The BCP

Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

Author: The Revd Dr Peter Toon

Collect

Keep, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect Commentary

Let us notice here in the first petition a strange but most relevant fact. God the Father is implored to keep his Church (for which his Son shed his precious blood) not with his Fatherly Care, not with his Watchful Providence and not with the guardianship of his holy Archangels and angels, but with his Perpetual Mercy.

If man ñ we, all of us ñ is to be saved and secured from major spiritual and moral injuries with which Satan, the world (Zeitgeist) and the flesh threaten him, it can only be by the continual & perpetual exercise of the Fatherís mercy in the name and for the sake of his Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our conviction is that from that heavenly mercy proceed abundant blessings of many and varied kinds, descending upon those who seek the Lord and find him.

Let us also recognize, as does the Collect, that considered as moral and spiritual beings who stand before God, the all-holy, the all-seeing and the all-knowing One, we are not only mortal but also frail. We possess the ancient disease of inbred, original sin and because of it we cannot truly, in and of ourselves, truly help ourselves into the way and enjoyment of Godís salvation.

Thus we pray again for help, the presence of the Holy Ghost indwelling our souls so that he elevates our affections, inspires our thinking and energises our wills in order to guide us away from that which will harm us and towards that which will protect and bless us. Many things exist to harm us, even things which, in and of themselves, are good but for you or for me. In practice, they are the cause of temptation and sin. Happily there are many things in Godís creation, and especially in the provisions of the new creation of grace and mercy, that are for the cleansing, renewing, inspiring and saving of our souls and bodies.

As the Household of God and the Body of Christ we are in the fishing boat, the Ark of the Lord, as it were on the high seas, and the Lord is with us to make sure that the boat does not sink, that the sea is calmed and that we arrive at our heavenly destination rejoicing in the Lord.

The Epistle points us to the Cross of Christ, in which alone we are to glory. The Gospel takes us into the Sermon on the Mount for instruction in the ways of the Kingdom of God.

 

Epistle Galatians 6.11-18

YE see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

 

Gospel St Matthew 6. 24-34

NO man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven; shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself: sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.