Prayer #1 — Collect for the 22nd Sunday in Kingdomtide (BCP 236):
O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Prayer #2 — At Noonday: Prayer for Peace (BCP 258):
Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of peace, and guide with your wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth, that in tranquillity your dominion may increase until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Prayer #3 — For Stewardship of Creation (BCP 259):
O merciful Creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the needs of every living creature: Make us always thankful for
your loving providence; and grant that we, remembering the account that we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your good gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer #4 — “Come, Let Us Use the Grace Divine” (Charles Wesley):
1. Come, let us use the grace divine, and all with one accord,
in a perpetual covenant
join ourselves to Christ the Lord;
Give up ourselves, thru Jesus’ power, his name to glorify;
and promise, in this sacred hour,
for God to live and die.
2. The covenant we this moment make be ever kept in mind;
we will no more our God forsake,
or cast these words behind.
We never will throw off the fear
of God who hears our vow;
and if thou art well pleased to hear, come down and meet us now.
3. Thee, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
let all our hearts receive,
present with thy celestial host
the peaceful answer give;
to each covenant the blood apply
which takes our sins away,
and register our names on high
and keep us to that day!
Thanks to HymnSite.com for providing this public domain midi file and text.
DAILY READINGS FOR REFLECTION — from John Wesley, ” The Almost Christian” (Sermon 2).
“Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Acts 26.28.
(II.) If it be inquired, “What more than this is implied in the being altogether a Christian” I answer,
(II.1) First. The love of God. For thus saith his word, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” Such a love is this, as engrosses the whole heart, as rakes up all the affections, as fills the entire capacity of the soul and employs the utmost extent of all its faculties. He that thus loves the Lord his God, his spirit continually “rejoiceth in God his Saviour.” His delight is in the Lord, his Lord and his All, to whom “in everything he giveth thanks. All his desire is unto God, and to the remembrance of his name.” His heart is ever crying out, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.” Indeed, what can he desire beside God? Not the world, or the things of the world: for he is “crucified to the world, and the world crucified to him.” He is crucified to “the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye, and the pride of life.” Yea, he is dead to pride of every kind: for “love is not puffed up,” but “he that dwelling in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him,” is less than nothing in his own eyes.
(II.2) The Second thing implied in the being altogether a Christian is, the love of our neighbour. For thus said our Lord in the following words, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” If any man ask, “Who is my neighbour,” we reply, Every man in the world; every child of his who is the Father of the spirits of all flesh. Nor may we in any wise except our enemies or the enemies of God and their own souls. But every Christian loveth these also as himself, yea, “as Christ loved us.” He that would more fully understand what manner of love this is, may consider St. Paul’s description of it. It is “long-suffering and kind.” It “envieth not.” It is not rash or hasty in judging. It “is not puffed up;” but maketh him that loves, the least, the servant of all. Love “doth not behave itself unseemly,” but becometh “all things to all men.” She “seeketh not her own;” but only the good of others, that they may be saved. “Love is not provoked.” It casteth out wrath, which he who hath is wanting in love. “It thinketh no evil. It rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. It covereth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
(II.3) There is yet one thing more that may be separately considered, though it cannot actually be separate from the preceding, which is implied in the being altogether a Christian; and that is the ground of all, even faith. Very excellent things are spoken of this throughout the oracles of God. “Every one,” saith the beloved disciple, “that believeth is born of God.” “To as many as received him, gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” And “this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” Yea, our Lord himself declares, “He that believeth in the Son hath everlasting life; and cometh not into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.”
(II.4) But here let no man deceive his own soul. “It is diligently to be noted, the faith which bringeth not forth repentance, and love, and all good works, is not that right living faith, but a dead and devilish one. For, even the devils believe that Christ was born of a virgin: that he wrought all kinds of miracles, declaring himself very God: that, for our sakes, he suffered a most painful death, to redeem us from death everlasting; that he rose again the third day: that he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father and at the end of the world shall come again to judge both the quick and dead. These articles of our faith the devils believe, and so they believe all that is written in the Old and New Testament. And yet for all this faith, they be but devils. They remain still in their damnable estate lacking the very true Christian faith.” [Homily on the Salvation of Man.]
(II.5) “The right and true Christian faith is (to go on the words of our own Church), “not only to believe that Holy Scripture and the Articles of our Faith are true, but also to have a sure trust and confidence to be saved from everlasting damnation by Christ. It is a sure trust and confidence which a man hath in God, that, by the merits of Christ, his sins are forgiven, and he reconciled to the favour of God; whereof doth follow a loving heart, to obey his commandments.”
(II. 6) Now, whosoever has this faith, which “purifies the heart” (by the power of God, who dwelleth therein) from “pride, anger, desire, from all unrighteousness” from “all filthiness of flesh and spirit;” which fills it with love stronger than death, both to God and to all mankind; love that doeth the works of God, glorying to spend and to be spent for all men, and that endureth with joy, not only the reproach of Christ, the being mocked, despised, and hated of all men, but whatsoever the wisdom of God permits the malice of men or devils to inflict, –whosoever has this faith thus working by love is not almost only, but altogether, a Christian.
(II.10) The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who now standeth in the midst of us, knoweth, that if any man die without this faith and this love, good it were for him that he had never been born. Awake, then, thou that sleepest, and call upon thy God: call in the day when he may be found. Let him not rest, till he make his “goodness to pass before thee;” till he proclaim unto thee the name of the Lord, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin.” Let no man persuade thee, by vain words, to rest short of this prize of thy high calling. But cry unto him day and night, who, “while we were without strength, died for the ungodly,” until thou knowest in whom thou hast believed, and canst say, “My Lord, and my God!” Remember, “always to pray, and not to faint,” till thou also canst lift up thy hand unto heaven, and declare to him that liveth for ever and ever, “Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee.”
(II.11) May we all thus experience what it is to be, not almost only; but altogether Christians; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus; knowing we have peace with God through Jesus Christ; rejoicing in hope of the glory of God; and having the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost given unto us! (from John Wesley, “The Almost Christian” [Sermon 2], intro & II.1-6, 10-11).
**-Edited anonymously at the Memorial University of Newfoundland with corrections and other modifications by Ryan Danker and George Lyons of Northwest Nazarene University.
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