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BBC Radio 4 Prayer for the Day with HG Bishop Angaelos - July 2016


Script 1

Good morning.

One of the greatest challenges of daily life today is finding purpose. During this week, the Coptic Orthodox Church continues to focus on the lives of the Apostles, those who were called to do something so different and radical that it changed the world.

Today, we as individuals are also called to something, each in our own way. That calling does not need to be overly grand or dramatic, and will sometimes be as simple as faithfully carrying out our daily commitments for our families, friends and communities.

As a Christian, I believe that we have all been created according to the image and likeness of God, gifted with 'something.' Whether we call them talents, strengths, gifts or anything else, we all have that 'something' to contribute.

In his writings, Saint Paul repeatedly tells us that when we use these varied gifts faithfully, we will inevitably complement one another. That is why, in Christianity, his imagery of the Body of Christ is crucial, the Body that is made up of many members yet all created to work in unison. Our calling then is the same today as it was for the apostles; to use our individual strengths for the benefit of all.

We spend much time thinking about what we as individuals can receive from our families, friends, society and even the world around us, but we need to dedicate more of that time to find ways to give of ourselves, rather than receive.

Lord, help us to take time today to focus on what we can give to our families, our communities and our nation. Help us to find ways to comfort, support and love others with the love You have given us all to share.

Glory be to God forever. Amen.

Script 2

Good morning.

This week the Coptic Orthodox church is focusing on the lives of the apostles. They were called to spread a very new message into the world, and they encountered every conceivable obstacle along their way, some external, but others emanating from within, from their own fear and anxiety. These are common challenges we face even today, that can only be overcome when we believe there is more to us than we actually see at times of weakness and uncertainty.

One thing we have all experienced at some stage is that once we embark on a meaningful journey, we will inevitably encounter obstacles that hinder or prevent us from completing it. I discovered this personally when I decided to leave the world and enter into a monastic life. Everything that should have gone smoothly suddenly became a problem; an obstacle that needed to be overcome. It is then that I realised it was up to me however to deal with these obstacles. If a journey is meaningful and valuable enough to us, we will look for, and find, the ways and means to overcome them.

Whether we take the popular imagery of no man is an island, or the specifically Christian one, of being part of one Body, the message is the same; we are not meant to journey alone. The Book of Ecclesiastes also tells us that "two are better than one", because if one falls the other can raise him or her up again. This is precisely what we need on our journeys, like-minded and like-spirited companions who will encourage and empower us to overcome any obstacle that presents itself along the way.

Lord, help us to learn from the obstacles we face along our journeys, and to overcome them through the many means of support You have faithfully and lovingly given us.

Glory be to God forever. Amen.

Script 3

Good morning.

One of the greatest gifts we have in this world is not material…; it is not our careers or our wealth…; it is actually the people we have around us; those we may see every day yet take for granted. They are people who are pivotal to our journey through our life; and we can and should provide that much-needed support for them.

In the Old Testament book of Nehemiah the prophet sees the wall of his beloved city destroyed, and his heart burns with a desire to rebuild it. Realising that he cannot do this alone, he goes to his kinsmen and encourages them to help by saying “the Lord of heaven will prosper us, but we shall arise and build.” He instructs individuals and families to build their own section of the wall, and everyone begins to contribute in his or her own way. Once the wall was completed it was the fruit of their collective labour, and equally importantly, the source of their collective protection. They each contributed individually for the benefit of the whole community.

Today, we need to embrace that same sense of fellowship. Regrettably however, we sometimes look at relationships for what we would like to get out of them rather than what we can put in, but if we have a sense of partnership, serving one another, we can set a good precedent for generations to come.

Lord, we pray that we may realise the beauty of collaboration, and work to dispel division in every aspect of our lives, for the benefit of all around us.

Glory be to God forever. Amen

Script 4

Good morning.

How do we strike a balance between the individual and the corporate? Whether it is in the workplace, on a football team or in our day-to-day lives, how do we look at our personal responsibilities and entitlements within the context of being part of something greater?

These are questions we should ask ourselves on a day to day basis: Do I do what is best for me? Do I try to do what is right for those around me? Are these mutually exclusive? In pursuing the collective good, I think we do that best by being ourselves, and faithfully and effectively contributing what we can for others.

On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended on each apostle individually, but at the same time also gave them a collective power to effectively work together. After being empowered by receiving the Spirit they walked out of the room that previously served as their hiding place, and confidently preached the Good News to all. According to the book of Acts they were able to touch thousands because they were empowered individually while acting collectively. We are sometimes inclined to either lose our own individual identity within a group setting, or impose it on others in that same setting, and these can both be counter-productive.

We all know that the 'the whole is greater than the sum of the parts,' and so whether in our own families, our societies, or the world at large, we must remember that we are valued and valuable parts of a greater whole.

Lord, we pray that our lives be like individual candles, that when joined together produce a mighty flame that can be witnessed by all around.

Glory be to God forever. Amen.

Script 5

Good morning.

Just days after the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, His disciples are huddled in an upper room, afraid, abandoned. They appeared weak, and they felt that way too. They felt and appeared defeated, but then something happened; they received "Power from on high," a power transformed them.

As a Christian, I believe that some of the most difficult situations we pass through in life become the most transformative for us and for those around us as they allow us to receive a God-given power that is beyond all measure and expectation. In these situations we may not realise the strength we have within us or the grace we have been given.

It is in facing apparent defeat , and in digging deep within ourselves to find the grace and power we have been given by God our Father and Creator, that we may come to realise that we can do infinitely more. If we look at our lives as a whole journey however, with a mission, vision and purpose, then those successes and failures will appear merely as dots that connect and lead to an intended destination.

Whether we appear to win or lose on a daily basis we must strive to learn from each and every experience, encounter, success or failure, realising they are all a means to an end.

Lord, be with us in our daily successes and failures, keeping our eyes fixed on You and only You, the only constant in our lives.

Glory be to God forever. Amen.

Script 6

Good morning.

How many one-hit-wonders have we seen and heard about over the years? This week the Coptic Orthodox Church has been looking into the lives of the apostles, those who walked with The Lord and went on to share His message with the world. There we see something very different. A message of Life that transcends generations.

The fulfilment of their mission was not assessed on a single moment in their lives; because they too, like us, had their ups and downs. What we do see is that they were committed to a life-long journey.
We remember them and their teachings because their message was real. They were human like us; they weakened as we weaken, but they also had their incredible strengths, as we have ours. When one holds on to an ideal and purpose, and commits to it, the effect of that journey is unforgettable.

Looking at the great people of the world: religious and political leaders, philosophers, advocates and writers, the Ghandis, Mandelas, Theresas and Pauls, what they have left for us is their dedication and commitment to a principle and way of life, a sense of working to a greater calling. They had a vision that extended beyond their immediate reality, and they sought to achieve things that would impact generations to come.

Lord, help us to live lives that are committed to serving others faithfully, using our gifts, and embracing our individual identities so that we too may leave behind a positive model and vision that others may also believe in and follow.

Glory be to God forever. Amen.

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