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The Twenty-Second Sunday after Trinity and the Commemoration of Saxa Ruba - 2013

The Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity.

Psalm 119.169-176
Appropinquet deprecatio
169. LET my complaint come before thee, O Lord : give me understanding, according to thy word.
170. Let my supplication come before thee : deliver me, according to thy word.
171. My lips shall speak of thy praise : when thou hast taught me thy statutes.
172. Yea, my tongue shall sing of thy word : for all thy commandments are righteous.
173. Let thine hand help me : for I have chosen thy commandments.
174. I have longed for thy saving health, O Lord : and in thy law is my delight.
175. O let my soul live, and it shall praise thee : and thy judgements shall help me.
176. I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost : O seek thy servant, for I do not forget thy commandments.

The Collect.
LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy household the Church in continual godliness; that through thy protection it may be free from all adversities, and devoutly given to serve thee in good works, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Numbers 20.14-29
Psalter: Psalm 123, 124, 125 | 136, 138
Epistle Reading: Philippians 1.3-11
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 18.21-35

Barbee and Zahl: “…this Collect properly beseeches God for the godliness of the Church,  its protection from threat and disaster, and its ministry of devout service. ( . . . ) But there is a little more to it than that. The Church is the household of God (Ephesians 2:19). It is a family keeping company together. It is a family in operation, not theory. “Household” suggests activity, support, unity yet with plurality, focus yet variety; not oneness at the expense of manyness, nor manyness at the expense of oneness. Household suggests a clear direction yet with the necessary working on the part of all hands. We run parallel here with the somewhat more theological image of the Body of Christ. We receive from this Collect, then, a vision of the Christian Church as a oneness in motion and the manyness required for the ustaining of such motion. There is nothing static here, nor obdurate” (113).

27 October
The Victory at Saxa Ruba
Here is the link for the Collect and readings:


Twenty First Sunday after Trinity - 2013

The Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity.
Psalm 119.161-168
Principes persecuti sunt
161. PRINCES have persecuted me without a cause : but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.
162. I am as glad of thy word : as one that findeth great spoils.
163. As for lies, I hate and abhor them : but thy law do I love.
164. Seven times a day do I praise thee : because of thy righteous judgements.
165. Great is the peace that they have who love thy law : and they are not offended at it.
166. Lord, I have looked for thy saving health : and done after thy commandments.
167. My soul hath kept thy testimonies : and loved them exceedingly.
168. I have kept thy commandments and testimonies : for all my ways are before thee.

The Collect.
GRANT, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Psalm 59.15b-21
Psalter: Psalm 120, 121, 122 | 133, 134, 135
Epistle Reading: Ephesians 6.10-20
Gospel Reading: St. John 4.46-54

Barbee and Zahl: “This Collect is sometimes used in the Church of England to replace the Absolution in Morning and Evening Prayer when those services are conducted by a lay reader. ( . . . ) The Collect asks for pardon and peace, with the incomparable result of “a quiet mind.” Freedom from the heavy dead hand of the past produces the opposite of anxiety. It produces tranquility, which in this case means no fear” (110-111).


The Twentieth Sunday after Trinity - 2013

The Twentieth Sunday after Trinity.
Psalm 119.153-160
Vide humilitatem
153. O CONSIDER mine adversity, and deliver me : for I do not forget thy law.
154. Avenge thou my cause, and deliver me : quicken me, according to thy word.
155. Health is far from the ungodly : for they regard not thy statutes.
156. Great is thy mercy, O Lord : quicken me, as thou art wont.
157. Many there are that trouble me, and persecute me : yet do I not swerve from thy testimonies.
158. It grieveth me when I see the transgressors : because they keep not thy law.
159. Consider, O Lord, how I love thy commandments : O quicken me, according to thy loving-kindness.
160. Thy word is true from everlasting : all the judgements of thy righteousness endure for evermore.

