Saturday, October 4, 2014

Bishop's Note: Collect for the week of Pentecost 17 - Proper 22

 Bishop Eric Menees
“Almighty and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than either we desire or deserve: Pour 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; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

This week's collect calls to mind the story from the Gospel of Mark.  A father brings his son to Jesus. The son has suffered for some time from demons who would torment and harm him. The father said to Jesus, “‘But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.And Jesus said to him, If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, I believe; help my unbelief! (Mark 9:22-24)

The father approached Jesus seeking compassion on his son, only to discover that Jesus had already desired to heal him. The father exclaims, "I believe; help my unbelief!" When we pray this collect this week, we proclaim the reality that God is more ready to hear than we are to pray. How often have we said, "I don't want to bother God with something so small and insignificant," when in reality, the Lord wants to hear our prayers; He wants to receive our petitions? Perhaps our fear is that God is like us - that He gets tired and short tempered and doesn't want to be bothered. But that is NOT the character of God. God's character is not only ready to hear, but also ready to respond to our need.

Additionally, it is not only God's character to respond to our physical needs - food & clothing - but our spiritual and emotional needs as well. "...pour upon us the abundance of thy mercy, forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid…." The need for forgiveness is a deep need that we are often afraid of.  And yet the Lord's desire is to forgive us, in order to restore our relationship with Him.  Not that He needs reconciliation with us, but that we need reconciliation with Him.

Thanks be to God that we are loved beyond our wildest imagination, at our deepest core!  And to that I say...AMEN.
Confirmation Questions 22 - 24

22.     Which Creeds does the Church acknowledge?
The Church acknowledges the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. (Articles of Religion, 8)

23.    Why do you acknowledge these Creeds?
I acknowledge these Creeds with the Church because they are grounded in Holy Scripture and are faithful expressions of its teaching. (1 Corinthians 15:3-11; Philippians 2:6-11)

24.    Why should you know these Creeds?

I should know these Creeds because they state the essential beliefs of the Christian faith.

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