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Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Friday, December 31, 2010

Prayers for the Weekend according to Scriptures' sense of Timing

Here are prayers from the Book of Common Prayer [which Wesley and Wesleyans used and use every day]which recognise Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays as Day 6, Day 7 and Day 1 respectively:

Friday

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.


Saturday

Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday

O God, you make us glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son our Lord: Give us this day such blessing through our worship of you, that the week to come may be spent in your favor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



Sourced here

New Years Eve means: the Evening of the New Year

New Years Eve means: the Evening of the New Year
In the first of my series of posts on what I called Scriptural Timing I wrote about how I have been blessed as I have explored Scriptural concepts of time and applied them in my own life and that I wanted to share that blessing with others. Scripture (both Old and New Testaments), but dare I also say God, has a different clock and calendar to the ones we have inherited from the Greeks and the Romans.

The timing I find in Scripture begins in the very first verses of Genesis where we read over and over, "...there was evening and there was morning - the first (second, etc) day." So this means.....a new day begins at sunset! So what, you might ask?


Well, for starters, it means that as I write this at 2pm on Friday 31 December, the new year,2011, is very close. In just a few hours, when the new day begins at sunset, it will be new year eve (i.e. the evening of the 1st January, 2011)...it will be new year! 


The pagan Greeks and Romans saw things differently, with the Greeks believing that a new day starts at sunrise and the Romans thinking a new day starts at midnight. 


Today is also Friday and Friday is of course the day our LORD was executed, and about this time they were rushing about to get Him buried before the Sabbath started....at sunset. Those who were with Him (the women) would go home and mourn. On Saturday, their (the) Sabbath, they would continue to mourn. Then, early in the morning on Sunday, the first day of the week, they would go to the tomb, find it empty and announce to the world that HE IS RISEN and soon that day (the day after the Sabbath) would become referred to in Scripture not only as the first day of the week, but as the LORD's Day.


So this new year is especially special as it falls on the Biblical Sabbath, truly a day to rest in the Good News that He is Immanuel, God with us, and that He makes all things new!

May yours be a blessed and peaceful 2011.

Watch-Night Sevices

Fri 31 Dec 1756: We had a solemn watch-night and ushered in the new year with the voice of praise and thanksgiving.

Fri 31 Dec 1779: We concluded the year at West Street with a solemn watch-night. Most of the congregation stayed till the beginning of the year and cheerfully sang together:
Glory to God, and thanks, and praise,
Who kindly lengthens out our days, etc.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

JW explores why some fall down, others cry out, etc

Thu 30 Dec 1742: I carefully examined those who had lately cried out in the congregation. Some of these, I found, could give no account at all how or wherefore they had done so, only that of a sudden they dropped down they knew not how; and what they afterwards said or did they knew not. Others could just remember they were in fear; but could not tell what they were in fear of. Several said they were afraid of the devil, and this was all they knew. But a few gave a more intelligible account of the piercing sense they then had of their sins, both inward and outward, which were set in array against them round about; of the dread they were in of the wrath of God and the punishment they had deserved, into which they seemed to be just falling, without any way to escape. One of them told me: ‘I was as if I was just falling down, from the highest place I had ever seen. I thought the devil was pushing me off, and that God had forsaken me.’ Another said, ‘I felt the very fire of hell already kindled in my breast; and all my body was in as much pain as if I had been in a burning fiery furnace.’ What wisdom is that which rebuketh these, that ‘they should hold their peace’? Nay, let such an one cry after Jesus of Nazareth, till he saith, ‘Thy faith hath made thee whole!’
At eleven I preached my farewell sermon in the Hospital Square. I never saw such a congregation there before; nor did I ever speak so searchingly. I could not conclude till one, and then both men, women, and children hung upon me, so that I knew not which way to disengage myself. After some time I got to the gate and took horse; but even then ‘a muckle woman’ (as one called her in great anger) kept her hold and ran by the horse’s side, through thick and thin, down to Sandgate. Jonathan Reeves rode with me. We reached Darlington that night, and Boroughbridge the next day.
What encouragement have we to speak for God! At our inn we met an ancient man, who seemed by his conversation never to have thought whether he had any soul or no. Before we set out I spoke a few words concerning his cursing and idle conversation. The man appeared quite broken in pieces. The tears started into his eyes. And he acknowledged (with abundance of thanks to me) his own guilt and the goodness of God.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

American Rebels

Wed 29 Dec 1779: Mr. Hatton, lately come from America, gave us an account of his strange deliverance. He was Collector of the Customs for the eastern ports of Maryland and zealous for King George. Therefore the rebels resolved to dispatch him, and a party was sent for that purpose under one Simpson, who owed him five hundred pounds. But first he sent him the following note:
Sir,
We are resolved to have you dead or alive. So we advise you to give yourself up, that you may give us no more trouble.
I am, sir,
Your obedient servant.
Mr. Hatton not complying with this civil advice, a party of riflemen was sent to take him. He was just going out when a child told him they were at hand and had only time to run and get into a hollow which was under the house. The maid clapped to the trap-door and covered it over with flax. They searched the house from top to bottom, opened all the closets, turned up the beds, and finding nothing, went away. He was scarce come out when another party beset the house and came so quick that he had but just time to get in again. And the maid, not having flax enough at hand, covered the door with foul linen. When these also had wearied themselves with searching and went away, he put on his boots and great-coat, took a gun and a rug (it being a sharp frost) and crept into a little marsh near the house. A third party came quickly, swearing he must be about the house, and they would have him if he was alive. Hearing this, he stole away with full speed and lay down near the sea-shore between two hillocks, covering himself with seaweeds. They came so near that he heard one of them swear, ‘If I find him, I will hang him on the next tree.’ Another answered, ‘I will not stay for that; I will shoot him the moment I see him.’
After some time, finding they were gone, he lifted up his head and heard a shrill whistle from a man fifty or sixty yards off. He soon knew him to be a deserter from the rebel army. He asked Mr. Hatton what he designed to do, who answered, ‘Go in my boat to the English ships, which are four or five and twenty mile off.’ But the rebels had found and burned the boat. So knowing their life was gone if they stayed till the morning, they got into a small canoe (though liable to overset with a puff of wind), and set off from shore. Having rowed two or three miles, they stopped at a little island and made a fire, being almost perished with cold. But they were quickly alarmed by a boat rowing toward the shore. Mr. Hatton standing up said, ‘We have a musket and a fusee. If you load one as fast as I discharge the other, I will give a good account of them all.’ He then stepped to the shore and bade the rowers stop and tell him who they were, declaring he would fire among them if any man struck another stroke. Upon their answering, he found they were friends, being six more deserters from the rebel army. So they gladly came on shore and brought provisions with them, to those who before had neither meat nor drink. After refreshing themselves, they all went into the boat and cheerfully rowed to the English ships.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Prayer for First Week after Christmas

Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; 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.