The Collect.
O ALMIGHTY and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully* accomplish those things that though wouldest have done; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

{*the 1549 BCP has, “may with free hearts accomplish…”}

Old Testament Reading: Ecclesiastes 9.4-10
Psalter: Psalm 116, 117 | 118, 83
Epistle Reading: Ephesians 5.15-21
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 22.1-14

Barbee and Zahl: “The mainspring of this prayer is the petition to be enabled to do what God wants us to do. Conversely, the petition is for us not to do what God wants us not to do. The issue or question, however, is how. How can we possibly aspire to do, let alone actually do, the right thing? ( . . . ) But the right thing may feel like the impossible thing, even the inconceivable thing. It may be a case of the hard right against the easy wrong. How can we hope to do it? The key phrase in the Collect is this: “with free hearts,” “that we may with free hearts accomplish…” Our doing right depends again – and this is the secret of the Prayer Book Collects – on a freedom that results from confident belovedness. Doing right is not the result of command. It does not issue from control. It is not a question of authority, headship, patriarchy, or submission. So far the Collect accords with the modern spirit of freedom. The deeper or universal accord, however, is with the New Testament: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (II Corinthians 3:17; St. John 8:31-32). Put precisely, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7). Freedom, then, is the freedom which comes from God. The consequence of such freedom is, in the proper sense, free love, love without constraint, love not forced or pressured or bargained for. We have found and we know that such love is the fulcrum that moves the world” (109).


The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity - 2013

The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity
Psalm 119.145-152
Clamavi in toto corde meo
145 I CALL with my whole heart : hear me, O Lord, I will keep thy statutes.
146 Yea, even unto thee do I call : help me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.
147 Early in the morning do I cry unto thee : for in thy word is my trust.
148 Mine eyes prevent the night-watches : that I might be occupied in thy words.
149 Hear my voice, O Lord, according unto thy loving-kindness : quicken me, according as thou art wont.
150 They draw nigh that of malice persecute me : and are far from thy law.
151 Be thou nigh at hand, O Lord : for all thy commandments are true.
152 As concerning thy testimonies, I have known long since : that thou hast grounded them for ever.

The Collect
O GOD, forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee; Mercifully grant, that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Note the change from the 1549 BCP: "O GOD, for asmuche as without thee, we are not able to please thee; Graunte that the workyng of thy mercie maye in all thynges directe and rule our heartes; Through Jesus Christ our Lorde.")

Old Testament: Job 24.1-17
Psalter: 114, 115 | 107, 70
Epistle: Ephesians 4.17-32
Gospel: St. Matthew 9.1-8

     Personal Reflections (MWP): The 1662 BCP expands the Collect to rightly identify our need for God to "mercifully grant that" his "Holy Spirit" would direct and rule our hearts in all things. Jesus promised his people that when he was glorified after his death and resurrection he (and the Father) would send the Spirit of truth who would lead his people into all truth, and who would testify of our Lord Jesus (John 14-16). We need God's guidance and direction. In many ways the Scriptures are like a topological map, describing the contours of the terrain, land marks, and camp sites. But without a compass to keep our bearings, we may easily get lost, misread our map and end up in a completely other place. When our Boy Scout troop was doing it's two week trek at Philmont Scout Ranch in 2012, we saw this exact thing happen. A troop from Manhattan got all turned around and went over 15 kilometers out of its way, because the navigator didn't use his compass. And so, correctly, we pray for the Father to send us the Holy Spirit who makes "the reading, but especially the preaching, of the Word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation" (Westminster Shorter Catechism 89).

     In 2 Corinthians 10.12-11.4, Paul notes that there are many shysters who are running around, attempting to woo God's people in other directions, getting them off the right trail. These fellows are all about "measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves" (10.12). The Apostle then brings this home to the Corinthians by exposing his fear that "the serpent" who "beguiled Eve through his subtility" might have corrupted their minds "from the simplicity that is in Christ" (11.3). This Collect becomes a medicinal dose for us. In it we acknowledge that we are prone to listen to all the wrong voices and might easily lose our way ("forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee"). We need God's merciful gift, the Holy Spirit, to come and direct us, rule us (and thus to sometimes overrule us) so that we stay on the right footpath. In fact we need him to do this from the inside out, "our hearts." As Solomon points out, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4.23). The goal of the Collect is that the Holy Spirit will guide and rule our hearts through Jesus Christ our Lord. The Jesus-focused Spirit will always guide us to Jesus, and through Jesus to the Father (Ephesians 2.18).

     How fitting is this Collect for the 21st Century Church, whether in North America, North Africa, or Northern Ireland! Now storms are brewing on the horizon, winds are picking up, dust is starting to fill the air and cloud our ability to see our direction clearly. Therefore we need our Father's merciful gift of the Holy Spirit. We need him to come, guide, rule and overrule our hearts through Jesus our Lord, so that we may become like the sons of Issachar, "which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do" (1 Chronicles 12.32).

     Let us pray:
     "O GOD, forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee; Mercifully grant, that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."