Prayers at Mid-day for Monday, 22 June, 2020 (Proper 12, Trinity 2)
(Today we commemorate in the Anglican Church of Canada calendar, St. Alban, First Martyr in Britain, c. 209. )
O God, make speed to save us.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
The Lord is our refuge and our strength: O come, let us worship.
Now Korah son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi, along with Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—descendants of Reuben—took 2two hundred and fifty Israelite men, leaders of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men, and they confronted Moses. 3They assembled against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, ‘You have gone too far! All the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. So why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?’ 4When Moses heard it, he fell on his face. 5Then he said to Korah and all his company, ‘In the morning the Lord will make known who is his, and who is holy, and who will be allowed to approach him; the one whom he will choose he will allow to approach him. 6Do this: take censers, Korah and all your company, 7and tomorrow put fire in them, and lay incense on them before the Lord; and the man whom the Lord chooses shall be the holy one. You Levites have gone too far!’ 8Then Moses said to Korah, ‘Hear now, you Levites! 9Is it too little for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to allow you to approach him in order to perform the duties of the Lord’s tabernacle, and to stand before the congregation and serve them? 10He has allowed you to approach him, and all your brother Levites with you; yet you seek the priesthood as well! 11Therefore you and all your company have gathered together against the Lord. What is Aaron that you rail against him?’
12 Moses sent for Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab; but they said, ‘We will not come! 13Is it too little that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness, that you must also lord it over us? 14It is clear you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Would you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come!’
15 Moses was very angry and said to the Lord, ‘Pay no attention to their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, and I have not harmed any one of them.’ 16And Moses said to Korah, ‘As for you and all your company, be present tomorrow before the Lord, you and they and Aaron; 17and let each one of you take his censer, and put incense on it, and each one of you present his censer before the Lord, two hundred and fifty censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer.’ 18So each man took his censer, and they put fire in the censers and laid incense on them, and they stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting with Moses and Aaron. 19Then Korah assembled the whole congregation against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole congregation.
1 I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, for ever;
with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
2 I declare that your steadfast love is established for ever;
your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.
3 You said, ‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to my servant David:
4 “I will establish your descendants for ever,
and build your throne for all generations.” ’
5 Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.
6 For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
7 a God feared in the council of the holy ones,
great and awesome above all that are around him?
8 O Lord God of hosts,
who is as mighty as you, O Lord?
Your faithfulness surrounds you.
9 You rule the raging of the sea;
when its waves rise, you still them.
10 You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
11 The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours;
the world and all that is in it—you have founded them.
12 The north and the south—you created them;
Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
13 You have a mighty arm;
strong is your hand, high your right hand.
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
15 Happy are the people who know the festal shout,
who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance;
16 they exult in your name all day long,
and extol your righteousness.
17 For you are the glory of their strength;
by your favour our horn is exalted.
18 For our shield belongs to the Lord,
our king to the Holy One of Israel.
21 But now, irrespective of law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. 29Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
13 Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; 14but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ 15And he laid his hands on them and went on his way.
16 Then someone came to him and said, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ 17And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ 18He said to him, ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; 19Honour your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ 20The young man said to him, ‘I have kept all these; what do I still lack?’ 21Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ 22When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Commentary (Fr. Michael)
“If you wish to be perfect …”. These words of our Lord may fill us with dismay if we think that perfection is the bar we have to cross to win God’s favour. How on earth can any of us be perfect? Does it mean a vow of poverty, which is why the seeker in Matthew, commonly called “The Rich Young Man”, “went away grieving” (Mt 19:22). Leaving the whole subject of stewardship for another day (one not too far away!), I think it likely that Jesus challenges this young man because He senses his desire for religious perfection.
Paul’s well-known statement in Romans, that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23), tells us that we are made right with God through our belief in Jesus, who alone among us is perfect. It’s our recognition that Jesus is the Son of God, and our desire to follow him as best we can, that puts us on the right path with God. As a result of the Reformation, a long debate about which was more important, faith or works, ensured. My own feeling is that what we do, our ethics, is vital to the Christian life, but what we do is a result of our belief. As our relationship with Jesus deepens, we naturally want to do God’s will – as best we can! That we sometimes fail to do God’s will is human, and is why confession is part of our liturgy.
Let me close with a final thought about faith. Reading this passage from Romans in isolation might make you feel that faith is something we have to produce ourselves, from within, because God is abstract and far away and all we can do is try to believe. In fact, God in Jesus is immediate, very close to us. The Psalmist writes, “Happy are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance” (Ps 89:15). Take this verse as encouragement if you feel that faith is all up to you. Open yourself to God who desires to be near us, remind yourself that God’s love is “steadfast”, let the nearness of God lead you forward on your path. It’s not all up to you!
Are there moments in your faith life when you can pause and remind yourself of God’s nearness, and open yourself to God’s presence?
What questions come to your mind about these passages?
Lord, I pray that the people of God in all the world may worship in spirit and in truth.
Lord hear my prayer.
Lord, I pray that the Church may discover again that unity which is your will.
Lord hear my prayer.
Lord, I pray that the nations of the earth may seek after the ways that make for peace.
Lord hear my prayer.
Lord, I pray that the whole of creation, groaning in travail, may be set free to enjoy the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Lord hear my prayer.
I pray that all who with Christ have entered the shadow of death may rest in peace and rise in glory, and I pray especially this morning for the souls of the thousands that have succumbed to Covid 19.
Lord hear my prayer.
I pray that you will protect medical and essential workers, inspire the efforts of researchers and scientists seeking treatments and a vaccine for Covid 19, and that you will heal the world you graciously gave us.
Collects of the Day (Proper 12, Trinity 2):
O God our defender, storms rage about us and cause us to be afraid. Rescue your people from despair, deliver your sons and daughters from fear, and preserve us all from unbelief; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Almighty God, you conferred on your holy martyr Alban such love for the mercy of Christ that he gave his life to save a hunted Christian. Grant us, after his example, to be so faithful in our confession of your gospel, that we may shelter those who flee from persecution and bear the reproaches which threaten their lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Thanks be to God