Friday, September 5, 2014

Bishop's Note: Collect for the 13th Week of Pentecost - Proper 18

Bishop Eric Menees

“Grant us, O Lord, we pray thee, to trust in you with all our heart; for, as thou dost alway resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so thou dost not forsake those who make their boast of thy mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”

This week's Collect is one of those that captures both the heart and mind of the petitioner. We call out to God to grant us the ability to trust in Him with all our heart, just like the father who brings his demon possessed son to Jesus asking for His help. Jesus responds:  "All things are possible for one who believes.Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, I believe; help my unbelief! (Mark 9 23b-24) Our trust, like our belief, is not perfect, but with God's help it is made perfect in Him!

Trusting in God means that we are not trusting in ourselves. This is the key - we need to stop trusting in ourselves - our own strengths and talents. Even believing that we have strengths and talents apart from God is a false belief - a potential idol - and the very thing that leads to pride. If we give ourselves completely to the Lord, we will come to understand that everything we have and everything we are is, in fact, a gift from God.

And we can make this petition to the Lord because we can trust in the His grace and mercy! It is Jesus whose mercy and grace led Him to offer His life as a ransom for ours! It causes me to think of St. Paul's "Sermon on the Mount" from the 12th chapter of Romans: "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." (Romans 12:1) My prayer for all of us in the Diocese of San Joaquin is that we may truly place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and Him alone. I've already begun with this prayer and will continue to offer it as I, and all of us, deal with the frustrations and trials of life in a fallen world!  

Catechism Questions 12 & 13

12. What does it mean for you to repent?

To repent means that I have a change of heart, turning from serving myself to serving
God. I need Gods help to make this change.

13. What does it mean for you to have faith?

To have faith means that I believe the gospel is true; I acknowledge that Jesus died for my sins and rose from the dead to rule over me; I entrust myself to him as my Savior; and I obey him as my Lord. As the Apostle Paul said, If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved(Romans 10:9).

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