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Ascension and the Sunday after Ascension - 2014

The Ascension-Day.
Psalm 8
Domine, Dominus noster
O LORD our Governor, how excellent is thy Name in all the world : thou hast set thy glory above the heavens!
2. Out of the mouth of very babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength, because of thine enemies : that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
3. For I will consider thy heavens, even the works of thy fingers : the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained.
4. What is man, that thou art mindful of him : and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5. Thou madest him lower than the angels : to crown him with glory and worship.
6. Thou makest him to have dominion of the works of thy hands : and thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet;
7. All sheep and oxen : yea, and the beasts of the field;
8. The fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea : and whatsoever walketh through the paths of the seas.
9. O Lord our Governor : how excellent is thy Name in all the world!

The Collect.
GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that like as we do believe thy only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens; so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Daniel 7.9-14
Psalter: Psalm 96
Epistle Reading: Acts 1.1-11
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 24.49-53

Toon’s devotional commentary is worth reading. It can be found here:

Sunday after Ascension-Day.
Psalm 93
Dominus regnavit
THE Lord is King, and hath put on glorious apparel : the Lord hath put on his apparel, and girded himself with strength.
2. He hath made the round world so sure : that it cannot be moved.
3. Ever since the world began hath thy seat been prepared : thou art from everlasting.
4. The floods are risen, O Lord, the floods have lift up their voice : the floods lift up their waves.
5. The waves of the sea are mighty, and rage horribly : but yet the Lord, who dwelleth on high, is mightier.
6. Thy testimonies, O Lord, are very sure : holiness becometh thine house for ever.

The Collect.
O GOD the King of glory, who hast exalted thine only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph unto thy kingdom in heaven; We beseech thee, leave us not comfortless; but send to us thine Holy Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us unto the same place whither our Saviour Christ is gone before, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 65.17-25
Psalter: Psalm 108, 110 | 46, 47
Epistle Reading: 1 Peter 4.7-11
Gospel Reading: St. John 15.26-16.4

Toon’s comments:


Fifth Sunday after Easter, commonly called Rogation Sunday - 2014

The Fifth Sunday after Easter (or Rogation Sunday).
Psalm 84
Quam dilecta!
O HOW amiable are thy dwellings : thou Lord of hosts!
2. My soul hath a desire and longing to enter into the courts of the Lord : my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.
3. Yea, the sparrow hath found her an house, and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young : even thy altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
4. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house : they will be alway praising thee.
5. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee : in whose heart are thy ways.
6. Who going through the vale of misery use it for a well : and the pools are filled with water.
7. They will go from strength to strength : and unto the God of gods appeareth every one of them in Sion.
8. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer :hearken, O God of Jacob.
9. Behold, O God our defender : and look upon the face of thine Anointed.
10. For one day in thy courts : is better than a thousand.
11. I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God : than to dwell in the tents of ungodliness.
12. For the Lord God is a light and defence : the Lord will give grace and worship, and no good thing shall he withhold from them that live a godly life.
13. O Lord God of hosts : blessed is the man that putteth his trust in thee.

The Collect.
O LORD, from whom all good things do come; Grant to us thy humble servants, that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that be good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 1.10-20
Psalter: Psalm 146, 147 | 132, 133, 134
Epistle Reading: James 1.22-27
Gospel Reading: St. John 16.23-33

For Toons’ comment on this Collect and Rogation Days follow this link:

The Rogation Days
Being the Three Days before Ascension Day
Psalm 147
Laudate Dominum

( . . . )
7. O sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving : sing praises upon the harp unto our God;
8. Who covereth the heavens with clouds, and prepareth rain for the earth : and maketh the grass to grow upon the mountains, and herb for the use of men;
9. Who giveth fodder unto the cattle : and feedeth the young ravens that call upon him.
10. He hath no pleasure in the strength of an horse : neither delighteth he in any man’s legs.
11. But the Lord’s delight is in them that fear him : and put their trust in his mercy.
( . . . )

ALMIGHTY God, Lord of heaven and earth; We beseech thee to pour forth thy blessing upon this land, and to give us a fruitful season; that we, constantly receiving thy bounty, may evermore give thanks unto thee in thy holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday AM: Psalm 104. 1st Lesson – Deuteronomy 8.1-11, 17-20. 2nd Lesson – Matthew 5.5-15.
Monday PM: Psalm 34. 1st Lesson – Deuteronomy 28.1-14. 2nd Lesson – James 1.1-17

Tuesday AM: Psalm 80. 1st Lesson – Deuteronomy 11.10-17. 2nd Lesson – Matthew 6.24-34
Tuesday PM: Psalm 65, 67. 1st Lesson – 1 Kings 8.22-30. 2nd Lesson – James 4.8-17

Wednesday AM: Psalm 144. 1st Lesson – Jeremiah 14.1-9. 2nd Lesson – 1 John 5.5-15

Wednesday PM: Psalm 93, 99. 1st Lesson – Isaiah 11.1-5. 2nd Lesson – Luke 24.44-48


Fourth Sunday after Easter - 2014

The Fourth Sunday after Easter.

