The BCP

Second Sunday after Trinity

Author: The Revd Dr Peter Toon

Collect

O Lord, who never failest to help and govern them whom thou dost bring up in thy steadfast fear and love: Keep us, we beseech thee, under the protection of thy good providence, and make us to have a perpetual fear and love of thy holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect Commentary

Previous to the 1662 edition of The Book of Common Prayer this Collect was similar but shorter: ìLord, make us to have a perpetual fear and love of thy holy name; for thou never failest to help and govern them whom thou dost bring up in thy steadfast loveÖî

Let us focus on the petition in both these Collects.

As baptized Christians, members of the Household of God, we ask from God our Father that we shall have perpetually in our souls - minds, hearts and wills - two profound affections towards God the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And, further, we ask that we may have these two affections in our souls concurrently, not one for a while and then the other for a while, but both there together and always. We ask both for a perpetual fear of Godís holy Name and for a perpetual love of Godís holy Name. In biblical terms, the Name of God stands for the revealed Character of God, thus the Name represents God himself - that is either God the Father or God the Father together with his only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.

Most of us should have no difficulty in thinking that we ought constantly to love Godís holy Name since the first and great commandment is that we are to love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength.

Yet perhaps some of us have real difficulty in thinking it a duty to fear God constantly. Does not perfect love cast out fear (see 1 John 4:18)? Yes it does, the fear of punishment by God the holy Judge, the fear of hell-fire and the fear of condemnation, for there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

But there is another meaning of fear in the Bible and it is a profound sense of awe, submission and reverence of the creature before the all-Holy, all-Majestic God, Creator & Judge of heaven & earth, the Blessed, Holy and Undivided Trinity. This filial and godly fear in the soul of the child of God is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom in terms of Godís ways, will and purposes - as the Psalter testifies. Even those, who within the new covenant are brought near to God by the blood of Christ Jesus, and in whom the Spirit testifies to their spirits that they are the children of God the Father, ought never be other than Christians also filled with reverence and awe in their relation to God, who is always and ever the Infinite, Eternal Glorious and Holy One.

Love with filial fear is like a ship without ballast; it has no steadfastness and it is wavering, fluctuating, unstable and uncertain.

When we love God in reverence and filial fear, our love is not sentimental and sloppy but solid and secure.

When we fear God in love toward him, this fear is not fear of hell-fire or everlasting condemnation, but deep and profound humility & awe before his overwhelming greatness and holiness.

The more ardently we love God the more we fear him with filial reverence and awe: and the more we ardently fear God the more we love him with all our being.

ìMake us to have a perpetual fear and love of thy holy Name.î

 

Epistle 1 John 3. 13-24

MARVEL not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him; how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed, and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him: and hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

 

Gospel St Luke 14. 16-24

A CERTAIN man made a great supper, and bade many; and sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come, for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it; I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them; I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came and shewed his Lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the high-ways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.