[From BCP]

Stunned, as if cut in the head.

Tue 28 Dec 1742: I preached in an open place at Swalwell, two or three miles from Newcastle. The wind was high and extremely sharp; but I saw none go away till I went. Yet I observed none that seemed to be much convinced; only stunned, as if cut in the head.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Furious storm… peace of God

Mon 27 Dec 1742: I rode to Horsley. The house being too small, I was obliged again to preach in the open air. But so furious a storm have I seldom known. The wind drove upon us like a torrent, coming by turns from east, west, north, and south. The straw and thatch flew round our heads, so that one would have imagined it could not be long before the house must follow; but scarce anyone stirred, much less went away, till I dismissed them with the peace of God.

A Christmas Carol from the Wesley Brothers


Hark, the herald-angels sing
glory to the new-born King,
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with the angelic host proclaim,
'Christ is born in Bethlehem.'
Hark, the herald-angels sing
glory to the new-born King.

Christ, by highest heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a Virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see:
hail, the incarnate Deity,
pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark, the herald-angels sing
glory to the new-born King.

Hail, the heaven-born Prince of Peace:
hail, the Sun of Righteousness.
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that man no more may die,
born to raise the sons of earth,
born to give them second birth.
Hark, the herald-angels sing
glory to the new-born King.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
fix in us thy humble home;
rise, the woman's conquering seed,
bruise in us the serpent's head;
now display thy saving power,
ruined nature now restore,
now in mystic union join
thine to ours and ours to thine.
Hark, the herald-angels sing
glory to the new-born King.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Gluttony… drunkenness… dancing and card-playing

Sun 26 Dec 1742: From those words, ‘Sing we merrily unto God our strength; make a cheerful noise unto the God of Jacob,’ I took occasion to show the usual way of keeping these days holy in honour of the birth of our Lord; namely, by an extraordinary degree of gluttony and drunkenness; by heathen, and worse than heathen, diversions (with their constant attendants, passion and strife, cursing, swearing, and blasphemy); and by dancing and card-playing, equally conducive to the glory of God. I then described the right way of keeping a day holy to the Lord: by extraordinary prayer, public and private; by thanksgiving; by hearing, reading, and meditating on his Word, and by talking of all his wondrous works.

Forty-seven under sentence of death

Sun 26 Dec 1784: I preached the condemned criminals sermon in Newgate. Forty-seven were under sentence of death. While they were coming in, there was something very awful in the clink of their chains. But no sound was heard, either from them or the crowded audience, after the text was named: ‘There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repententh, more than over ninety and nine just persons, that need not repentance.’ The power of the Lord was eminently present, and most of the prisoners were in tears. A few days after, twenty of them died at once, five of whom died in peace. I could not but greatly approve of the spirit and behaviour of Mr. Villette, the Ordinary. And I rejoiced to hear that it was the same on all similar occasions.

Prayer for this week from Methodist Order of Service Book 1975

Almighty Father, whose Son Jesus Christ was presented in the Temple and acclaimed the light of the nations: grant that in him we may be presented before you, and through him may bring light to the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Three Christmas's

Sat 25 Dec 1784: We met as usual, in the New Chapel at four; at ten and in the afternoon I preached in West Street, and afterwards spent a comfortable hour in meeting the society.

Sat 25 Dec 1779: We began the service at the New Chapel, as usual, at four in the morning. Afterwards I read prayers and preached and administered the Lord’s Supper at West Street; in the afternoon, I preached at the New Chapel again, then met the society, and afterwards the married men and women; but after this I was no more tired than when I rose in the morning.

Sat 25 Dec 1773: Today and on the following days, we had many happy opportunities of celebrating the solemn Feast-days, according to the design of their institution. We concluded the year with a Fast-day, closed with a solemn watch-night.

Prayer for Christmas Day (Methodist Service Book 1975)

All praise to you, Almighty God and heavenly king, who sent your son into the world to take our nature upon him and to be born of a pure virgin. Grant that as we have been born again in him, so he may continually dwell in us, and reign on earth as he reigns in heaven with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
Almighty God, who wonderfully created us in your own image and yet more wonderfully restored us through your Son Jesus Christ: grant that as he came to share in our humanity, so we may share the life of his divinity; who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Christmas 2010 (My first service in my new station, Alberton Methodist)

Christmas 2010


Isaiah 52:7-10  7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” 8 Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. 9 Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.[New International Version]


John 1:1-14 The Word Became Flesh
 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.   6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.  9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.[New International Version]

Matthew and Luke begin their gospel stories, their stories about Jesus, with the story of his birth. And so it is from them that we get the stories of the manger, the shepherds, the star, wise men etc. Mark, in beginning his gospel, begins with Jesus as a man of about 30 years old, with Jesus at the start of his ministry. John, who was the last of the gospel writers to write a gospel, begins this way:
 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
John begins his gospel…… at the beginning. ‘In the beginning ' takes us back to Genesis, the first book of the Bible, and the story of creation. John uses the term 'the Word', which in the original language is the word Logos, which means 'the divine expression of God'. Jesus is the Logos, the Word. I'm going to read those first few verses again and substitute Jesus for the Word:
 In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.2 Jesus was with God in the beginning.  Through Jesus all things were made; without Jesus nothing was made that has been made.

So you can perhaps notice that Matthew, Mark and Luke all focus on the humanity of Jesus, while John focuses on the divinity of Jesus, in their opening accounts of the story of Jesus. The incarnation, which is a fancy word we use to describe Christmas, is both the story of the compassion of God for human limitation and the potential of the human spirit to grow into the divine. We tend to stress that God became like us in Christ, in the Christmas event, and we tend to forget that is it was and is so that we can become like Him. Christmas is a time where it is worth reflecting on how that process is going in your life and mine.

