The First Sunday after Trinity.
Psalm 119 ( . . . )
Legem pone ( . . . )
36. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies : and not to covetousness.
37. O turn away mine eyes, lest they behold vanity : and quicken thou me in thy way.
38. O stablish thy word in thy servant : that I may fear thee.
( . . . )
O GOD, the strength of all them that put their trust in thee, mercifully accept our prayers; and because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace, that in keeping of thy commandments we may please thee, both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Old Testament Reading: Jeremiah 23.23-32
Psalter: Psalm 1, 5 | 2, 3, 4
Epistle Reading: 1 John 4.7-21
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 16.19-31
Barbee and Zahl: “Archbishop Cranmer translated this Collect from the Gregorian Sacramentary, substituting only “trust” for “hope.” ( . . . ) Note three key words. One, weakness, for we do not possess the strength to do what is right. Our foundations lack the grounding to support ethical humane living. Two, mortal, for we are coursing towards the universal terminus of physical death. Even if we were not weak, even if we were somehow strong in ourselves, the sun would set over our achievements, forever. Three, no good thing, a phrase the excludes even the possibility of a decent action undertaken without the aid of God’s grace. “No good thing” declares the nullification of unaided human potential. The Collect is a bitter pill. It lays out our hope of self-improvement like the boxer who offers no quarter. No wonder the “modern mind” is uneasy with what the mystery writer P.D. James calls “the Cranmerian Protestantism” of the Prayer Book. It offers to modernism absolutely nothing, neither a fish nor an egg. On the other hand, the prayer gives everything. What does it actually ask? “Grant us the help of thy grace.” The negativity concerning the human condition is good news if it is transformed into a passionate and decided cry for help from the outside. The prayer holds out the promise that with the help of the prior love and grace of Christ, we may begin to do right (the “keeping of thy commandments). Moreover, doing right holds out the greater promise of pleasing God” (70-1).
Primus Pilus II