judah and taught among the people.

The fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands around Judah, and they did not make war against Jehoshaphat. Some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and silver for tribute; and the Arabs also brought him seven thousand seven hundred rams and seven thousand seven hundred male goats. Jehoshaphat grew steadily greater. He built fortresses and storage cities in Judah.

Mark 15.1-15
As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ He answered him, ‘You say so.’ Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, ‘Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.’ But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then he answered them, ‘Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate spoke to them again, ‘Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?’ They shouted back, ‘Crucify him!’ Pilate asked them, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him!’ So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

The Collect
God, our judge and saviour, teach us to be open to your truth and to trust in your love, that we may live each day with confidence in the salvation which is given through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Friday, 13 October 2017

Morning Prayer - Friday 13 October 2017,

Edward the Confessor, King of England, 1066

Psalm 55
Hear my prayer, O God; hide not yourself from my petition. Give heed to me and answer me; I am restless in my complaining. I am alarmed at the voice of the enemy and at the clamour of the wicked; for they would bring down evil upon me and are set against me in fury. My heart is disquieted within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and a horrible dread has overwhelmed me.

And I said: ‘O that I had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away and be at rest.
‘Then would I flee far away and make my lodging in the wilderness.
‘I would make haste to escape from the stormy wind and tempest.’

Confuse their tongues, O Lord, and divide them, for I have seen violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go about on her walls; mischief and trouble are in her midst. Wickedness walks in her streets; oppression and guile never leave her squares.

For it was not an open enemy that reviled me, for then I could have borne it; Nor was it my adversary that puffed himself up against me, for then I would have hid myself from him. But it was even you, one like myself, my companion and my own familiar friend. We took sweet counsel together and walked with the multitude in the house of God. Let death come suddenly upon them; let them go down alive to the Pit; for wickedness inhabits their dwellings, their very hearts.

As for me, I will call upon God and the Lord will deliver me. In the evening and morning and at noonday I will pray and make my supplication, and he shall hear my voice. He shall redeem my soul in peace from the battle waged against me, for many have come upon me. God, who is enthroned of old, will hear and bring them down; they will not repent, for they have no fear of God.

My companion stretched out his hands against his friend and has broken his covenant; His speech was softer than butter, though war was in his heart; his words were smoother than oil, yet are they naked swords. Cast your burden upon the Lord and he will sustain you, and will not let the righteous fall for ever. But those that are bloodthirsty and deceitful, O God, you will bring down to the pit of destruction. They shall not live out half their days, but my trust shall be in you, O Lord.

2 Chronicles 14.2-end
Asa did what was good and right in the sight of the Lord his God. He took away the foreign altars and the high places, broke down the pillars, hewed down the sacred poles, and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to keep the law and the commandment. He also removed from all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. He built fortified cities in Judah while the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the Lord gave him peace. He said to Judah, ‘Let us build these cities, and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars; the land is still ours because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.’ So they built and prospered. Asa had an army of three hundred thousand from Judah, armed with large shields and spears, and two hundred and eighty thousand troops from Benjamin who carried shields and drew bows; all these were mighty warriors.

 Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. Asa cried to the Lord his God, ‘O Lord, there is no difference for you between helping the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let no mortal prevail against you.’ So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. Asa and the army with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until no one remained alive; for they were broken before the Lord and his army. The people of Judah carried away a great quantity of booty. They defeated all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the Lord was on them. They plundered all the cities; for there was much plunder in them. They also attacked the tents of those who had livestock, and carried away sheep and goats in abundance, and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.

Mark 14.53-65
They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, ‘We heard him say, “I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.” ’ But even on this point their testimony did not agree.

Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus,
‘Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?’
But he was silent and did not answer.

Again the high priest asked him,
‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’
Jesus said, ‘I am; and “you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power”,and “coming with the clouds of heaven.” ’

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?’ All of them condemned him as deserving death. Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, ‘Prophesy!’ The guards also took him over and beat him.

The Collect
Sovereign God, who set your servant Edward upon the throne of an earthly kingdom and inspired him with zeal for the kingdom of heaven: grant that we may so confess the faith of Christ by word and deed, that we may, with all your saints, inherit your eternal glory; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Thursday, 12 October 2017

Morning Prayer - Thursday 12 October 2017

Wilfrid of Ripon, Bishop, Missionary, 709
Elizabeth Fry, Prison Reformer, 1845
Edith Cavell, Nurse, 1915

Psalm 78.1-39
Hear my teaching, O my people; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will pour forth mysteries from of old, Such as we have heard and known, which our forebears have told us. We will not hide from their children, but will recount to generations to come, the praises of the Lord and his power and the wonderful works he has done.

He laid a solemn charge on Jacob and made it a law in Israel, which he commanded them to teach their children, That the generations to come might know, and the children yet unborn, that they in turn might tell it to their children; So that they might put their trust in God and not forget the deeds of God, but keep his commandments, And not be like their forebears, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.

