Monday, January 26, 2015

Prayer diary Monday 26 January 2015

The scribes … said, ‘He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.’And he called them to him ...‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.'
Mark 3.22-24

Reflection Jesus' words reminds of the reality of the demonic and his power over that realm. And we are also reminded that there are always among us those who feel threatened or challenged by Christ's Gospel and will attempt to portray it as evil.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Examin Sunday 25 Jan 2015

Some take our Lord's declaration that the Sabbath was made for man too far, to the point where the Lord's day becomes all but indistinguishable from any other day of the week. Jesus spoke to protect people from the kind of legalism that acted to prevent people from looking after their basic human needs or showing compassion to others in the name of keeping the Sabbath. He was using his authority as the Son of God to ensure the correct interpretation of the law, not, as he said elsewhere, to abolish it. There was no suggestion in his words that the Lord's day should cease to be a day of rest or a day of worship. Those who use his words as an excuse to treat the Sabbath as if it were any other day risk falling into the same kind of legalism Christ strove to set aside.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

prayer diary Saturday 24 Jan 2015

Then he went home; and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. 
Mark 3.19,20

We often think of the sacrifices that Christ made at the end of his life; but how often do we think of those he made during his ministry? He endured much hardship from travelling in all weathers, being away from his home, as well as hunger and thirst. And all for the sake of proclaiming the Gospel. We also must be ready to give of ourselves for the sake of sharing his message.

Friday, January 23, 2015


a Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) press release

Christian Solidarity Worldwide today condemned the rape and murder of two Kachin women in their church compound on the night of 19 January, and called on the government of Burma to immediately stop its military offensives in ethnic areas and bring the perpetrators of sexual violence to justice.

The two women, Maran Lu Ra, aged 20 and Tangbau Hkawn Nan Tsin, 21, were teachers from Myitkyina, working with the Kachin Baptist Convention. They were attacked during the night of 19 January and early hours of 20 January by Burma Army soldiers in Kawng Hka Shabuk village, Muse District, northern Shan State, gang-raped and murdered.

According to CSW's sources, 'Burma Army troops came into the church ground where the girls were sleeping and raped and then beat them to death. Villagers nearby heard the girls screaming and when they went to check they saw Burma Army boot prints and the raped and bloodied bodies of the dead girls. The church members went to the Burma police in this area, but the police have taken no action.'

The Kachin Women's Association Thailand (KWAT) has documented over 70 cases of gang-rape, rape and attempted sexual violence by Burma Army troops in Kachin and northern Shan states since the Burma Army broke a 17-year ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in June 2011. The Women's League of Burma published a new report last year, titled If they had hope, they would speak, which documents 118 cases of sexual violence by the Burma Army since 2010.

CSW calls on the British Government to implement provisions in its Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and dispatch a team of experts to Burma to investigate this case. The government of Burma signed the Declaration to End Sexual Violence in Conflict last year, but has failed to implement its provisions.

Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of CSW, said: 'This tragic rape and murder of two young Christian Kachin teachers is yet another example of the continuing severe violations of human rights in Burma, the prevailing culture of impunity for the military, and the persistent and widespread use of rape and sexual violence by the Burma Army. We urge the international community to act to uphold the provisions of the Declaration to End Sexual Violence in Conflict and the UK's own Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, and we call on the government of Burma to end the war against the Kachin people and engage in a genuine political dialogue and peace process.'

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 (0)20 8329 0045 / +44 (0) 78 2332 9663, email or visit

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a Christian organisation working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.

prayer diary Friday 23 Jan 2015 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message,and to have authority to cast out demons. 
Mark 3. 14

The authority Jesus gave the apostles they passed on to their successors, as we see by the appointment of Matthias to replace Judas in Acts. This is why we can believe, as it says in the Creeds, that the Church is 'Apostolic;' and trust in the truth she proclaims on behalf of the one who established her, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

a touching moment

It was the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity. I was doing a 'pulpit exchange' in one of the local Catholic churches. I began by talking about how much better relations were between the churches and went on to suggest that part of unity was showing solidarity with our persecuted brethren in other countries. The Mass continued. I sat quietly in the sanctuary during the consecration and administration of the Sacrament. As the Mass was nearing its close, the elderly priest who was my host stood behind the altar for the blessing. He paused.

'The Reverend Patrick spoke about how much progress has been made. And he's right. But more needs to be done. I just want to say how much real pain it causes me that he could not receive the Body and Blood of our Lord with me here at the altar today; and that when I go to visit his church to preach later this week, I also will not be able to partake. And I'm sure it causes him pain also; as it does all here and all in our two communities.' 

He continued with the blessing. When he had finished, he paused again. 

'I should have asked the Reverend Patrick to join me.' He gestured me forward. 'We'll do it again.' I rose and stood with him behind the altar. 'I'm sorry about that,' he whispered. I shook my head and placed my hand on his shoulder. He put his arm around me and we embraced. We then pronounced the blessing. The congregation applauded.

It was all very natural and spontaneous. And what both priests said is true. As I said, much progress has been made. And as he said, we have so much farther to go.

prayer diary Thursday 22 Jan 2015

Hearing all that he was doing, they came to him in great numbers from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region around Tyre and Sidon. 
Mark 3.8

During his public ministry people flocked to Jesus. We too must seek him out: through prayer; the reading of Sacred Scripture; in our worship; and by means of the Sacraments