Saturday, 22 October 2016

Morning Prayer - Saturday 22 October 2016

Psalm 20
May the Lord hear you in the day of trouble, the name of the God of Jacob defend you; Send you help from his sanctuary and strengthen you out of Zion; Remember all your offerings and accept your burnt sacrifice; Grant you your heart’s desire and fulfil all your mind. May we rejoice in your salvation and triumph in the name of our God; may the Lord perform all your petitions. Now I know that the Lord will save his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven, with the mighty strength of his right hand.

Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will call only on the name of the Lord our God. They are brought down and fallen, but we are risen and stand upright.

O Lord, save the king and answer us when we call upon you.

Psalm 21
The king shall rejoice in your strength, O Lord; how greatly shall he rejoice in your salvation!

You have given him his heart’s desire and have not denied the request of his lips. For you come to meet him with blessings of goodness and set a crown of pure gold upon his head. He asked of you life and you gave it him, length of days, for ever and ever.

His honour is great because of your salvation; glory and majesty have you laid upon him. You have granted him everlasting felicity and will make him glad with joy in your presence. For the king puts his trust in the Lord; because of the loving-kindness of the Most High, he shall not be overthrown.

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

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

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; therefore can I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.
He shall refresh my soul and guide me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; you have anointed my head with oil and my cup shall be full.
Surely goodness and loving mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Leviticus 17
The Lord spoke to Moses:
Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the people of Israel and say to them: This is what the Lord has commanded. If anyone of the house of Israel slaughters an ox or a lamb or a goat in the camp, or slaughters it outside the camp, and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, to present it as an offering to the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord, he shall be held guilty of bloodshed; he has shed blood, and he shall be cut off from the people. This is in order that the people of Israel may bring their sacrifices that they offer in the open field, that they may bring them to the Lord, to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and offer them as sacrifices of well-being to the Lord. The priest shall dash the blood against the altar of the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and turn the fat into smoke as a pleasing odor to the Lord, so that they may no longer offer their sacrifices for goat-demons, to whom they prostitute themselves. This shall be a statute forever to them throughout their generations.

And say to them further: Anyone of the house of Israel or of the aliens who reside among them who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice, and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, to sacrifice it to the Lord, shall be cut off from the people.

If anyone of the house of Israel or of the aliens who reside among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood, and will cut that person off from the people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you for making atonement for your lives on the altar; for, as life, it is the blood that makes atonement. Therefore I have said to the people of Israel: No person among you shall eat blood, nor shall any alien who resides among you eat blood. And anyone of the people of Israel, or of the aliens who reside among them, who hunts down an animal or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth.

For the life of every creature—its blood is its life; therefore I have said to the people of Israel: You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off. All persons, citizens or aliens, who eat what dies of itself or what has been torn by wild animals, shall wash their clothes, and bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the evening; then they shall be clean. But if they do not wash themselves or bathe their body, they shall bear their guilt.

2 Timothy 3
You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid them! For among them are those who make their way into households and captivate silly women, overwhelmed by their sins and swayed by all kinds of desires, who are always being instructed and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these people, of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith, also oppose the truth. But they will not make much progress, because, as in the case of those two men, their folly will become plain to everyone.

Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions, and my suffering the things that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But wicked people and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

The Collect
Almighty God, in whose service lies perfect freedom: teach us to obey you with loving hearts and steadfast wills; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Aberfan - 50 years on

And the pain will not have subsided;

not for those who lost children;

not for those who lost family members;

not for those who lost schoolmates and contemporaries and survived that day;

not for those who feel the resonance for themselves in the loss of a child.

not for a community that was irreparably and awfully changed in that moment in time marked today fifty years on.

Today at 9:15 - please stop and spare a moment to think, and pray, over those who are gone and those who remain.

As we enter our season of remembrance just a little earlier than usual with this - make time to pray for the repose of those gone and the presence of God's healing power in those who remain.

Morning Prayer - Friday 21 October 2016

Psalm 17
Hear my just cause, O Lord; consider my complaint; listen to my prayer, which comes not from lying lips. Let my vindication come forth from your presence; let your eyes behold what is right.

Weigh my heart, examine me by night, refine me, and you will find no impurity in me.
My mouth does not trespass for earthly rewards; I have heeded the words of your lips.
My footsteps hold fast in the ways of your commandments; my feet have not stumbled in your paths.

