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The Twentieth Sunday after Trinity - 2014

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 thou 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

Toon: “We address God the Father as both omnipotent, everlastingly and infinitely powerful, and as most merciful, abounding in mercy towards sinners such as we are. But that is not the end, for we also address him as possessing within himself towards his creatures bountiful goodness, an overflowing, inexhaustible reservoir of goodness from which it is his desire and determination to secure our true & everlasting good.

Of such a Lord God we not merely ask but we beseech that he will so watch over us in his superlative power, mercy and goodness that we shall be kept from all things [spiritual and physical, material and immaterial] that may hurt us as whole beings (as persons with body and soul). We desire to be preserved by the grace of God as whole creatures from any harm intended against us by the world, the flesh and the devil. There is a divine, unifying connection between body & soul and harm to the one affects the other.

The desire to be free from harm is not for self-satisfaction or for a sense of self-worth; rather it is so that we are alert and ready in mind, heart and will to do what God commands and calls us to do as his servants in his world for his glory. We are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world ñ being and doing that which we are taught by the Holy Ghost to be the will of God for us today. And, further, we are to do what the Lord commands and requires of us cheerfully, rejoicing! As the appointed Epistle declares: Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart.

And all our prayer is offered to the Father through the Incarnate Son, the only Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ who is the Lord. It is to his Messianic Banquet that sinners are called, as the appointed Gospel declares” (


All Saints' Day - 2014

All Saints’ Day
The Collect
O almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord; Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys, which thou hast prepared for them that unfeignedly love thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Daniel 12.1-4
[Reading from Apocrypha: Wisdom 3.1-10]
Psalter: Psalm 1, 15 | 97, 112
Epistle Reading: Hebrews 11.33-12.7
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 25.31-40

For a devotional reading, see a piece I presented last week at a Bible study at the Oklahoma State Capitol:


The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity - 2014

The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity
Psalm 119.145-152
Clamavi in toto corde meo
145 I CALL with my whole heart : hear me, O Lord, I will keep thy statutes.
146 Yea, even unto thee do I call : help me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.
147 Early in the morning do I cry unto thee : for in thy word is my trust.
148 Mine eyes prevent the night-watches : that I might be occupied in thy words.
149 Hear my voice, O Lord, according unto thy loving-kindness : quicken me, according as thou art wont.
150 They draw nigh that of malice persecute me : and are far from thy law.
151 Be thou nigh at hand, O Lord : for all thy commandments are true.
152 As concerning thy testimonies, I have known long since : that thou hast grounded them for ever.

The Collect
O GOD, forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee; Mercifully grant, that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Note the change from the 1549 BCP: "O GOD, for asmuche as without thee, we are not able to please thee; Graunte that the workyng of thy mercie maye in all thynges directe and rule our heartes; Through Jesus Christ our Lorde.")

Old Testament: Job 24.1-17
Psalter: 114, 115 | 107, 70
Epistle: Ephesians 4.17-32
Gospel: St. Matthew 9.1-8

Toon: “We can only genuinely desire to please the Lord our God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, if and when he inspires us so to do. In and of ourselves, because our natures are infected by sin, we cannot produce by our own effort the purity of heart, mind and will that is necessary to worship the Lord God in the beauty of holiness and in spirit and in truth.

To recognize this powerlessness within ourselves is to begin to move into the sphere where we can worship God aright, for the confession before the LORD of our weakness and sin, our impotency and our spiritual sickness, is the beginning of his true worship and praise. And this beginning occurs because of his prevenient grace!

Therefore, we invoke our Father in heaven, by his great mercy and because of his marvellous grace, to send us the assistance that we need in order to be what he calls us to be. We ask for the gift and presence of the Holy Ghost (the One who comes in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, bearing his virtues and graces) to indwell our souls that we may be rightly inspired, directed and guided in how we are to please our Creator, Redeemer & Father, in what we think and say and do.

Let us so pray and let us be so directed by the personal presence of the Third Person of the Blessed, Holy and Undivided Trinity.

The Epistle is a vigorous call to holiness of life as we walk with Christ and the Gospel is a proclamation of the power of Christ to save, help and guide us.”

