13 June 2021 Anno Domini
The Collect Second Sunday after Trinity
O LORD, who never failest to help and govern those whom thou dost bring up in thy stedfast fear and love; Keep us, we beseech thee, under the protection of thy good providence, and make us to have a perpetual fear and love of thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Perhaps beyond any other consideration, it is the SECURITY of the believer in Christ that gives the greatest comfort and confidence. We have an unfailing LORD who is able to save to the uttermost, and He will not lose any soul placed in His hands by the Father. The process by which our security is assured is through the means of His great help to those who call upon Him, and in His righteous governance in the hearts of those who claim Him as Sovereign of their souls. This governance begins in the fear which a lost soul feels for his unforgiven sins, and is consummated in the deep love that the sinner feels for His Savior once he has repented and come to claim that grace and mercy made available through the works of Christ. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7) Fear does not come from God, but from the knowledge of one’s sins. When we have come to know God intimately, that fear engendered by our carnal sins is turned to love, and a sound conscience, in that state of forgiveness and justification that comes by the Blood of Christ. O LORD, who never failest to help and govern those whom thou dost bring up in thy stedfast fear and love. Please note the order of emotions offered in this first line of the prayer – fear PRECEDES love, but love is the finality and victorious emotion that we have in Christ….and it is steadfast! Fear, conditioned by forgiveness and mercy, is converted to an increasing love much like the poisonous gas, chlorine added to sodium, results in an essential compound for life. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
Keep us, we beseech thee, under the protection of thy good providence, Yes, we are dearly ‘kept for the Master’s use.’ Regardless of the vessels we represent in the Lord’s Vineyard – whether of wood, stone, gold, or silver – each vessel has a place in a great house. It is not the nature of the vessel that is most important, but the treasure which the vessel contains that lends meaningfulness and usefulness to the vessel. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. (2 Tim 2:20-21) I should prefer to be an earthen vessel of clay, filled with precious souls of children brought before the LORD on the Last Day, than a vessel of pure gold filled with the unprofitable works of this world. A vessel of clay in the Master’s House is of far greater worth than those of silver and gold which will dissolve in the fervent heat of Hell. Being kept by God under His providential protection is the safest of all places regardless the external circumstances of our lives. He knows all things – future, past, and present – He therefore knows the very best course for our lives.
“. . . . make us to have a perpetual fear and love of thy holy Name.” This is not the same kind of fear mentioned prior to salvation – it is the kind of fear a son or daughter feels toward their parents in not wanting to disobey them or bring humiliation and shame upon their name. Honoring our parents makes their name respectable, but that respectability does not come close to the Holiness that attaches to the Name of our Almighty God. Our concern for not violating the Holiness of God’s Name must not be a mere passing whim, but it must be a matter of perpetual consciousness in our hearts. It is this kind of fear that increases love at the same instance. No man can love that which he does not respect, but a high regard for loved ones always increases our love for them. It is for this reason that we are commanded to honor our fathers and our mothers. Such honor places them above the common plain of familiar affection. As you will know, there are two Tables of the Law of Commandments. We often believe the first four to reflect our duties to God, and the last six our duties to man. But I believe the first five reflect our whole duty to God – because God is our ultimate Father. So the fifth Commandment is a transition Commandment between our duties to God and man – it reflects both our duty to God and our duty to parents.
“. . . through Jesus Christ our Lord. Need this phrase be explained? At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. (John 16:26-27) All prayer must be made through that Redeemer who has made answer to our prayers possible – the Lord Jesus Christ! You may recall that the very last word of the Old Testament seals the meaning thereof: the word is CURSE, because the Law is a curse to us in our frailty and inability to obey. However, the very last line (and prayer) of the New Testament answers the meaning of that Gospel taught to us by Christ and propagated by the Apostles: GRACE! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Rev 22:21)