Richard Chartres, Bishop of London
Good morning. It is a good tradition in some parts of the Christian world, not only to celebrate birthdays but also name days. Today is the festival of St Richard of Chichester, a 13th century bishop of great holiness of life with a special acre for the poor. As someone who was christened Richard, I have always had a special reverence for my name- sake and his prayer which was recorded as he lay dying.
“Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ
For all the benefits Thou hast given me,
For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow thee more nearly.”
“Thanks be to thee” – the spirit of thanksgiving is transforming. There are two ways of taking life – you can take it for granted or you can take it with thanksgiving. The prayer of thanksgiving reveals life as a gift and opens our spiritual heart to receive this gift back charged with a new potential.
Knowing Jesus Christ more clearly is to encounter God who so loved the world that he was generous and gave himself even to his enemies and to the loveless “that they might lovely be”.
God our Father, we praise you for your saints and those we know through whom we have glimpsed your generous love. May we follow in the way of your Son Jesus Christ this day, inspired to play our part in loving the world into loving. We ask this in the name of our risen saviour. Amen