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Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity

Almighty and merciful God, graciously keep away from us all adversity, so that relieved equally in mind and body, we, with minds at peace, may press after those things which are thine: through ...
Omnipotens et misericors Deus, universa nobis adversantia propitiatus exclude: ut mente et corpore partier expediti, quae sunt liberis mentibus exequamur, per ...
[Galacian Sacramentary]

Orig English 1549
GRAUNT we beseche thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithfull people pardon and peace, that they maye bee clensed from all their synnes, and serve thee with a quiet mynde. Through Jesus Christ our Lorde.
Introit  Say into my soul, I am thy salvation...
Ps.  Give ear, O my people, to my law...
Epistle 4:22-28  That ye put off concerning for former conversation of the old man...
Gradual  Let my prayer be set forth before the as incense...
Gospel Matt 9:1-8  And he entered into a ship, and passed over...
See it all here

The Epistle reading this day complements the collect.  When the "old man" is beset with the things of this world, "the former conversation" as the KJV translates it, he is indeed in bondage. He cannot fully receive what God has offered.  He is often troubled. He seeks happiness, but true happiness aludes him.  He becomes a slave to the things of this world and sometimes the very work of the devil.  Who can set him free?
God understood this plight of man, and he sent his only Son, Jesus the Christ,  into the world to give the way to the very freedom that it would take to reconcile the elect.  First came the message of John Baptist who prepared the way to usher in the Savior.  "Repent," he cried in the city and in the wilderness.  Repent and turn to God. 
Before one may repent, one must recognize the state of his perverted soul and actions, and how far gone it is from that which God originally created in the Garden.  Some never get to this point.  The deny sin outright. They deny any need for salvation.  The seek their salvation not in Jesus but in the things they do. They are lost. 
Then there are the elect who God has called. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me"  They hear the Good News. They become convicted of their sin. They turn to God, and God protects his own. He keeps them from adversity and gives them peace. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
 This week I read in one of the daily lessons the Gospel story of Peter walking on the water.  You may remember that he walked to meet our Lord, but the wind shook his confidence. He began to sink. The deep and the wind were his adversaries.  Did God abandon him?  Did he tell him as he was drowning that it was his fault because he did not have enough faith?  Will God abandon you who are adopted as his own?  God forbid!  He will not abandon you but will protect you from adversity and will be there to rescue you when you faulter.  If we do not have this assurance, then certainly we are all doomed, for none is perfect and none can assure his own salvation. 
With the real presence of Jesus in our lives through the power of the Holy Ghost we may rest assured that as Christ's own we are indeed to be "releived equally in mind and body".  It may not come all at once, but it should grow as a mark of a mature Christian.  I admire the stories of those who have passed with such peace.  One that comes to mind is General Thomas J. Jackson, who said he lived his life so he was always ready to go when called. He had peace of mind. He had put off the old man for the new. He endeavored in every instant, day by day, to live for God, Country, Family. With his mind at peace, he "pressed after those things which are Gods"....
 I do not concern myself about that [death], but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. ... and when you strike and overcome him, never let up in the pursuit so long as your ... Captain, that is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.


(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

Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


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