Thursday, 24 May 2018

Morning Prayer - Thursday, 24 May 2018

John and Charles Wesley, Evangelists, Hymn Writers, 1791 and 1788

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.

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.

Joshua 4.1-5.1
When the entire nation had finished crossing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua: ‘Select twelve men from the people, one from each tribe, and command them, “Take twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood, carry them over with you, and lay them down in the place where you camp tonight.” ’ Then Joshua summoned the twelve men from the Israelites, whom he had appointed, one from each tribe. Joshua said to them, ‘Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, one for each of the tribes of the Israelites, so that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, “What do those stones mean to you?” then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the Israelites a memorial for ever.’

The Israelites did as Joshua commanded. They took up twelve stones out of the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord told Joshua, carried them over with them to the place where they camped, and laid them down there. (Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood; and they are there to this day.)

The priests who bore the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan, until everything was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to tell the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua. The people crossed over in haste. As soon as all the people had finished crossing over, the ark of the Lord, and the priests, crossed over in front of the people. The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed before the Israelites, as Moses had ordered them. About forty thousand armed for war crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for battle.

On that day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him, as they had stood in awe of Moses, all the days of his life.

The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant to come up out of the Jordan.’ Joshua therefore commanded the priests, ‘Come up out of the Jordan.’ When the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord came up from the middle of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet touched dry ground, the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and overflowed all its banks, as before.

The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. Those twelve stones, which they had taken out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal, saying to the Israelites, ‘When your children ask their parents in time to come, “What do these stones mean?” then you shall let your children know, “Israel crossed over the Jordan here on dry ground.” For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we crossed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, and so that you may fear the Lord your God for ever.’
When all the kings of the Amorites beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan for the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts failed, and there was no longer any spirit in them, because of the Israelites.

Luke 9.51-end
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set towards Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, ‘Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?’ But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ To another he said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’

The Collect
God of mercy, who inspired John and Charles Wesley with zeal for your gospel: grant to all people boldness to proclaim your word and a heart ever to rejoice in singing your praises; 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, 23 May 2018

Morning Prayer - Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Psalm 119.153-end
O consider my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law. Plead my cause and redeem me; according to your promise, give me life. Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes. Great is your compassion, O Lord; give me life, according to your judgements.

Many there are that persecute and oppress me, yet do I not swerve from your testimonies. It grieves me when I see the treacherous, for they do not keep your word. Consider, O Lord, how I love your commandments; give me life according to your loving-kindness. The sum of your word is truth, and all your righteous judgements endure for evermore.

Princes have persecuted me without a cause, but my heart stands in awe of your word. I am as glad of your word as one who finds great spoils. As for lies, I hate and abhor them, but your law do I love. Seven times a day do I praise you, because of your righteous judgements.

Great peace have they who love your law; nothing shall make them stumble. Lord, I have looked for your salvation and I have fulfilled your commandments.

My soul has kept your testimonies and greatly have I loved them. I have kept your commandments and testimonies, for all my ways are before you. Let my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding, according to your word. Let my supplication come before you; deliver me, according to your promise.

My lips shall pour forth your praise, when you have taught me your statutes. My tongue shall sing of your word, for all your commandments are righteous. Let your hand reach out to help me, for I have chosen your commandments.

I have longed for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight. Let my soul live and it shall praise you, and let your judgements be my help.

I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost; O seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.

Joshua 3
Early in the morning Joshua rose and set out from Shittim with all the Israelites, and they came to the Jordan. They camped there before crossing over. At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, ‘When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place. Follow it, so that you may know the way you should go, for you have not passed this way before. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, a distance of about two thousand cubits; do not come any nearer to it.’ Then Joshua said to the people, ‘Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.’ To the priests Joshua said, ‘Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass on in front of the people.’ So they took up the ark of the covenant and went in front of the people.

The Lord said to Joshua, ‘This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses. You are the one who shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, “When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.” ’ Joshua then said to the Israelites, ‘Draw near and hear the words of the Lord your God.’ Joshua said, ‘By this you shall know that among you is the living God who without fail will drive out from before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites: the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is going to pass before you into the Jordan. So now select twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap.’

When the people set out from their tents to cross over the Jordan, the priests bearing the ark of the covenant were in front of the people. Now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest. So when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the water, the waters flowing from above stood still, rising up in a single heap far off at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, while those flowing towards the sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea, were wholly cut off. Then the people crossed over opposite Jericho. While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.

Luke 9.37-50
On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. Just then a man from the crowd shouted, ‘Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It throws him into convulsions until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.’ Jesus answered, ‘You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.’ While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And all were astounded at the greatness of God.

While everyone was amazed at all that he was doing, he said to his disciples, ‘Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.’ But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was concealed from them, so that they could not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.’

John answered, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.’

