Monday, 22 January 2018

Morning Prayer - Monday 22 January 2018

Vincent of Saragossa, Deacon, first Martyr of Spain, 304
Fifth Day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Epiphany Season

Psalm 40
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me out of the roaring pit, out of the mire and clay; he set my feet upon a rock and made my footing sure. He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many shall see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not turn to the proud that follow a lie. Great are the wonders you have done, O Lord my God. How great your designs for us! There is none that can be compared with you. If I were to proclaim them and tell of them they would be more than I am able to express.

Sacrifice and offering you do not desire but my ears you have opened;
Burnt offering and sacrifice for sin you have not required; then said I:
‘Lo, I come. In the scroll of the book it is written of me that I should do your will, O my God; I delight to do it: your law is within my heart.’

I have declared your righteousness in the great congregation; behold, I did not restrain my lips, and that, O Lord, you know. Your righteousness I have not hidden in my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your loving-kindness and truth from the great congregation.

Do not withhold your compassion from me, O Lord; let your love and your faithfulness always preserve me, For innumerable troubles have come about me; my sins have overtaken me so that I cannot look up; they are more in number than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails me.

Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me. Let them be ashamed and altogether dismayed who seek after my life to destroy it;
let them be driven back and put to shame who wish me evil.
Let those who heap insults upon me be desolate because of their shame.
Let all who seek you rejoice in you and be glad;
let those who love your salvation say always, ‘The Lord is great.’

Though I am poor and needy, the Lord cares for me. You are my helper and my deliverer; O my God, make no delay.

Psalm 108
My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready; I will sing and give you praise.
Awake, my soul; awake, harp and lyre, that I may awaken the dawn.
I will give you thanks, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praise to you among the nations.
For your loving-kindness is as high as the heavens and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens and your glory over all the earth. That your beloved may be delivered, save us by your right hand and answer me.

God has spoken in his holiness:
‘I will triumph and divide Shechem and share out the valley of Succoth.
‘Gilead is mine and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet and Judah my sceptre.
‘Moab shall be my washpot, over Edom will I cast my sandal, across Philistia will I shout in triumph.’

Who will lead me into the strong city?
Who will bring me into Edom?
Have you not cast us off, O God?
Will you no longer go forth with our troops?

O grant us your help against the enemy, for earthly help is in vain. Through God will we do great acts, for it is he that shall tread down our enemies.

Genesis 11.27-12.9
Now these are the descendants of Terah. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot. Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. Abram and Nahor took wives; the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah. She was the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah. Now Sarai was barren; she had no child.

Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan; but when they came to Haran, they settled there. The days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.
Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he moved on to the hill country on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and invoked the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed on by stages towards the Negeb.

Matthew 26.1-16
When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, ‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.’

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and they conspired to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, ‘Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.’

Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, ‘Why this waste? For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.’ But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ‘Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.’
Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I betray him to you?’ They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

The Collect
Almighty God, whose Son revealed in signs and miracles the wonder of your saving presence: renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your mighty power; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Saturday, 20 January 2018

Morning Prayer - Saturday, 20 January 2018

Epiphany Season
Richard Rolle of Hampole, Spiritual Writer, 1349
Third Day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Psalm 122
I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’
And now our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem; Jerusalem, built as a city that is at unity in itself. Thither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as is decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. For there are set the thrones of judgement, the thrones of the house of David.

O pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
‘May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls and tranquillity within your palaces.’
For my kindred and companions’ sake, I will pray that peace be with you.
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek to do you good.

Psalm 128
Blessed are all those who fear the Lord, and walk in his ways.
You shall eat the fruit of the toil of your hands; it shall go well with you, and happy shall you be. Your wife within your house shall be like a fruitful vine; your children round your table, like fresh olive branches. Thus shall the one be blest who fears the Lord.
The Lord from out of Zion bless you, that you may see Jerusalem in prosperity all the days of your life. May you see your children’s children, and may there be peace upon Israel.

