Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity
Augustine on Psalm LXXXIX
O LORD, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Source of Collect - Bishop Gelasius' Sacrementary [494AD].One is reminded of Psalm 51 purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean and Rev 7:14, washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the LambIsaiah xii, Psalms 98, 99 89, Ephesians iii. 13 & St. Luke vii. 11 Homily of Augustine on Psalm LXXXIX
My lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.
For Christians under Persecution in India, Pakistan, and around the world.
newsChristian woman takes art centre to court over lewd' Jesus statue - Christian Today Christians flee to remote jungle to escape attacks by Hindu mobs -Sydney Morning Herald
This weekAugustine examines Psalm LXXXIX . It was probably written during the time of the exile, perhaps when king Zedekiah was insulted and abused by Nebuchadrezzar. Our Old Testament Lesson from Isaiah we hear his prophetic voice speak of God's mercy and faithfulness to deliver his own, just as the psalm cries out to God for mercy and deliverance.
Augustine writes about a very interesting concept concerning sin in the life of a Christian, and God's work with his children:
"Nevertheless, My mercy will I not utterly take from Him" (ver. 33). From whom? From that David to whom I gave these promises, whom "I anointed with my holy oil of gladness above His fellows." Do you recognise Him from whom God will not utterly take away His mercy? That no one may anxiously say, since He speaks of Christ as Him from whom He will not take away His mercy, What then will become of the sinner? Did He say anything like this, "I will not take My loving-kindness utterly from them"? "I will visit," He saith, "their offences with the rod, and their sin with scourges." Thou didst expect for thy own security, "I will not utterly take my loving-kindness from" them. And indeed this is the reading of some books, but not of the most accurate: though, where they have it, it is a reading by no means inconsistent with the real meaning. For how can it be said that He will not utterly take His mercy from Christ? Has the Saviour of the body committed aught of sin either in Heaven or in earth, "who sitteth even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us"? Yet it is from Christ: but from His members, His body which is the Church. For in this sense He speaks of it as a great thing that He will not take away His mercies from Him, supposing us not to recognise the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father; for there the Man is not counted for His Person, but the One Person is God and Man. He therefore does not utterly take His mercies from Him, when He takes not His mercy from His body, His members, in which, even while He was enthroned in Heaven, He was still suffering persecutions on earth; and when He cried from Heaven, "Saul, Saul," not why persecutest thou My servants, nor why persecutest thou My saints, nor My disciples, but, "why persecutest thou Me?" As then, while no one persecuted Him when sitting in Heaven, He cried out, "Why persecutest thou Me?" when the Head recognised its limbs, and His love allowed not the Head to separate Himself from the union of the body: so, when He taketh not away His mercies from Him, it is surely that He taketh it not from us, who are His limbs and body. Yet ought we not on that account to sin not without apprehension, and perversely to assure ourselves that we shall not perish, be our actions what they may. For there are certain sins and certain offences, to define and discourse of which it is either impossible for me, or if it were possible, it would be too tedious for the time we have at present. For no man can say that he is without sin; for if he says so, he will lie; "if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Each one therefore is needfully scourged for his own sins; but the mercy of God is not taken away from him, if he be a Christian. Certainly if thou committest such offences as to repel the hand of Him who chasteneth, the rod of Him who scourgeth thee, and art angry at the correction of God, and fliest from thy Father when He chasteneth thee, and wilt not suffer Him to be thy Father, because He spares thee not when thou dost sin; thou hast estranged thyself from thy heritage, He has not thrown thee off; for if thou wouldest abide being scourged, thou wouldest not abide disinherited. "Nor will I do hurt in My truth." For His mercy in setting free shall not be taken away, lest His truth in taking vengeance do harm.
There are a couple of important articles here proposed by Augustine:
First, that Christ was and is sinless. That is becoming a foreign notion in the Post-Modern church! I recently read of one column that wrote that Jesus had showed his bigotry in his encounter with the Canaanite woman, and when challenged Jesus had learned an important lesson!Secondly, that God will not abandon the faithful. It is they who will endure through correction and keep the faith which is a major theme of Isaiah and of our psalm today.
Third, that there are sins and conditions of men's hearts that in effect cause one to estrange himself from God, so that God even ceases to correct, and allows them to go - blindly.