The Collect
O Lord, from whom all good things come: grant to us your humble servants, that by your holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by your merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Morning Prayer - Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Psalm 132
Lord, remember for David all the hardships he endured; How he swore an oath to the Lord and vowed a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
‘I will not come within the shelter of my house, nor climb up into my bed;
‘I will not allow my eyes to sleep, nor let my eyelids slumber,
‘Until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.’
Now, we heard of the ark in Ephrathah and found it in the fields of Ja-ar. Let us enter his dwelling place and fall low before his footstool.

Arise, O Lord, into your resting place, you and the ark of your strength. Let your priests be clothed with righteousness and your faithful ones sing with joy. For your servant David’s sake, turn not away the face of your anointed.

The Lord has sworn an oath to David, a promise from which he will not shrink:
‘Of the fruit of your body shall I set upon your throne.
‘If your children keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall teach them, their children also shall sit upon your throne for evermore.’

For the Lord has chosen Zion for himself; he has desired her for his habitation:
‘This shall be my resting place for ever; here will I dwell, for I have longed for her.
‘I will abundantly bless her provision; her poor will I satisfy with bread.
‘I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her faithful ones shall rejoice and sing.
‘There will I make a horn to spring up for David; I will keep a lantern burning for my anointed.
‘As for his enemies, I will clothe them with shame; but on him shall his crown be bright.’

Psalm 133
Behold how good and pleasant it is to dwell together in unity. It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, Even on Aaron’s beard, running down upon the collar of his clothing. It is like the dew of Hermon running down upon the hills of Zion. For there the Lord has promised his blessing: even life for evermore.

Joshua 2
Then Joshua son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, ‘Go, view the land, especially Jericho.’ So they went, and entered the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and spent the night there. The king of Jericho was told, ‘Some Israelites have come here tonight to search out the land.’ Then the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab, ‘Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come only to search out the whole land.’ But the woman took the two men and hid them. Then she said, ‘True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they came from. And when it was time to close the gate at dark, the men went out. Where the men went I do not know. Pursue them quickly, for you can overtake them.’ She had, however, brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax that she had laid out on the roof. So the men pursued them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. As soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.

Before they went to sleep, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men: ‘I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that dread of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites that were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. As soon as we heard it, our hearts failed, and there was no courage left in any of us because of you. The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.’ The men said to her, ‘Our life for yours! If you do not tell this business of ours, then we will deal kindly and faithfully with you when the Lord gives us the land.’

Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the outer side of the city wall and she resided within the wall itself. She said to them, ‘Go towards the hill country, so that the pursuers may not come upon you. Hide yourselves there for three days, until the pursuers have returned; then afterwards you may go on your way.’ The men said to her, ‘We will be released from this oath that you have made us swear to you if we invade the land and you do not tie this crimson cord in the window through which you let us down, and you do not gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your family. If any of you go out of the doors of your house into the street, they shall be responsible for their own death, and we shall be innocent; but if a hand is laid upon any who are with you in the house, we shall bear the responsibility for their death. But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be released from this oath that you made us swear to you.’ She said, ‘According to your words, so be it.’ She sent them away and they departed. Then she tied the crimson cord in the window.

They departed and went into the hill country and stayed there for three days, until the pursuers returned. The pursuers had searched all along the way and found nothing. Then the two men came down again from the hill country. They crossed over, came to Joshua son of Nun, and told him all that had happened to them. They said to Joshua, ‘Truly the Lord has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before us.’

Luke 9.28-36
Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’—not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’ When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

The Collect
O Lord, from whom all good things come: grant to us your humble servants, that by your holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by your merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Monday, 21 May 2018

Morning Prayer - Monday, 21st May 2018

Helena, Protector of the Holy Places, 330

Psalm 123
To you I lift up my eyes, to you that are enthroned in the heavens. As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, or the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until he have mercy upon us.

Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of the arrogant, and of the contempt of the proud.

Psalm 124
If the Lord himself had not been on our side, now may Israel say; If the Lord had not been on our side, when enemies rose up against us; Then would they have swallowed us alive when their anger burned against us; Then would the waters have overwhelmed us and the torrent gone over our soul; over our soul would have swept the raging waters.

But blessed be the Lord who has not given us over to be a prey for their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowler; the snare is broken and we are delivered. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who has made heaven and earth.

Psalm 125
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but stands fast for ever. As the hills stand about Jerusalem, so the Lord stands round about his people, from this time forth for evermore.

The sceptre of wickedness shall not hold sway over the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous turn their hands to evil. Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are true of heart. Those who turn aside to crooked ways the Lord shall take away with the evildoers; but let there be peace upon Israel.

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

Restore again our fortunes, O Lord, as the river beds of the desert.
Those who sow in tears shall reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed, will come back with shouts of joy, bearing their sheaves with them.

Joshua 1
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying, ‘My servant Moses is dead. Now proceed to cross the Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the Israelites. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and the Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, to the Great Sea in the west shall be your territory. No one shall be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous; for you shall put this people in possession of the land that I swore to their ancestors to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to act in accordance with all the law that my servant Moses commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you may be successful wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful. I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’

Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, ‘Pass through the camp, and command the people: “Prepare your provisions; for in three days you are to cross over the Jordan, to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God gives you to possess.” ’

To the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh Joshua said, ‘Remember the word that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, “The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest, and will give you this land.” Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land that Moses gave you beyond the Jordan. But all the warriors among you shall cross over armed before your kindred and shall help them, until the Lord gives rest to your kindred as well as to you, and they too take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to your own land and take possession of it, the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan to the east.’