Genesis 11.1-9
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’ The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. And the Lord said, ‘Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

Matthew 25.31-end
‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’


The Collect
Eternal Lord, our beginning and our end bring us with the whole creation to your glory, hidden through past ages and made known in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Friday, 19 January 2018

Morning Prayer - Friday 19 January 2018

Epiphany Season 
Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095
Second Day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Psalm 27
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life of whom then shall I be afraid?

When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not be afraid, and though there rise up war against me, yet will I put my trust in him.

One thing have I asked of the Lord and that alone I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the fair beauty of the Lord and to seek his will in his temple. For in the day of trouble he shall hide me in his shelter; in the secret place of his dwelling shall he hide me and set me high upon a rock. And now shall he lift up my head above my enemies round about me; Therefore will I offer in his dwelling an oblation with great gladness; I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Hear my voice, O Lord, when I call; have mercy upon me and answer me.
My heart tells of your word, ‘Seek my face.’ Your face, Lord, will I seek. Hide not your face from me, nor cast your servant away in displeasure. You have been my helper; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. Though my father and my mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.

Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me on a level path, because of those who lie in wait for me.
Deliver me not into the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me, and those who breathe out violence.

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and he shall comfort your heart; wait patiently for the Lord.

Psalm 149
Alleluia.
O sing to the Lord a new song; sing his praise in the congregation of the faithful.
Let Israel rejoice in their maker; let the children of Zion be joyful in their king.
Let them praise his name in the dance; let them sing praise to him with timbrel and lyre.
For the Lord has pleasure in his people and adorns the poor with salvation.

Let the faithful be joyful in glory; let them rejoice in their ranks, With the praises of God in their mouths and a two-edged sword in their hands;
To execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples;
To bind their kings in chains and their nobles with fetters of iron;
To execute on them the judgement decreed: such honour have all his faithful servants.
Alleluia.

Genesis 9.8-19
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, ‘As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.’

The sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah; and from these the whole earth was peopled.

Matthew 25.14-30
‘For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.

Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, “Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, “Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.”

His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, “Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.”

But his master replied, “You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The Collect
Lord God, who raised up Wulfstan to be a bishop among your people and a leader of your Church: help us, after his example, to live simply, to work diligently and to make your kingdom known; 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, 18 January 2018

Morning Prayer - Thursday 18 January 2018

Epiphany Season
Amy Carmichael, Founder of the Dohnavur Fellowship, Spiritual Writer, 1951
First Day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Psalm 76
In Judah God is known; his name is great in Israel.
At Salem is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion.
There broke he the flashing arrows of the bow, the shield, the sword and the weapons of war.

In the light of splendour you appeared, glorious from the eternal mountains.
The boastful were plundered; they have slept their sleep; none of the warriors can lift their hand.
At your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both horse and chariot fell stunned.

Terrible are you in majesty: who can stand before your face when you are angry?
You caused your judgement to be heard from heaven; the earth trembled and was still,
When God arose to judgement, to save all the meek upon earth.

You crushed the wrath of the peoples and bridled the wrathful remnant.
Make a vow to the Lord your God and keep it;
let all who are round about him bring gifts to him that is worthy to be feared.
He breaks down the spirit of princes and strikes terror in the kings of the earth.

Psalm 148
Alleluia.
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you his angels;
praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you stars of light.
Praise him, heaven of heavens, and you waters above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of the Lord; for he commanded and they were created.
He made them fast for ever and ever; he gave them a law which shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and mist, tempestuous wind, fulfilling his word;
Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars;
Wild beasts and all cattle, creeping things and birds on the wing;
Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the world;
Young men and women, old and young together; let them praise the name of the Lord.
For his name only is exalted, his splendour above earth and heaven.
He has raised up the horn of his people and praise for all his faithful servants,
the children of Israel, a people who are near him.
Alleluia.

Genesis 8.15-9.7
Then God said to Noah, ‘Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.’ So Noah went out with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. And every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out of the ark by families.

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelt the pleasing odour, the Lord said in his heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.

As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.’

God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: from every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life.

Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed; for in his own image God made humankind. And you, be fruitful and multiply, abound on the earth and multiply in it.’