I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me; incline your ear to me, and listen to my words. 7 Show me your marvellous loving-kindness, O Saviour of those who take refuge at your right hand from those who rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me under the shadow of your wings, From the wicked who assault me, from my enemies who surround me to take away my life. They have closed their heart to pity and their mouth speaks proud things. They press me hard, they surround me on every side, watching how they may cast me to the ground, Like a lion that is greedy for its prey, like a young lion lurking in secret places.

Arise, Lord; confront them and cast them down; deliver me from the wicked by your sword. Deliver me, O Lord, by your hand from those whose portion in life is unending, Whose bellies you fill with your treasure, who are well supplied with children and leave their wealth to their little ones.

As for me, I shall see your face in righteousness; when I awake and behold your likeness, I shall be satisfied.

Psalm 19
The heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. One day pours out its song to another and one night unfolds knowledge to another. They have neither speech nor language and their voices are not heard, Yet their sound has gone out into all lands and their words to the ends of the world.  In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun, that comes forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber and rejoices as a champion to run his course. It goes forth from the end of the heavens and runs to the very end again, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure and gives wisdom to the simple.
The statutes of the Lord are right and rejoice the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure and gives light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean and endures for ever; the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, more than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey, dripping from the honeycomb. By them also is your servant taught and in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can tell how often they offend?
O cleanse me from my secret faults!

Keep your servant also from presumptuous sins lest they get dominion over me; so shall I be undefiled, and innocent of great offence. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Leviticus 16.2-24
The Lord said to Moses:
Tell your brother Aaron not to come just at any time into the sanctuary inside the curtain before the mercy seat that is upon the ark, or he will die; for I appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and shall have the linen undergarments next to his body, fasten the linen sash, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy vestments. He shall bathe his body in water, and then put them on. He shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.

Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting; and Aaron shall cast lots on the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel. Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord, and offer it as a sin offering; but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.

Aaron shall present the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house; he shall slaughter the bull as a sin offering for himself. He shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of crushed sweet incense, and he shall bring it inside the curtain and put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the covenant, or he will die. He shall take some of the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times.

He shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the curtain, and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it upon the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. Thus he shall make atonement for the sanctuary, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel, and because of their transgressions, all their sins; and so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which remains with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. No one shall be in the tent of meeting from the time he enters to make atonement in the sanctuary until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel. Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord and make atonement on its behalf, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the blood of the goat, and put it on each of the horns of the altar. He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and hallow it from the uncleannesses of the people of Israel.

When he has finished atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. Then Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and sending it away into the wilderness by means of someone designated for the task. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a barren region; and the goat shall be set free in the wilderness.

Then Aaron shall enter the tent of meeting, and shall take off the linen vestments that he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there. He shall bathe his body in water in a holy place, and put on his vestments; then he shall come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, making atonement for himself and for the people.

2 Timothy 2.14-end
Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more impiety, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his’, and, ‘Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.’

In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary. All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work. Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and that they may escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

The Collect
Grant, we beseech you, merciful Lord, to your faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins and serve you with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Morning Prayer - Thursday 20 October 2016

Psalm 14
The fool has said in his heart,‘There is no God.’ Corrupt are they, and abominable in their wickedness; there is no one that does good.

The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the children of earth, to see if there is anyone who is wise and seeks after God. But every one has turned back; all alike have become corrupt: there is none that does good; no, not one. Have they no knowledge, those evildoers, who eat up my people as if they ate bread and do not call upon the Lord?

There shall they be in great fear; for God is in the company of the righteous. Though they would confound the counsel of the poor, yet the Lord shall be their refuge. O that Israel’s salvation would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, then will Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.

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

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

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

Leviticus 9
On the eighth day Moses summoned Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. He said to Aaron, “Take a bull calf for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the Lord. And say to the people of Israel, ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering; a calf and a lamb, yearlings without blemish, for a burnt offering; and an ox and a ram for an offering of well-being to sacrifice before the Lord; and a grain offering mixed with oil. For today the Lord will appear to you.’” They brought what Moses commanded to the front of the tent of meeting; and the whole congregation drew near and stood before the Lord. And Moses said, “This is the thing that the Lord commanded you to do, so that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” Then Moses said to Aaron, “Draw near to the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people; and sacrifice the offering of the people, and make atonement for them; as the Lord has commanded.”

Aaron drew near to the altar, and slaughtered the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself. The sons of Aaron presented the blood to him, and he dipped his finger in the blood and put it on the horns of the altar; and the rest of the blood he poured out at the base of the altar. But the fat, the kidneys, and the appendage of the liver from the sin offering he turned into smoke on the altar, as the Lord commanded Moses; and the flesh and the skin he burned with fire outside the camp.