They answered Joshua: ‘All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you, as he was with Moses! Whoever rebels against your orders and disobeys your words, whatever you command, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.’

Luke 9.18-27
Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say that I am?’ They answered, ‘John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered, ‘The Messiah of God.’
He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, ‘The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.’

Then he said to them all, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words, of them the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.’

The Collect
O Lord, from whom all good things come: grant to us your humble servants, that by your holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by your merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Saturday, 19 May 2018

Morning Prayer - Saturday, 19 May 2018

from the day after Ascension Day until the Day of Pentecost

Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, Restorer of Monastic Life, 988

Psalm 42
As the deer longs for the water brooks, so longs my soul for you, O God.
My soul is athirst for God, even for the living God; when shall I come before the presence of God?
My tears have been my bread day and night, while all day long they say to me, ‘Where is now your God?’

Now when I think on these things, I pour out my soul: how I went with the multitude and led the procession to the house of God, With the voice of praise and thanksgiving, among those who kept holy day.

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

My soul is heavy within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of Jordan, and from Hermon and the hill of Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the thunder of your waterfalls; all your breakers and waves have gone over me.

The Lord will grant his loving-kindness in the daytime; through the night his song will be with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me, and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresses me?’ As they crush my bones, my enemies mock me; while all day long they say to me, ‘Where is now your God?’

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

Psalm 43
Give judgement for me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; deliver me from the deceitful and the wicked. For you are the God of my refuge; why have you cast me from you, and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresses me?

O send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling, That I may go to the altar of God,
to the God of my joy and gladness; and on the lyre I will give thanks to you, O God my God.

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

Numbers 32.1-27
Now the Reubenites and the Gadites owned a very great number of cattle. When they saw that the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead was a good place for cattle, the Gadites and the Reubenites came and spoke to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the leaders of the congregation, saying, ‘Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo, and Beon—the land that the Lord subdued before the congregation of Israel—is a land for cattle; and your servants have cattle.’ They continued, ‘If we have found favour in your sight, let this land be given to your servants for a possession; do not make us cross the Jordan.’

But Moses said to the Gadites and to the Reubenites, ‘Shall your brothers go to war while you sit here? Why will you discourage the hearts of the Israelites from going over into the land that the Lord has given them? Your fathers did this, when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land. When they went up to the Wadi Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the hearts of the Israelites from going into the land that the Lord had given them. The Lord’s anger was kindled on that day and he swore, saying, “Surely none of the people who came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upwards, shall see the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, because they have not unreservedly followed me—none except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they have unreservedly followed the Lord.” And the Lord’s anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness for forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord had disappeared. And now you, a brood of sinners, have risen in place of your fathers, to increase the Lord’s fierce anger against Israel! If you turn away from following him, he will again abandon them in the wilderness; and you will destroy all this people.’

Then they came up to him and said, ‘We will build sheepfolds here for our flocks, and towns for our little ones, but we will take up arms as a vanguard before the Israelites, until we have brought them to their place. Meanwhile our little ones will stay in the fortified towns because of the inhabitants of the land. We will not return to our homes until all the Israelites have obtained their inheritance. We will not inherit with them on the other side of the Jordan and beyond, because our inheritance has come to us on this side of the Jordan to the east.’

So Moses said to them, ‘If you do this—if you take up arms to go before the Lord for the war, and all those of you who bear arms cross the Jordan before the Lord, until he has driven out his enemies from before him and the land is subdued before the Lord—then after that you may return and be free of obligation to the Lord and to Israel, and this land shall be your possession before the Lord. But if you do not do this, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out. Build towns for your little ones, and folds for your flocks; but do what you have promised.’

Then the Gadites and the Reubenites said to Moses, ‘Your servants will do as my lord commands. Our little ones, our wives, our flocks, and all our livestock shall remain there in the towns of Gilead; but your servants will cross over, everyone armed for war, to do battle for the Lord, just as my lord orders.’

Luke 9.1-17
Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’ They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

Now Herod the ruler heard about all that had taken place, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the ancient prophets had arisen. Herod said, ‘John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?’ And he tried to see him.
On their return the apostles told Jesus all they had done. He took them with him and withdrew privately to a city called Bethsaida. When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured.

The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, ‘Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.’ But he said to them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said, ‘We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.’ For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, ‘Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.’ They did so and made them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

The Collect
Almighty God, who raised up Dunstan to be a true shepherd of the flock, a restorer of monastic life and a faithful counsellor to those in authority: give to all pastors the same gifts of your Holy Spirit that they may be true servants of Christ and of all his people; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Friday, 18 May 2018

Morning Prayer - Friday, 18 May 2018

from the day after Ascension Day until the Day of Pentecost

Psalm 28
To you I call, O Lord my rock; be not deaf to my cry, lest, if you do not hear me, I become like those who go down to the Pit. Hear the voice of my prayer when I cry out to you, when I lift up my hands to your holy of holies.