Matthew 25.1-13
‘Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, “Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise replied, “No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.” And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, “Lord, lord, open to us.” But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you.” Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

The Collect
Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new: transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly 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.


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Morning Prayer - Wednesday 17 January 2018

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

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

But my people would not hear my voice and Israel would not obey me. So I sent them away in the stubbornness of their hearts, and let them walk after their own counsels.

O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!
Then I should soon put down their enemies and turn my hand against their adversaries.

Those who hate the Lord would be humbled before him, and their punishment would last for ever. But Israel would I feed with the finest wheat and with honey from the rock would I satisfy them.

Psalm 147.13-end
Sing praise to the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion; For he has strengthened the bars of your gates and has blest your children within you.
He has established peace in your borders and satisfies you with the finest wheat.
He sends forth his command to the earth and his word runs very swiftly.
He gives snow like wool and scatters the hoarfrost like ashes.
He casts down his hailstones like morsels of bread; who can endure his frost? R
He sends forth his word and melts them; he blows with his wind and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and judgements to Israel.
He has not dealt so with any other nation; they do not know his laws.
Alleluia.

Genesis 8.1-14
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided; the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters gradually receded from the earth. At the end of one hundred and fifty days the waters had abated; and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. The waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared.

At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent out the raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark; and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days, and sent out the dove; and it did not return to him any more.

In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and saw that the face of the ground was drying. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry.

Matthew 24.29-end

‘Immediately after the suffering of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken.

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven” with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
‘But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

‘Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. But if that wicked slave says to himself, “My master is delayed”, and he begins to beat his fellow-slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The Collect
Most gracious God, who called your servant Antony to sell all that he had and to serve you in the solitude of the desert: by his example may we learn to deny ourselves and to love you before all things; 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, 16 January 2018

Can't make it to church - Sunday 14 January 2018

In a season where Church looks at Jesus being revealed to the world we have some interesting readings before us today. The first talks of being ‘Called by God’ (literally).

The Samuel story opens with a woman, Hannah, who is barren (considered to be a curse in OT times). She is so caught up in praying for a child that the priest, Eli, assumes she’s drunk and treats her with contempt. BUT once understands he tells her that her prayers have been fruitful and she becomes pregnant and has a son, Samuel. When Samuel is born Hannah dedicates him to the LORD (meaning YHWH – God almighty) and hands him over to serve God in the temple. This is an act of dedication and recognition that our children are not only a gift from God, but His (wonder how many of us have thought like this?).

Now this was a time when God wasn’t speaking much (‘the word of the LORD was rare) and people had cast off discretion and restraint and were doing what they thought was ‘right in their own eyes’ (that means doing what they fancied doing). Samuel is sleeping in the temple near the ark of the covenant (Eli is sleeping in the next room) when he is woken by someone calling him so he goes and asks Eli what he wants, only to be told to go back to sleep. This happens three times before Eli realises that the voice is God’s and so he tells Samuel to tell the LORD to speak as he’s listening.
What a pain that is, for having seen the trailer we want to get the whole story. But although Samuel goes on to be an amazing prophet and battler for God, the point made is that being called requires the ability to hear, recognise and respond.

Not only that but (as we will find later) Eli’s sons were ‘doing their own thing’ and so God just moved on past them and chose Samuel. Which is a second important point – If you want to be called and used then make sure you’re living for God and that you’re living right. If you’re not then the call may never be yours!

And a third point: Samuel’s call came in the middle of the night but he reacted and responded. Don’t expect a ticker-tape parade to announce calling for it may come in a still small voice: Are you listening?    So the first word has to be Calling!

