The Sunday called Sexagesima, or the second Sunday before Lent.
O LORD God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do; Mercifully grant that by thy power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 50.4-9
Psalter: Psalm 33, 93 | 139
Epistle Reading: 2 Corinthians 11.19-12.9
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 8.4-15
Barbee and Zahl: “Non nobis, domine: “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake (Psalm 115:1). This was one of the Reformers’ favorite text. Biblical religion could almost be summed up by that one verse. We cannot take the credit for any good thing in the world. Every good thing is from above (James 1:17). It all comes under the signature of gift. ( . . . ) The prayer sounds severe. But it is what Scripture says. It is also what Cranmer wishes us to hear: “Lord God, which seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do.” God sees to it that we put not our trust in such things, because every created thing lets us down when we serve it rather than the One who made it. God sees to it, by means of “2x4 religion” (because it takes the “2x4” of experience to pound in the message), that our fingers are pulled away one by one from their grasp on penultimate goods. God also sees us when we put our trust in Him. He observes us, implies the prayer, as we refocus our trust upon that which is trustworthy: the grace of God. Then the prayer for “defense against adversity” becomes the most natural prayer in the world. This Collect is a frontal assault on every “other god,” on “the dearest Idol I have known” (William Cowper, 1772). Are your idols crumbling to dust before your eyes? That is the intention” (29).