The people of Ephraim, armed with the bow, turned back in the day of battle; They did not keep the covenant of God and refused to walk in his law; They forgot what he had done and the wonders he had shown them. For he did marvellous things in the sight of their forebears, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. He divided the sea and let them pass through; he made the waters stand still in a heap.
He led them with a cloud by day and all the night through with a blaze of fire.
He split the hard rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink as from the great deep.
He brought streams out of the rock and made water gush out like rivers.
Yet for all this they sinned more against him and defied the Most High in the wilderness.

They tested God in their hearts and demanded food for their craving.
They spoke against God and said,
‘Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
‘He struck the rock indeed, so that the waters gushed out and the streams overflowed,
‘but can he give bread or provide meat for his people?’

When the Lord heard this, he was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob and his anger went out against Israel, For they had no faith in God and put no trust in his saving help. So he commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven.
He rained down upon them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven.So mortals ate the bread of angels; he sent them food in plenty.
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens and led out the south wind by his might.
He rained flesh upon them as thick as dust and winged fowl like the sand of the sea.
He let it fall in the midst of their camp and round about their tents.
So they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they desired. But they did not stop their craving; their food was still in their mouths,

When the anger of God rose against them, and slew their strongest men and felled the flower of Israel. But for all this, they sinned yet more and put no faith in his wonderful works. So he brought their days to an end like a breath and their years in sudden terror. Whenever he slew them, they would seek him; they would repent and earnestly search for God. They remembered that God was their rock and the Most High God their redeemer.

Yet they did but flatter him with their mouth and dissembled with their tongue. Their heart was not steadfast towards him, neither were they faithful to his covenant. But he was so merciful that he forgave their misdeeds and did not destroy them; many a time he turned back his wrath and did not suffer his whole displeasure to be roused. For he remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes by and does not return.


2 Chronicles 13.1-14.1
In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Abijah began to reign over Judah. He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Micaiah daughter of Uriel of Gibeah.

Now there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. Abijah engaged in battle, having an army of valiant warriors, four hundred thousand picked men; and Jeroboam drew up his line of battle against him with eight hundred thousand picked mighty warriors. Then Abijah stood on the slope of Mount Zemaraim that is in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, ‘Listen to me, Jeroboam and all Israel! Do you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel for ever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt? Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon son of David, rose up and rebelled against his lord; and certain worthless scoundrels gathered round him and defied Rehoboam son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and irresolute and could not withstand them.

‘And now you think that you can withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David, because you are a great multitude and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made as gods for you. Have you not driven out the priests of the Lord, the descendants of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves like the peoples of other lands? Whoever comes to be consecrated with a young bull or seven rams becomes a priest of what are no gods. But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not abandoned him. We have priests ministering to the Lord who are descendants of Aaron, and Levites for their service. They offer to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt-offerings and fragrant incense, set out the rows of bread on the table of pure gold, and care for the golden lampstand so that its lamps may burn every evening; for we keep the charge of the Lord our God, but you have abandoned him. See, God is with us at our head, and his priests have their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O Israelites, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors; for you cannot succeed.’

Jeroboam had sent an ambush around to come on them from behind; thus his troops were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them. When Judah turned, the battle was in front of them and behind them. They cried out to the Lord, and the priests blew the trumpets. Then the people of Judah raised the battle shout. And when the people of Judah shouted, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. The Israelites fled before Judah, and God gave them into their hands. Abijah and his army defeated them with great slaughter; five hundred thousand picked men of Israel fell slain. Thus the Israelites were subdued at that time, and the people of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their ancestors. Abijah pursued Jeroboam, and took cities from him: Bethel with its villages and Jeshanah with its villages and Ephron with its villages. Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of Abijah; the Lord struck him down, and he died. But Abijah grew strong. He took fourteen wives, and became the father of twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. The rest of the acts of Abijah, his behaviour and his deeds, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo.
So Abijah slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in the city of David. His son Asa succeeded him. In his days the land had rest for ten years.

Mark 14.43-52
Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. Then they laid hands on him and arrested him. But one of those who stood near drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.’ All of them deserted him and fled.

A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.

The Collect
Almighty God, who called our forebears to the light of the gospel by the preaching of your servant Wilfrid: help us, who keep his life and labour in remembrance, to glorify your name by following the example of his zeal and perseverance; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

All the BBC wanted was "Happy Birthday!

Having been invited to sing 'Happy Birthday' on the sixtieth birthday of the BBC,  Archbishop Justin Welby managed to provide a fair bit of attention by failing to notice the inflammable material scattered all around him as he lit the candles (or should that be 'blue touch paper'?).

