Thursday, October 18, 2007

18/10/07 Thurs after 20ith week after Pentecost, Feast of St. Luke


Blessed are those for whom Easter is...
not a hunt, but a find;
not a greeting, but a proclamation;
not outward fashions, but inward grace;
not a day, but an eternity.


Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 18:1-20; PM Psalm 18:21-50
Jer. 38:1-13; 1 Cor. 14:26-33a,37-40; Matt. 10:34-42

From Forward Day by Day:

2 Timothy 4:5-13. Only Luke is with me.

Paul wrote a touching letter to young Timothy as the old missionary approached the end of his life. According to Christian tradition, Paul was beheaded during a persecution called by the Emperor Nero. After traveling the known world, speaking to many thousands, and bringing untold numbers to faith in Christ, as the darkness of his own death began to challenge his faith, Paul wrote the sad and lonely sentence, "Only Luke is with me."

I once served as a chaplain in a mental hospital where we were sometimes called upon to bury people long forgotten by the outside world. On one such
occasion we were all depressed by a seemingly meaningless death at the end of a long and unhappy life. One of my colleagues noted that it would have been hard to bear were it not for the angels and archangels who were present. We all realized it was so.

Let us pray that Luke's presence with Paul served to remind the old man that even at death's door we are not alone. No one in the kingdom of God is ever far from the angels and archangels. And if we, on St. Luke's Day, can remind someone else of that wonderful fact, we can share in Luke's life-affirming ministry.

Today we remember:

St. Luke:
AM: Psalm 103; Ezekiel 47:1-12; Luke 1:1-4
PM: Psalm 67, 96; Isaiah 52:7-10; Acts 1:1-8


Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Texas (United States)

Speaking to the Soul:

As we do, our forebears could see that the third gospel has more emphasis upon Jesus’ ministry of healing than Matthew, Mark, or John. Luke’s healing stories stand out, then and now. In our time, however, we can see even more evidence for the tradition. Luke uniquely distinguishes among “caring,” “curing,” and “healing” with his Greek vocabulary. Much of this language occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, but does have parallels in the medical journals and records of the first century.

For Luke, the life and work of Jesus of Nazareth is healing for the world. For Luke, the power of God’s Holy Spirit and the incarnation of God in Jesus is healing for the world. For Luke, the power of evil in the world is overcome by the power of God’s Spirit in the person of Jesus and in the life and work of the faithful. This is true, he says, before and after the resurrection. This is true, Luke claims, from the moment of Gabriel’s good news for Zechariah until this very day. The healing embrace the writer of Luke–Acts offers describes a creation that is healed when God and creation love each other in return.

From One to Watch, One to Pray: Introducing the Gospels by Minka Shura Sprague. A Seabury Classic from Church Publishing. Copyright © 2004. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY.

Spiritual Practice of the Day

The child lives in the neighbourhood of wonder where innocence keeps mystery playful. Each new event and encounter is all-absorbing.
— John O'Donohue in Eternal Echoes

To Practice This Thought: Watch how a child examines something he or she has never seen before. Then encourage your inner child to treat new discoveries the same way.
++++++++++ Reflections

Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends - it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.
St Teresa of Jesus
Life, 8.14

Reading from the Desert Christians


God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts.
Hence, if we feel in our hearts the cold which comes from the
devil - for the devil is cold - let us call on the Lord. He will
come to warm our hearts with perfect love, not only for Him but
also for our neighbor, and the cold of him who hates the good will
flee before the heat of His countenance.

St. Seraphim of Sarov

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Believing in the Church

The Church is an object of faith. In the Apostles' Creed we pray: "I believe in God, the Father, ... in Jesus Christ, his only Son º in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting." We must believe in the Church! The Apostles' Creed does not say that the Church is an organization that helps us to believe in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. No, we are called to believe in the Church with the same faith we believe in God.

Often it seems harder to believe in the Church than to believe in God. But whenever we separate our belief in God from our belief in the Church, we become unbelievers. God has given us the Church as the place where God becomes God-with-us.

