Listen to or read a short service of prayer for Monday 8 June 2020, the Lesser Festival of Thomas Ken, Bishop, Non-Juror and Hymn Writer.
Thomas Ken was born in 1637. He was ordained priest in 1662 and worked first in a poor parish in the diocese of Winchester and then at Winchester College for ten years. He served as chaplain to King Charles II for two years and was then consecrated Bishop of Bath and Wells. After the king’s death and the accession of the Roman Catholic James II, the new king proposed to rescind the Restoration penal laws, but Thomas and six of his fellow bishops refused to comply with this and were imprisoned on this day in 1688. But such was the integrity of Thomas that, when the king abandoned his throne and fled, and the king’s Protestant daughter Mary was offered the throne, together with her husband William of Orange, Thomas felt unable in good conscience to forswear his living, anointed monarch. He was deprived of his See, along with many other non-jurors, as they became known, and for a time there was a schism in the Anglican fold. But Thomas spent his final twenty years in quiet retirement, anxious not to make trouble, and renounced his rights to his bishopric. He wrote many hymns, still much used, and died on 19 March 1711.
O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
faithful and unchanging:
enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth,
and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love,
that we may truly worship you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle?
Who may rest upon your holy hill?
Whoever leads an uncorrupt life
and does the thing that is right;
Who speaks the truth from the heart
and bears no deceit on the tongue;
Who does no evil to a friend
and pours no scorn on a neighbour;
In whose sight the wicked are not esteemed,
but who honours those who fear the Lord.
Whoever has sworn to a neighbour
and never goes back on that word;
Who does not lend money in hope of gain,
nor takes a bribe against the innocent;
Whoever does these things shall never fall.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now and shall be for ever. Amen.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.
‘Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives.’Matthew 24.42-46
This is the word of the Lord.
Heavenly Father, in every age you raise up pastors and leaders for your Church to reflect the light of Christ and to lead us in the way of holiness.
We thank you for those who have been shepherds of your flock: bless your Church today with gifts of care and nurture, give a pastoral heart to bishops, priests and deacons, and strengthen all who are called to be leaders of your people.
We thank you for the gifts of grace in the life of Thomas Ken: give wisdom and insight to all in authority in Church and state, that they may use their power for good and the benefit of those over whom they are set.
We thank you for those pastors and spiritual directors whose influence is hidden from the world: bless them in their quiet guidance of those who seek after your holiness and truth.
We thank you for those who give pastoral care to the sick and the suffering: help those who are distressed through following bad advice. Have mercy on those whose lives lack purpose or direction and bring them the care they need for wholeness and healing.
We thank you for all who have worked to lead others into the way of truth and are now at rest: grant us in this life the spiritual guidance and pastoral care that will lead us to eternal life.
Father, make us worthy of everlasting joy in the fellowship of all your saints in the glory of your kingdom, where you live and reign, God for ever and ever. Amen.
O God, from whom all blessings flow,
by whose providence we are kept
and by whose grace we are directed:
help us, through the example of your servant Thomas Ken,
faithfully to keep your word,
humbly to accept adversity
and steadfastly to worship you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore. Amen.