As one who is a master of the fine art of Logopodeia (that's 'foot in mouth' disease) I can but applaud Justin's actions as he addressed the BBC's institutional failures and called on it to have some integrity. Would that he had remembered the advice given to people in glasshouses regarding stone-throwing as many consider the birthday advice to be deep and damaging hypocrisy.

Helping the BBC to get a feel for what was needed, Justin paraded the integrity he obviously feels that the C of E and RC churches has shown with their own child abuse scandals - and this was not a good move at all! The Gibb report (An Abuse of Faith) is a good start, but that's all it is and whilst witch-hunts are never good, neither is the token offering of eighty-one pages of report wrapped around with an (according to some who have engaged me) hollow mea culpa!

There\s too many people out there with horror stories and untreated wounds inflicted on them by people in church leadership. The 'long shadow' spoken of by Dame Moira Gibb is still evident and the 'dark area' which Justin considered the BBC to be surely exists in the same shadow.

Justin, speaking for the C of E as he does, has surely opened a challenging can of worms here. Unless he wishes to own the accusations of engaging in “breathtaking hypocrisy”  he needs to deal with the abuse survivors have hurled at him (and the church he leads) by being seen to be doing it right. I for one trust the bloke to be that man and look forward to seeing where this debacle takes him, and us, his brothers and sisters in Christ.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, a radio interview with one of those who have be subjected to abuse in a church setting spoke of the, “Evasion, denial and silence that those claiming abuse had been met with”. A man who stopped me outside of our town centre church asked my opinion on the sacking of George Carey (a former archbishop of Canterbury) as a result of the Gibb Report. His view was that it was an 'easy hit' and that many of those wearing dog-collars (and purple shirts) were equally, or even more, culpable and yet were hidden within the protection the C of E. Whether this is a true assessment of the situation, time alone will tell.


Just read the book and apply it!
So a few pleas:

i.    Please stop beating Justin up - he was doing his job when he spoke regarding the BBC's shadow.

ii.   Please pray for Justin - and all in ministry - that we would act wisely and deal with abuse
      wheresoever we find it.

iii.   Ensure that your church engages in a robust (yet not oppressive) safeguarding practice. We not
        only have an organisational duty of care but we have a personal biblical call to protect those in
        our congregations and beyond.

iv.   Take the time to get yourself trained up so that you can have a basic awareness of safeguarding:
       You can do this through the C of E Safeguarding portal - which you'll find @
        http://bit.ly/2i3TdYV




SaveSave

Morning Prayer - Wednesday 11 October 2017

Ethelburga, Abbess of Barking, 675
James the Deacon, companion of Paulinus, 7th century

Psalm 77
I cry aloud to God; I cry aloud to God and he will hear me. In the day of my trouble I have sought the Lord; by night my hand is stretched out and does not tire; my soul refuses comfort. I think upon God and I groan; I ponder, and my spirit faints. You will not let my eyelids close; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I consider the days of old; I remember the years long past; I commune with my heart in the night; my spirit searches for understanding.

Will the Lord cast us off for ever?
Will he no more show us his favour?
Has his loving mercy clean gone for ever?
Has his promise come to an end for evermore?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he shut up his compassion in displeasure?

And I said, ‘My grief is this: that the right hand of the Most High has lost its strength.’
I will remember the works of the Lord and call to mind your wonders of old time.
I will meditate on all your works and ponder your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy; who is so great a god as our God?
You are the God who worked wonders and declared your power among the peoples.
With a mighty arm you redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.

The waters saw you, O God; the waters saw you and were afraid; the depths also were troubled.
The clouds poured out water; the skies thundered; your arrows flashed on every side;
The voice of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lit up the ground; the earth trembled and shook.
Your way was in the sea, and your paths in the great waters, but your footsteps were not known.
You led your people like sheep by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

2 Chronicles 12
When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he grew strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord, he and all Israel with him. In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, King Shishak of Egypt came up against Jerusalem with twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand cavalry. A countless army came with him from Egypt—Libyans, Sukkiim, and Ethiopians. He took the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. Then the prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the officers of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, ‘Thus says the Lord: You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.’ Then the officers of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, ‘The Lord is in the right.’ When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying: ‘They have humbled themselves; I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. Nevertheless they shall be his servants, so that they may know the difference between serving me and serving the kingdoms of other lands.’

So King Shishak of Egypt came up against Jerusalem; he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house; he took everything. He also took away the shields of gold that Solomon had made; but King Rehoboam made in place of them shields of bronze, and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king’s house. Whenever the king went into the house of the Lord, the guard would come along bearing them, and would then bring them back to the guardroom. Because he humbled himself the wrath of the Lord turned from him, so as not to destroy them completely; moreover, conditions were good in Judah.

So King Rehoboam established himself in Jerusalem and reigned. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign; he reigned for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city that the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel to put his name there. His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. He did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.