(There is a bit more at:


Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity -2014

The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity.
Psalm 119.137-144
Justus es, Domine
RIGHTEOUS art thou, O Lord : and true is thy judgement.
138. The testimonies that thou hast commanded : are exceeding righteous and true.
139. My zeal hath even consumed me : because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.
140. Thy word is tried to the uttermost : and thy servant loveth it.
141. I am small, and of no reputation : yet do I not forget thy commandments.
142. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness : and thy law is the truth.
143. Trouble and heaviness have taken hold upon me : yet is my delight in thy commandments.
144. The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting : O grant me understanding, and I shall live.

The Collect.
LORD, we beseech thee, grant thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and with pure hearts and minds to follow thee the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Amos 8.4-12
Psalter: Psalm 111, 112 | 106, 69
Epistle Reading: 1 Corinthians 1.4-8(9)
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 22.34-46

Toon: The Almighty Father, who is the Father of the only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is addressed as LORD, the self-existent holy Being, who is the Creator of heaven and earth, and Judge of all men.

He is not merely asked but he is also beseeched (that is, asked with a sense of urgency in a spirit of humility and submission before Him). Out of his great mercy and abundant grace he is asked to hear and grant (as a great favour to those who know they do not deserve favour) two petitions from his covenant people.

First of all, the inner strength and motivation to face real, daily temptations that if not resisted actually lead to the committing of sin against God. The temptations come from three basic sources: the world (human society and culture as organised and existing without submission to God’s law & with the influence therein of evil people); the flesh (human nature in its weakness and with its bias to assert the self and distrust God); and the devil (the spiritual being who has himself rebelled against God’s holy law and now seeks to persuade others to do the same). Resist the devil and he will flee from you, said James (iv.7).

In the second place, with contrite, cleansed and pure hearts and minds to follow with devotion and with zeal the will, purpose and commandments of the Almighty Father, as these are revealed and made known in the life, teaching, example and saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ. While there are many kings and lords, rulers and authorities in the world, there is only ONE living and true God: thus the wording of the petition.

The first petition is made so that we do not go in the wrong direction while the second is made that we actually do go in the right direction, that is we follow God’s signposts and walk in his ways. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8).

In the original Latin this one-sentence Collect was composed in the fifth century and used in the Mass for many centuries. Archbishop Cranmer translated it for the original English Prayer Book of 1549 and Bishop Cosin improved the translation for the edition of the Prayer Book of 1662 (the edition that has been translated into around 150 languages)” (


Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity - 2014

The Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity.
Psalm 119.129-136
129. THY testimonies are wonderful : therefore doth my soul keep them.
130. When thy word goeth forth : it giveth light and understanding unto the simple.
131. I opened my mouth, and drew in my breath : for my delight was in thy commandments.
132. O look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me : as thou usest to do unto those that love thy Name.
133. Order my steps in thy word : and so shall no wickedness have dominion over me.
134. O deliver me from the wrongful dealings of men : and so shall I keep thy commandments.
135. Shew the light of thy countenance upon thy servant : and teach me thy statutes.
136. Mine eyes gush out with water : because men keep not thy law.

The Collect.
LORD, we pray thee that thy grace may always prevent and follow us, and make us continually to be given to all good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Jeremiah 13.15-21
Psalter: Psalm 91, 92 | 105, 60
Epistle Reading: Ephesians 4.1-6
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 14.1-11

Toon: “Here we address the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as the LORD, in Hebrew YHWH, the revealed Name of God given to Moses at the burning bush in the wilderness (Exodus 3). He is I AM WHO I AM and I AM WHO I SHALL BE and I AM & SHALL BE WHO I WAS. He is the utterly faithful One from generation to generation and from age to age. And his Son, the One Mediator between God and Man, who also shares the name of LORD is the same yesterday, today and for ever (Hebrews 13:8).

To this eternally existing, infinite and ineffable God, who came to us in Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of the almighty Father, we are most highly privileged to be able to bring our petitions and to offer our praise and thanksgiving.

Here we use a verb Prevent whose meaning in this context is the old one [to anticipate, to forestall, to be beforehand with]. And we make two petitions which are connected to each other. First of all, we ask that the grace (the personal presence and unmerited mercy) of God (that is as the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, present in the world as the Spirit of Christ) may always both go before us and come behind us, so that we are always surrounded on all sides by the divine omnipresence and infinite care. In the second place, being thus placed within the gracious favour of God, we ask that we shall continually respond in faith and faithfulness to be and do that which is pleasing in his sight -- loving God with all our being & loving our neighbour as ourselves.