John goes on in verses four and five:
 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
He is talking about light…. a light that shines in the darkness and a light which the darkness will never overcome. In these words we begin to hear some good news, don't we? I don't know you very well, and I really hope that that will change, but one thing I do know is that there is darkness in your life. And I'm not talking so much about sin [Jesus didn’t talk that much about sin, so I won’t either. He spoke about Kingdom more than anything else, so I will too], no, I’m talking about the darknesses that hang over us: the threat or the reality of unemployment, disease, marriage breakdown, and so on, you can complete the list. We all have darkness either threatening our life or in our life. But hear those words again:
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Darkness is not and never will be the last word. That's what the advent candles have reminded us each of the four weeks of advent. They have shone almost defiantly, reminding us that the light shines in the darkness.

Last Sunday evening there was no electricity in the building during the evening worship service….. but…. the advent candles were lit, and they burned, and as it got darker in the building, the advent candles got brighter and brighter, reminding us in a most wonderful way, that darkness is never the victor; that with the coming of the Christ there is a light which can shine, or at least just flicker, in our darknesses.  And so it is that John says: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

And then he goes on:
 There was a man sent from God whose name was John.  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.   The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.
John the gospel writer, now talks about John the baptiser. He tells us that John the Baptist came to witness about Jesus. That was the work of John the Baptist. You and I all know a John the Baptist, don't we? People who God calls to witness about Jesus; they have names in this congregation, names like John, Paul, Ina, Vernon, Sherene, Raymond….. and, of course, you and me. We are all called to be witnesses to Jesus Christ, just as John the Baptist was called to be a witness to Christ. How do we do this? Our reading from Isaiah is a great help here, and I believe it describes how John the Baptist witnessed, and therefore how you and I are called to witness:
 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

This reading gives us four key elements to effective witnessing;  elements I believe, which might even be useful to you and to me over Christmas lunch today, which might be our next opportunity to witness.

Notice the first element, that of proclaiming peace. We proclaim peace, we do not promise peace, we proclaim peace. Paul will later describe this peace as a peace which passes all understanding. When you and I put our trust in this Jesus and enter into his kingdom, which is always near, we enter into a kingdom of peace, ruled by the Prince of peace. We proclaim peace, even in the midst of an unpeaceful world, home, office, church or nation.

The second element of witnessing: we bring good tidings, good news. There is always good news for those who are in the Kingdom of God. As witnesses to Christ we seek every opportunity to announce good news. That means that today, over the Christmas dinner table, when the conversation sinks into negativity about corruption or crime and so on, and make no mistake there is no shortage of bad news, those who are Christ's witnesses bear good news. This means that when the conversation gets around to corruption and crookery, we will remind people of the good news that in the midst of all this, HIV infection rates have dropped, and antiretroviral drugs are reaching more people in South Africa than ever before, and in the coming year they will cost the government half the price that they have in the past. This is all good news and as witnesses to Christ it is our task to bring good news wherever we can. Wherever we see signs of God’s Kingdom coming, and His will being done, we bring that good news.
 Yes, crime is dreadful in South Africa, but isn't it wonderful that they have worked so quickly to solve the hijacking and murder of Anni Dewani. There is always good news and it is your task and mine to bring good news wherever we can.

The third element of witnessing is this: we proclaim salvation! The word used in our reading is y’shuah, which means salvation, deliverance, help, or aid. And once again, even though I don't know you that well yet, I know how much you need to hear that there is help at hand: and so I proclaim help, I proclaim y’shuah into your life today, regardless of your situation I proclaim that there is One who can help you and who is dying, in fact he died already, in order to help you today. We proclaim salvation, deliverance, help, aid in the name of the Christ.

The fourth element of witnessing is this and it is the most beautiful: we proclaim that God reigns…. Amen….. Our God reigns! Our God is king! Jacob Zuma might be state president, Hendrik Verwoerd was prime minister, Hitler was feuhrer, Caesar was Emperor, BUT…. our God is, was, and always will be, King, the reigning King. What ever is happening in your life right now remember this: your God reigns. It might not look like that, but your God reigns. Jesus will later begin his ministry with the words: the kingdom of God is at hand. He talked more about kingdom than he did about anything else, because he wanted us to know that in Him, the kingdom of God is here, our God reigns!

So much for Isaiah and what he teaches us about witnessing. Let’s get back to our Gospel reading:

The light which John proclaimed was coming into the world, we proclaim has come into the world and it is because of this glorious truth that we can proclaim peace, bring good tidings, proclaim salvation, and declare that our God reigns!

Then John in a few words sums up Jesus ministry:

 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

Isn't that just horribly, depressingly sad? That the One who proclaimed peace, good news, salvation, and who embodied the kingdom and the reign of God……. was rejected!
But it happens all the time….. it happens especially every Christmas Day…… people who need peace, who need to hear good news, who need help and deliverance, will turn their back on the Jesus who is proclaimed.

Sometimes, even faithful believers will struggle to accept, to believe and to live a life that reflects that…. Our…. God….. reigns. Life can do that to us, life might have done that to you in the year that has passed, so hear with joy again the words with which John continues

 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
Isn't that just beautiful?
Imagine leaving here this morning knowing, or remembering once again, that you are a child of God.
Do you want that?
John says just receive Him and believe him.

And so I conclude with an appeal to you:…… receive him, …….believe him.
Believe that God became flesh and made his dwelling place amongst us.
Believe that he still does.
Believe that he is with us. Invite Him into, and then receive Him into, your darkness. Turn back to the light today. Recommit yourself to Him today. Perhaps even turn towards the Light for the first time in your life.

How do I do this you may ask?  Just whisper His name, and He will answer you; call out His name, and He will come to you; shout out His name and He will run to you.

In the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.


For questions for reflection and meditation, click here.

Question and Reflections on "Christmas 2010" sermon

 Read my sermon here.

1. In what way was Jesus a new beginning for the world?
2. In what way was Jesus a new beginning for you?
3. "We tend to stress that God became like us in Christ, in the Christmas event, and we tend to forget that it was and is so that we can become like Him. Christmas is a time where it is worth reflecting on how that process is going in your life and mine." How is that process going in your life?
4. With regard to question 3 and bearing in mind our doctrine of Christian Perfection, how is your growth in personal holiness going? [It might be necessary to first reflect on whether you actually know our doctrine in this regard]
5. What have been and what are the darknesses in your life? Has Jesus been any help? [Be honest]
6. Can you remember the 4 elements of witnessing that were highlighted?
7. Is God calling you to any new commitments as a consequence of worshipping Him this Christmas?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve means: the Evening of Christmas

In the first of my series of posts on what I called Scriptural Timing I wrote about how I have been blessed as I have explored Scriptural concepts of time and applied them in my own life and that I wanted to share that blessing with others. Scripture (both Old and New Testaments), but dare I also say God, has a different clock and calendar to the ones we have inherited from the Greeks and the Romans.