Let’s have a look at the Revelation reading to see what it might have to say to us and what word/s we might be able to add to our list today:

The ‘one’ sitting on the throne (God the Father) holds a scroll in His opened right hand – the ‘opened’ part is important, it was waiting to be taken - the hand wasn’t clenched, was it – but there was none worthy? There is additional meaning in the fact that there was writing on both sides – the scroll was completeness itself, so there was no need to add more. This was a document of note, for it conferred much and yet, as accessible as seven seals which no one in heaven or on earth or under it (hell) could break; they couldn’t even sneak a peek at the contents!
One of the elders tells how the ‘Lion of Judah’ who is the ‘root of David’ has won the battle. Now this identifies the victor to be Jesus (Isaiah 11) who is both ‘Son of David’ (a descendent of David) and also God (David’s line comes from Him) (the root).

The term ‘root and branch’, in management language is a ‘complete process which changes the very nature and being of something’. The process of the invisible God not only becoming visible but also fully human is therefore, by that definition a ‘root and branch’ experience. For this Jesus has truly ‘won the battle’! Jesus has beaten the powers of darkness and so is worthy to ‘open the book’.

Then the writer tells of how he sees a lamb in the middle of the assembled gathering with the evidence of battle scars (hands, head and feet?). Revelation is an amazing book on many levels for there is imagery, numerology and more besides in it. It’s what we call ‘apocalyptic’ – meaning it reveals something otherwise hidden –this is evident in the ‘seven horns and eyes’ reference for the number ‘seven’ is, in numerology, the number of perfection. This part talks of power and watchfulness. Shorthand for everywhere and all - powerful!

Jesus takes the scroll - an act of submission to, and recognition of, His calling and unity with God and a statement of power – an act of proclamation that Jesus is worthy to take the scroll and break the seals; for He has paid the ransom for all people. People from every tribe, people, nation, and tongue. Jesus has made them one with the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)

So many words here: Commitment, Calling, Sacrifice, Personal Cost, Scars, Death, Worthy, Heroic! I’ll let you think of which one you wouldn’t like to have used about you.

And that brings us to the Gospel reading and in a season which speaks of Jesus being ’revealed’, the revelation here confuses many of us as Jesus, setting out for Galilee, bumps into Philip and tells him to ‘follow Him’. To put it into context, this is happening the day after John has identified Jesus as the ‘Lamb of God’.

Philip goes to Nathanael how he has found the one Moses and the prophets spoke about and in doing so mentions Galilee. Now this brings the retort from Philip, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (What a great put down!) But Philip is not put off, but tells Nathanael to Come and See!”

Now it’s not what Jesus says to Nathanael that’s important in this reading but what Nathanael says to Jesus that is what this passage is about. Philip brings Nathanael and having encountered Him finds the scales fall from his eyes such that he proclaims: "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"

So here we find a phrase to add to the pile: “Come and See!”

Calling - Selfless ‘God-serving Commitment – and Invitation: This is how the kingdom is made real.
Are you listening? Are you willing to pay the price, regardless of the cost?
Are you reading to bring others with the words, actions and life that proudly proclaims: “Come and See?”

Could this be why you don’t see ‘signs and wonders’ and the growth of faith and healing and love in those around you?

Perhaps we the words of the Collect:
 Might be of  help here

Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new: Transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly 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.

This week, take a moment to think of Jesus, the lamb without blemish, and raw scars He bears in his body. Scars put there for us and our salvation.
Does this make you (and me) live differently? It should!

1 Samuel 3.1-10
The boy Samuel served the Lord under the direction of Eli. In those days the Lord didn’t give many messages to his people. He didn’t give them many visions.
One night Eli was lying down in his usual place. His eyes were becoming so weak he couldn’t see very well. Samuel was lying down in the Lord’s house. That’s where the ark of God was kept. The lamp of God was still burning. The Lord called out to Samuel.

Samuel answered, “Here I am.” He ran over to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called out to me.”

But Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

Again the Lord called out, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli. He said, “Here I am. You called out to me.”  “My son,” Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back and lie down.”

Samuel didn’t know the Lord yet. That’s because the Lord still hadn’t given him a message.

The Lord called out for the third time. He said, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli. He said, “Here I am. You called out to me.”

Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down. If someone calls out to you again, say, ‘Speak, Lord. I’m listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The Lord came and stood there. He called out, just as he had done the other times. He said, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel replied, “Speak. I’m listening.”

