Verse of the Day

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Trinity Sunday


The Propers for today are found on Page 186-188, with the Collect first:

Trinity Sunday.
The Collect.

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LMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity; We beseech thee that thou wouldest keep us stedfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.


Dru Arnold read this morning’s Epistle, which was written in the Fourth Chapter of the Revelation of Saint John the Divine beginning at the First Verse.  John attempts to show us the majesty and glory of heaven using words.  The picture he paints is intended to be awe inspiring and seems to meet that goal handily:

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FTER this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes before and behind. And the first was like a lion, and the second like a calf, and the third had a face as a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those living creatures give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created.

Deacon Striker Jack Arnold read today’s Gospel which came from the Third Chapter of the Gospel according to Saint John beginning at the First Verse:

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HERE was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old?  Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Sermon – Time and Action
Today’s sermon was on the basic concept of the Triune God, that is the Father, Son and Holy Ghost and how they were introduced to us through time and the Bible in particular. Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 

Consider these words from the Collect:

acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity

In the Collect, we acknowledge that there is a Triune God, that is three aspects of God; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.  A Triune God, that is Three in One, not three separate Gods or godlets, but a single being with three aspects.  How does this work?

The honest answer is – WE DON’T KNOW.  We just have been told there are three and They are ONE.  We know how parts of the thing work, but not all.  Like secrets, we don’t really have a need to know, so we have not been told.  We know that God the Father sent The Son to be our Savior.  We know that the Holy Ghost breathed life into the world, and brings comfort and understanding.  We know that God is I AM.  We know They all have always been and always will be.  A lot we don’t know, but we can certainly be kept busy with what we do know.  That must be enough for the here and now.

But, what of later?  If we have eternal life, we have it now and later.  What comes later?  Heaven.  What is heaven?  John attempts to tell us.  He attempts to show us the majesty and glory of heaven using words.  The picture he paints is intended to be awe inspiring and seems to meet that goal handily.  The main thing we can be certain of is that we will not be disappointed.  We speculate as to will this or that be in heaven?  When we get there the answer will manifest itself and you will have no regrets.  In heaven there is no disappointment.  Heaven is the real world, where things are bright, not dull and dark as though looking through a glass.

So, how do we get to the real world from these Shadowlands?  There is but one way, the Einbahnstra├če.

Jesus Christ.

We must be born of the spirit?  What spirit? 

The Holy Ghost.  We must accept that we in and of ourselves will never be perfect.  No one gets in to heaven unless they are accounted as perfect.  We will never be perfect in and of ourselves.  Should we quit trying?  Not, we are commanded to follow our Christ.  Will we fail?  Without question.  What is the solution?  To believe and follow the Christ.  To open our hearts to the Holy Ghost that we might believe in full and accept the help from the Christ that our imperfection needs to be His followers.

To follow God, we need Christ as our leader and the Holy Ghost as our compass.

There is but one way to heaven.

That easy to find, easy to follow, easy to hike path does not lead to the summit where eternal life in the real world awaits.  Open your heart to the Holy Ghost, use His Power to follow our Lord to God who awaits in heaven.

Bishop Ogles’ Sermon
We are oft fortunate to get copies of Bishop Jerry’s sermon notes.  Today is one of those Sundays.  Today’s sermon starts off with the collect.  It will give you a lot to consider in your heart.

Sermon Notes Trinity Sunday
3 June 2012 Anno Domini

Trinity Sunday.
The Collect.

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LMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity; We beseech thee that thou wouldest keep us stedfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.


1. There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:1-16)

     Today's text is about the change of the heart that we call regeneration.

     Precisely what IS regeneration and how does it occur?

     Regeneration is not merely an IMPROVEMENT of character brought about through effort and study of classical philosophy, or even of the study of God's Word.  Regeneration is that complete change of character that occurs through the process of being born anew in Christ. Anything that is born is a new creature. Anything that is born anew is also a new creature whose former character and
And habits have disappeared. – or even died with the old self (which was also dead before coming to Christ).  It is not an improvement of disposition, but a fundamental change in nature.

     There was once a drop of water that found itself puddle in a dirty and unsavory gutter drain.  It was constantly subject to being spat upon and frequented by mosquitoes laying their larvae in the water.  The little drop of water looked everyday up to the beautiful blue skies above and yearend, for once, to be clean and pure, and separated from the filth of the gutter. The yearning of its heart was heard in heaven, and the warmth of the sun began to draw the small droplet up, up, and away from the filth it had always known. Being drawn higher and higher, the air around the droplet was no longer foul and smelly, but clear and pristine. Yet, it was drawn still higher by the force of the sun to levels of colder and colder air. The winds took up the droplet of water and carried it far away where it became a beautiful, white snowflake. It was deposited on the heights of Mt. Everest where its beauty could be seen, mingled with other snowflakes, for many miles around. The droplet of water, transformed by the power of Heaven, had moved from the lowest and dirtiest place, to the highest and most beautiful on earth. That is regeneration, and that is the power of God to make new the soul of man.

