Thursday, March 3, 2016

John and Charles Wesley, Priests

Today the church remembers Today the church remembers John and Charles Wesley, Priests, 1791, 1788.

John and Charles were raised together at the rectory in Epworth. They studied at Oxford, and together they were ordained into the ministry of the Church of England. Together they journeyed to America and served there as missionaries in Georgia for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Together they led the great evangelical revival of the eighteenth century.

This movement attempted to foster among Christians a strong personal commitment to Jesus. Its leaders, such as John and Charles, preached and sang in the open fields, on street corners, and in the market places. They actively opposed slavery and drunkenness. John was the more impressive preacher, Charles the musician.

The Evangelical Movement led to the formation of several religious societies. The most famous of these was the "Methodist" Society, so-called for its strict and methodical practices. Some of these societies, especially in America, separated from the English Church. John and Charles Wesley, however, did not forsake the Church of England. Their feast day would seem an appropriate time to recommit ourselves to the spread of Christ's kingdom among all classes of people.

Lord Christ, make us ready to journey forth into the world to do your work and to praise your Name, and all for your glory. Amen.

Lord God, you inspired your servants John and Charles Wesley with burning zeal for the sanctification of souls, and endowed them with eloquence in speech and song: Kindle in your Church, we entreat you, such fervor, that those whose faith has cooled may be warmed, and those who have not known Christ may turn to him and be saved; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wesley

The Daily Readings for March 3, 2016

Genesis 46:1-7, 46:28-34
When Israel set out on his journey with all that he had and came to Beer-sheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God spoke to Israel in visions of the night, and said, "Jacob, Jacob." And he said, "Here I am." Then he said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again; and Joseph's own hand shall close your eyes." Then Jacob set out from Beer-sheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They also took their livestock and the goods that they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and they came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, his sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters, and his sons' daughters; all his offspring he brought with him into Egypt. Israel sent Judah ahead to Joseph to lead the way before him into Goshen. When they came to the land of Goshen, Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to meet his father Israel in Goshen. He presented himself to him, fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. Israel said to Joseph, "I can die now, having seen for myself that you are still alive." Joseph said to his brothers and to his father's household, "I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and will say to him, 'My brothers and my father's household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. The men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.' When Pharaoh calls you, and says, 'What is your occupation?' you shall say, 'Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our ancestors'-- in order that you may settle in the land of Goshen, because all shepherds are abhorrent to the Egyptians."


1 Corinthians 9:1-15
Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to our food and drink? Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who at any time pays the expenses for doing military service? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not get any of its milk? Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law also say the same? For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Or does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was indeed written for our sake, for whoever plows should plow in hope and whoever threshes should thresh in hope of a share in the crop. If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits? If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we still more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is sacrificed on the altar? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel. But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this so that they may be applied in my case. Indeed, I would rather die than that-- no one will deprive me of my ground for boasting!


Mark 6:30-46
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat." But he answered them, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?" And he said to them, "How many loaves have you? Go and see." When they had found out, they said, "Five, and two fish." Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men. Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.


Psalm 83 Deus, quis similis? (God, who is like?)
1   O God, do not be silent; do not keep still nor hold your peace, O God;
2   For your enemies are in tumult, and those who hate you have lifted up their heads.
3   They take secret counsel against your people and plot against those whom you protect.
4   They have said, "Come, let us wipe them out from among the nations; let the name of Israel be remembered no more."
5   They have conspired together; they have made an alliance against you:
6   The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; the Moabites and the Hagarenes;
7   Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines and those who dwell in Tyre.
8   The Assyrians also have joined them, and have come to help the people of Lot.
9   Do to them as you did to Midian, to Sisera, and to Jabin at the river of Kishon:
10   They were destroyed at Endor; they became like dung upon the ground.
11   Make their leaders like Oreb and Ze√ęb, and all their commanders like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12   Who said, "Let us take for ourselves the fields of God as our possession."
13   O my God, make them like whirling dust and like chaff before the wind;
14   Like fire that burns down a forest, like the flame that sets mountains ablaze.
15   Drive them with your tempest and terrify them with your storm;
16   Cover their faces with shame, O LORD, that they may seek your Name.
17   Let them be disgraced and terrified for ever; let them be put to confusion and perish.
18   Let them know that you, whose Name is YAHWEH, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.


Psalm 85 Benedixisti, Domine (Lord, thou)
1   You have been gracious to your land, O LORD, you have restored the good fortune of Jacob.
2   You have forgiven the iniquity of your people and blotted out all their sins.
3   You have withdrawn all your fury and turned yourself from your wrathful indignation.
4   Restore us then, O God our Savior; let your anger depart from us.
5   Will you be displeased with us for ever? will you prolong your anger from age to age?
6   Will you not give us life again, that your people may rejoice in you?
7   Show us your mercy, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.
8   I will listen to what the LORD God is saying, for he is speaking peace to his faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to him.
9   Truly, his salvation is very near to those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
10   Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11   Truth shall spring up from the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12   The LORD will indeed grant prosperity, and our land will yield its increase.
13   Righteousness shall go before him, and peace shall be a pathway for his feet.


Psalm 86 Inclina, Domine (Give ear, O)
1   Bow down your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and in misery.
2   Keep watch over my life, for I am faithful; save your servant who puts his trust in you.
3   Be merciful to me, O LORD, for you are my God; I call upon you all the day long.
4   Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
5   For you, O LORD, are good and forgiving, and great is your love toward all who call upon you.
6   Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer, and attend to the voice of my supplications.
7   In the time of my trouble I will call upon you, for you will answer me.
8   Among the gods there is none like you, O LORD, nor anything like your works.
9   All the nations you have made will come and worship you, O LORD, and glorify your Name.
10   For you are great; you do wondrous things; and you alone are God.
11   Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; knit my heart to you that I may fear your Name.
12   I will thank you, O LORD my God, with all my heart, and glorify your Name for evermore.
13   For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the nethermost Pit.
14   The arrogant rise up against me, O God, and a band of violent men seeks my life; they have not set you before their eyes.
15   But you, O LORD, are gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger, and full of kindness and truth.
16   Turn to me and have mercy upon me; give your strength to your servant; and save the child of your handmaid.
17   Show me a sign of your favor, so that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed; because you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

Daily Meditation for March 3, 2016

From Forward Day by Day

Mark 6:31 He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.”

I’m not very good at relaxing. There’s always another book to read. There’s always something else to write. The to-do list is never done. A few weeks ago, I read an article about how many of us are harming our brains by never letting them go idle. When we stand in line at the store, it’s tempting to pull out a phone and check in online. Lots of drivers talk on the phone while we drive. We do anything to fill idle moments with something. That article also said it’s good for our brains to be bored, to rest.

Even Jesus himself took time off for refreshment. Whether it’s a couple of minutes in the checkout line or a few days off from work, we’d all do well to rest. In our go-go culture, perhaps one of the most important Christian witnesses is to go offline and to rest. For in the stillness, away from the din of the world, we might be able to hear the still, small voice of God.