There is great strength in the word always. We need God’s personal presence and assistance not sometimes, not even often; but, rather, always. We may wish to compare this Collect for Trinity XVII with the Fourth Collect at the end of the Order for Holy Communion where we pray, Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy most gracious favour. That is, we ask God, as it were, to bring up the rear as his Church moves through space and time. The same Collect also asks, Further us with thy continual help. Here, we ask God to surround us and to go before us with his Presence.

Let us be clear that the LORD, the Blessed, Holy and Undivided Trinity of the Father, together with the Son and the Holy Ghost, is wholly desirous of being with his children in a complete and satisfying way for their salvation and their general good. His promises of his presence and his help are many. What he looks for in us is faith and faithfulness so that we are truly, consciously and continually his people and he is known by us always as our covenant God.

The Epistle reminds us of the Christian vocation which always includes maintaining the unity of the church. The Gospel proclaims the virtue of humility before God and amongst men” (


The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity (And the Commemoration of Wm Tyndale, 6 October) - 2014

The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity.
Psalm 119.121-128
Feci judicium
121. I DEAL with the thing that is lawful and right : O give me not over unto mine oppressors.
122. Make thou thy servant to delight in that which is good : that the proud do me no wrong.
123. Mine eyes are wasted away with looking for thy health : and for the word of thy righteousness.
124. O deal with thy servant according unto thy loving mercy : and teach me thy statutes.
125. I am thy servant, O grant me understanding : that I may know thy testimonies.
126. It is time for thee, Lord to lay to thine hand : for they have destroyed thy law.
127. For I love thy commandments : above gold and precious stone.
128. Therefore hold I straight all thy commandments : and all false ways I utterly abhor.

The Collect.
O LORD, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 12
Psalter: Psalm 98, 99 | 89, 59
Epistle Reading: Ephesians 3.8-21
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 7.11-18

Toon: “Here we recognise that the Church on earth needs both cleansing by the Divine Pardon and defence by the Divine Providence.

The Church, militant here on earth, is engaged in a spiritual war against the world, the flesh and the devil, and this is so even when it seems that the local society & government are partially supportive of the presence and aims of the Church of God. It is so easy for the refinements and ethos of the world to be absorbed by the Church and for them to affect her worship, her doctrine, her discipline, her ways of operation and so on, so that she is compromised and falls short of the fullness of her vocation.

Thus the Church not merely asks but beseeches (asks with intensity of feeling and conviction) the Lord our God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to help. In a vital sense this is what the Church does in part daily in her Morning and Evening Prayer and when she celebrates the Holy Communion. She confesses her sins and asks for the divine forgiveness. But this Collect contains a special, extra request because of a felt and real need. The Church needs the continued and continual Pity/Mercy of God both to cleanse her members and to defend them from all adversity, especially from enemies of the soul. And by members are meant both clergy and laity, bishops and doorkeepers.

Any society or organisation can get to the point where it begins to think that it is self-sufficient. The Church can begin to think that she is doing pretty well with a casual relation to God. But when she sees the true situation, that she is at war with real enemies of Christ & his Gospel, then she knows that she cannot continue as his army without his continued and continual succour. Further, she knows that she cannot stand firm today and tomorrow without his presence, help and goodness.

Today, it is common to speak of the secularisation of Christianity and of the accommodation of the agenda of the Church to that of humane and liberal society. And such is basically true of the denominations of the Western world. So this is surely a Prayer to be offered by all who know and feel that the Church in the West is far too much accommodated to the society and not sufficiently critical of its norms and ethos. We are to be in the world and for the world but NOT of the world” (

William Tyndale 1536
Translator of the Bible
Commemorated Monday, October 6th, 2014
Almighty God, you planted in the heart of your servant William Tyndale a consuming passion to bring the Scriptures to people in their native tongue, and endowed him with the gift of powerful and graceful expression and with strength to persevere against all obstacles: Reveal to us your saving Word, as we read and study the Scriptures, and hear them calling us to repentance and life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.