The Sunday called Sexagesima, or the Second Sunday before Lent.
Domini est terra
THE earth is the Lord’s, and all that therein is : the compass of the world, and they that dwell therein.
2. For he hath founded it upon the seas : and prepared it upon the floods.
3. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord : or who shall rise up in his holy place?
4. Even he that hath clean hands, and a pure heart : and that hath not lift up his mind unto vanity, nor sworn to deceive his neighbour.
5. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord : and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6. This is the generation of them that seek him : even of them that seek thy face, O Jacob.
7. Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors : and the King of glory shall come in.
8. Who is the King of glory : it is the Lord strong and mighty, even the Lord mighty in battle.
9. Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors : and the King of glory shall come in.
10. Who is the King of glory : even the Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.
O LORD God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do; Mercifully grant that by thy power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 50.4-9
Psalter: Psalm 33, 93 | 139
Epistle Reading: 2 Corinthians 11.19-12.9
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 8.4-15
Toon: “This Collect is not a straight translation of the old Latin Collect. It was edited to remove a reference to the Apostle Paul. The petition originally asked, "Mercifully grant that by the protection of the teacher of the Gentiles we may be fortified against all adversities". The Reformers of the 16th century did not allow any prayer to the saints, any request of saints to pray for us, or the treating of a saint as if he were a guardian angel. Thus they changed "by the protection of the teacher of the Gentiles" to "by thy power".
Yet they retained the Epistle, 2 Corinthians 11:19-31, which contains St Paul's descriptions of the variety of sufferings he had endured for the Gospel. In this physical and mental pain he could, if he wished, have boasted for the pain was much more than any other apostle or evangelist had experienced, and it was for the sake of Christ. Yet he did not believe that this pain and tribulation was the basis for his acceptance with God. It was part of his willing service of Christ Jesus.
It is a very difficult thing, even for saints, not to put any trust in the things that they do. For most of us it is a natural thing and certainly a temptation to think that there is virtue before God and man in the really good things that we think we do. Especially is this so if what we do brings us persecution or suffering for the sake of the Gospel.
God sees all and everything! To him all hearts are open and all desires known and from him no secrets are hid. He is watchful and persuades us by many means (the example of Paul, the instruction in Scripture and so on) to trust only in him for he alone is the source of all life, power, knowledge and wisdom.
Therefore, we pray that we shall be defended from all adversity be it in the form of testings or temptations, pain or suffering, trial or tribulation, the desires of the flesh or the wiles of the devil. "When I am weak then I am strong" said the Apostle Paul (2 Cor. 12:10). Only as we know our own weakness and rest in God's strength are we making progress towards Christian maturity. In order rightly to approach Lent and benefit from its disciplines, we surely need to learn this lesson.
The Gospel for this week is the Parable of the Sower and the Seed. And the purpose of this is to place before Christians the goal of being so receptive to the word of God in all situations, and at all times, that they, in an honest and good heart, bring forth fruit with patience” (http://www.pbs.org.uk/the-bcp/sexagesima).
Saint Matthias’s Day (24 February)
Eripe me, Domine
DELIVER me, O Lord, from the evil man : and preserve me from the wicked man.
2. Who imagine mischief in their hearts : and stir up strife all the day long.
3. They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent : adders’ poison is under their lips.
4. Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the ungodly : preserve me from the wicked men, who are purposed to overthrow my goings.
5. The proud have laid a snare for me, and spread a net abroad with cords : yea, and set traps in my way.
6. I said unto the Lord, Thou art my God : hear the voice of my prayers, O Lord.
7. O Lord God, thou strength of my health : thou hast covered my head in the day of the battle.
8. Let not the ungodly have his desire, O Lord : let not his mischievous imagination prosper, lest they be too proud.
9. Let the mischief of their own lips fall upon the head of them : that compass me about.
10. Let hot burning coals fall upon them : let them be cast into the fire and into the pit, that they never rise up again.
11. A man full of words shall not prosper upon the earth : evil shall hunt the wicked person to overthrow him.
12. Sure I am that the Lord will avenge the poor : and maintain the cause of the helpless.
13. The righteous also shall give thanks unto thy Name : and the just shall continue in thy sight.
Almighty God, who into the place of the traitor Judas didst choose thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the twelve Apostles; Grant that thy Church, being alway preserved from false Apostles, may be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Old Testament Reading: 1 Samuel 2.27-35
Psalter: Psalm 15
Epistle Reading: Acts 1.15-26
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 11.25-30