Do not snatch me away with the wicked, with the evildoers, who speak peaceably with their neighbours, while malice is in their hearts. Repay them according to their deeds and according to the wickedness of their devices. Reward them according to the work of their hands and pay them their just deserts. They take no heed of the Lord’s doings, nor of the works of his hands; therefore shall he break them down and not build them up.

Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard the voice of my prayer. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart has trusted in him and I am helped; Therefore my heart dances for joy and in my song will I praise him. The Lord is the strength of his people, a safe refuge for his anointed.

Save your people and bless your inheritance; shepherd them and carry them for ever.

Psalm 30
I will exalt you, O Lord, because you have raised me up and have not let my foes triumph over me. O Lord my God, I cried out to you and you have healed me. You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead; you restored me to life from among those that go down to the Pit.

Sing to the Lord, you servants of his; give thanks to his holy name. For his wrath endures but the twinkling of an eye, his favour for a lifetime. Heaviness may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

In my prosperity I said, ‘I shall never be moved. You, Lord, of your goodness, have made my hill so strong.’ Then you hid your face from me and I was utterly dismayed. To you, O Lord, I cried; to the Lord I made my supplication: ‘What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you or declare your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me; O Lord, be my helper.’

You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness; Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing; O Lord my God, I will give you thanks for ever.

Numbers 27.12-end
The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go up this mountain of the Abarim range, and see the land that I have given to the Israelites. When you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, because you rebelled against my word in the wilderness of Zin when the congregation quarrelled with me. You did not show my holiness before their eyes at the waters.’ (These are the waters of Meribath-kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.) Moses spoke to the Lord, saying, ‘Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint someone over the congregation who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the Lord may not be like sheep without a shepherd.’ So the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand upon him; have him stand before Eleazar the priest and all the congregation, and commission him in their sight. You shall give him some of your authority, so that all the congregation of the Israelites may obey. But he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the decision of the Urim before the Lord; at his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the Israelites with him, the whole congregation.’ So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole congregation; he laid his hands on him and commissioned him—as the Lord had directed through Moses.

Luke 8.40-end
Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. Just then there came a man named Jairus, a leader of the synagogue. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, who was dying.

As he went, the crowds pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her haemorrhage stopped. Then Jesus asked, ‘Who touched me?’ When all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.’ When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.’

While he was still speaking, someone came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.’ When Jesus heard this, he replied, ‘Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.’ When he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him, except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother. They were all weeping and wailing for her; but he said, ‘Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and called out, ‘Child, get up!’ Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then he directed them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astounded; but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.

The Collect
O God the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Thursday, 17 May 2018

Morning Prayer - Thursday, 17 May 2018

from the day after Ascension Day until the Day of Pentecost

Psalm 24
The earth is the Lord’s and all that fills it, the compass of the world and all who dwell therein. For he has founded it upon the seas and set it firm upon the rivers of the deep.
‘Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord, or who can rise up in his holy place?’
‘Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, who have not lifted up their soul to an idol, nor sworn an oath to a lie;
‘They shall receive a blessing from the Lord, a just reward from the God of their salvation.’
Such is the company of those who seek him, of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
‘Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord who is mighty in battle.’

Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
‘Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.’

Psalm 72
Give the king your judgements, O God, and your righteousness to the son of a king. Then shall he judge your people righteously and your poor with justice.

May the mountains bring forth peace, and the little hills righteousness for the people.
May he defend the poor among the people, deliver the children of the needy and crush the oppressor.
May he live as long as the sun and moon endure, from one generation to another.
May he come down like rain upon the mown grass, like the showers that water the earth.
In his time shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more.

May his dominion extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
May his foes kneel before him and his enemies lick the dust.
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall bring gifts.
All kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall do him service.
For he shall deliver the poor that cry out, the needy and those who have no helper.

He shall have pity on the weak and poor; he shall preserve the lives of the needy.
He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence, and dear shall their blood be in his sight.
Long may he live; unto him may be given gold from Sheba; may prayer be made for him continually and may they bless him all the day long.
May there be abundance of grain on the earth, standing thick upon the hilltops; may its fruit flourish like Lebanon and its grain grow like the grass of the field.

May his name remain for ever and be established as long as the sun endures; may all nations be blest in him and call him blessed. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wonderful things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever. May all the earth be filled with his glory. Amen. Amen.

Numbers 24
Now Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, so he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face towards the wilderness. Balaam looked up and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. Then the spirit of God came upon him, and he uttered his oracle, saying:

‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,the oracle of the man whose eye is clear, the oracle of one who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, but with eyes uncovered: how fair are your tents, O Jacob, your encampments, O Israel!
Like palm groves that stretch far away, like gardens beside a river, like aloes that the Lord has planted, like cedar trees beside the waters.
Water shall flow from his buckets, and his seed shall have abundant water, his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.
God, who brings him out of Egypt, is like the horns of a wild ox for him; he shall devour the nations that are his foes and break their bones.
He shall strike with his arrows.
He crouched, he lay down like a lion, and like a lioness; who will rouse him up?
Blessed is everyone who blesses you,and cursed is everyone who curses you.’