Revelation 5.1-10
Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. The scroll had writing on both sides. It was sealed with seven seals. I saw a mighty angel calling out in a loud voice. He said, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll. No one could even look inside it. I cried and cried. That’s because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not cry! The Lion of the tribe of Judah has won the battle. He is the Root of David. He is able to break the seven seals and open the scroll.”
Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if he had been put to death. He stood at the center of the area around the throne. The Lamb was surrounded by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes. The eyes stand for the seven spirits of God, which are sent out into all the earth. The Lamb went and took the scroll. He took it from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. Then the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down in front of the Lamb. Each one had a harp. They were holding golden bowls full of incense. They stand for the prayers of God’s people.

Here is the new song they sang.
“You are worthy to take the scroll and break open its seals.
You are worthy because you were put to death.
With your blood you bought people for God.
They come from every tribe, people and nation, no matter what language they speak.
You have made them members of a royal family.
You have made them priests to serve our God. They will rule on the earth.”

John 1. 43 – 51
The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”
Philip was from the town of Bethsaida. So were Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one whom Moses wrote about in the Law. The prophets also wrote about him. He is Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

Jesus saw Nathanael approaching. Here is what Jesus said about him. “He is a true Israelite. Nothing about him is false.”

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree. I saw you there before Philip called you.”

Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God. You are the king of Israel.”
Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” Then he said to the disciples, “What I’m about to tell you is true. You will see heaven open. You will see the angels of God going up and coming down on the Son of Man.”

Post Communion Prayer
God of glory, you nourish us with your Word who is the bread of life:
Fill us with your Holy Spirit that through us the light of your glory may shine in all the world. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen



Morning Prayer - Tuesday 16 January 2018

Epiphany Season

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

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

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

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

Psalm 147.1-12
Alleluia.
How good it is to make music for our God,
how joyful to honour him with praise.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem and gathers together the outcasts of Israel.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up all their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars and calls them all by their names.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his wisdom is beyond all telling.

The Lord lifts up the poor, but casts down the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God upon the lyre;
Who covers the heavens with clouds and prepares rain for the earth;
Who makes grass to grow upon the mountains and green plants to serve our needs.

He gives the beasts their food and the young ravens when they cry.
He takes no pleasure in the power of a horse, no delight in human strength;
But the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their trust in his steadfast love.

Genesis 7.11-end
In the six-hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. The rain fell on the earth for forty days and forty nights. On the very same day Noah with his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons, entered the ark, they and every wild animal of every kind, and all domestic animals of every kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every bird of every kind—every bird, every winged creature. They
went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.

The flood continued for forty days on the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters swelled and increased greatly on the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters. The waters swelled so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered; the waters swelled above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all human beings; everything on dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, human beings and animals and creeping things and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark. And the waters swelled on the earth for one hundred and fifty days.

Matthew 24.15-28
‘So when you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place, as was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains; someone on the housetop must not go down to take what is in the house; someone in the field must not turn back to get a coat. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath. For at that time there will be great suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, “Look! Here is the Messiah!” or “There he is!”—do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Take note, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, “Look! He is in the wilderness”, do not go out. If they say, “Look! He is in the inner rooms”, do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

The Collect
Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new: transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly 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.


Monday, 15 January 2018

Morning Prayer - Monday 15 January 2018

Epiphany Season

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.

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.

Genesis 6.11-7.10
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth. Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks. For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive. Also take with you every kind of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them.’ Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.

Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate; and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth. For in seven days I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights; and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.’ And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.

Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came on the earth. And Noah with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah. And after seven days the waters of the flood came on the earth.

Matthew 24.1-14
As Jesus came out of the temple and was going away, his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. Then he asked them, ‘You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.’

When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Beware that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, “I am the Messiah!” and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs.

‘Then they will hand you over to be tortured and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name. Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. But anyone who endures to the end will be saved. And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come.

The Collect
Eternal Lord, our beginning and our end: bring us with the whole creation to your glory, hidden through past ages and made known
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.