Psalm 82
Deus stetit
GOD standeth in the congregation of princes : he is a Judge among gods.
2. How long will ye give wrong judgement : and accept the persons of the ungodly?
3. Defend the poor and fatherless : see that such as are in need and necessity have right.
4. Deliver the outcast and poor : save them from the hand of the ungodly.
5. They will not be learned nor understand, but walk on still in darkness : all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
6. I have said, Ye are gods : and ye are all the children of the most Highest.
7. But ye shall die like men : and fall like one of the princes.
8. Arise, O God, and judge thou the earth : for thou shalt take all heathen to thine inheritance.

The Collect.
O ALMIGHTY God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men; Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Ezekiel 39.21-29
Psalter: Psalm 126, 127, 128 | 129, 130, 131
Epistle Reading: James 1.17-21
Gospel Reading: St. John 16.5-15

Toon: “This prayer originated in the Gelasian Sacramentary and passed into the Sarum Missal before being translated from Latin into English for the 1549 Prayer Book. Finally, it was revised for the 1662 Prayer Book. As it stands, it is as near a perfect specimen of a Collect form of prayer as one could wish to see.

There is the Address or Invocation - to Almighty God; then there is the Recital of a specific doctrine concerning God’s power in relation to man, achieved grammatically by means of the relative clause; this is followed by the long Petition, beginning with the strong verb, Grant, which petition is wholly based upon the foundation of the doctrine already remembered and rehearsed; and in turn the petition is followed by the Aspiration - that so our hearts may surely there be fixed. The Collect closes with the Pleading in the Name of Jesus Christ the Lord.

The foundation for the petition recalls before God and recites the biblical teaching that he alone, and only he, is able to order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men. These words of the initial relative clause balance perfectly with the two clauses of the actual petition that follows. That is, the unruly wills corresponds to the love of that which God commands, while the unruly affections corresponds to the desire of that which God promises.

We know from sacred Scripture and the experience of the saints that God the Father brings the wills and emotions/affections of sinful persons into order out of disorder, by the secret and hidden operations of the Holy Ghost. In this way human minds, hearts and wills are transformed by grace, and the change wrought in them is of such a nature that those persons in whom the Holy Ghost has so worked can only say with certainty that they know and feel that a change has taken place. They cannot tell how it occurred for that belongs to the secret operations of the Third Person of the Holy Trinity.

The true Christian is one who delights in and loves what God commands. He is also one who seeks to obey God’s holy law, simply because he loves God and wants to do what God declares to be good and true and right. So the petition is that thy people may love the thing which thou commandest.

But it is also important that the Christian loves God and his law as, simultaneously, he also desires what God promises to his elect people - thus the aspiration. This will be so when his affections are set upon the heavenly realm where Christ rules at the Father’s right hand and where the society of angels and saints adore and praise Jesus Christ as Lord of lords and King of kings in all his authority and beauty.

The Christian who loves God’s law and desires to be with Christ in heaven will find that, in the varied and many changing circumstances of life, his central focus will be not in this world as such but on Christ Jesus in heaven, the center of all true and lasting joy. And the more he is focused on Christ the more will he be desirous and able to love God and his law and readily and happily obey him. He will rejoice with exceeding great joy as he loves the Lord and does his will, with his eyes of faith looking above where Christ is in all his glory. And with such a godly mind he will be the more useful on earth!

It is by making men loyal to his will, and to the hope of glory which he holds out to them in the Gospel, that God joins them together in the same mind and the same judgment. His precept and promise are the magnetic power which draw them into union one with another, and they are also the cement which holds them there, beginning in this age and being fulfilled in the glorious age to come.

Since there is one High Priest and one Mediator in heaven, Jesus Christ the resurrected Lord, the Prayer is offered to the Father in his Name.