Then Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. Balak said to Balaam, ‘I summoned you to curse my enemies, but instead you have blessed them these three times. Now be off with you! Go home! I said, “I will reward you richly”, but the Lord has denied you any reward.’ And Balaam said to Balak, ‘Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, “If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own will; what the Lord says, that is what I will say”? So now, I am going to my people; let me advise you what this people will do to your people in days to come.’
So he uttered his oracle, saying:

‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is clear, the oracle of one who hears the words of God, and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, but with his eyes uncovered:
I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near - a star shall come out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the borderlands of Moab, and the territory of all the Shethites.
Edom will become a possession, Seir a possession of its enemies, while Israel does valiantly. One out of Jacob shall rule, and destroy the survivors of Ir.’

Then he looked on Amalek, and uttered his oracle, saying:
‘First among the nations was Amalek, but its end is to perish for ever.’

Then he looked on the Kenite, and uttered his oracle, saying:
‘Enduring is your dwelling-place, and your nest is set in the rock; yet Kain is destined for burning. How long shall Asshur take you away captive?’

Again he uttered his oracle, saying: ‘Alas, who shall live when God does this? But ships shall come from Kittim and shall afflict Asshur and Eber; and he also shall perish for ever.’

Then Balaam got up and went back to his place, and Balak also went his way.

Luke 8.26-39
Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me’—for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘Legion’; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.

Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.’ So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

The Collect
O God the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Morning Prayer - Wednesday, 16 May 2018

from the day after Ascension Day until the Day of Pentecost 
Caroline Chisholm, Social Reformer, 1877

Psalm 2
Why are the nations in tumult, and why do the peoples devise a vain plot?
The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed:
‘Let us break their bonds asunder and cast away their cords from us.’

He who dwells in heaven shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision.
Then shall he speak to them in his wrath and terrify them in his fury:
‘Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.’

I will proclaim the decree of the Lord; he said to me: ‘You are my Son; this day have I begotten you.
‘Ask of me and I will give you the nations for your inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession.
‘You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’

Now therefore be wise, O kings; be prudent, you judges of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear, and with trembling kiss his feet, lest he be angry and you perish from the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Happy are all they who take refuge in him.

Psalm 29
Ascribe to the Lord, you powers of heaven, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the honour due to his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of glory thunders; the Lord is upon the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is mighty in operation; the voice of the Lord is a glorious voice.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon; He makes Lebanon skip like a calf and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the Lord splits the flash of lightning; the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe and strips the forests bare; in his temple all cry, ‘Glory!’
The Lord sits enthroned above the water flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king for evermore.
The Lord shall give strength to his people; the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.

Numbers 23.13-end
So Balak said to him, ‘Come with me to another place from which you may see them; you shall see only part of them, and shall not see them all; then curse them for me from there.’ So he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah. He built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Balaam said to Balak, ‘Stand here beside your burnt-offerings, while I meet the Lord over there.’ The Lord met Balaam, put a word into his mouth, and said, ‘Return to Balak, and this is what you shall say.’ When he came to him, he was standing beside his burnt-offerings with the officials of Moab. Balak said to him, ‘What has the Lord said?’ Then Balaam uttered his oracle, saying:
‘Rise, Balak, and hear; listen to me, O son of Zippor:  God is not a human being, that he should lie, or a mortal, that he should change his mind. Has he promised, and will he not do it?
 Has he spoken, and will he not fulfil it?
 See, I received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it. He has not beheld misfortune in Jacob nor has he seen trouble in Israel.
 The Lord their God is with them, acclaimed as a king among them.
 God, who brings them out of Egypt, is like the horns of a wild ox for them.
 Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, no divination against Israel; now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel, “See what God has done!”
 Look, a people rising up like a lioness, and rousing itself like a lion!
 It does not lie down until it has eaten the prey and drunk the blood of the slain.’

Then Balak said to Balaam, ‘Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all.’ But Balaam answered Balak, ‘Did I not tell you, “Whatever the Lord says, that is what I must do”?’

So Balak said to Balaam, ‘Come now, I will take you to another place; perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.’ So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the waste-land. Balaam said to Balak, ‘Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.’ So Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

Luke 8.16-25
‘No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.’
Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. And he was told, ‘Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.’ But he said to them, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.’

One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’ So they put out, and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A gale swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. They went to him and woke him up, shouting, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?’

The Collect
Risen, ascended Lord, as we rejoice at your triumph, fill your Church on earth with power and compassion, that all who are estranged by sin may find forgiveness and know your peace, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Morning Prayer - Tuesday 15 May 2018

from the day after Ascension Day until the Day of Pentecost 

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

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

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

Psalm 99
The Lord is king: let the peoples tremble; he is enthroned above the cherubim: let the earth shake.
The Lord is great in Zion and high above all peoples.
Let them praise your name, which is great and awesome; the Lord our God is holy.
Mighty king, who loves justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
Exalt the Lord our God; bow down before his footstool, for he is holy.