From the Principles of the Third Society of St. Francis:

Day Eighteen - The Second Way of Service, cont'd

As well as the devotional study of Scripture, we all recognize our Christian responsibility to pursue other branches of study, both sacred and secular. In particular, some of us accept the duty of contributing, through research and writing, to a better understanding of the church's mission in the world: the application of Christian principles to the use and distribution of wealth; questions concerning justice and peace; and of all other questions concerning the life of faith.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Extend the Table
October 18th, 2007
Thursday’s Reflection

JESUS CHALLENGES US to extend the table of our friendships — to risk discovering a depth of mutuality and spiritual encounter with persons quite unlike us. He invites us to risk discovering a depth of mutuality and spiritual encounter with persons quite unlike us. We might begin by reaching out to someone of a different age or gender. Or we might widen our circle to include those of a different social status or of other cultures and faith traditions. Looking within the walls of the church, we might find ourselves called to seek friendships outside the labels we have clung to, such as conservative, liberal, or orthodox.

- Stephanie Ford
Kindred Souls: Connecting through Spiritual Friendship

From pages 72-73 of Kindred Souls: Connecting through Spiritual Friendship by Stephanie Ford. Copyright © 2006 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

The Internal Oppression of Poverty

When people lack a sense of self, they will enter into victim behavior. People outside of their pain cannot understand that victim behavior. We label them and often “blame the victim.”

Poverty is primarily a psychological state that people surrender to after repeatedly being assaulted by negative voices, from within or from without. Usually we get them from within because someone gave them to us from without. As children, we are so little and vulnerable that we can’t resist the negative voices of parents, “friends” and culture.

We’ve all seen marriages where one partner is constantly putting down the other. And it doesn’t take very long for one to believe what the other says: I’m not much, I’m stupid; I’m ugly, I can’t do anything right. Then the partner becomes victim. Soon they are oppressed, they cannot recognize—much less take advantage of—any opportunities that come their way. They have internalized their persecution.

Now, we folks who were loved as little children, who were believed in and given good news, we can do it. We have inner ego-strength. We know we can influence, we know we can change, we know we can rise above it. But, brothers and sisters, much of the world doesn’t know that. They don’t know their power. No one gave them any good news. If often seems like this is the large majority of the earth’s population.

from Embracing Christ As Francis Did: In the Church of the Poor

From John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., Tradition Day by Day: Readings from Church Writers. Augustinian Press. Villanova, PA, 1994.

Luke, the evangelist

Having followed the far-famed Paul in his countless tribulations on land and sea, the venerable Luke is well deserved to be praised by him. Since this evangelist of the Lord earned the commendation of so great an apostle and teacher of the Gentiles, surely it is not too much to say that he deserves the praise of everyone. Let us praise him then, beloved, together with the apostle. With one voice, heart, and tongue let us extol him, proclaiming him a true physician of souls sent by God. The whole burden of his teaching seems to be nothing other than a medicine for ailing souls.

The gospel is called the good news because it tells of the kingdom that follows toil, the life that follows death. If you love God, the gospel is written for you. And if it is written for you, accept this most precious pearl, the gift of the evangelist, and carefully guard in the depths of your heart this pledge of a friend. O what a gift, what a pledge, if you stop to think, reflect, and deeply ponder! And if with great vigilance you pay good heed to it, it will bring you happily to the joy that lasts for ever, where you will exult unceasingly with the choirs of angels.

Paul the Deacon

Daily Readings From "My Utmost for His Highest", Oswald Chambers


"For His name's sake they went forth." 3 John 7

Our Lord has told us how love to Him is to manifest itself. "Lovest thou Me?" "Feed My sheep" - identify yourself with My interests in other people, not, identify Me with your interests in other people. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 gives the character of this love, it is the love of God expressing itself. The test of my love for Jesus is the practical one, all the rest is sentimental jargon.

Loyalty to Jesus Christ is the supernatural work of Redemption wrought in me by the Holy Ghost Who sheds abroad the love of God in my heart, and that love works efficaciously through me in contact with everyone I meet. I remain loyal to His Name although every common-sense fact gives the lie to Him, and declares that He has no more power than a morning mist.

The key to missionary devotion means being attached to nothing and no one saving Our Lord Himself, not being detached from things externally. Our Lord was amazingly in and out among ordinary things; His detachment was on the inside towards God. External detachment is often an indication of a secret vital attachment to the things we keep away from externally.

The loyalty of a missionary is to keep his soul concentratedly open to the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. The men and women Our Lord sends out on His enterprises are the ordinary human stuff, plus dominating devotion to Himself wrought by the Holy Ghost.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

February 17, June 18, October 18
Chapter 14: How the Night Office Is to Be Said on the Feasts of the Saints

On the feasts of Saints and on all festivals
let the Office be performed
as we have prescribed for Sundays,
except that the Psalms, the antiphons and the lessons
belonging to that particular day are to be said.
Their number, however, shall remain as we have specified above.

