Anglican Morning Devotion, 19 September 2021 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity
O LORD, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest. 16The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken. 17For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee.” (Jeremiah 11:14-17: all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Whether I apply the words of Jeremiah to my church, or to my nation, I cannot pray for their success in wickedness and affronting the very God who blesses them. We live in a nation whose foundation, like the church, rested upon God and His Word. Long before we saw our freedoms in America begin to dwindle and vanish, we saw our blessed Church fade and dwindle – overcome by the desires to be accepted by the world and a cowardly reluctance to stand upon those truths that made her great. Can I pray for her success in that regard? Can I pray for the success of the leaders of our nation who embrace the filthy practice of homosexual marriage and the murder of innocents before they ever see the beauty of God’s Creation bathed in sunlight? We are now harvesting the bitter fruits of rejecting God as a nation and as a Church. Murder, abortion, vile sexual sins, drug abuse, and alcoholism have grown up in our fields of infidelity. Our children stagger in lost paths, while we revel in our faith in government to the detriment of our faith in God.
The Collect for the 16th Sunday after Trinity makes a proper and appropriate appeal to the only prayer we can truly utter for an apostate church, society, and government. Our weak faith of today did not result from an over-reliance upon government, but our overly reliance on government resulted from our weak faith. The former bastion of freedom and liberty – the early Church in America – failed to stand up when divorce began to grow prolific when the 1st Amendment right of children to pray at any place (especially in school) was abrogated by a renegade judiciary, when the Holy Bible was deemed too harmful for the exposure to children in public schools when abortion (more egregious even than the slaughter of millions in Nazi death camps) became legal and even encouraged, and when high government officials began to advocate for the right men to marry men, and women to marry women. How far into the abyss can we sink ere we burst Hell wide open? So, can I pray the Prayer Book Prayer for the President (we recently had such a one) who has callously embraced the sinful and opposed the righteous? Yes, for every word of the prayer is honoring of God and calls any man in the office of President to be made aware of his right path and to turn from any wickedness:
O LORD our Governor, whose glory is in all the world; We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and to all in Authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness; and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen This prayer calls for righteousness in the President, and should we (as Jonah) be disappointed if he repents from the course he has embarked upon to evil?
Of course, before any President may lead us in righteousness, the heart and soul of America must be open to Christ and willing to follow on a righteous course. Whose duty is it to remind us our responsibilities and debt to God? Is it not the Church – His beloved Bride – who has committed spiritual adultery? O LORD, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church Before God will grant pity, we must ask it of Him. We must ask in the same vein as 2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Does God seek to hear the prayers of ALL people in a wicked land? No, not at all, but He DOES seek to hear the prayers of those who are “called by my Name” to humble themselves (have we?), and pray (have we?), and seek my face (have we?), and “turn from their wicked ways (have we?). Only after this formula shall God heal America. At present, we are NOT a righteous nation. At present, we are not humble. At present, we are not a pure church in prayer. At present, we still pursue a wicked path. But God WILL have pity and grant it for our asking.
Do you believe the America we have known can be safe without the special benevolence and succor of God? “….because it cannot continue in safety without thy succor.” It cannot be so preserved without its founding principles established in God for His Church.