The timing I find in Scripture begins in the very first verses of Genesis where we read over and over, "...there was evening and there was morning - the first (second, etc) day." So this means.....a new day begins at sunset! So what, you might ask?


Well, for starters, it means that as I write this at 4pm on Friday 24 December, Christmas is very close. In just an hour or so, when the new day begins at sunset, it will be Christmas eve (i.e. the evening of Christmas)...it will be Christmas! Those people who celebrate and perhaps open presents on the evening of Christmas (Christmas eve) are the ones who get the Biblical sense of timing right. In Scripture, the new day begins at sunset.


The pagan Greeks and Romans saw things differently, with the Greeks believing that a new day starts at sunrise and the Romans thinking a new day starts at midnight. 


Today is also Friday and Friday is of course the day our LORD was executed, and about this time they were rushing about to get Him buried before the Sabbath started....at sunset. Those who were with Him (the women) would go home and mourn. On Saturday, their (the) Sabbath, they would continue to mourn. Then, early in the morning on Sunday, the first day of the week, they would go to the tomb, find it empty and announce to the world that HE IS RISEN and soon that day (the day after the Sabbath) would become referred to in Scripture not only as the first day of the week, but as the LORD's Day.


So Christmas 2010 is especially special as it falls on the Biblical Sabbath, truly a day to rest in the Good News that He is Immanuel, God with us!

May yours be a blessed and restful Christmas.

A Wonderful Christmas Gift: Life

Sat 25 Dec 1742: The physician told me he could do no more: Mr. Meyrick could not live over the night. I went up and found them all crying about him, his legs being cold and (as it seemed) dead already. We all kneeled down and called upon God with strong cries and tears. He opened his eyes, and called for me. And from that hour he continued to recover his strength, till he was restored to perfect health. I wait to hear who will either disprove this fact or philosophically account for it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

This is called Faith

Thu 23 Dec 1742: It being computed that such a house as was proposed could not be finished under seven hundred pounds, many were positive it would never be finished at all; others, that I should not live to see it covered. I was of another mind, nothing doubting but as it was begun for God’s sake, he would provide what was needful for the finishing it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Concluded my journeys for the present year.

Wed 22 Dec 1784: I returned to London and concluded my journeys for the present year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Four miles in only three hours

Tue 21 Dec 1784: I spent a little time with the children at Miss Harvey’s school, whom she likewise carefully instructs herself. After dinner we set out for Wrestlingworth, and, having a skillful guide who rode before the chaise and picked out the best way, we drove four miles in only three hours. Wednesday 22, I returned to London and concluded my journeys for the present year.

JW's Notes on RCL Gospel reading for Sunday 26th December

Sun 26 Dec
Matthew 2:13-23
Mat 2:15 That it might be fulfilled - That is, whereby was fulfilled. The original word frequently signifies, not the design of an action, but barely the consequence or event of it. Which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet - on another occasion: Out of Egypt have I called my Son - which was now fulfilled as it were anew; Christ being in a far higher sense the Son of God than Israel, of whom the words were originally spoken. Hos_11:1.
Mat 2:16 Then Herod, seeing that he was deluded by the wise men - So did his pride teach him to regard this action, as if it were intended to expose him to the derision of his subjects. Sending forth - a party of soldiers: In all the confines thereof - In all the neighbouring places, of which Rama was one.
Mat 2:17 Then was fulfilled - A passage of Scripture, whether prophetic, historical, or poetical, is in the language of the New Testament fulfilled, when an event happens to which it may with great propriety be accommodated.
Mat 2:18 Rachel weeping for her children - The Benjamites, who inhabited Rama, sprung from her. She was buried near this place; and is here beautifully represented risen, as it were out of her grave, and bewailing her lost children. Because they are not - that is, are dead. The preservation of Jesus from this destruction, may be considered as a figure of God's care over his children in their greatest danger. God does not often, as he easily could, cut off their persecutors at a stroke. But he provides a hiding place for his people, and by methods not less effectual, though less pompous, preserves them from being swept away, even when the enemy comes in like a flood. Jer_31:15.
Mat 2:22 He was afraid to go thither - into Judea; and so turned aside into the region of Galilee - a part of the land of Israel not under the jurisdiction of Archelaus.
Mat 2:23 He came and dwelt in Nazareth - (where he had dwelt before he went to Bethlehem) a place contemptible to a proverb. So that hereby was fulfilled what has been spoken in effect by several of the prophets, (though by none of them in express words,) He shall be called a Nazarene - that is, he shall be despised and rejected, shall be a mark of public contempt and reproach.

Monday, December 20, 2010

True scriptural religion at Cambridge

Mon 20 Dec 1784: I went to Hinxworth, where I had the satisfaction of meeting Mr. Simeon, Fellow of King’s College in Cambridge. He has spent some time with Mr. Fletcher at Madeley—two kindred souls, much resembling each other, both in fervour of spirit and in the earnestness of their address. He gave me the pleasing information that there are three parish churches in Cambridge wherein true scriptural religion is preached, and several young gentlemen who are happy partakers of it.
I preached in the evening on Gal. 6:14.

A Christmas Carol from the Wesley Brothers

Glory be to God on high,
And peace on earth descend;
Now God comes down, He bows the sky,
And shows Himself our Friend!
God the invisible appears,
God the Blest, the Great I AM,
He sojourns in this vale of tears,
And Jesus is His Name.

Him by the angels all adored,
Their Maker and their King;
Lo, tidings of their humbled Lord
They now to mortals bring;
Emptied of His majesty,
Of His dazzling glories shorn,
Our being’s Source begins to be,
And God Himself is born!

See the eternal Son of God
A mortal Son of Man,
Now dwelling in an earthly clod
Whom Heaven cannot contain!
Stand amazed, ye heavens, look at this!
See the Lord of earth and skies
Low humbled to the dust He is,
And in a manger lies!