Then he slaughtered the burnt offering. Aaron’s sons brought him the blood, and he dashed it against all sides of the altar. And they brought him the burnt offering piece by piece, and the head, which he turned into smoke on the altar. He washed the entrails and the legs and, with the burnt offering, turned them into smoke on the altar.

Next he presented the people’s offering. He took the goat of the sin offering that was for the people, and slaughtered it, and presented it as a sin offering like the first one. He presented the burnt offering, and sacrificed it according to regulation. He presented the grain offering, and, taking a handful of it, he turned it into smoke on the altar, in addition to the burnt offering of the morning.

He slaughtered the ox and the ram as a sacrifice of well-being for the people. Aaron’s sons brought him the blood, which he dashed against all sides of the altar, and the fat of the ox and of the ram—the broad tail, the fat that covers the entrails, the two kidneys and the fat on them, and the appendage of the liver. They first laid the fat on the breasts, and the fat was turned into smoke on the altar; and the breasts and the right thigh Aaron raised as an elevation offering before the Lord, as Moses had commanded.

Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them; and he came down after sacrificing the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the offering of well-being. Moses and Aaron entered the tent of meeting, and then came out and blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. Fire came out from the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.

2 Timothy 1.15-2.13
You are aware that all who are in Asia have turned away from me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chain; when he arrived in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me — may the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! And you know very well how much service he rendered in Ephesus.

You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. Share in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday ; the soldier’s aim is to please the enlisting officer. And in the case of an athlete, no one is crowned without competing according to the rules. It is the farmer who does the work who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in all things.

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

The saying is sure:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he will also deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny himself.

The Collect
Almighty God, in whose service lies perfect freedom: teach us to obey you with loving hearts and steadfast wills; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Morning Prayer - Wednesday 19 October 2016

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

Psalm 119.1-32
Blessed are those whose way is pure, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his testimonies and seek him with their whole heart, those who do no wickedness, but walk in his ways. You, O Lord, have charged that we should diligently keep your commandments.

O that my ways were made so direct that I might keep your statutes. Then should I not be put to shame, because I have regard for all your commandments.
I will thank you with an unfeigned heart, when I have learned your righteous judgements.
I will keep your statutes; O forsake me not utterly.
How shall young people cleanse their way to keep themselves according to your word?

With my whole heart have I sought you; O let me not go astray from your commandments. Your words have I hidden within my heart, that I should not sin against you.

Blessed are you, O Lord; O teach me your statutes.
With my lips have I been telling of all the judgements of your mouth. I have taken greater delight in the way of your testimonies than in all manner of riches. I will meditate on your commandments and contemplate your ways. My delight shall be in your statutes and I will not forget your word.

O do good to your servant that I may live, and so shall I keep your word. Open my eyes, that I may see the wonders of your law.

I am a stranger upon earth; hide not your commandments from me. My soul is consumed at all times with fervent longing for your judgements.
You have rebuked the arrogant; cursed are those who stray from your commandments. Turn from me shame and rebuke, for I have kept your testimonies. Rulers also sit and speak against me, but your servant meditates on your statutes. For your testimonies are my delight; they are my faithful counsellors.

My soul cleaves to the dust; O give me life according to your word. I have acknowledged my ways and you have answered me; O teach me your statutes. Make me understand the way of your commandments, and so shall I meditate on your wondrous works. My soul melts away in tears of sorrow; raise me up according to your word. Take from me the way of falsehood; be gracious to me through your law. I have chosen the way of truth and your judgements have I laid before me. I hold fast to your testimonies; O Lord, let me not be put to shame. I will run the way of your commandments, when you have set my heart at liberty.

Leviticus 8
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Take Aaron and his sons with him, the vestments, the anointing oil, the bull of sin offering, the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread; and assemble the whole congregation at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And Moses did as the Lord commanded him. When the congregation was assembled at the entrance of the tent of meeting, Moses said to the congregation, “This is what the Lord has commanded to be done.”

Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward, and washed them with water. He put the tunic on him, fastened the sash around him, clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod on him. He then put the decorated band of the ephod around him, tying the ephod to him with it. He placed the breastpiece on him, and in the breastpiece he put the Urim and the Thummim. And he set the turban on his head, and on the turban, in front, he set the golden ornament, the holy crown, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the basin and its base, to consecrate them. He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him. And Moses brought forward Aaron’s sons, and clothed them with tunics, and fastened sashes around them, and tied headdresses on them, as the Lord commanded Moses.

