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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).

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