The Propers for today are found on Page 200-203, with the Collect first:
The Ninth Sunday after Trinity
RANT to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as are right; that we, who cannot do any thing that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Ryan Hopkins read the Epistle, which came from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, the Tenth Chapter beginning at the First Verse. Paul reminds us we have a common past, regardless of our actual lineage. Spiritually, we are descended from the Jews of the Exodus. Their God is our God, their actions were directed by our God, the same God. He was a Trinity then as He is today. Their reality it our reality, whether we choose to understand or accept it. Our forefathers drank of “the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” Those who have gone before provide examples, both good and bad. In this letter Paul addresses the bad and suggest we should see what their ill behavior gained them before we set our course and not after. And, let we think ourselves ever so special, he reminds us that we are subjected to no special temptations, only those “as is common to man.” This is another example of the adage, Those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.
rethern, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Deacon Striker Jack Arnold read today’s Holy Gospel which started in the Fifteenth Chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke, beginning at the Eleventh Verse and recounts the story of the prodigal son. A man has two sons, the older is a wonderful young man who strives to please his father in everything he does. The younger son asks for his inheritance, now rather than later, and sets off to spend it wastefully in a far off land. In dire straits, he decides to go home to his father and beg to be allowed to live as one of his servants. He decides to tell his father, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son…” Before he can get the words out of his mouth, his father welcomes him, gives him new clothing and calls the servants to prepare a fatted calf for a big party. The elder son is very angry and hurt. He asks his father what he did wrong; he followed his instructions every day to the best of his ability, worked hard, and yet his father had never even given a small party for him. The father answered, saying, “Son, thou are ever with me, and all that I have is thine.” It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost and is found.” This story, like that of the workers in the vineyard has a number of meanings. Like the father in the story, God wants us to be His faithful child, but rejoices when we return to Him. Like the prodigal son, we should be grateful to live long enough to return to Him. If we are like the oldest son, let us learn from his mistake and be joyful when our brothers and sisters come home to our family. Let us join in the celebration and not begrudge the fatted calf.
esus said, A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: but as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
Sermon – Time and Action
Today’s sermon tied the Epistle and Gospel together and is mainly contained in the forewords above. All that has gone before is for our edification, but if we will not learn of those things, we will repeat the bad and miss the good. Do what God asks and do not worry about the actions of others. If they are rewarded, accepted or admonished, that is not your concern. Your concern should be that you do your very best to do God’s will. It is important that you try your best to take the Father’s view of things. Work as hard as you can, do the best you can, trust in the Lord.
Bishop Ogles message for today
Devotion for 9th Sunday after Trinity 21 August 2011 Anno Domini
"And every man went unto his own house." (John 7:53)
"1Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8:1-11)
Here is one of the most grace-filled passages in the entire New Testament; yet, most modern versions attempt to dismiss its authenticity by falsely claiming that it is not included in the more ancient and more reliable manuscripts. The manuscript evidence which they prefer is so flawed and incomplete that any man of common intelligence could recognize its total fabrications if he studied the issue thoroughly. Thank God that the Received Text of Scripture (comprised of the overwhelming majority of all available manuscript evidence) includes the true and beautiful encounter of Christ with a disreputable and ill-fated woman! It grieves me that I find it necessary to point out that there are those who challenge even the Word of God whose duty it is to protect it.
Who is this woman? She is every one of us who read this devotion. She was caught red-handed in the act of committing adultery. Her sin is not subject to question or defense; she is therefore silent before Christ. We, too, have been caught red-handed in our sins. We have no words of extenuation or justification. WE ARE GUILTY! Beyond the obvious sin of adultery, when were you guilty of such a sin?
Most of us will agree that adultery is the act of engaging in sex with a party to whom we are not married. But there is also an even deeper spiritual dimension that we may have not considered: As members of the Church (the Bride of Christ), we commit spiritual adultery anytime we engage in idolatry. When we turn from our espoused Bridegroom to other gods of money, sex, power, and pride, we have committed that adultery which makes us unfaithful to our Bridegroom – the Lord Jesus Christ.
Note the last verse of the preceding chapter: "And every man went unto his own house." Every man went unto his own house, because they had houses into which to go! But the Lord of Glory had no such luxury. "Jesus went unto the mount of Olives." What a dear Friend and Savior is our Lord! We are oblivious to our great failures of righteousness. We enjoy our homes in comfort, but the One who came to die for us has not even a place to lay His precious Head. He resorts, as He often does, to the Mount to pray and to rest. The best place to pray is always a place apart from the noise and commotion of the public square – a place of solitude! High above the madding crowd!
"And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them" Jesus is never failing in satisfying His every spiritual responsibility. Even God will go early, at its very opening, to the Temple. All the people came unto Him and He sat down and taught them (as One having authority). The Pharisees come early as well, but not to satisfy a spiritual obligation, but to seek the death of a helpless woman, and to trap Jesus and entangle Him that they might destroy Him.
"And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst." These ruthless religious leaders prove hereby that religion may take an entirely different course from that which is right. These brigands did not bring the man! Why not? Does it not take two to tango? They were too politically correct for the time. Men were privileged with political power and social prominence over women ere Christ came. So these devils bring only the woman. They care not a whit for her feelings – her shame, her terror. There only object is to place Christ in a compromising position in determining her fate. Hear what the Law sayeth: "And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." (Lev 20:10) They roughly cast this humiliated and terrified woman before Christ in the public square! It is quite more than coincidental that the men who meant this woman the greatest harm brought her to the One who was able to grant her the most good. Without these wicked Pharisees, this woman may never have come to Christ!
