Wednesday After Trinity 1
The readings appointed for Morning Prayer are Job 17:3 – end and 1 Peter 2:11 – 3:7; and for Evening Prayer are Job 18 and Mark 6:1 – 29.
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake. 1 Peter 2:13.
We Christians are going through a difficult period in this Twenty-First Century. Civil governments are instituting measure after measure which simply contradict the teachings of the Bible. The destruction of marriage as defined thousands of years ago under the guidance of God is, perhaps, the best example. The spread of abortion and the move to institute assisted death are others. How are Christians to respond to these bad things?
St. Peter appears to leave us no choice. We are to submit to what civil governments put in place because God is telling us that we must, for the Lord’s sake. These times are undoubtedly similar to past times when the Church and the State were at great odds and it seems that our role, laid out by God, is not to fight our earthly leaders, but to co-operate with them. Unless, that is, they put our obedience and loyalty to Jesus and His Gospel at risk. Then there is no doubt that we must obey God rather than our human leaders. In Chapter 4 of Acts, Peter and John were arrested for proclaiming the message of Christ in the temple. They were brought before the Jewish rulers, elders and scribes, including Annas the high priest. (Acts 4:5,6). In the face of considerable risk, of imprisonment or worse, Peter and John spoke honestly and boldly to those earthly leaders. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
Nothing was going to stop those saints from proclaiming and defending what Jesus Christ had taught them. They should be our example in the face of what our civil governments are imposing on us, our example not just of determination to remain faithful to God, but to do so in the most Christian based manner. Loving our Lord and speaking to Him constantly in prayer is the firm foundation from which we must respond.
Tuesday After Trinity 1
The readings appointed for Morning Prayer are Job 15:1 – 16 and 1 Peter 1:22 – 2:10; and for Evening Prayer are Job 16:1 – 17:2 and Mark 5:21 – end.
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.
From being a humble fisherman with little or no education, Peter grew into a great saint, knowledgeable in all matters relating to our salvation through Jesus Christ, wise, and most determined to evangelise those who had not yet come to the Lord. St. Peter clearly understood the importance of the word of God, Holy Scripture as it was then, and, perhaps especially those vivid memories of the life of Jesus Christ which would be faithfully incorporated into Scripture. So we are encouraged to approach the word of God, not with pre-conceived ideas, and certainly not with the arrogant attitude that it is all so easy to understand. No, St. Peter wisely encourages us to approach the word of God as little children, newborn babes in fact. With such humility, a grace we should ask from God, we are in the best position to read with an open mind, to absorb with a willing heart and to grow in holiness from what we learn.
We should reach for the word of God just as a baby reaches for the breast of its mother, in the instinctive knowledge that therein is the food of life. That food is pure, sustains us in this life and guides us to prepare for the next life. With the help of God the Holy Spirit, that food, which comes from God, is our source of spiritual nourishment through which we can grow in unity with God. Just as the breast milk of its mother is a blessing to a newborn babe, the word of God is a great, great blessing to all who come to believe in Jesus Christ and desire nothing more than to grow in Him. Such growth leads us to heaven, which should be our primary objective in feeding on the sincere milk of the word.
Monday After Trinity 1
The readings appointed for Morning Prayer are Job 13 and 1 Peter 1: 1 – 21; and for Evening Prayer are Job 14 and Mark 4:35 – 5:20.
Why is it that ye are so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
It is a fact of life, this life upon Earth, that we must inevitably encounter conditions which make us afraid. We may be caught out in a thunderstorm, for example, and fear being hit by lightening. We may find ourselves driving through thick fog and worry about the next bend in the road, or the traffic coming towards us. Or, like the men with Jesus that day, we may be caught in a storm and become convinced that the boat we are in will sink. Such situations are best viewed as calls to prayer, to seek the help and protection of the Lord.
Jesus showed His almighty power in the verses read from Mark. He responded to the fear of the men with Him and calmed the winds and the waves, simply saying, Peace, be still. Nothing in this world should worry us when we have our Lord to turn to in full faith. Faith, at least when it is strong enough, can save us from great fear. The men in the boat did turn to Jesus in their fear, so they had some measure of faith in Him. But if they had simply said to themselves, Jesus is with us so we are safe, that would have demonstrated much greater faith.
With the waves and the wind calmed, a greater fear did arise in those men, they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? Now there is a fully justified fear if our faith in Jesus is lacking or, worse, non-existent. We humans need to focus our attention on the next life, not on this one, and if we do not believe and have complete faith in Jesus Christ, we have every reason to be afraid.
First Sunday After Trinity
The readings appointed for Morning Prayer are 1 Kings 3:5:14 and Acts 9:1 – 22; and for Evening Prayer are 2 Kings 17:1 – 23 and John 13:1 – 20.
And Saul, yet breathing out threatening and slaughter against the disciple of the Lord... Acts 9:1.
There were few, if any, men so active in trying to wipe out the memory of the life of Jesus Christ as Saul. That short verse at the beginning of Acts 9 tells us in stark terms how dedicated Saul was to the destruction of any who professed belief in Jesus. As Ananias told the Lord, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints in Jerusalem. Acts 9:13. The Lord’s response to Ananias is worth reading, learning and inwardly digesting. He says, Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. The chief of persecutors became Paul, one of the greatest of evangelisers and saints.
There must be times for all of us when we despair of our lack of holiness and feel so separated from God. At such times it is worth turning to the story of Saul and understanding from it that with God anything is possible. If we ask Him, He surely will help us to come closer to Him, to love our Lord Jesus as we should and walk hand in hand with Him through this earthly life. Saul was acting as a fanatical enemy of Jesus, but on the Damascus Road, he became a close friend and devoted follower. St. Paul was Spirit led into preaching the Gospel like few have ever done, before or since. We can draw great encouragement and strength from that blessed saint. Hopefully we will never hear Jesus ask, why persecutest thou me?, but we may hear a little voice asking why we have turned from Him. For us, that may be as great a warning as Saul received on the Damascus Road. When we hear it, it is time to return to our Lord and to walk again in true faith in our Saviour.