THE COLLECT FOR THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
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.
The lessons for the week can be found in the BCP on pp. xxxvi-xxxvii.
The First Lesson for Morning Prayer continues the story of God sending his Judges to save his people from their pagan oppressors. The account of Samson, certainly the most famous of all the heroic judges, occupies most of the week. While the action scenes make good bedtime stories, much of the account should lead us to question our role as parents in guiding the affections of our children.
For the Second Lesson for Morning Prayer we read the 12 th chapter of the Gospel according to Luke. The theme throughout is that there is a terrible time of judgment coming upon Israel and that if the disciples and the crowds will listen to him they can avoid it. The Scribes and Pharisees were attempting to destroy Jesus (ch. 11) but he warns the crowds not to listen to them – they were the same ones that had tormented the prophets like Jeremiah (Evening Prayer). Instead, they should follow Jesus’ warning, trust confidently in the protection of their heavenly father, provide for the poor and come quickly to a solution with anyone who accused them of anything. In our lives today, in the wealthiest, most powerful nation the world has ever known, are we happy? Do we feel confident and fulfilled? Or are we anxious for the future? How is it that we can offer a word of peace to our community that suffers from such discontent?
At Evening Prayer we continue the heartbreaking saga of the fall of Jerusalem and the even more distressing faithlessness of Jeremiah’s people. Nebuchadnezzer’s army had taken Jerusalem and had freed Jeremiah. However, the Babylonian king offered merciful terms to the remnant. In the place of King Zedekiah, he gave authority to a godly man named Gedaliah. However, Jeremiah’s enemies assassinated him bringing the full wrath of Nebuchadnezzar down upon Jerusalem, burning it to the ground. Jerusalem’s refugees seek guidance from Jeremiah: should they go with the King and his advisors to exile in Babylon, or remain around the ruins of their grieving city? Jeremiah tells them that either way, God will bless them. But they should not seek refuge in Egypt. They must accept the divine punishment instead of seeking revenge thru the failing power of the Pharaoh.
The Second Lesson for Evening Prayer continues our reading of Paul’s letter to the Romans. Chapter 3 shows how God has been faithful to his covenant promises to Israel: by sending Jesus, the faithful Israelite. It is thru his faithful death that all the promises made to Abraham come true. So, we shouldn’t be surprised to find that chapter 4 is all about Abraham. Who are true Jews? Who are in God’s family? It is thru God’s calling Abraham that he would redeem the world from the powers of death. Notice how all of Paul’s discussion of ‘justification’ thru chapter 6 relates to being in Christ (‘Messiah’). Take time to think about all the things that are true of him. Now, rejoice that the Father has given all those benefits to you who are in him through baptism and faith.
Editor’s note: If you have questions about how to use the lectionary or locate the the Daily Office readings, have a look at the Daily Office Series debut post, which introduces the process for the experienced and newcomers alike.