Verse of the Day

Sunday, March 13, 2011

First Sunday after Lent

The Propers for today are found on Page 125-127, with the Collect first:

The First Sunday in Lent.

The Collect.

O LORD who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights; Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

And due to the rubric, the Collect for the Day is followed by the Collect for Ash Wednesday, which is found on Page 124:

The first day of Lent, commonly called
Ash Wednesday.

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

¶ This Collect is to be said every day in Lent, after the Collect appointed for the day, until Palm Sunday.

The Epistle for today came from Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, starting at the First Verse of the Sixth Chapter. In what at first appears to be an incomprehensible single sentence, Paul asks us to be worthy of the grace that God has given us. He tells the people when they needed him, he was there. They need to be there for those around them. They must not frustrate God’s work by showing up late, or not at all. Those around us are watching our actions in the time of testing. We have been given eternal salvation by Jesus’s sacrifice, the understanding of the Gospel by the Holy Ghost. We are at this time dying here on earth, yet progressing towards eternal life in the next world, in Jesus’ world with His help. While we may never be wealthy here on earth, our actions can make our fellow Christians wealthy in spirit beyond measure.

If you claim to be a Christian, you know what is right. If you are a Christian, you do what is right, you don’t take a vote to see what the right course of action might be. Right does not change with public opinion and we must do the right thing. It is our actions that count, in good times or bad. We are Christ’s ambassadors to this world, unfortunately we do not have diplomatic immunity.

WE then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain; (for he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation;) giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: but in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

This morning’s Gospel comes from the Gospel of Saint Matthew, starting at the First Verse of the Fourth Chapter. This portion of the Gospel tells the story of the temptation of Christ. In many respects, it shows how little the devil understands of Christ, and through Him, of us. If you understand how little the devil really offers you and how much Christ offers, the temptation is ever so much less. The devil is often referred to as the deceiver or dissimulator. His forte is deception, he seems one thing, is another. Offers what he has no intention or ability to deliver. Ignores the inevitable result of accepting his proffered help or inside track.

He clearly knows Jesus is the Son of God. There is no doubt in his mind. So, having understood that, consider what he offers Jesus in temptation.

  • Remember, Jesus has fasted 40 days OF HIS OWN CHOICE; turn the stone into bread. This to the Son of He who delivered manna daily to the Jews in the wilderness for 40 years.
  • Cast thyself down and let angels catch thee; this to He who walked on water.
  • Up to the mountain lookout – Here is it all yours if you worship me. This to He who as it says in Psalm 95:

In his hand are all the corners of the earth; * and the strength of the hills is his also.

The sea is his, and he made it; * and his hands prepared the dry land.

O come, let us worship and fall down, * and kneel before the Lord our Maker.

For he is the Lord our God; * and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

The devil promised Jesus nothing that was his to give, nothing that would help Jesus in the real world beyond the Shadowlands. He never does. The devil is all about shortcuts. Remember, if the shortcut was the best way, it would not be a shortcut

Like the temptation of Jesus, the devil never delivers what we need, only what we may want short term. Remember as little as the devil understands of Christ, no he understands little of us. He will never offer you real help. Remember that and the temptation is ever so much less.

THEN was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

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