The Seventh Sunday after Trinity.
( . . . )
9. Hear, O my people, and I will assure thee, O Israel : if thou wilt hearken unto me,
10. There shall no strange god be in thee : neither shalt thou worship any other god.
11. I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt : open thy mouth wide, and I shall fill it.
( . . . )
LORD of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Old Testament Reading: Hosea 14.1-9
Psalter: Psalm 32, 36 | 33, 34
Epistle Reading: Romans 6.19-23
Gospel Reading: St. Mark 8.1-9
Barbee and Zahl: “As always in the Pray Book Collects, we are enjoined to ask God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. ( . . . ) The Collect’s four verbs display the potency of God at the expense of the creature’s impotence.
One of the four petitions requires particular explanation. What is “true religion,” for which we are asking the increase? ( . . . ) True religion accepts the full diagnosis of the psychogenetic defect known as sin. True religion casts all humanity’s hope for release from the original universal defect on Christ, His sacrifice, and His resurrection. True religion looks to the Bible, and nothing beyond the Bible, for the Word from God about Christ. True religion results in and is the cause of the works of love, known classically as love of neighbor. ( . . . ) False religion disappoints, causes outrageous reactions (especially within adolescents), fails to heal and give hope to lost people, and in a thousand ways maps out the way to God such that a person ends up either in the “slough of despond” (i.e. depression) or on a titanic pinnacle of earthborn self-righteousness. False religion, so asserts this Collect for Trinity VII, helps no one. True religion, on the other hand, is the great enabler of humane goodness” (83).
Personal reflection (MWP): every time I pray through this Collect, the petition regarding “true religion” draws my mind back to James 1.26-27: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”