Collect for Trinity 12
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve; Pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
The lesson for Trinity 12 are found on pages xl-xli.
Part 1: The first lesson for Morning Prayer.
The first lesson for Morning Prayer continues our reading of 2 Samuel. Much of these chapters relate to David’s consolidating his authority over the nation and the people. Saul’s dynasty had been defeated and killed by the Philistines, but David seeks out any surviving child of Saul to bless them for his love of Jonathan.
Mephibosheth, the cripple, had been hidden away by his nurse for fear that David would follow the common practice of murdering all the successors of a former king. Instead, David shows his faithfulness by caring for Mephibosheth and making him a member of his own household. But David’s greatest fall awaited him. He was not faithful to his servant Uriah the Hittite, but sent him to his death so that he could take his wife Bathsheba. Nathan the prophet brings God’s judgment upon David and upon the child in Bathsheba’s womb.
The succeeding chapters show how David’s infidelity sows the seeds of discord in his family and kingdom that will finally destroy it. In our own day we should take these chapters to heart. Consensual acts between individuals have repercussions that spread out into the world around us that we will never comprehend. Holiness is not simply an act of personal faith, but of devoting our fortunes to Almighty God.
Part 2: The second lesson for Morning Prayer.
The second lesson for Morning Prayer begins our reading of the Acts of the Apostles. This book could just as easily be called the Acts of the Risen Jesus!
The account begins with a very Jewish question: ‘Is now the time that Jesus will establish God’s kingdom here on earth?’ Jesus’ response has often been thought to be ‘No’, but this is certainly a mistake. Instead, Jesus tells them that they will be given power to do just that. It is thru their faithful witness (even unto death) in Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth, that God’s kingdom will be established. So the Spirit descends upon them and they speak with power and courage the message that Jesus is now king of the world.
The disintegration of the nations symbolized by their various languages is overcome by the Spirit. The curse of the Tower of Babel has been undone, Now all the nations of the Earth are being drawn into the Kingdom. Likewise, Peter and John go into the temple to pray and heal a lame man in Jesus’ name. They have been given power to continue Jesus’ ministry. What would our world be like if we committed ourselves to the work of the Spirit and the Kingdom the way these first Christians did? Dare we even try?
Part 3: The first lesson for Evening Prayer.
The first lesson for Evening Prayer continues our reading of the book Job, chapters 8 thru 13. Bildad says that Job is implicating God in injustice; if Job will simply confess, God will surely forgive/accept him; but Job replies that contending with God can never be fair: he is too strong, too wise; his alternatives are to either forget his complaint, cleanse himself, or call for a mediator to negotiate between them; none of these is possible; Job makes a plea to God based upon his creating him and his covenant faithfulness; Why is God doing this? Zophar dispenses with small talk and goes right at Job: his conduct cannot be pure; God’s wisdom is secret; therefore Job’s suffering must be a result of some sin; Job responds with bitter sarcasm; why is that the righteous man lives in such torment while robbers and impious men live in peace?
The Kings, princes, wise men, and the nations they lead all fall to the dust; but Job will continue to trust the promise of God and will take his demand for justice to the truly just God.
Part 4: The second lesson for Evening Prayer.
The second lesson for Evening Prayer begins our reading of the Gospel according to Mark. Mark is likely the earliest of the Gospels and his style is high energy!
Again and again he uses the word ‘immediately’ to communicate to the reader that what is happening in the arrival of Jesus is the most exciting thing that has ever happened, is taking people by surprise and is bowling everyone and everything over. So John the Baptist proclaims that the long exile is now over and that God is finally coming to save his people.
Then Jesus is baptized, does battle with the Devil and calls his disciples all at breakneck pace. The sick are healed, the devils are driven out and forgiveness (another word for return from exile) is preached to Israel. Jesus is breaking all the old boundaries, declaring that everyone must come in to God’s kingdom. This is not the time to fast but to feast because Israel’s husband has now arrived.
The party is on, tears are wiped away because God has remembered his people. Even the Sabbath, the day devoted to remembering how God had created the world in the beginning, must give way before this new thing that is happening in Jesus. Who does he think he is?