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

Psalm 100
O be joyful in the Lord, all the earth; serve the Lord with gladness and come before his presence with a song. Know that the Lord is God; it is he that has made us and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; ♦give thanks to him and bless his name. For the Lord is gracious; his steadfast love is everlasting, and his faithfulness endures from generation to generation.

Numbers 22.36-23.12
When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him at Ir-moab, on the boundary formed by the Arnon, at the farthest point of the boundary. Balak said to Balaam, ‘Did I not send to summon you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honour you?’ Balaam said to Balak, ‘I have come to you now, but do I have power to say just anything? The word God puts in my mouth, that is what I must say.’ Then Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent them to Balaam and to the officials who were with him.
On the next day Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-baal; and from there he could see part of the people of Israel.

Then Balaam said to Balak, ‘Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.’ Balak did as Balaam had said; and Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Then Balaam said to Balak, ‘Stay here beside your burnt-offerings while I go aside. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet me. Whatever he shows me I will tell you.’ And he went to a bare height.

Then God met Balaam; and Balaam said to him, ‘I have arranged the seven altars, and have offered a bull and a ram on each altar.’ The Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, ‘Return to Balak, and this is what you must say.’ So he returned to Balak, who was standing beside his burnt-offerings with all the officials of Moab. Then Balaam uttered his oracle, saying:
‘Balak has brought me from Aram, the king of Moab from the eastern mountains: “Come, curse Jacob for me; Come, denounce Israel!”

How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
How can I denounce those whom the Lord has not denounced?
For from the top of the crags I see him, from the hills I behold him; Here is a people living alone, and not reckoning itself among the nations!
Who can count the dust of Jacob, or number the dust-cloud of Israel?
Let me die the death of the upright, and let my end be like his!’

Then Balak said to Balaam, ‘What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but now you have done nothing but bless them.’ He answered, ‘Must I not take care to say what the Lord puts into my mouth?’


Luke 8.1-15
Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.
When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: ‘A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.’ As he said this, he called out, ‘Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’

Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that “looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.”

‘Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.

The Collect
Risen, ascended Lord, as we rejoice at your triumph, fill your Church on earth with power and compassion, that all who are estranged by sin may find forgiveness and know your peace, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Monday, 14 May 2018

Morning Prayer - Monday 14 May 2018


from the day after Ascension Day until the Day of Pentecost
Matthias the Apostle

Psalm 16
Preserve me, O God, for in you have I taken refuge; I have said to the Lord, ‘You are my lord,all my good depends on you.’ All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land, upon those who are noble in heart.

Though the idols are legion that many run after, their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, neither make mention of their names upon my lips. The Lord himself is my portion and my cup; in your hands alone is my fortune. My share has fallen in a fair land; indeed, I have a goodly heritage.

I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel, and in the night watches he instructs my heart. I have set the Lord always before me; he is at my right hand; I shall not fall. Wherefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my flesh also shall rest secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Death, nor suffer your faithful one to see the Pit. You will show me the path of life; in your presence is the fullness of joy and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

Psalm 147.1-12
Alleluia.How good it is to make music for our God, how joyful to honour him with praise.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem and gathers together the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up all their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars and calls them all by their names.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his wisdom is beyond all telling.

The Lord lifts up the poor, but casts down the wicked to the ground. Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God upon the lyre; Who covers the heavens with clouds and prepares rain for the earth; Who makes grass to grow upon the mountains and green plants to serve our needs.
He gives the beasts their food and the young ravens when they cry.
He takes no pleasure in the power of a horse, no delight in human strength;
But the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their trust in his steadfast love.

1 Samuel 2.27-35
A man of God came to Eli and said to him, ‘Thus the Lord has said, “I revealed myself to the family of your ancestor in Egypt when they were slaves to the house of Pharaoh. I chose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to offer incense, to wear an ephod before me; and I gave to the family of your ancestor all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. Why then look with greedy eye at my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honour your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?” Therefore the Lord the God of Israel declares: “I promised that your family and the family of your ancestor should go in and out before me for ever”; but now the Lord declares: “Far be it from me; for those who honour me I will honour, and those who despise me shall be treated with contempt. See, a time is coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your ancestor’s family, so that no one in your family will live to old age. Then in distress you will look with greedy eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed upon Israel; and no one in your family shall ever live to old age. The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep out his eyes and grieve his heart; all the members of your household shall die by the sword. The fate of your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you—both of them shall die on the same day. I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed one for ever.

Acts 2.37-47
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’ Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.’ And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

The Collect
Almighty God, who in the place of the traitor Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the Twelve: preserve your Church from false apostles and, by the ministry of faithful pastors and teachers, keep us steadfast in your truth; 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.


