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First Sunday after Trinity MMXII

 O God, the strength of those who trust in thee, mercifully hear our prayers; grant us the assistance of thy grace, that in the execution of thy commands, and the action of the will, we may please thee, through...

Deus, in te sperantium fortitudo, adesto propitius invocationibus nostris; praesta auxilium gratiae tuae: ut in exequendis mandatis tuis et voluntate tibi et actione placeamus, per. 
Gelasian Sacramentally 

Introit: I Lord I have trusted in thy mercy...
Ps: How long wilt thou forget me...
Epistle: 1 John 4:16-21 God is love...
Gradual: I said, Lord be merciful unto me...
Gospel:  Like 16:19-31 There was a certain rich man...

We are entering the long season of Trinity in which we will remain until the First Sunday in Advent and we will have completed the church year and this series of collect studies. Not all churches mark the season based on Trinity, and indeed the ancient church did not as we learned last week. For some this is known as the Second Sunday after Pentecost. 

Our ancient collect begins,  

O God, the strength of those who trust in thee

One may be reminded of David in the psalms who often praises the strength of God. For instance 

"The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower." (Ps 18:2)

As we progress through these ancient prayers we see how the early church ministers  incorporated scripture into the prayers 

next the petition

mercifully hear our prayers; 

First, in mercy, deign to hear our prayers. Those who approach prayer with a hauty attitude are likened to the Pharisee who in the Temple criticized the miserable sinner. His prayer was perverted and rejected. One of the first lessons the Holy Spirit conveys to the elect is, I believe, humility before God. Humbleness in prayer is a sure sign. Those who believe they have no need to beg God's mercy are none of his.  We may remember Mary's song "For he hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble and meek." Let us not forget the fate of Dives (rich-man) in the Gospel parable. 

"grant us the assistance of thy grace, that in the execution of thy commands, and the action of the will, we may please thee, through..."

I read of one denomination recently whose committee published a new statement of what they believed. In it they rejected the doctrine that the sin of Adam affects us and our ability to obey all that God has ordered. This denomination claims to be Bible-based, but what saith Scripture?
"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." (Romans 5)

The little prayer has it right. It is by God's grace and gift that we may even begin to desire freedom from the bondage of the will to sin and the desires of this world, and it is through his strength working in us that this desire  leads to effectual obedience.

Laus Deo Semper

An homily of Chrysostom on the third part of the epistle and God's amazing grace in that he loved us first and thereby gave to us the desire to love him.


(Portions were paraphrased and passages cited from The Collect of the Day, by Paul Zeller Strodach, 1939, The United Lutheran Press, Philadelphia)
The Ancient Collect: Its history and form

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