Daily Archives: January 1, 2018

More Poetry for New Years Day–‘To the New Year’ by W S Merwin

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are

Read it all.

Posted in History, Poetry & Literature

C.H. Spurgeon from 1884–The New Year’s Guest

“I was a stranger, and you took Me in.” Matthew 25:35.

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” John 1:12.

I lately received a New Year’s card which suggested to me the topic on which I am about to speak to you. The designer of the card has, with holy insight, seen the relation of the two texts to each other and rendered both of them eminently suggestive by placing them together. There is freshness in the thought that, by receiving Jesus as a stranger, our believing hospitality works in us a Divine capacity and we thereby receive power to become the sons of God.
The connection suggested between the two Inspired words is really existent and by no means strained or fanciful, as you will see by reading the context of the passage in John”””He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.” So He was a stranger in the world which He Himself had made! “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” So He was a stranger among the people whom He had set apart for His own by many deeds of mercy! “But as many as received Him”””that is to say, gave entertainment to this blessed Stranger”””to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”

I thought that this might prove to be a suitable and salutary passage to discourse upon at the beginning of a New Year, for this is a season of hospitality and some among our friends will think it well to commence a New Year by saying to the Lord Jesus, “Come in, You blessed of the Lord; why do You stand outside?”

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Preaching / Homiletics

Saint Augustine–God is “the eternity that is our refuge” as we begin another year

‘Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and the world were made: and from age even unto age Thou art’ (v. 2). Thou therefore who art for ever, and before we were, and before the world was, hast become our refuge ever since we turned to Thee. … But he very rightly does not say, Thou wast from ages, and unto ages Thou shalt be: but puts the verb in the present, intimating that the substance of God is altogether immutable. It is not, He was, and Shall be, but only Is. Whence the expression, I Am that I Am; and, I Am ‘hath sent me unto you;’ (Exod. iii. 14.) and, ‘Thou shalt change them, and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail.’ (Ps. cii. 26, 27.) Behold then the eternity that is our refuge, that we may fly thither from the mutability of time, there to remain for evermore.

–Saint Augustine, from his Exposition on the Book of Psalms, Psalm XC (my emphasis).

Posted in History, Theology

Another Prayer for the Feast of the Holy Name

O God, who hast made the most glorious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, thine only-begotten Son, to be exceeding sweet and supremely lovable to thy faithful servants: Mercifully grant that all who devoutly venerate this name of Jesus on earth may in this life receive thy holy comfort, and in the life to come attain thine unending joy; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Sarum Missal

Posted in Uncategorized

A New Year’s Day Prayer (II)

Almighty and eternal God, with whom one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day: Give us grace, as we remember the way by which thou hast led us, to offer unto thee the worship of adoring hearts, and to rest our hopes for the time to come on thine unchanging love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in History, Spirituality/Prayer

Christianity Today’s Top Twenty Stories of 2012

Muslims moved by Coptic Christians’ forgiveness, Tim Keller steps down as Redeemer senior pastor, Family Christian closes its 240 stores, and more.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Religion & Culture

Poetry as 2018 begins–The Thread of Life

[1] The irresponsive silence of the land,
The irresponsive sounding of the sea,
Speak both one message of one sense to me: ””
Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand
Thou too aloof bound with the flawless band
Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;
But who from thy self””chain shall set thee free?
What heart shall touch thy heart? what hand thy hand?””
And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek,
And sometimes I remember days of old
When fellowship seemed not so far to seek
And all the world and I seemed much less cold,
And at the rainbow’s foot lay surely gold,
And hope felt strong and life itself not weak.
[2] Thus am I mine own prison. Everything
Around me free and sunny and at ease:
Or if in shadow, in a shade of trees
Which the sun kisses, where the gay birds sing
And where all winds make various murmuring;
Where bees are found, with honey for the bees;
Where sounds are music, and where silences
Are music of an unlike fashioning.
Then gaze I at the merrymaking crew,
And smile a moment and a moment sigh
Thinking: Why can I not rejoice with you ?
But soon I put the foolish fancy by:
I am not what I have nor what I do;
But what I was I am, I am even I.

[3]Therefore myself is that one only thing
I hold to use or waste, to keep or give;
My sole possession every day I live,
And still mine own despite Time’s winnowing.
Ever mine own, while moons and seasons bring
From crudeness ripeness mellow and sanative;
Ever mine own, till Death shall ply his sieve;
And still mine own, when saints break grave and sing.
And this myself as king unto my King
I give, to Him Who gave Himself for me;
Who gives Himself to me, and bids me sing
A sweet new song of His redeemed set free;
He bids me sing: O death, where is thy sting?
And sing: O grave, where is thy victory?

–Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Posted in History, Poetry & Literature

BBC One’s London Fireworks 2018

Posted in England / UK, Urban/City Life and Issues

Eleanor Parker–Two medieval New Year carols

Hey, ay, hey, ay,
Make we merry as we may!

Now is Yule come with gentyll cheer; [excellent fun]
In mirth and games he has no peer,
In every land where he comes near
Is mirth and games, I dare well say.

Now is come a messenger
Of your lord, Sir New Year,
Bids us all be merry here
And make us merry as we may.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

A Prayer for the New Year

O God of new beginnings and wonderful surprises, thank you for the gift of a new year. May it be a time of grace for me, a time to grow in faith and love, a time to renew my commitment to following Your Son, Jesus. May it be a year of blessing for me, a time to cherish my family and friends, a time to renew my efforts at work, a time to embrace my faith more fully. Walk with me, please, in every day and every hour of this new year, that the light of Christ might shine through me, in spite of my weaknesses and failings. Above all, may I remember this year that I am a pilgrim on the sacred path to You. Amen.

–Courtesy of Saint Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre, New York

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast of the Holy Name

O almighty God, who hast given unto thy Son Jesus Christ the name which is above every name, and hast taught us that there is none other whereby we may be saved: Mercifully grant that as thy faithful people have comfort and peace in his name, so they may ever labour to publish it unto all nations; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Scottish Prayer Book

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

–Psalm 103:1-5

Posted in Uncategorized