So do the sons of men rejoice
The Prince of Peace proclaim,
With Heaven’s host lift up our voice,
And shout Immanuel’s Name;
Our knees and hearts to Him we bow;
Of our flesh, and of our bone,
See—Jesus is our Brother now,
And God is all our own!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Prayer for Fourth Sunday of Advent

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
[from Book of Common Prayer sourced here]

Prayer for 4th Week of Advent (Methodist Service Book 1975)

Heavenly Father, who chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of our Lord and Saviour: fill us with your grace, that in all things we may accept your holy will and with her rejoice in your salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord

Filled with joy unspeakable

Sun 19 Dec 1742: I cried to all who felt themselves lost, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved’; and in the afternoon, ‘Ho! everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.’ At that hour one who was bitterly mourning after Christ (Mary Emerson) was filled with joy unspeakable.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Prayer for Sundays from the Book of Common Prayer

I love this prayer from the BCP for Sundays, as it reminds us what the real purpose of Sunday worship is. The early church were for the most part Sabbath keepers on Saturday, the last day of the week, and Resurrection celebrators on Sunday, the first day of the week. I think we should be too, as we lose SO much by conflating the two into one day. Here is the prayer.....

O God, you make us glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son our Lord: Give us this day such blessing through our worship of you, that the week to come may be spent in your favor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for Saturdays from the Book of Common Prayer

John Wesley prayed the Book of Common Prayer every day, morning, noon and evening. I love Saturday's collect because it reminds us what today (Saturday) is  and what tomorrow, Sunday, is.

Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Prayer for Friday

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
[from Book of Common Prayer, sourced at Daily Office]

JW’s scathing remarks regarding Captain Cook’s Voyages

Fri 17 Dec 1773: Meeting with a celebrated book, a volume of Captain Cook's Voyages, I sat down to read it with huge expectation
--But how was I disappointed! I observed, 1. Things absolutely incredible: "A nation without any curiosity;" and, what is stranger still, (I fear related with no good design,) "without any sense of shame! Men and women coupling together in the face of the sun, and in the sight of scores of people! Men whose skin, cheeks, and lips are white as milk." Hume or Voltaire might believe this; but I cannot. I observed, 2. Things absolutely impossible. To instance in one, for a specimen. A native of Otaheite is said to understand the language of an island eleven hundred degrees [query, miles] distant from it in latitude; besides I know not how many hundreds in longitude! So that I cannot but rank this narrative with that of Robinson Crusoe; and account Tupia to be, in several respects, akin to his man Friday.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I hardly ever spoke stronger words

Thu 16 Dec 1784: I went to Sheerness, where Mr. Fox read prayers and I preached on those words in the second Lesson, ‘If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?’ I hardly ever spoke stronger words. May God make the application! I never before found this society in such a state as they were now, being all in general athirst for God and increasing in number as well as in grace. Friday 17, I preached at Chatham, where likewise I found only peace and love; and, on Saturday 18, cheerfully returned to London.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

“Doctor” Wesley’s silly advice

Wed 15 Dec 1742: I preached at Horsley upon Tyne, eight (computed) miles from Newcastle. It was about two in the afternoon. The house not containing the people, we stood in the open air in spite of the frost. I preached again in the evening, and in the morning. We then chose to walk home, having each of us catched a violent cold by riding the day before. Mine gradually wore off. But Mr. Meyrick’s increased, so that on Friday he took his bed. I advised him to bleed, but he imagined he should be well without it in a few days.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

170 leave the Society

Mon 13 Dec 1779: I retired to Lewisham and settled the society book. Fifty-seven members of the society have died this year, and none of them ‘as a fool dieth’. An hundred and seventy have left the society. Such are the fruits of senseless prejudice [from @Cedric Poole: this “prejudice” refers to a problem with the local preachers who objected to JW giving his brother Charles preference when making preaching appointments].

JW's Notes on RCL Gospel reading for Sunday 19th December

Sun 19 Dec 2010 Year A Fourth Sunday in Advent

Matthew 1:18-25
Mat 1:19 A just man - A strict observer of the law: therefore not thinking it right to keep her.
Mat 1:21 Jesus - That is, a Saviour. It is the same name with Joshua (who was a type of him) which properly signifies, The Lord, Salvation. His people - Israel. And all the Israel of God.
Mat 1:23 They shall call his name Emmanuel - To be called, only means, according to the Hebrew manner of speaking, that the person spoken of shall really and effectually be what he is called, and actually fulfil that title. Thus, Unto us a child is born - and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace - That is, he shall be all these, though not so much nominally, as really, and in effect. And thus was he called Emmanuel; which was no common name of Christ, but points out his nature and office; as he is God incarnate, and dwells by his Spirit in the hearts of his people. It is observable, the words in Isaiah are, Thou (namely, his mother) shalt call; but here, They - that is, all his people, shall call - shall acknowledge him to be Emmanuel, God with us. Which being interpreted - This is a clear proof that St. Matthew wrote his Gospel in Greek, and not in Hebrew. Isa_7:14.
Mat 1:25 He knew her not, till after she had brought forth - It cannot be inferred from hence, that he knew her afterward: no more than it can be inferred from that expression, 2Sa_6:23, Michal had no child till the day of her death, that she had children afterward. Nor do the words that follow, the first - born son, alter the case. For there are abundance of places, wherein the term first born is used, though there were no subsequent children. Luk_2:7.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Freezing Cold

Mon 13 Dec 1742: I removed into a lodging adjoining to the ground where we were preparing to build. But the violent frost obliged us to delay the work. I never felt so intense cold before. In a room where a constant fire was kept, though my desk was fixed within a yard of the chimney, I could not write for a quarter of an hour together without my hands being quite benumbed.

A Christmas Carol from the Wesley Brothers


To us a Child of royal birth,
Heir of the promises, is given;
The Invisible appears on earth,
The Son of Man, the God of Heaven.

A Savior born, in love supreme
He comes our fallen souls to raise;
He comes His people to redeem
With all His plenitude of grace.

The Christ, by raptured seers foretold,
Filled with the eternal Spirit’s power,
Prophet, and Priest, and King behold,
And Lord of all the worlds adore.

