The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
Exaudiat te Dominus
THE Lord hear thee in the day of trouble : the Name of the God of Jacob defend thee;
2. Send thee help from the sanctuary : and strengthen thee out of Sion;
3. Remember all thy offerings : and accept thy burnt sacrifice;
4. Grant thee thy heart’s desire : and fulfil all thy mind.
5. We will rejoice in thy salvation, and triumph in the Name of the Lord our God : the Lord perform all thy petitions.
6. Now know I that the Lord helpeth his Anointed, and will hear him from his holy heaven : even with the wholesome strength of his right hand.
7. Some put their trust in chariots, and some in horses : but we will remember the Name of the Lord our God.
8. They are brought down, and fallen : but we are risen, and stand upright.
9. Save, Lord and hear us, O King of heaven : when we call upon thee.
O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Old Testament Reading: Habakkuk 1.12-2.14
Psalter: Psalm 112
Epistle Reading: Colossians 3.12-17
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 13.24-30
Personal Reflection: The Westminster Confession of Faith (1649) rightly announces that outside the visible Church “there is no ordinary possibility of salvation” (25.2). It further notes that this “catholic Church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less visible. And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the Gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them” (25.5). And finally, that the “purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated, as to become no Churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan. Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth, to worship God according to His will” (25.6). The point of this rehearsal is that we are reminded, along with the Gospel reading and the Collect, that the Church, and our congregations, always need our prayers; specifically that God would keep her – his household – in the “true religion,” always leaning “upon the hope of” God’s “heavenly grace” and “defended by” God’s “mighty power.” A sober-minded glance over the Church scene in the 21st Century reveals how true this is. Pray for Christ’s Church!