Morning Prayer Wednesday, 9 June 2021
Good morning, Cornerstone friends on a lovely summer morning.
Today we remember St Columba from the sixth century, who established an abbey
on the island of Iona, still a centre of worship and a base for a large world-wide community of faith.
Like us, Columba lived in uncertain times.
Hear my teaching, O my people;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will pour forth mysteries from of old,
such as we have heard and known,
which our forebears have told us.
We will not hide them from children,
but will recount them to generations to come,
the praises of the Lord and his power
and the wonderful works he has done.
Psalm 78: 1–4
God our deliverer, as you led your people of old through the wilderness,
so lead us through the wilderness of this world and by your grace enable us to tell the glorious works of the Lord
to the forthcoming generation that we all may be saved through Christ.
‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.’
Matthew 5: 17–19
The Psalm reminds us that we need to understand our faith and share it with our children and grandchildren.
Many of us have done it with our families with children and grandchildren in different parts of the country and indeed far parts of the world.
We recite regularly in our worship, ‘We have come from all the corners of the earth,’ which is indeed true;
but I am afraid that we may be missing out in sharing our faith with the next generation during this lockdown period.
Even before that we have not had a vigorous young person’s group and have had no candidates for confirmation for over eight years!
That statistic troubles me and came again to mind on Sunday, when Ernesto preached on the reading from Genesis,
where God poses the question to Adam, ‘Where are you? and invited us to consider this question ourselves.
Adam‘s response was ‘I was afraid’, I too am afraid for our future, but we need not despair.
In Christ we have assurance that our failures can be forgiven and we can start afresh.
Let us pray for all those who have agreed to renew our work with young people.
Let us all get behind them and support them fully, so that we may be able in the future to regularly provide candidates for confirmation
and build a future for our mission here in Central Milton Keynes.
Pray also for work among young people world-wide.
Almighty God our redeemer, you have called us to follow you and to suffer children to come to you;
we ask that your Spirit will be working in the hearts of all who care for children
and who teach young people to lead them into a conviction to follow you in their turn.
Inspire all of us with a passion to share your love with all that we meet,
and move in the hearts of the young people in our city and throughout the world
to come to you, that your Holy Name may continue to be glorified in this place.
Let us pray for our world.
I had hoped there would be news of a vote last Monday evening against the government
to get the level of overseas aid fixed at 0.7% of GDP (our overall economic activity as a nation),
but fearing defeat the government prevented any debate on Monday.
It is important too that we vaccinate our population in the UK,
but we should also be offering help for less developed countries to obtain millions of doses to protect people across the globe
to prevent even more variants of this virus, which is still spreading in most countries virtually unchecked.
The global leaders of seven nations who are about to meet in Cornwall
are to consider how we share out the problem of reducing our current overuse of the available resources of the earth.
Thus far the richest countries (which include our own) have been unwilling to make the necessary changes
speedily enough to stop climate change.
We could be as close as one generation from completely upsetting the balance of the earth’s ecology and climate completely.
Let us pray that God’s Spirit of justice and peace will enter the hearts of all who lead and all who benefit from the inequalities in the world today,
so that the world’s resources are not wasted, all are able to live in peace and violence between peoples will be ended.
Iona is almost exuberantly joyful and relaxed place than it was in Columba’s time.
The Iona Community bubbles with life and creative energy.
Today there are no gloomy penitentials prescribing punishments for every conceivable lapse.
This does not, however, betoken a lack of awareness of or indifference
to the numerous hurts that need to be healed,
the sins that need to be forgiven, the wrongs that need to be righted,
and the disorder and imperfection that needs to be redeemed in the modern world.
It is this deep spirit of penitence summed up in the song,
‘We lay our broken world in sorrow at your feet’
which is for me the most authentic mark
of the continuing presence of Columban Christianity on Iona.
Ian Bradley: Columba, Penitent and Pilgrim
In the words of Columba let us leave our broken world in sorrow at Christ’s feet:
Tis not from chance our comfort springs, Thou art our trust, O King of kings.
Go carefully but with assurance through your day.