He led forward the bull of sin offering; and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bull of sin offering, and it was slaughtered. Moses took the blood and with his finger put some on each of the horns of the altar, purifying the altar; then he poured out the blood at the base of the altar. Thus he consecrated it, to make atonement for it. Moses took all the fat that was around the entrails, and the appendage of the liver, and the two kidneys with their fat, and turned them into smoke on the altar. But the bull itself, its skin and flesh and its dung, he burned with fire outside the camp, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Then he brought forward the ram of burnt offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram, and it was slaughtered. Moses dashed the blood against all sides of the altar. The ram was cut into its parts, and Moses turned into smoke the head and the parts and the suet. And after the entrails and the legs were washed with water, Moses turned into smoke the whole ram on the altar; it was a burnt offering for a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Then he brought forward the second ram, the ram of ordination. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram, and it was slaughtered. Moses took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. After Aaron’s sons were brought forward, Moses put some of the blood on the lobes of their right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet; and Moses dashed the rest of the blood against all sides of the altar. He took the fat—the broad tail, all the fat that was around the entrails, the appendage of the liver, and the two kidneys with their fat—and the right thigh. From the basket of unleavened bread that was before the Lord, he took one cake of unleavened bread, one cake of bread with oil, and one wafer, and placed them on the fat and on the right thigh. He placed all these on the palms of Aaron and on the palms of his sons, and raised them as an elevation offering before the Lord. Then Moses took them from their hands and turned them into smoke on the altar with the burnt offering. This was an ordination offering for a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the Lord. Moses took the breast and raised it as an elevation offering before the Lord; it was Moses’ portion of the ram of ordination, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood that was on the altar and sprinkled them on Aaron and his vestments, and also on his sons and their vestments. Thus he consecrated Aaron and his vestments, and also his sons and their vestments.

And Moses said to Aaron and his sons, “Boil the flesh at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and eat it there with the bread that is in the basket of ordination offerings, as I was commanded, ‘Aaron and his sons shall eat it’; and what remains of the flesh and the bread you shall burn with fire. You shall not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the day when your period of ordination is completed. For it will take seven days to ordain you; as has been done today, the Lord has commanded to be done to make atonement for you. You shall remain at the entrance of the tent of meeting day and night for seven days, keeping the Lord’s charge so that you do not die; for so I am commanded.” Aaron and his sons did all the things that the Lord commanded through Moses.

2 Timothy 1.1-14
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.

Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

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.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Morning Prayer - Tuesday 18 October 2016

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
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.

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.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Can't make it to church - 16 October 2016,

Last Sunday's readings provided us with some real challenges as we take a look at Jacob as he is to be found in the book of Genesis and perhaps, like me, you'll probably soon come to the conclusion that he's a bit dodgy; so dodgy that he's had to run from his own family! The odd thing is that God seems to continually bless him - how odd is that, surely God wouldn't side with a bloke like this, would He?  But God does because underneath all the dodgy there is thoughtful and considered, a man with an eye to God with a willingness to engage and dialogue and walk with Him - gives many of us a bit of hope when God can deal so well with another, hopefully not equally flawed person, doesn't it?

So here we are, Jacob's been 'on the lam' for some twenty years and is coming home and wondering whether Esau, the brother he's cheated out of everything that matters, is holding a grudge. So he sends a message to say he is coming only to get the reply, "Esau says he's coming - and he's got four hundred men with him." Now this doesn't sound like Esau has forgiven and forgotten so Joseph divides up his possessions so that if things kick off he can escape with some of his stuff and family members and then he has a chat with God, after all - that's the reason he has come back home, because God  said that if he did he would prosper, Don't look likely with four hundred men of their way, does it?

So there he is, everyone's packed off in case there's trouble when this man appears and they wrestle (contend) with each other until dawn when the man (whom Jacob later says is God Himself) says it's time to pack it in. But Jacob tells the man that he won't let go unless he gets a blessing - and he not only gets the blessing (eventually) but a new name: Israel (one who contends) and the place is called 'Peniel' (face or vision of God).

But let's not forget the limp - we can't contend with God without bearing some mark - something for others to see and something to make sure we don't forget the encounter. Here we have a man who assumes all is lost and he is desperate - but he's also been obedient and gone back home as God told Him. Where are your desperate places today? Where do you need to meet God and contend - are you will to persevere and battle as Jacob did - for regardless of the man's dodgy character there is also a perseverance and engaging with God that I am sure few of us have.

