Month: August 2017

REFLECTION FOR TRINITY 10

“As you and I grow in our relationship with God, our minds and hearts will become more like the mind and heart of God. We will find ourselves praying in the way of Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision: “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” In our grief, we will call out to God for mercy, for ourselves, for others, and for our world. In his grace, God will reach out with his healing love, not only comforting us but also using us to comfort others and to extend the peace of his kingdom.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What things in this world break your heart? What difference does this make in the way you pray? In the way you live? Are you willing to pray in the mode of Bob Pierce: “Lord, may my heart be broken by the things that break your heart”?

PRAYER: Lord, how easy it is for me to go about my life and neglect the pain and suffering of the world. I can forget that so many people don’t know you, while others have rejected your kingdom. Forgive me for my hard heart. Forgive me for getting so wrapped up in myself that I fail to see and feel as you do.”

(From The High Calling)

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Coptic Christian weeps over the massacre of Christians by Isis

LAURENCE, DEACON AND MARTYR

Today the church celebrates the martyr, Deacon Laurence.  In our intercessions,  Christians like him are to be remembered,  still being captured, unjustly tried, robbed of possessions, and made to suffer ghastly deaths.

Lord, have mercy:  and grant us the grace, courage and humour of Laurence.

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Laurence or Lawrence (about 225-258) was one of the seven deacons of ancient Rome who were martyred under the persecution of Valerian (emperor 253-260) in 258.  After Sixtus was elected bishop on 31 August 257, he ordained Laurence a deacon and placed him in charge of the administration of church goods and care for the poor.

In the persecutions under Valerian, numerous presbyters and bishops were put to death.. Sixtus II was one of the first victims, beheaded on 6 August 258. According to a legend cited by Ambrose of Milan, Laurence met Sixtus on his way to execution, and said: “Father, where are you going without your son? Holy priest, where are you hurrying without your deacon?”

Sixtus answered: “I am not leaving you or forsaking you. Greater struggles yet await you. We old men have to undergo an easier fight; a more glorious triumph over the Tyrant awaits you, young man. Don’t cry; after three days you will follow me.”

After the death of Sixtus, the prefect of Rome demanded that Laurence turn over the riches of the church. Ambrose is the earliest source for the tale that Laurence asked for three days to gather together the wealth. Laurence worked swiftly to distribute as much church property to the poor as possible, to prevent its being seized by the prefect.

On the third day, at the head of a small delegation, he presented himself to the prefect. When ordered to give up the treasures of the church, he presented the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the suffering, and said that these were the true treasures of the church. One account records him declaring to the prefect, “The church is truly rich, far richer than your emperor.” This act of defiance led to his martyrdom. It is said that Laurence was burned on a gridiron or “grilled” to death. According to legend, at the point of death he exclaimed, “I am done on this side! Turn me over and eat.” (More likely, he was beheaded like his bishop and fellow deacons.)

(From Deacon Ormonde Plater’s Calendar of Deacon Saints)

SPIRIT OF DIAKONIA

“Like most Christians, I suspect, I have tended to think of service in purely moral terms–a matter of good works. I now see, however, that it is much deeper than that. It is the whole orientation of one’s life. Those infected with the spirit of diakonia live in prayerful gratitude for our servant Lord, whose own life calls us to service in his name. And if our service is in imitation of Jesus, then it must be incarnational–a participation, including through prayer, in the life, including the suffering, of those we serve. ”

Rev Dr Michael Kinnamon, at the DIAKONIA world assembly 2017

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WHY I WILL BE A DISTINCTIVE DEACON, NOT A PRIEST

Andy Farmer (second from left, back row) is to be ordained this September.  Here he sets out his vision for being a deacon in the workplace.

You can read more about Andy’s understanding of the diaconate as a model for servant leadership here:  https://deaconstories.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/deacon-in-the-workplace1.pdf