"They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?" Perhaps they had not read ALL the Law of Moses, especially Lev 20:10? Being bloodthirsty beyond measure, these men would have loved to take up sharp-cornered stones and repeatedly cast them at the woman until she was dead. I observed such evil happen while living in Iran after the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Why did these Pharisees bring this woman? You do not need my explanation for the Holy Bible clearly tells us in the next verse: "This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him." If Christ had violated the law of Rome by condemning the woman to stoning, He would have been guilty of violating Caesar's law. On the contrary, had He frankly forgiven her and spared her the sentence of the Law of Moses, He would have been guilty of violating the Law of Moses as expressed in Leviticus 20:10. This, the Pharisees considered, their Catch 22!
"But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not." I have observed this act of `writing on the ground a number of times in Iran. There is a cultural tendency among the Persians (and the wider Middle East) to avoid telling you something to your face that may displease, or embarrass, you. They say that they do not want to "disturb the water of your face." So if you ask a question whose answer may be embarrassing or displeasing to either you or the listener, they will often kneel down and diddle in the sand as if distracted. The Holy sensitivity of Christ was surely embarrassed at the situation – not only for Himself and the gathering, but also for the woman. He wrote with the Finger of God for the fourth time mentioned in Scripture. The first two times was in the graving of the Law on tables of stone, the third was in the court of Belshazzar, the Babylonian king who drank from the Holy vessels of the Temple. The Hand of God appeared and wrote upon the wall. Now the Finger of God writes upon the shifting sands. What He wrote is not revealed to us, however, we do have some suggestive reasons provided by Scripture: "O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters." (Jeremiah 17:13) These Pharisees had not only forsaken the Lord, but were attempting to destroy him by cunning and craftiness. Perhaps, though we do not know with certainty, this was what Christ had written!
Please bear in mind that the terrified woman is in the midst. She dares not even look up at Christ. Her face is burning with shame, and her heart is racing in terror. But she only listens to the dialogue unable to say a word in her defense. She hears the cruel Pharisees calling for her stoning, but she also hears the very limited responses of Christ. Perhaps she gains a glance of His kindly features when He stoops to her level and writes upon the ground?
"So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself," The wicked must be full of fear whenever Christ arises. He will not forever write upon the earth. The day will come when He shall take upon Himself the vesture of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and grasp the Sword of His Word in Power and Thunder. The woman is in much better stead of perspective to have Christ come to her level than are the Pharisees when He stands to theirs. "and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." What a kind and loving Advocate this woman has found in Christ. He may be our Advocate as well if we shall come before Him in repentance and love. These are the first words the woman has heard Jesus utter. "Surely these Pharisees," she thinks, "must be worthy and without sin for all the show they make of righteousness?" "Anyone of them must be worthy to cast the first stone. Why would Christ, if He is my helper, ask them such a thing?" But Christ sees something the woman does not see. He sees into the dark and ugly chambers of the hearts of these men. He knows their sins and guilt.
"And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground." Christ does nothing in vain. He wrote twice upon the ground for a real cause. This is the fifth recorded time of the Finger of God writing. When God writes, it is no small issue. What did He write THIS time? We are not told. Perhaps it was the name of one or all of the Pharisees, and beside those names, there may have been a woman's name written with whom they had, themselves, committed adultery. Whatever it was, it had a grave and sobering impact on them!
"And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst." The wicked men left without a benedictory word! They began leaving by the eldest to the younger. Why? Perhaps the older a man is, the more opportunity to sin he has. Now, Jesus is left alone with the woman. The day will come, dear friend, when you, too, will be left alone to face your Lord. Neither will your Accuser be present for we are told in Revelations 20:10-11 that Satan and his followers will first be cast in the Lake of Fire, and then the White Throne Judgment. So your prosecuting attorney will not be present at that judgment, but your defense attorney (Christ) will be so present! This woman does not know what to think. She has only come to love this Voice she has heard – the same which Mary Magdalene heard through her profuse tears at the Garden Tomb!
For the first time, this Voice speaks to her! What a lovely Voice it is: "Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?" Only God has the authority to condemn. Those guilty men who brought the woman and the charges are gone having been found at least as guilty as the woman. The term `woman' as used here by Christ was a term of respect, and should be today! "What has happened, Woman? Has NO man condemned thee?" It is doubtful that the woman understands the tremendous events that have transpired in her salvation, but she knows the One who granted it! That is ENOUGH! The guilty men left still guilty, but only the woman remains for the great forgiveness of Christ.
Perhaps lifting her tear-filled eyes for the first time to behold this Great Presence before her (for she knew who He was), she responded timidly, "No man, Lord." The next words of Jesus thunder across the eons of time and Eternity having the authenticity of a Heavenly Decree. They pierced the hidden chambers of the heart of the woman and gave more comfort and hope than any she had heard before: "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." It will be a great privilege for her now to be forgiven, and also to avoid falling into the same pit of sin that was most nearly her ruin. She will "go and sin no more" with a forgiven heart. Can you say as much? Have you faced Christ with your filthy rags and burden of sin and heard His loving Voice of forgiveness? See to it, friend!