Now the acts of Rehoboam, from first to last, are they not written in the records of the prophet Shemaiah and of the seer Iddo, recorded by genealogy? There were continual wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. Rehoboam slept with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David; and his son Abijah succeeded him.

Mark 14.26-42
When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, ‘You will all become deserters; for it is written, “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.”

But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.’ Peter said to him, ‘Even though all become deserters, I will not.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ But he said vehemently, ‘Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.’ And all of them said the same.

They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’ He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. He came a third time and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’

The Collect
Almighty God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you: pour your love into our hearts and draw us to yourself, and so bring us at last to your heavenly city where we shall see you face to face; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Can’t make it to Church - Sunday 8 October 2017

Last week we had sour grapes and workers in the vineyard - this week Isaiah takes us into the vineyard with a song; a song that calls us to think about justice as something important.  So let’s take a few moments to consider this, “Song of the Vineyard,” and what it has to teach us.

Here we have a vineyard owner who, “Dug it up, cleared it of stones and planted choicet vines.”
He put security in place and got ready to press the grapes to make wine but instead of good grapes, he got only got bad! All that effort - blood, sweat and tears, the vineyard produced rubbish!

So the owner of the vineyard tells of how he is going to destroy the vineyard; which he can because it is, after all, his possession to do with as he wants. God puts it all into context as we are told that the vineyard is the nation of Israel and the vines are the people of Judah. God has invested in the people and they have yielded nothing good. They are a wicked and unfaithful bunch and so they will be plucked and cast into the bin! They are unjust and just plain wrong. This is a passage about justice and fruitfulness and God’s rightful response to the failure of those He invested much in.

“Be sure your sins will find you out,” is a phrase I often hear. This is what this passage is about: The effect of sin and the reward sinfulness brings. For those who assume, “Everyone gets in to heaven, regardless of their lifestyle and/or the fruit they yield,“ this is a wake up call.

It if doesn't produce good fruit - then it will be torn down
And Paul continues with sounding the alarm, this time with those might think that being a Jew would cover their sins. But this is not an anti-Jewish passage - it is a passage that seeks to remind us that it’s not the label we wear but the life we life and the relationship we have with God that brings salvation.

Whether you are Jew or Christian (or any other faith), it’s not the label that brings salvation but the lives we live, the fruit we produce, and the relationship with the one true God. Paul makes the point that when it comes to being a good Jew, he was at the top of the tree, and yet without Jesus and his salvific act, and faith in Him: It was worth nothing and won nothing for him!

In fact Paul goes on to say that clinging to our labels and trusting in our membership of a faith group can actually lose everything for us and we need to follow Jesu, the Christ, and live with and for Him, to make eternal life - the reward for faithful living and fruitfulness in Him - ours.

We are workers in the vineyard and as we learned last week, the payment we receive is the same for all - eternal life - and we receive this by acting rightly with justice, mercy and humility, putting our trust in the cross and not labels.

So what does the Gospel have to say to add to these two consistent and trustworthy passages I wonder?

Here we are again with another vineyard story and it resonates with the Isaiah reading in that, if we take God as the vineyard owner and the vineyard to once again be Israel, and the tennant farmers to be the the people of Judah, we find the final act of rejecting the vineyard owner is to be found in the putting to death of His Son. And of course that’s Jesus!

No wonder the chief priests and the Pharisees, hearing Jesus’ parable, got upset and started looking for a way to arrest him. Those who relied upon their position and the labels which they thought brought power and reward were exposed in this passage.

And the cherry on the cake comes in as Jesus is shown to be, “The stone that the builders rejected.” Those we honour God and render to the Son all that is right and fitting will come into their inheritance. Those who dont, well they will be rooted up and tossed into the bin.

The earth is indeed the Lord’s and we are merely tenants in this world and, if found to yield good fruit, inheritors of the next. Now there’s a warning and a promise in one breath.

Are we listening I wonder?

The Collect
Gracious God, you call us to fullness of life: deliver us from unbelief and banish our
anxieties with the liberating love of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



Isaiah 5:1-7
I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.
He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines.
He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well.
Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.

“Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.
What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it?
When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?
Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard:
I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed;
I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled.
I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there.
I will command the clouds not to rain on it.”

The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the nation of Israel,
and the people of Judah are the vines he delighted in.
And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

Philippians 3:4-14
... though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


Matthew 21:33-46
“Listen to another parable:
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

“The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.

Last. “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

“Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”

“He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.

Post Communion Prayer
Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, and make us continually to be given to all good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Morning Prayer - Tuesday 10 October 2017

Paulinus, Bishop of York, Missionary, 644
Thomas Traherne, Poet, Spiritual Writer, 1674

Psalm 73
Truly, God is loving to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. Nevertheless, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well-nigh slipped. For I was envious of the proud; I saw the wicked in such prosperity; For they suffer no pains and their bodies are sleek and sound; They come to no misfortune like other folk; nor are they plagued as others are; Therefore pride is their necklace and violence wraps them like a cloak. Their iniquity comes from within; the conceits of their hearts overflow. They scoff, and speak only of evil; they talk of oppression from on high. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue ranges round the earth; And so the people turn to them and find in them no fault.

