Wednesday 27 September 2006

Friday Morning Prayer for 29 September 2006

Feast of St Michael the Archangel

Good morning! Time really flies! It’s already the last Friday in September. For three Fridays this month, we have celebrated three feasts: the Feast of the Birth of Mary (8/9), the Feast of the Holy Cross (14/9), and today, the Feast of St Michael (29/9), the angel. Michael is not just any angel. He is the archangel. Archangel means the angel leader. The suffix “arch” is added for something greater. For example, the US thinks that the communists and Iraq are their enemies. But the US has invaded Iraq because they think Iraq is their greatest enemy. The US thinks that Iraq is their archenemy. Anyway, if your name is Michael or Michelle, that means you have Michael as your patron. A Happy Feast Day to all the Michael’s and Michelle’s!
To start off today’s morning prayer, let’s read the Psalm on page 32 of your prayer book. The Psalms are Poems found in the Bible. [Psalms = p is silent! Say: S-AH-Ms] Please respond the part saying all. You may remember the word protector which we learnt last week. Protector: someone who protects. Defender: someone who defends. Trust: believe in and rely on. [Psalm 91]
Just two quick questions for you: In the psalm, almost every sentence has a “you” in it. Like: in the first verse: “The Lord will defend you.” “You have made the Lord your defender” in verse number 2, etc. And also in the response: “You are my defender and protector.” Can you guess who the “you” is in these cases? Well, the answer is simple. In the verses, the poet is talking to you, the reader, the audience, us. So really, the poem is about: “The Lord will defend us/me.” “We/I have made the Lord our/my defender” But in the response, the poet now talks to God. So we are saying: “God, you are my defender and protector.
Now – shall we sing Amazing Grace on Page 9 of your hymnbook? We will sing verse three only. [Song] Quite a few interesting things about this song which I would like you to pay attention to. The first line:
“Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come” means
“I have already come through many dangers, toils and snares”
In poetry, we often find sentence structure a bit unusual than what we would come across in normal situation. I am sure you know what dangers are. If you do not know what toils and snares are, please take a look at the second part of verse 3. It’s about “how grace hath brought me safe and grace will lead me home”. It’s old English here: hath brought means has brought. So this song is saying: “the grace of God has brought me safe and will lead me home after I have come through many dangers, toils and snares.” So we may safely guess that dangers, toils and snares are similar in meaning – or at least, things that do not make us feel safe! Indeed, the word toil means hard work. For example: Sophia gets very good results in her HKCE exams after five years of hard toil. [TOIL] A snare is a trap. Some people use a snare to catch small animals. The business world is full of snares for those who are not careful. It is easy to be tricked or fooled. [SNARE] Let’s sing the song again, now that we know what this song means.
Today, we celebrate the feast of St Michael the archangel, because God has given us St Michael and all the other angels to protect and defend us. St Michael and all the angels are God’s servants and they are here to help us. So let us say the prayer on page 32 to express our trust in God. Please make the sign of the cross and say the prayer together aloud. [Say: IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. AMEN.] Do not just make the sign without saying the words. [Prayer]
Thank you. I will see in you two weeks because next Friday we are having the Feast of St Francis – next Friday: a holiday for students.
Brother William Ng OFM
for transcript of today’s Morning Prayer

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