The BCP

Fifth Sunday after Trinity

Author: The Revd Dr Peter Toon

Collect

Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by thy governance, that thy Church may joyfully serve thee in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect Commentary

This Prayer is a Petition, an intense and rich petition which contains two strong verbs, each of which particularly belong to the vocabulary of traditional English prayer, public and private. The verb ìto grantî is most appropriately used (a) by creatures when thinking of the relation of their beneficent Creator to human beings made in his image and after his likeness, and (b) by sinners when thinking of the relation of their gracious Redeemer to them as undeserving and without claims upon him, except the Name of Jesus Christ. Further, the verb ìto beseechî is an appropriate form of asking by such creatures and sinners as they face their Lord. It suggests that they are bowing low before him in deep humility recognizing his Majesty. They come not as friends asking for a favour or for a loan. They come as weak and undeserving, but yet they come in the faith of Jesus Christ.

And what do sinners being saved by grace desire and hope God will grant in response to their beseeching? They deeply desire that by his providence as the Governor of the universe he will so guide events in space and time that the Church of God will be able not merely to serve the Lord her God as best she can, but that she will serve him joyfully and in a calm yet committed way.

The Church, as a school for weak sinners and a hospital for sick disciples, here prays that she will not be placed in a world of tribulation and persecution (which has often been her vocation), but that there will be civil peace. Further, that there will be peace within the Church herself, free from internal schism and controversy. In this situation she will be able, by his guidance and in his strength, to love and serve him with joy, exceeding great joy, and also with a quiet mind, a meditating and convinced mind. In other words, as it is expressed in the Lordís Prayer, to do his will on earth as it is done in heaven, where there is perfect peace and joy.

Of course, each of us can personalize this prayer desiring that the circumstances of our lives make it possible for us to serve God joyfully and with a quiet mind!

This kind of praying is offered in the biblical, lectionary context of the apostle Peter saying to the Lord, ìDepart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord,î (Gospel) and the word of God telling us: ìThe eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and his ears are open unto their prayersî (Epistle).

 

Epistle 1 Peter 3: 8-15

BE ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous; not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.

 

Gospel St Luke 5:1-11

IT came to pass that as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake; but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land: and he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing; nevertheless, at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes, and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken; and so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not, from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.