They say, ‘How should God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?’
Behold, these are the wicked; ever at ease, they increase their wealth.

Is it in vain that I cleansed my heart and washed my hands in innocence?
All day long have I been stricken and chastened every morning.
If I had said, ‘I will speak as they do,’ I should have betrayed the generation of your children.
Then thought I to understand this, but it was too hard for me, Until I entered the sanctuary of God and understood the end of the wicked: How you set them in slippery places; you cast them down to destruction. How suddenly do they come to destruction, perish and come to a fearful end!

As with a dream when one awakes, so, Lord, when you arise you will despise their image. When my heart became embittered and I was pierced to the quick, I was but foolish and ignorant; I was like a brute beast in your presence. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with your counsel and afterwards receive me with glory. Whom have I in heaven but you?And there is nothing upon earth that I desire in comparison with you.

Though my flesh and my heart fail me, God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever. Truly, those who forsake you will perish; you will put to silence the faithless who betray you. But it is good for me to draw near to God; in the Lord God have I made my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

2 Chronicles 10.1-11.4
Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of it (for he was in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. They sent and called him; and Jeroboam and all Israel came and said to Rehoboam, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke that he placed on us, and we will serve you.’ He said to them, ‘Come to me again in three days.’ So the people went away.

Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the older men who had attended his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, ‘How do you advise me to answer this people?’ They answered him, ‘If you will be kind to this people and please them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants for ever.’ But he rejected the advice that the older men gave him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and now attended him. He said to them, ‘What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, “Lighten the yoke that your father put on us”?’ The young men who had grown up with him said to him, ‘Thus should you speak to the people who said to you, “Your father made our yoke heavy, but you must lighten it for us”; tell them, “My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins. Now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” ’

So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had said, ‘Come to me again the third day.’ The king answered them harshly. King Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men; he spoke to them in accordance with the advice of the young men, ‘My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’ So the king did not listen to the people, because it was a turn of affairs brought about by God so that the Lord might fulfil his word, which he had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat.

When all Israel saw that the king would not listen to them, the people answered the king,
‘What share do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.
 Each of you to your tents, O Israel!Look now to your own house, O David.’

So all Israel departed to their tents. But Rehoboam reigned over the people of Israel who were living in the cities of Judah. When King Rehoboam sent Hadoram, who was taskmaster over the forced labour, the people of Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam hurriedly mounted his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled one hundred and eighty thousand chosen troops of the house of Judah and Benjamin to fight against Israel, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam. But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah the man of God: Say to King Rehoboam of Judah, son of Solomon, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, ‘Thus says the Lord: You shall not go up or fight against your kindred. Let everyone return home, for this thing is from me.’ So they heeded the word of the Lord and turned back from the expedition against Jeroboam.

Mark 14.12-25
On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, ‘Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.’ So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

When it was evening, he came with the twelve. And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.’ They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, ‘Surely, not I?’ He said to them, ‘It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.’
While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’

The Collect
God our Saviour, who sent Paulinus to preach and to baptise, and so to build up your Church in this land: grant that, inspired by his example, we may tell all the world of your truth, that with him we may receive the reward you prepare for all your faithful servants; 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, 9 October 2017

Morning Prayer - Monday 9 October 2017

Denys, Bishop of Paris, and his Companions, Martyrs, c.250
Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, Philosopher, Scientist, 1253

Psalm 71
In you, O Lord, do I seek refuge; let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free; incline your ear to me and save me.

Be for me a stronghold to which I may ever resort; send out to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the evildoer and the oppressor. For you are my hope, O Lord God, my confidence, even from my youth. Upon you have I leaned from my birth, when you drew me from my mother’s womb; my praise shall be always of you.

I have become a portent to many, but you are my refuge and my strength. Let my mouth be full of your praise and your glory all the day long. Do not cast me away in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength fails. For my enemies are talking against me, and those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together. They say, ‘God has forsaken him; pursue him and take him, because there is none to deliver him.’

O God, be not far from me; come quickly to help me, O my God. Let those who are against me be put to shame and disgrace; let those who seek to do me evil be covered with scorn and reproach. But as for me I will hope continually and will praise you more and more. My mouth shall tell of your righteousness and salvation all the day long, for I know no end of the telling. I will begin with the mighty works of the Lord God; I will recall your righteousness, yours alone. O God, you have taught me since I was young, and to this day I tell of your wonderful works.Forsake me not, O God, when I am old and grey-headed, till I make known your deeds to the next generation and your power to all that are to come. Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens; in the great things you have done, who is like you, O God?