Thus we have here not merely a perfectly formed Prayer but also a perfectly biblical Prayer. All that remains is that we pray it and it is fulfilled in our lives” (


Third Sunday after Easter - 2014

The Third Sunday after Easter.
Psalm 75
Confitebimur tibi
UNTO thee, O God, do we give thanks : yea, unto thee do we give thanks.
2. Thy Name also is so nigh : and that do thy wondrous works declare.
3. When I receive the congregation : I shall judge according unto right.
4. The earth is weak, and all the inhabiters thereof : I bear up the pillars of it.
5. I said unto the fools, Deal not so madly: and to the ungodly, Set not up your horn.
6. Set not up your horn on high : and speak not with a stiff neck.
7. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west : nor yet from the south.
8. And why? God is the Judge : he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
9. For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red : it is full mixed, and he poureth out of the same.
10. As for the dregs thereof : all the ungodly of the earth shall drink them, and suck them out.
11. But I will talk of the God of Jacob : and praise him for ever.
12. All the horns of the ungodly also will I break : and the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

The Collect.
ALMIGHTY God, who shewest to them that be in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness; Grant unto all them that are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s Religion, that they may eschew those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: 1 Samuel 2.1b-10
Psalter: Psalm 120, 121, 122 | 123, 124, 125
Epistle Reading: 1 Peter 2.11-17
Gospel Reading: St. John 16.16-24

Toon: “This ancient Collect assumes greater meaning if we remember that Easter Eve is one of the great occasions for Baptisms, for the admittance of converts into the fellowship of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church by joining the local congregation. So this Prayer was used in the ancient Church a few weeks after many new members were in her fellowship.

The first part of the Collect, where we remember in Godís presence aspects of his relation to the world, recalls that God in Christ Jesus as the Good Shepherd seeks the lost sheep and, further, as the Light of the world gives to lost travellers light to find their way to everlasting salvation. Does HE not enlighten those who have been baptized in the Triune Name, who repent of sin, believe the Gospel and follow the Lord Jesus? Yes! In the Gospel reading the coming of the Lord to his disciples is a source of great joy and encouragement.

The petition in the Collect has a primary reference to the newly baptized, but also applies to all the baptized. All are called to die daily to sin and to live unto righteousness in the power of the Holy Ghost. All Christians are called to holiness of life and consecration unto the Lord and his purposes, and thus they are to think and do only that which they know to be a part of his will for them.

The verb, to eschew, emphasizes that baptised believers are to shoo away, to drive away (as birds from a fruit tree) all that is evil and contrary to holiness in their lives. And this is what is called for in the Epistle reading - as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh.

In Baptism we promise to reject the world, the flesh and the devil and to accept and follow Christ in the way of self-denial and of grace. This Collect thus recalls us to our vocation as the elect people of God, saved by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” (


Second Sunday after Easter - 2014

The Second Sunday after Easter.

Psalm 120
Ad Dominum
WHEN I was in trouble I called upon the Lord : and he heard me.
2. Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips : and from a deceitful tongue.
3. What reward shall be given or done unto thee, thou false tongue : even mighty and sharp arrows, with hot burning coals.
4. Woe is me, that I am constrained to dwell with Mesech : and to have my habitation among the tents of Kedar.
5. My soul hath long dwelt among them : that are enemies unto peace.
6. I labour for peace, but when I speak unto them thereof : they make them ready to battle.

The Collect.
ALMIGHTY God, who has given thine only Son to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin, and also an ensample of godly life; Give us grace that we may always most thankfully receive that his inestimable benefit, and also daily endeavour ourselves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 40.1-11
Psalter: Psalm 21, 23 | 116, 117
Epistle Reading: 1 Peter 2.19-25
Gospel Reading: St. John 10.11-16

Toon: “( . . . ) In the petition of this Collect we recognize that the presence in baptized Christians, of the effects of sin, even as they aspire to holiness, need to be dealt with. These effects stay with us as long as we are in our mortal bodies with our human nature on this earth in this evil age. Thus the prayer is for grace, the assistance of divine help and mercy, for a thankful, receptive, believing and trusting heart, to recognize and appropriate the amazing and eternal nature of the GIFT that is in the Gospel. A truly thankful heart is a great motivation to seek to do God's holy will.

The petition is also a request for the commitment, determination and help needed by a baptized Christian to imitate the life of Jesus, to see him as the supreme example for the Christian to follow, day by day until his life's end. ("To endeavour oneself" is a reflexive verb not much in use today - cf. "The Form and Manner of Making Deacons" in the Ordinal, found bound within the BCP, and the seventh answer to the questions, "I will endeavour myself, the Lord being my helper...").

The particular feature of Christ's example brought out by the Epistle is the bearing patiently undeserved indignities and rough treatment ( 1 Peter 2:23).

Thus Jesus, the Christ, the Saviour of the world, is for the Church both God's GIFT and God's EXAMPLE; and, in receiving the gift and following the example, Christian people will be truly what they are called to be - the Body of Christ on earth. This is a most appropriate message for Eastertide!

The Collect above was written by Archbishop Cranmer in 1549 and replaced this Collect found in the Sarum Missal: O God, who by thy Son's humbling himself hast raised up a fallen world: Grant unto thy faithful people perpetual joy, that they whom thou hast snatched from the dangers of perpetual death, may be brought by thee to the fruition of eternal joys. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen” (There is more to be found here: