The BCP

Third Sunday after Trinity

Author: The Revd Dr Peter Toon

Collect

O Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may by thy mighty aid be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect Commentary

The content of the Epistle warns us that our adversary the devil walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. It then bids us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God our Father. This Collect is the humble depracation (a prayer against evils that are lurking near to us or hanging over our heads) by which we seek to follow St Peterís advice.

When we are faced by problems and tribulations, there should arise in our hearts a desire to bring them to God (who has thereby given to us in the moment of impending danger a hearty desire to pray). There is intensity in the verb, ìGrantî, and this force is present in this petition that we make to God because his Spirit is touching our souls and inspiring us to cry out for divine help.

We ask that we be both defended (protected & preserved) from all dangers, enemies and adversities and also comforted in and through them. Godís aid is our defence and the consciousness of its real presence becomes and is our comfort.

By the providential gracious aid of the Lord we can sing:

Ye fainting saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

And with St Paul we can testify:

ìTribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy Ghost which is given unto usî (Romans 5:3ff).

The Gospel reading contains parables from Jesus which make clear how precious the individual person is to God and how that when he responds in repentance to Godís grace there is joy in heaven amongst the angelic hosts. Such knowledge in the believerís heart obviously encourages him to call upon God in humble confidence when things appear to be going either well or not so well for him.

 

Epistle 1 Peter 5: 5-11

ALL of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time; casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Gospel St Luke 15:1-10

THEN drew near unto him all the Publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.