The Lord of hosts, the God most high,
Who quits His throne on earth to live,
With joy we welcome from the sky,
With faith into our hearts receive.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Powerful preaching on the Parable of the Sower

Sun 12 Dec1742: I expounded at five the former part of the parable of the sower. At eight I preached in the Square on, ‘I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep.’ The effect of what had been spoken in the morning now evidently appeared. For one could not observe any in the congregation to stir hand or foot. When the sermon was done, they divided to the right and left, none offering to go till I was past. And then they walked quietly and silently away, lest Satan should catch the seed out of their hearts.

The Christmas Season: Stars to Steer By

This is the next in my series of blogs in which I am reviewing Joan Chittister's The Liturgical Year.
[Order it here and read my earlier reviews of her book here.]
Thus far we have looked at Advent; now we move to the Christmas season, which includes Christmas Day and the season of Epiphany.

She describes in great, but simple, detail how and why it came about that the Western Church celebrates Christmas Day on 25 December and the Eastern Church on 6 January. This invloves a discussion around the different calendars used in these parts of the world when the dates were being decided. Interesting cultural beliefs regarding when a perfect person like Jesus would die are shown to be a source in deciding the date for his birth based on the date we have for his death. This is just one example of well researched material Chittester provides that makes for useful sermon fillers.

She helpfully ties in pagan practises that were widespread in the world into which the early church exploded and how many of them were "Christianised". This does not necessarily make the Christian practises bad, but rather proves the redemptive power of the gospel to bring the Light of the World to bare on all things. Pointing out how Stonehenge is built in a way to pick up the first rays of light on the winter solstice, the longest night and 'darkest' day, and then relating this to the Christ who comes as Light even into the darkest night of the soul, shows how the gospel indeed brings light and redemption to a lost world. What a wonderful time (in the Northern Hemisphere) to celebrate the birth of the Light of the world.

There is much more in this vein, but Chittester constantly reminds us that the liturgical season of Christmas is there to remind us to celebrate life, God's greatness, and the manifestation of divinity in our midst.

"This one is both the God who reaches down to us and the human who raises us up to God"
"God is with us. The Radiant Dawn has swallowed up the darkness."

Of course, the centre point of the liturgical year is not Christmas, but Easter. Chittester reminds us:

"Christmas is not meant to leave us with nothing more than a child's perception of what it means to see a baby in a manger scene. It is meant to take us to the level of spiritual maturity where we are capable of seeing in a manger the meaning of an empty tomb. It is meant to enable us to see through the dark days of life to the stars beyond them."

Christmas is followed by Epiphany where we remember the journey of the magi, "to pay him homage." This season reminds us that "the world recognises the heavenly in this tiny Child. And the Child recognises the people of God in them. This is not a Christian child only; this child belongs to the world."

The Christmas season ends with the baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan, a sign that "Jesus accepts humanity, His own and ours, in all of its struggles, all of its limitations, all of its burdens, and all its focus on the ultimate, on the divine."

"Christmas is larger than a baby in a manger. Christmas is the coming of a whole new world. More than that, it is what makes that world possible."

Prayer for 3rd Week of Advent (Methodist Service Book 1975)

Almighty God, who sent your servant John the Baptist to prepare your people for the coming of your Son: inspire the ministers and stewards of your truth to turn our disobedient hearts to the law of love; that when he comes again in glory, we may stand with confidence before him as our judge; who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Prayer for Saturdays from the Book of Common Prayer

Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saved by the Third passer-by

I returned to London, Friday, 10 Dec 1773, with Captain Hinderson, of Chatham, who informed us, "Being off the Kentish coast, on Wednesday morning last, I found my ship had been so damaged by the storm, which still continued, that she could not long keep above water; so we got into the boat, twelve in all, though with little hope of making the shore. A ship passing by, we made all the signals we could; but they took no notice. A second passed near: We made signals and called; but they would not stay for us. A third put out their boat, took us up, and set us safe on shore."

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday's Prayer on Gender Violence

Today's prayer from Daily Office

O gracious Lord, we humbly pray
for the women of the world today.
Born of different colors and creeds,
we share the same concerns and needs.
Lord, lift our heads and dry our tears,
as you strengthen us and calm our fears.
Comfort those who, on bended knee,
seek a life where all live free.
We pray for ourselves as well as others,
as we pray for the future
of children and mothers. Amen.

Prayers from Lifting Women's Voices   
copyright DFMS 2009
For the Women of Our World   
Lonna Paul

Your breast cancer will not kill you before you are saved

Fri 10 Dec 1756: A person who was dying of a cancer in her breast and deeply convinced of sin, sent a post-chaise in which I went to her at Epsom. I left her on Saturday morning, in strong hope, she should not go hence till her eyes had seen his salvation.

Shah Nadir, commonly called Kouli Khan

Fri 10 Dec 1756: In my fragments of time in the following week I read Mr. Hanway’s accurate history of Shah Nadir, commonly called Kouli Khan—a scourge of God indeed! A prodigy of valour and conduct, but an unparalleled monster of rapine and cruelty. Alexander the Great, yea Nero or Domitian, was an innocent in comparison of him.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Today's Prayer (Thursday) on Gender Violence

Prayer on Gender Violence (sourced from Daily Office)
Let us pray for the Spirit of Wisdom to rest upon us
A spirit of understanding and knowledge
Grant us to live in harmony
God's mercy prevail

Let us pray for God’s steadfastness to gird our spirit
May peace prevail like lamb and wolf
Grant us to live in harmony
God's mercy prevail

Let us pray, for voices crying out in the wilderness
Women living in fear, children hiding
Grant all a place of harmony
God's mercy prevail

Let us pray, repent of harm done to the innocent
Clear the chaff of abuse and hurt
Bear the Spirit of harmony
God's mercy prevail

Let us pray for the God of hope, joy and peace to fill
All hearts, one voice glorify
God, prepare the way
God's mercy prevail

The Rev. Terri C. Pilarski

Settle your affairs TODAY (in 2010), says JW

Thu 9 Dec 1779: In speaking on those words, ‘Set thy house in order; for thou shalt die and not live,’ I took occasion to exhort all who had not done it already, to settle their temporal affairs without delay. Let not any man who reads these words put it off a day longer!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Today's Prayer on Gender Violence

O God, by your Holy Spirit you anointed Jesus Christ to open the eyes of the blind and give voice to those who are silent: Inspire us, by the power of that same Spirit, to see and recognize gender violence in its myriad forms, and to speak boldly and work effectively for its eradication, that, in your reign at hand, all women and men, and girls and boys, may blossom abundantly and rejoice to see your glory; in Jesus' name, Amen.

