Thursday, 19 October 2017

Morning Prayer - Thursday 19 October 2017

Henry Martyn, Translator of the Scriptures, Missionary in India and Persia, 1812


Psalm 90
Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to another. Before the mountains were brought forth, or the earth and the world were formed, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You turn us back to dust and say: ‘Turn back, O children of earth.’ For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday, which passes like a watch in the night. You sweep them away like a dream; they fade away suddenly like the grass. In the morning it is green and flourishes; in the evening it is dried up and withered.

For we consume away in your displeasure; we are afraid at your wrathful indignation. You have set our misdeeds before you and our secret sins in the light of your countenance. When you are angry, all our days are gone; our years come to an end like a sigh. The days of our life are three score years and ten, or if our strength endures, even four score; yet the sum of them is but labour and sorrow, for they soon pass away and we are gone.

Who regards the power of your wrath and your indignation like those who fear you?
So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
Turn again, O Lord; how long will you delay?
Have compassion on your servants. Satisfy us with your loving-kindness in the morning; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Give us gladness for the days you have afflicted us, and for the years in which we have seen adversity. Show your servants your works, and let your glory be over their children.

May the gracious favour of the Lord our God be upon us; prosper our handiwork; O prosper the work of our hands.

Psalm 92
It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to your name, O Most High; To tell of your love early in the morning and of your faithfulness in the night-time, Upon the ten-stringed instrument, upon the harp, and to the melody of the lyre. For you, Lord, have made me glad by your acts, and I sing aloud at the works of your hands.

O Lord, how glorious are your works!
Your thoughts are very deep. The senseless do not know, nor do fools understand, That though the wicked sprout like grass and all the workers of iniquity flourish, It is only to be destroyed for ever; but you, O Lord, shall be exalted for evermore. For lo, your enemies, O Lord, lo, your enemies shall perish, and all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered. But my horn you have exalted like the horns of wild oxen; I am anointed with fresh oil.

My eyes will look down on my foes; my ears shall hear the ruin of the evildoers who rise up against me.
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, and shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon. Such as are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be vigorous and in full leaf; That they may show that the Lord is true; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

2 Chronicles 20.1-23
After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; already they are at Hazazon-tamar’ (that is, En-gedi). Jehoshaphat was afraid; he set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the towns of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said, ‘O Lord, God of our ancestors, are you not God in heaven? Do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? In your hand are power and might, so that no one is able to withstand you. Did you not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it for ever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? They have lived in it, and in it have built you a sanctuary for your name, saying, “If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgement, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house, and before you, for your name is in this house, and cry to you in our distress, and you will hear and save.” See now, the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession that you have given us to inherit. O our God, will you not execute judgement upon them? For we are powerless against this great multitude that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.’

Meanwhile all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. Then the spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the middle of the assembly. He said, ‘Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you: “Do not fear or be dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them; they will come up by the ascent of Ziz; you will find them at the end of the valley, before the wilderness of Jeruel. This battle is not for you to fight; take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.” Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.’

Then Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshipping the Lord. And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

They rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God and you will be established; believe his prophets.’ When he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy splendour, as they went before the army, saying,
‘Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures for ever.’

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the Ammonites, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the Ammonites and Moab attacked the inhabitants of Mount Seir, destroying them utterly; and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.

Mark 15.42-end
When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.

The Collect
Almighty God, who by your Holy Spirit gave Henry Martyn a longing to tell the good news of Christ and skill to translate the Scriptures: by the same Spirit give us grace to offer you our gifts, wherever you may lead, at whatever the cost; 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, 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




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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.