What troubles and adversities you have shown me, and yet you will turn and refresh me and bring me from the deep of the earth again. Increase my honour; turn again and comfort me. Therefore will I praise you upon the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will sing out as I play to you, and so will my soul, which you have redeemed. My tongue also will tell of your righteousness all the day long, for they shall be shamed and disgraced who sought to do me evil.

2 Chronicles 9.1-12
When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions, having a very great retinue and camels bearing spices and very much gold and precious stones. When she came to Solomon, she discussed with him all that was on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from Solomon that he could not explain to her. When the queen of Sheba had observed the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, and their clothing, his valets and their clothing, and his burnt-offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit left in her.

So she said to the king, ‘The report was true that I heard in my own land of your accomplishments and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes saw it. Not even half of the greatness of your wisdom had been told to me; you far surpass the report that I had heard. Happy are your people! Happy are these your servants, who continually attend you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on his throne as king for the Lord your God. Because your God loved Israel and wished to establish them for ever, he has made you king over them, so that you may execute justice and righteousness.’ Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, a very great quantity of spices, and precious stones: there were no spices such as those that the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

Moreover, the servants of Huram and the servants of Solomon who brought gold from Ophir brought algum wood and precious stones. From the algum wood, the king made steps for the house of the Lord and for the king’s house, lyres also and harps for the singers; there never was seen the like of them before in the land of Judah.

Meanwhile, King Solomon granted the queen of Sheba every desire that she expressed, well beyond what she had brought to the king. Then she returned to her own land, with her servants.

Mark 14.1-11
It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him; for they said, ‘Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.’
While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. But some were there who said to one another in anger, ‘Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.’ And they scolded her. But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.’

Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

The Collect
Gracious God, you call us to fullness of life: deliver us from unbelief and banish our anxieties with the liberating love of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Saturday, 7 October 2017

Morning Prayer - Saturday 7 October 2017

Psalm 68
Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered; let those that hate him flee before him. As the smoke vanishes, so may they vanish away; as wax melts at the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. But let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; let them make merry with gladness.

Sing to God, sing praises to his name; exalt him who rides on the clouds. The Lord is his name; rejoice before him. Father of the fatherless, defender of widows, God in his holy habitation!
God gives the solitary a home and brings forth prisoners to songs of welcome, but the rebellious inhabit a burning desert.

O God, when you went forth before your people, when you marched through the wilderness,

The earth shook and the heavens dropped down rain,
at the presence of God, the Lord of Sinai,
at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
You sent down a gracious rain, O God;
you refreshed your inheritance when it was weary.
Your people came to dwell there; in your goodness, O God, you provide for the poor.

The Lord gave the word; great was the company of women who bore the tidings:
‘Kings and their armies they flee, they flee!’ and women at home are dividing the spoil.
Though you stayed among the sheepfolds, see now a dove’s wings covered with silver and its feathers with green gold.

When the Almighty scattered the kings, it was like snowflakes falling on Zalmon.
You mighty mountain, great mountain of Bashan! You towering mountain, great mountain of Bashan!
Why look with envy, you towering mountains, at the mount which God has desired for his dwelling, the place where the Lord will dwell for ever?

The chariots of God are twice ten thousand,even thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them, the Lord of Sinai in holy power. You have gone up on high and led captivity captive; you have received tribute, even from those who rebelled, that you may reign as Lord and God.

Blessed be the Lord who bears our burdens day by day, for God is our salvation.
God is for us the God of our salvation;
God is the Lord who can deliver from death.
God will smite the head of his enemies, the hairy scalp of those who walk in wickedness.

The Lord has said,
‘From the heights of Bashan, from the depths of the sea will I bring them back,
‘Till you dip your foot in blood and the tongue of your dogs has a taste of your enemies.’

We see your solemn processions, O God, your processions into the sanctuary, my God and my King. The singers go before, the musicians follow after, in the midst of maidens playing on timbrels. In your companies, bless your God; bless the Lord, you that are of the fount of Israel.
At the head there is Benjamin, least of the tribes, the princes of Judah in joyful company, the princes of Zebulun and Naphtali.

Send forth your strength, O God; establish, O God, what you have wrought in us.
For your temple’s sake in Jerusalem kings shall bring their gifts to you.
Drive back with your word the wild beast of the reeds, the herd of the bull-like, the brutish hordes.
Trample down those who lust after silver; scatter the peoples that delight in war.
Vessels of bronze shall be brought from Egypt; Ethiopia will stretch out her hands to God.

Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth; make music in praise of the Lord; He rides on the ancient heaven of heavens and sends forth his voice, a mighty voice.

Ascribe power to God, whose splendour is over Israel, whose power is above the clouds.

How terrible is God in his holy sanctuary, the God of Israel, who gives power and strength to his people!
Blessed be God.