Jeanne Person [sourced here]

Who should preach to Whom?

Wed 8 Dec 1762: I had a second opportunity of hearing George Bell. I believe part of what he said was from God, (this was my reflection at that time,) part from an heated imagination. But as he did not scream, and there was nothing dangerously wrong, I did not yet see cause to hinder him.
All this time I observed a few of our brethren were diligently propagating that principle, that none can teach those who are renewed in love, unless he be in the state himself. I saw the tendency of this; but I saw that violent remedies would not avail.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The LORD provides the Land

Tue 7 Dec 1742: I was so ill in the morning that I was obliged to send Mr. Williams to the Room. He afterward went to Mr. Stephenson, a merchant in the town, who had a passage through the ground we intended to buy. I was willing to purchase that passage. Mr. Stephenson told him, ‘Sir, I don’t want money. But if Mr. Wesley wants ground he may have a piece of my garden, adjoining to the place you mention. I am at a word. For forty pounds he shall have sixteen yards in breadth, and thirty in length.’
Wed. 8. Mr. Stephenson and I signed an article, and I took possession of the ground. But I could not fairly go back from my agreement with Mr. Riddell. So I entered on his ground at the same time. The whole is about forty yards in length; in the middle of which we determined to build the house, leaving room for a small courtyard before and a little garden behind the building.

People and Benches Equally Affected

Tue 7 Dec 1779: I preached in Rotherhithe Chapel, a cold, uncomfortable place, to an handful of people, who appeared to be just as much affected as the benches they sat upon.

JW's Notes on RCL Gospel reading for Sunday 12th December


Sun 12 Dec  2010 Year A Third Sunday in Advent
Matthew 11:2-11
Mat 11:2  He sent two of his disciples - Not because he doubted himself; but to confirm their faith. Luk_7:18.
Mat 11:3  He that is to come - The Messiah.
Mat 11:4  Go and tell John the things that ye hear and see - Which are a stronger proof of my being the Messiah, than any bare assertion can be.
Mat 11:5  The poor have the Gospel preached to them - The greatest mercy of all. Isa_29:18; Isa_35:5.
Mat 11:6  Happy is he who shall not be offended at me - Notwithstanding all these proofs that I am the Messiah.
Mat 11:7  As they departed, he said concerning John - Of whom probably he would not have said so much when they were present. A reed shaken by the wind? - No; nothing could ever shake John in the testimony he gave to the truth. The expression is proverbial.
Mat 11:8  A man clothed in soft, delicate raiment - An effeminate courtier, accustomed to fawning and flattery? You may expect to find persons of such a character in palaces; not in a wilderness.
Mat 11:9  More than a prophet - For the prophets only pointed me out afar off; but John was my immediate forerunner.
Mat 11:11  But he that is least in the kingdom of heaven, is greater than he - Which an ancient author explains thus: - "One perfect in the law, as John was, is inferior to one who is baptized into the death of Christ. For this is the kingdom of heaven, even to be buried with Christ, and to be raised up together with him. John was greater than all who had been then born of women, but he was cut off before the kingdom of heaven was given." [He seems to mean, that righteousness, peace, and joy, which constitute the present inward kingdom of heaven.] "He was blameless as to that righteousness which is by the law; but he fell short of those who are perfected by the spirit of life which is in Christ. Whosoever, therefore, is least in the kingdom of heaven, by Christian regeneration, is greater than any who has attained only the righteousness of the law, because the law maketh nothing perfect." It may farther mean, the least true Christian believer has a more perfect knowledge of Jesus Christ, of his redemption and kingdom, than John the Baptist had, who died before the full manifestation of the Gospel.

Monday, December 6, 2010

How little I know of the book of Revelation

Mon 6 Dec 1762: and the following days, I corrected the notes upon the Revelation. O, how little do we know of this deep book! At least, how little do I know! I can barely conjecture, not affirm any one point concerning that part of it which is yet unfulfilled.

A Christmas Carol from the Wesley Brothers


This is the original "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"

Hark, how all the welkin rings,
"Glory to the King of kings;
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!"
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
universal nature say,
"Christ the Lord is born today!"

Christ, by highest Heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a Virgin's womb!
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see,
hail the incarnate Deity!
pleased as man with men to appear,
Jesus, our Emmanuel here!

Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace,
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that man no more may die;
born to raise the sons of earth;
born to give them second birth.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
fix in us thy humble home;
rise, the woman's conquering Seed,
bruise in us the serpent's head.
Now display thy saving power,
ruined nature now restore;
now in mystic union join
thine to ours, and ours to thine.

 Adam's likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp thy image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.
Let us thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the life, the inner man:
O, to all thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Prayer for 2nd Week of Advent (Methodist Service Book 1975)

Eternal God, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: help us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that through patience and the comfort of your Holy Word we may embrace and forever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Sanctification: Instantaneous AND Gradual

Sun 5 Dec 1756: To take away one ground of contention from many well-meaning people, in preaching on, "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard-seed," I endeavoured to show at large, in what sense sanctification is gradual, and in what sense it is instantaneous: And (for the present, at least) many were delivered from vain reasonings and disputings.

An uncommon pouring out of the convincing Spirit

Sun 5 Dec 1779: In applying those words, ‘What could I have done for my vineyard which I have not done?’ I found such an uncommon pouring out of the convincing Spirit, as we have not known for many years. In the evening the same Spirit enabled me strongly to exhort a numerous congregation, to ‘Come boldly to the throne of grace’ and to ‘make all their requests known unto God with thanksgiving.’

Saturday, December 4, 2010

So Please, What Day Is It, Really (and does it really matter) Sabbath continued


 Sabbath
This is the next in a series of posts on Biblical Timing. Thus far I have concentrated mainly on Friday, Day Six of the week, the day the Lord made animals and then human beings, and the day on which human beings killed the Lord; and Day One, the first day of the week, the LORD's Day or Sunday.

In this post I want to have a look at the day that comes between the two, namely Day Seven, but of course better known as the Sabbath. In his book 'Sabbath', (buy it here) Dan B Allender points out that for many the Sabbath has somehow morphed into Sunday, the day of the resurrection and that it is fulfilled by attending a religious event called Sunday morning church service. He warns that "this is not a Sabbath, but that rather this is Sabbath breaking". Eugene Peterson [writing in Christianity Today vol 38, no. 4, in 1994, in an article called The Good-for-nothing Sabbath] warns of the danger of the bastard Sabbath, which he describes as a Sabbath which has become nothing more than a break.