Insight for the Ages: A Commentary by Sr Joan Chittister

The meaning of this chapter is not so much in its content as in its existence. The fact that it is here at all in a document written when the identification of saints was largely a matter of public acclamation and then far fewer than they are now says something about Benedict's ideas both about church and the meaning of prayer. Benedict's theology of prayer is as much attuned to the Communion of Saints, to our connectedness to those who have gone before us in the faith, to those who stand as sign to us that the Christian life is possible, as it is to the feasts that mark the Paschal Mystery of Christ.
We all need heroes. We all need someone in our lives who brings courage. We all need to get to know how the Christian life looks at its best, at its most difficult, at its most joyous.

The lesson is that we must keep the human dimensions of the faith very much in mind and find in models from the past proof that daily chaos can be ordered and the ordinary transfigured for us, too.

Dynamis is a daily Bible meditation based upon the lectionary of the Holy Orthodox Church.

Thursday, October 18,
2007 The Apostle and
Evangelist Luke
Kellia: Jeremiah 51:15-23 Epistle: Colossians
1:24-29 Gospel: St. Luke 9:49-56

Jeremiah's Later Ministry ~ Interpreting History: Jeremiah 51:15-23 LXX,
especially vs.17: "For we will surely perform every word that shall
proceed out of our mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to
pour drink-offerings to her, as we and our fathers have done, and our
kings and princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of
Jerusalem: and so we were filled with bread, and were well, and saw no
evils." How fiercely the Jewish refugees in Egypt refused the word of
the Lord! Not only did they call Jeremiah a liar, but also they
rationalized their worship of pagan deities using an alien
interpretation of events. People deceive not only with statistics, as
is done today, but also many distort the data of history to support
their own values, preferences, behaviors, and lifestyles. The issue
that today's reading asks you is how do you interpret history and
events. How can you correctly read the data of unfolding events?

The basis for interpreting history in inspired Scripture is stated very
plainly in the language in the Book of Chronicles, which matches
Jeremiah's rebuttal of pagan worship even in the forms it takes today.
Compare the Chronicler's summary of the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah
(716-687 BC) with his description of the reign of Hezekiah's son,
Manasseh, who followed him on the throne (687-643 BC). Of Hezekiah, the
Chronicler says, "he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord,
according to all that his father David had done" (2 Chron. 29:2); but of
Manasseh, the Chronicler says, "He did that which was evil in the sight
of the Lord, according to all the abominations of the heathen" (2 Chron.
33:2). Evaluating the epochs of history and men's approach to life, ask
yourself, "What is right in the eyes of the Lord?"

Jeremiah's basis for discerning what is right in God's eyes relied upon
"the voice of the Lord...His ordinances...His law and...His testimonies"
(Jer. 51:23). As a Prophet of God, he stood squarely in the stream of
an unbroken tradition received from the Patriarchs, but especially from
Moses and the Prophets of God after him. Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself
taught this exact same tradition of God's truth. Listen to Him: "Do not
think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to
destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and
earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the
law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of
these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the
Kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called
great in the Kingdom of heaven" (Mt. 5:17-19). Do you call Christ
Lord? Consider well what He says.

The proponents of offering incense and libations to the goddess, Astarte
- "the queen of heaven" - presented a most superficial case for their
actions: we and our fathers worshiped her in Jerusalem, and "were filled
with bread, and were well, and saw no evils" (Jer. 51:17), but they
did! Furthermore, they added, since we quit worshiping her, we "have
been consumed by sword and by famine" (vs. 18). Notice: they make no
mention of God's law, of the active will of the Lord, nor of His
statutes, which they flaunted, regarding the worship of other gods.

Jeremiah speaks of history as a source for discerning the consequences
of disobeying God's will: "the Lord could no longer bear you, because of
the wickedness of your doings, and because of your abominations which ye
wrought; and so your land became a desolation and a waste, and a curse,
as at this day" (vs. 22). Your life, the future of your family and
nation depend on doing what is right in eyes of the Lord. Consequences
will follow if you flaunt His will as Jeremiah says. Because "ye sinned
against the Lord...these evils have come upon you" (vs. 23).

O Lord, we thank Thee that Thou didst not forget the work of Thy hands,
but didst speak to us by Thy Prophets: release us from delusions, and
bring us to a true knowledge of Thee.

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