2 Chronicles 7
When Solomon had ended his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt-offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and worshipped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying,
‘For he is good,for his steadfast love endures for ever.’

Then the king and all the people offered sacrifice before the Lord. King Solomon offered as a sacrifice twenty-two thousand oxen and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. The priests stood at their posts; the Levites also, with the instruments for music to the Lord that King David had made for giving thanks to the Lord—for his steadfast love endures for ever—whenever David offered praises by their ministry. Opposite them the priests sounded trumpets; and all Israel stood.

Solomon consecrated the middle of the court that was in front of the house of the Lord; for there he offered the burnt-offerings and the fat of the offerings of well-being because the bronze altar Solomon had made could not hold the burnt-offering and the grain-offering and the fat parts.

At that time Solomon held the festival for seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from Lebo-hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly; for they had observed the dedication of the altar for seven days and the festival for seven days. On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their homes, joyful and in good spirits because of the goodness that the Lord had shown to David and to Solomon and to his people Israel.

Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house; all that Solomon had planned to do in the house of the Lord and in his own house he successfully accomplished.
 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: ‘I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house so that my name may be there for ever; my eyes and my heart will be there for all time. As for you, if you walk before me, as your father David walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my ordinances, then I will establish your royal throne, as I made covenant with your father David saying, “You shall never lack a successor to rule over Israel.”

‘But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from the land that I have given you; and this house, which I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And regarding this house, now exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished, and say, “Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this house?” Then they will say, “Because they abandoned the Lord the God of their ancestors who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and they adopted other gods, and worshipped them and served them; therefore he has brought all this calamity upon them.” ’

Mark 13.32-end
‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’

The Collect
Lord of creation, whose glory is around and within us: open our eyes to your wonders, that we may serve you with reverence and know your peace at our lives’ end, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Friday, 6 October 2017

Morning Prayer - Friday 6 October 2017

William Tyndale, Translator of the Scriptures, Reformation Martyr, 1536

Psalm 51
Have mercy on me, O God, in your great goodness; according to the abundance of your compassion blot out my offences. Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my faults and my sin is ever before me. Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, So that you are justified in your sentence and righteous in your judgement.

I have been wicked even from my birth, a sinner when my mother conceived me. Behold, you desire truth deep within me and shall make me understand wisdom
in the depths of my heart. Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear of joy and gladness, that the bones you have broken may rejoice.

Turn your face from my sins and blot out all my misdeeds. Make me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence and take not your holy spirit from me. Give me again the joy of your salvation and sustain me with your gracious spirit; Then shall I teach your ways to the wicked and sinners shall return to you.

Deliver me from my guilt, O God the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. For you desire no sacrifice, else I would give it; you take no delight in burnt offerings. The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

O be favourable and gracious to Zion; build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will accept sacrifices offered in righteousness,the burnt offerings and oblations; then shall they offer up bulls on your altar.

Psalm 54
Save me, O God, by your name and vindicate me by your power. Hear my prayer, O God; give heed to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen up against me, and the ruthless seek after my life; they have not set God before them.

Behold, God is my helper; it is the Lord who upholds my life
May evil rebound on those who lie in wait for me; destroy them in your faithfulness.

An offering of a free heart will I give you and praise your name, O Lord, for it is gracious.
For he has delivered me out of all my trouble, and my eye has seen the downfall of my enemies

2 Chronicles 6.22-end
‘If someone sins against another and is required to take an oath and comes and swears before your altar in this house, may you hear from heaven, and act, and judge your servants, repaying the guilty by bringing their conduct on their own head, and vindicating those who are in the right by rewarding them in accordance with their righteousness.

When your people Israel, having sinned against you, are defeated before an enemy but turn again to you, confess your name, pray and plead with you in this house, may you hear from heaven, and forgive the sin of your people Israel, and bring them again to the land that you gave to them and to their ancestors.

When heaven is shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against you, and then they pray towards this place, confess your name, and turn from their sin, because you punish them, may you hear in heaven, forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send down rain upon your land, which you have given to your people as an inheritance.

If there is famine in the land, if there is plague, blight, mildew, locust, or caterpillar; if their enemies besiege them in any of the settlements of the lands; whatever suffering, whatever sickness there is; whatever prayer, whatever plea from any individual or from all your people Israel, all knowing their own suffering and their own sorrows so that they stretch out their hands towards this house; may you hear from heaven your dwelling-place, forgive, and render to all whose heart you know, according to all their ways, for only you know the human heart. Thus may they fear you and walk in your ways all the days that they live in the land that you gave to our ancestors.

Likewise when foreigners, who are not of your people Israel, come from a distant land because of your great name, and your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm, when they come and pray towards this house, may you hear from heaven your dwelling-place, and do whatever the foreigners ask of you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built.

If your people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way you shall send them, and they pray to you towards this city that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name, then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause.