I need to make clear right up at the start as we talk about Sabbath that too much discussion around the Sabbath gets hung up on what day it is, rather than concentrating on what it means to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. As Allender points out in his introduction, “Sabbath rest is not an option; it is a commandment” and “it is as wrong to violate the Sabbath as it is to steal, lie, and kill.”

Jesus did not abrogate, cancel, or annul the idea of the Sabbath and neither should we. Jesus points out that humans were not made for the Sabbath but rather that the Sabbath was made for humans. Sabbath is actually one of God's gifts to us. In fact Sabbath is one of God's gifts for all of His creation: male, female; slave, free; Jew, Gentile; believer, unbeliever; beast of burden, and the ground itself. Sabbath is important and necessary for all creation.

There is so much to write about Sabbath that this post is once again going to end up being a number of posts. My context, which is one of Biblical timing,is a context which seeks to point out how much we miss by neglecting the Bible's way (and of course, God's way) of timing. By conflating Sabbath with Sunday we lose out on much of the richness of the story of Jesus. Sabbath keeping was one of the main reasons for the Pharisees deep dislike, which became hatred, of Jesus. I do believe that if our God had really wanted us to conflate the Sabbath (Day 7) and  the Day of the Resurrection (Day 1), He would have raised Jesus on the Sabbath.

As we read the New Testament, the Sabbath is the one day of the week which is mentioned more than any other. For me this becomes an opportunity to say: “We know exactly which day of the week this event happened” and I then often meditate on different Sabbath events on the Biblical Sabbath, which is from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, and has been such for at least 3 000 years!
Another joy that comes from practising Biblical timing, is that one ends the week with Sabbath celebration (from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday) and perhaps even with Sabbath rest...and then one starts a new week on Sunday, Day One, with Resurrection celebration.
It's a way of timing that sets things in perspective.

So Please, What Day Is It, Really (and does it really matter) Sabbath

SEVENTH DAY OF THE WEEK or SABBATH DAY or Saturday

In the last in this series we looked at the First Day of the week, The LORD's Day, what we today call Sunday (Read that post here).Now we are going to spend time looking at the Biblical Sabbath, which is of course, Day 7, known today as Saturday. As this study progresses we will see that tradition has caused Sunday to also be seen as the Sabbath, but for now we look at the Biblical Sabbath.The Biblical Sabbath begins at sunset(as all days do in God's timing) on Friday and continues to sunset on Saturday. Here are some relevant Scriptures:

Gen 2:1 And so the whole universe was completed.
Gen 2:2 By the seventh day God finished what he had been doing and stopped working.
Gen 2:3 He blessed the seventh day and set it apart as a special day, because by that day he had completed his creation and stopped working.

Mar 1:21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the Sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

Mar 2:24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?

Mar 2:27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

Luk 4:31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.

Luk 6:2 And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?

Luk 13:14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.

Joh 9:14 And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.

Joh 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

Act 13:44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

Act 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

Our Last Friday in Cape Town

We spent our last Friday in Cape Town at the Mount Nelson for High Tea and then moved on to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. These things are all must do's if you ever visit this beautiful city


 Here we are at the Mount Nelson Flower Fountain
 Then it was off to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
 Sunset from the Cape Town Wheel


 This man is made out of coca cola boxes.

A Prayer for Saturdays from the Book of Common Prayer


Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Genuine instance of enthusiasm

Sat 4 Dec 1742: I was both surprised and grieved at a genuine instance of enthusiasm. John Brown, of Tanfield Lea, who had received a sense of the love of God a few days before, came riding through the town, hollowing and shouting, and driving all the people before him, telling them God had told him he should be a king, and should tread all his enemies under his feet. I sent him home immediately to his work, and advised him to cry day and night to God that he might be lowly in heart, lest Satan should again get an advantage over him.
Today a gentleman called and offered me a piece of ground. On Monday an article was drawn, wherein he agreed to put me into possession on Thursday, upon payment of thirty pounds.

They may be what they profess, but I wait for farther evidence.

Sat 4 Dec 1762: At the desire of Mr. Maxfield, and the seeming desire of themselves, I baptized two foreigners, (one of them in a Turkish habit,) who professed themselves to have been Turks. On this I then remarked, "They may be what they profess, but I wait for farther evidence. Their story is extremely plausible; it may be true, or it may not."

Friday, December 3, 2010

We greatly rejoiced in God our Saviour

Fri 3 Dec 1784: Partly riding and partly walking through wind and rain and water and dirt, we got at last to Luton, where I found a large congregation, and we greatly rejoiced in God our Saviour. Saturday 4, I went on to London.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Prayer on Gender Violence

Gracious God, like a mother hen you shelter us under your wings: Bring your truth and love into homes where domestic violence has shattered the peace. Provide sustenance for the victims and accountability for the abusers. Send wise and courageous friends who can offer alternatives, and bring your healing power into broken relationships. May your church provide a haven of safety and peace for the abused and reach out to support all who serve the needs of the abused in our communities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Breaking the Silence: The Church responds to Domestic Violence
Anne O. Weatherhouse
© 2008   
published by Morehouse

What Happened to this Young Clergyman

Thu 2 Dec 1784: I preached about noon at Buckden and, in the evening, to a crowded congregation at Huntingdon. I wondered that I saw nothing here of a young clergyman who last year professed much love and esteem. But I soon heard, his eyes were opened to see the Decrees. So he knows me no more!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Prayer For Persons with HIV/AIDS on World Aids Day

This prayer is from The Daily Office, an excellent resource for anyone wanting to pursue the Wesleyan discipline of praying the daily office. Visit The Daily Office.

For Persons with HIV/AIDS
By Stephen Helmreich

O Lord Jesus, Healer of our every ill, during your ministry you cured those who suffered from both the disease and the stigma of leprosy. Now we confront the global epidemic of HIV/AIDS. Today, as before, support and heal all people living with the disease, comfort those who have lost friends or lovers, strengthen and encourage families, caregivers and activists in their daily tasks, guide doctors and researchers on their quest, lead politicians and governments to policies of compassion, and enlighten those whose hearts are filled with prejudice, hate, and error. Amen.