Or do we? Isn't this what the Gospel passage is about? Contending and persisting?

We have a woman who wants justice; deliverance from her situation; but the judge is unmoved by her cries. He doesn't care about her or God and yet, because she persists she ends up getting justice. This is a key passage for all of us because so often we lose heart and give up asking - but this woman, like Jacob, persists! This is how we should be praying - this is about praying, believing and persistence: Isn't that what we have in the Jacob story?

Persistence isn't about God not hearing or responding but is about us taking the issue seriously - for if we really think something is important it will be to the forefront of our mind and will feature large - and that means we pray for it in a committed and engaged way.

Oddly perhaps, persistence is not the sign of blind faith that some assume it to be - for it is faith that there is someone to hear the petition, faith that acknowledges that the need can (and will) be met, and this demands something more that a 'cat's lick and a promise,' (as my Mum used to say when there had been no consistency or true engagement with the issue before us).

And this takes us into our 2 Timothy reading. Now will we find a consistent theme here or will it be something else?

Well, no shocks here for this is about Timothy persevering; "Continuing with what he has learned and become convinced of." He is told to look to the Scriptures because in these are the key to salvation and persistent study of them bring wisdom, teaching, correcting and cautioning others and teaching us to become righteous, that is 'like God and pleasing to Him." Are we persistent when it comes to taking up our Bibles and applying all Paul says of it to ourselves and others?

Having faith in Jesus, the Christ, we persevere, preaching Him 'in and out of season' - we are to persevere in our task of making the Christ known in our own lives and in the lives of others; avoiding those who tickle our ears with their distractions.  We are to persist, even though the journey is long and the opposition often long and hard against us.

So today, what is your need?

Where do you put your faith, and how do you contend when difficulty comes?

How are you persevering?

The Collect (that prayer which 'collects up' all our thoughts and helps us to focus, is a bit of a help here:
Almighty God, in whose service lies perfect freedom: teach us to obey you with loving hearts and steadfast wills; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Genesis 32:3-31
Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. He instructed them: “This is what you are to say to my lord Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there till now. I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, male and female servants. Now I am sending this message to my lord, that I may find favor in your eyes.’”

When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”

In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups, and the flocks and herds and camels as well. He thought, “If Esau comes and attacks one group, the group that is left may escape.”

Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’”

He spent the night there, and from what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau: two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. He put them in the care of his servants, each herd by itself, and said to his servants, “Go ahead of me, and keep some space between the herds.”

He instructed the one in the lead: “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who do you belong to, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you?’ then you are to say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.’”

He also instructed the second, the third and all the others who followed the herds: “You are to say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. And be sure to say, ‘Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.’” For he thought, “I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me.” So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent the night in the camp.

That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.

2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

Luke 18:1-8
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Post Communion Prayer
Father of light, in whom is no change or shadow of turning, you give us every good and perfect gift and have brought us to birth by your word of truth: may we be a living sign of that kingdom where your whole creation will be made perfect in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Morning Prayer - Monday 17 October 2016

Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, Martyr, c.107107

Psalm 1
Blessed are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the assembly of the scornful. Their delight is in the law of the Lord and they meditate on his law day and night.  Like a tree planted by streams of water bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither, whatever they do, it shall prosper. As for the wicked, it is not so with them; they are like chaff which the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked shall not be able to stand in the judgement, nor the sinner in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked shall perish.

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 3
Lord, how many are my adversaries; many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say to my soul, ‘There is no help for you in your God.’
But you, Lord, are a shield about me; you are my glory, and the lifter up of my head.

When I cry aloud to the Lord, he will answer me from his holy hill; I lie down and sleep and rise again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not be afraid of hordes of the peoples that have set themselves against me all around. Rise up, O Lord, and deliver me, O my God, for you strike all my enemies on the cheek and break the teeth of the wicked.

Salvation belongs to the Lord: may your blessing be upon your people.

Exodus 22.21-27
You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. You shall not abuse any widow or orphan. If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry; my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children orphans.

 If you lend money to my people, to the poor among you, you shall not deal with them as a creditor; you shall not exact interest from them. If you take your neighbour’s cloak in pawn, you shall restore it before the sun goes down; for it may be your neighbour’s only clothing to use as cover; in what else shall that person sleep? And if your neighbour cries out to me, I will listen, for I am compassionate.

1 Timothy 6.1-10
Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honour, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful to them on the ground that they are members of the church; rather they must serve them all the more, since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved.

Teach and urge these duties. Whoever teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness, is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words. From these come envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among those who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

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.