If they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to a land far or near; then if they come to their senses in the land to which they have been taken captive, and repent, and plead with you in the land of their captivity, saying, “We have sinned, and have done wrong; we have acted wickedly”; if they repent with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity, to which they were taken captive, and pray towards their land, which you gave to their ancestors, the city that you have chosen, and the house that I have built for your name, then hear from heaven your dwelling-place their prayer and their pleas, maintain their cause and forgive your people who have sinned against you. Now, O my God, let your eyes be open and your ears attentive to prayer from this place.

Now rise up, O Lord God, and go to your resting-place, you and the ark of your might.
Let your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, and let your faithful rejoice in your goodness. O Lord God, do not reject your anointed one.
Remember your steadfast love for your servant David.’

Mark 13.24-31
‘But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.  Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.'

The Collect
Lord, give to your people grace to hear and keep your word that, after the example of your servant William Tyndale, we may not only profess your gospel but also be ready to suffer and die for it, to the honour of your 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.


Thursday, 5 October 2017

Morning Prayer - Thursday 5 October 2017

Psalm 56
Have mercy on me, O God, for they trample over me; all day long they assault and oppress me. My adversaries trample over me all the day long; many are they that make proud war against me. In the day of my fear I put my trust in you, in God whose word I praise. In God I trust, and will not fear, for what can flesh do to me?

All day long they wound me with words; their every thought is to do me evil. They stir up trouble; they lie in wait; marking my steps, they seek my life. Shall they escape for all their wickedness?

In anger, O God, cast the peoples down. You have counted up my groaning; put my tears into your bottle; are they not written in your book?
Then shall my enemies turn back on the day when I call upon you; this I know, for God is on my side.
In God whose word I praise, in the Lord whose word I praise, in God I trust and will not fear: what can flesh do to me?

To you, O God, will I fulfil my vows; to you will I present my offerings of thanks,
For you will deliver my soul from death and my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living.

Psalm 57
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for my soul takes refuge in you; In the shadow of your wings will I take refuge until the storm of destruction has passed by. I will call upon the Most High God, the God who fulfils his purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me and rebuke those that would trample upon me; God will send forth his love and his faithfulness. I lie in the midst of lions, people whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and your glory over all the earth.

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

Psalm 63
O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you; my soul is athirst for you. My flesh also faints for you, as in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So would I gaze upon you in your holy place, that I might behold your power and your glory.
Your loving-kindness is better than life itself and so my lips shall praise you. I will bless you as long as I live and lift up my hands in your name.

My soul shall be satisfied, as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips, When I remember you upon my bed and meditate on you in the watches of the night. For you have been my helper and under the shadow of your wings will I rejoice.

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

2 Chronicles 6.1-21
Then Solomon said, ‘The Lord has said that he would reside in thick darkness. I have built you an exalted house, a place for you to reside in for ever.’

Then the king turned round and blessed all the assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel stood. And he said, ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to my father David, saying, “Since the day that I brought my people out of the land of Egypt, I have not chosen a city from any of the tribes of Israel in which to build a house, so that my name might be there, and I chose no one as ruler over my people Israel; but I have chosen Jerusalem in order that my name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over my people Israel.” My father David had it in mind to build a house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. But the Lord said to my father David, “You did well to consider building a house for my name; nevertheless, you shall not build the house, but your son who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name.” Now the Lord has fulfilled his promise that he made; for I have succeeded my father David, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and have built the house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. There I have set the ark, in which is the covenant of the Lord that he made with the people of Israel.’

Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands. Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the court; and he stood on it. Then he knelt on his knees in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands towards heaven. He said, ‘O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant in steadfast love with your servants who walk before you with all their heart— you who have kept for your servant, my father David, what you promised to him. Indeed, you promised with your mouth and this day have fulfilled with your hand. Therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant, my father David, that which you promised him, saying, “There shall never fail you a successor before me to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children keep to their way, to walk in my law as you have walked before me.” Therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you promised to your servant David.

‘But will God indeed reside with mortals on earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built! Have regard to your servant’s prayer and his plea, O Lord my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you. May your eyes be open day and night towards this house, the place where you promised to set your name, and may you heed the prayer that your servant prays towards this place. And hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray towards this place; may you hear from heaven your dwelling-place; hear and forgive.

Mark 13.14-23
‘But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains; someone on the housetop must not go down or enter the house to take anything away; someone in the field must not turn back to get a coat. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that it may not be in winter. For in those days there will be suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, no, and never will be. And if the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he has cut short those days. And if anyone says to you at that time, “Look! Here is the Messiah!” or “Look! There he is!”—do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be alert; I have already told you everything.

The Collect
Lord of creation, whose glory is around and within us: open our eyes to your wonders, that we may serve you with reverence and know your peace at our lives’ end, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.