Saturday, 12 May 2018

Morning Prayer - Saturday 12 May 2018

from the day after Ascension Day until the Day of Pentecost

Gregory Dix, Priest, Monk, Scholar, 1952

Psalm 21
The king shall rejoice in your strength, O Lord; how greatly shall he rejoice in your salvation! You have given him his heart’s desire and have not denied the request of his lips. For you come to meet him with blessings of goodness and set a crown of pure gold upon his head. He asked of you life and you gave it him, length of days, for ever and ever. His honour is great because of your salvation; glory and majesty have you laid upon him. You have granted him everlasting felicity and will make him glad with joy in your presence. For the king puts his trust in the Lord; because of the loving-kindness of the Most High, he shall not be overthrown.

Your hand shall mark down all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you. You will make them like a fiery oven in the time of your wrath; the Lord will swallow them up in his anger and the fire will consume them. Their fruit you will root out of the land and their seed from among its inhabitants. Because they intend evil against you and devise wicked schemes
which they cannot perform, You will put them to flight when you aim your bow at their faces.

Be exalted, O Lord, in your own might; we will make music and sing of your power.

Psalm 47
Clap your hands together, all you peoples; O sing to God with shouts of joy. For the Lord Most High is to be feared; he is the great King over all the earth. He subdued the peoples under us and the nations under our feet. He has chosen our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loves. God has gone up with a merry noise, the Lord with the sound of the trumpet. O sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.  For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with all your skill.

God reigns over the nations; God has taken his seat upon his holy throne.
The nobles of the peoples are gathered together with the people of the God of Abraham. For the powers of the earth belong to God and he is very highly exalted.

Numbers 21.4-9
From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.’ Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.’ So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

Luke 7.18-35
The disciples of John reported all these things to him. So John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’ When the men had come to him, they said, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” ’ Jesus had just then cured many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and had given sight to many who were blind. And he answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.’

When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who put on fine clothing and live in luxury are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.”

I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.’ (And all the people who heard this, including the tax-collectors, acknowledged the justice of God, because they had been baptized with John’s baptism. But by refusing to be baptized by him, the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves.)

‘To what then will I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the market-place and calling to one another,
“We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not weep.”

For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Nevertheless, wisdom is vindicated by all her children.’

The Collect
O God the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Learning the Church's Seasons "We don't do Ascension!"

I'm working hard to become a full-blown grumpy old goat (GOG) - if it was a postgraduate thing it'd be doctoral level - but there are days when I feel there's good reason for being one! And today i I feel that this might be the case as I bask in the shadow of grossly complacent Christian ignorance.

The reason for my reaching for the walking stick to wave at the miscreant believer complete with the words, "And I know there you live you know!" is the amazingly ease they possessed when they told me that their church doesn't 'do' Ascension! How can we claim to be Christian and not observing the Ascension?

Christianity has a distinct shape and feel about it. There are rhythms and events which communicate amazing truths. The church's liturgical year starts with Advent and ends with 'Christ the King'.


click for full-size image
There is a reason that we have the liturgical seasons: They teach us to understand, and create, a pattern which makes sense of the major events in the Christian faith. There are other feasts and festivals and commemorations which add to the picture, but the list above is a good starting place for the process of learning about our liturgy and the reasons we keep days as special.

So over the next few days we will be exploring and learning together the special times and seasons and hopefully by the end we will all have a better understanding of it all and some (who don't mark the Ascension) will begin to understand why this is a wrong practice.

See you shortly . . .


Morning Prayer - Friday 11 May 2018

from the day after Ascension Day until the Day of Pentecost

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


Psalm 81
Sing merrily to God our strength, shout for joy to the God of Jacob.
Take up the song and sound the timbrel, the tuneful lyre with the harp.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon, as at the full moon, upon our solemn feast day.
For this is a statute for Israel, a law of the God of Jacob,
The charge he laid on the people of Joseph, when they came out of the land of Egypt.

I heard a voice I did not know, that said:
‘I eased their shoulder from the burden; their hands were set free from bearing the load.
‘You called upon me in trouble and I delivered you; I answered you from the secret place of thunder and proved you at the waters of Meribah.
‘Hear, O my people, and I will admonish you: O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
‘There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not worship a foreign god.
‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide and I shall fill it.’
But my people would not hear my voice and Israel would not obey me.
So I sent them away in the stubbornness of their hearts, and let them walk after their own counsels.

O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!
Then I should soon put down their enemies and turn my hand against their adversaries.
Those who hate the Lord would be humbled before him, and their punishment would last for ever.
But Israel would I feed with the finest wheat and with honey from the rock would I satisfy them.

Numbers 20.1-13
The Israelites, the whole congregation, came into the wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh. Miriam died there, and was buried there.

Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and against Aaron. The people quarrelled with Moses and said, ‘Would that we had died when our kindred died before the Lord! Why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness for us and our livestock to die here? Why have you brought us up out of Egypt, to bring us to this wretched place? It is no place for grain, or figs, or vines, or pomegranates; and there is no water to drink.’ Then Moses and Aaron went away from the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting; they fell on their faces, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and your brother Aaron, and command the rock before their eyes to yield its water. Thus you shall bring water out of the rock for them; thus you shall provide drink for the congregation and their livestock.

So Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he had commanded him. Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, ‘Listen, you rebels, shall we bring water for you out of this rock?’ Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff; water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust in me, to show my holiness before the eyes of the Israelites, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.’ These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarrelled with the Lord, and by which he showed his holiness.

Luke 7.11-17
Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, ‘Young man, I say to you, rise!’ The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has risen among us!’ and ‘God has looked favourably on his people!’ This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.

The Collect
Risen, ascended Lord, as we rejoice at your triumph, fill your Church on earth with power and compassion, that all who are estranged by sin may find forgiveness and know your peace, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Thursday, 10 May 2018

When they ask, "What can I give God?"

This question was asked to me by someone who, over the past few weeks, has come to know the joy of knowing God and has seen their life transformed by it all. Telling me how everything had changed for the better since that first day they'd finally made the step into the church building they wanted to know what God might need them to do for Him as their response.



My answer was not, "Quick, fill out this standing order form," (the experience a new convert was subjected to) but to tell them the answer was, "Everything!" I then went on to explain that the words of Deuteronomy 6 we use at the Eucharist: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength," summed it up perfectly.

So often when we find people coming to Jesus and experiencing changes for the better we (or so it seems to me with my limited experience) push for the wrong things. We talk about being a committed member - but the last thing we need is for them to be committed (I've worked in mental health, believe me I know!) - we need them to be discipled!

We need to take our newbie on the journey which flows from meeting God to experiencing His love and life-changing power through to a committed and contemplative fullness of life in everything we are and do.

The challenge is that so many of us want to take our new folk off and fill them with knowledge. This something we've wrongly taken up as the norm thanks to the enlightenment project (Reformation) where the mantra, "If we understand it we can control it," rules the show. The reality is that rather than teach our people all the facts we need to teach them 'all the faith' and get them to experience all the feeling.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying, "Leave your brains at the door," that's something the world does and accuses the Church us of doing! We need to experience God in all His fullness and provide explanations which cause us to join the dots and to grow. We need to explain the basics and then explain as they find a question - and we need to encourage questions (for how else will they learn?).

I love the Acts story of the Ethiopian Eunuch coming to faith. Phillip asks him, "Do you understand what you are reading?" To which the Eunuch replies, "How can I, unless someone guides me?". This is the model of discipleship I love most:

1. Encourage them to meet God through the Gospel of Jesus, the Christ,

2. Ask they experience things, explain them and show them how to make the experience theirs,

3. Challenge their thinking so they develop a sound theology,

4. Wait for them to bring someone into Church and with the new person at step 1 repeat the process until the church building is full - then create another service or do Church in more than one place - repeat until the Church is full and the world is brought into relationship with God.



Enough writing - let's get out there and plunder hell (the place where humanity and God are forever separated).




Morning Prayer - Thursday 10 May 2018

Ascension Day

Psalm 110
The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’

May the Lord stretch forth the sceptre of your power; rule from Zion in the midst of your enemies. ‘Noble are you on this day of your birth; on the holy mountain, from the womb of the dawn the dew of your new birth is upon you.’

The Lord has sworn and will not retract: ‘You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.’

The king at your right hand, O Lord, shall smite down kings in the day of his wrath. In all his majesty, he shall judge among the nations, smiting heads over all the wide earth. He shall drink from the brook beside the way; therefore shall he lift high his head.

Psalm 150
Alleluia. O praise God in his holiness; praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts; praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the blast of the trumpet; praise him upon the harp and lyre. Praise him with timbrel and dances; praise him upon the strings and pipe. Praise him with ringing cymbals; praise him upon the clashing cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Alleluia.

Isaiah 52.7-15
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’

Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see the return of the Lord to Zion. Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of it, purify yourselves, you who carry the vessels of the Lord. For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rearguard.

See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. Just as there were many who were astonished at him—so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals—so he shall startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.

Hebrews 7.11-28
Now if perfection had been attainable through the levitical priesthood—for the people received the law under this priesthood—what further need would there have been to speak of another priest arising according to the order of Melchizedek, rather than one according to the order of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. Now the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.

It is even more obvious when another priest arises, resembling Melchizedek, one who has become a priest, not through a legal requirement concerning physical descent, but through the power of an indestructible life. For it is attested of him, ‘You are a priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek.’

There is, on the one hand, the abrogation of an earlier commandment because it was weak and ineffectual (for the law made nothing perfect); there is, on the other hand, the introduction of a better hope, through which we approach God.

This was confirmed with an oath; for others who became priests took their office without an oath, but this one became a priest with an oath, because of the one who said to him, ‘The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest for ever” ’— accordingly Jesus has also become the guarantee of a better covenant.

Furthermore, the former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.]

For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he has no need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for those of the people; this he did once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests those who are subject to weakness, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever.

The Collect
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens, so we in heart and mind may also ascend and with him continually dwell; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.