1.     There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night

     We see a contrast being drawn in the text between a man of great power, wealth, and learning; and the Lord Jesus Christ who did not have a place to lay His head. Nicodemus was an influential member of the ruling Sanhedrin. He was a Pharisee who truly sought more knowledge. But Nicodemus was also keen to the politics of the day and did not wish to be exposed as someone who would be an admirer of Christ – at least not until he had come to know Him for the Lord that He was. So Nicodemus came under cover of darkness.

     Earlier in the day, Nicodemus had seen Christ drive out the money changers and those who made merchandise of the House of God. He had heard, that day, His strange but refreshing counsel: Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. (John 2:16) He had heard the profound and beautiful teachings of Christ and seen His miracles. His logical mind could not deny that Jesus had strange powers that could only come from God, unlike those political posers who sat with him of the Sanhedrin.

     If we desire to know a man better, we must find out where He is and talk with him. Nicodemus obviously had scouted out Christ to know where He was sleeping in Jerusalem that first Passover of Christ's ministry.
……… and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him

      Nicodemus has the least seed of faith in his heart, but it was enough to drive him to Christ. He recognized the power of God in Christ and he must settle the issue before the dawning of another day. Though he comes here at night, he later publicly defends Christ in the Sanhedrin (John 7:50-52) and even publicly goes with Joseph of Arimethaea to claim the body of Christ for burial even under threat of retribution from Rome and the Jewish rulers (John 19:39). The one who came by night later became one who feared no one but God. John considers the change in Nicodemus so significant that he always makes reference to Nicodemus in later references as "he who came to Jesus by night."

     Jesus is frank in His approach to Nicodemus. He knows the heart of Nicodemus, and He knows that complete transparency and blunt truth is the very thing Nicodemus desires.

     Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Jesus tells Nicodemus what he desperately NEEDS to know, not that which his ears would have been comforted to hear. Nicodemus is considered himself to be a great teacher, yet he calls Christ RABBI., or Teacher. Nicodemus is not too proud to accept the role of student before superior knowledge of a better Teacher. But these words of Christ are simply too amazing for Nicodemus to grasp.

     4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? This is not a frivolous response by Nicodemus. He does not ask WHY, but HOW. If Jesus were making reference to the Gentiles, Nicodemus could have understood somewhat, but Jesus is speaking to a ruler of the Jews – the presumed people of God! To Nicodemus, it does not make sense, but he trusts in the superior wisdom of Christ to shed light on the matter. Our first longings of faith must be satisfied through deeper inquiry even if we risk ridicule by the world.

    5. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again Nicodemus belonged to a religion that based salvation upon a complete obedience to the Law written on Tables of Stone. It was a difficult concept to receive that his entire previous training had been lacking. Christ points to a change that is alien to Nicodemus' thinking. There is the story of an owner of a clothing store that decided to clean his main display window. He gathered his cleaning materials and went outside to clean. After working diligently, the window appeared immaculate with the exception of a single troubling blemish high up on the glass. Regardless the efforts and elbow grease used to clean the spot; it remained a glaring flaw in an otherwise clear glass. At last he discovered that the dirty blemish was not on the outside, but the INSIDE of the glass. Regardless our efforts to dress and beautify our persons, we cannot cleanse the heart by dressing the outward appearance with good works. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. (Psalms 51:7) God cleans us inside first with the purgative of the Holy Spirit ere making our appearance clean on the outside. If the heart is full of filth, it matters not the outward APPEARANCE.

     When we lay down this life, we lay down the body of flesh before our parents who gave us our traits and hereditary and features of flesh. We then are drawn in the spirit back to the Father who gave us the Spirit of Life. Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (Eccl 12:6-7)

      8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Does any man have the key to the gate of the wind, to open and close as he deems fit? The Wind is no different in certain aspects than the Holy Spirit. We do not know the source of the wind, but we KNOW it has a source. We can hear the wind if we are quiet and attentive. It literally whispers as that still, small voice of God. (1 Kings 19:12) We cannot say its direction or where it is going.  The Wind is unseen just as the Holy Spirit is unseen. We see its effects, but not its essence. Those who are born of God have been touched by that Wind of the Holy Spirit. Their change is complete and not prideful in display.

     Can you imagine Nicodemus' eyes squinting in effort to understand this strange new doctrine? 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things
Nicodemus is very much like many who are educated in theology and who press a point of an olive until it becomes a watermelon. He is well educated but, unfortunately, in things that are not real. Jesus points out his ignorance to him. Many prominent theologians of our day lack the simple wisdom of a poor farmer who knows the Lord. This was Nicodemus' problem, but he is open to amendment in understanding. I wish we all were.

     11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? Jesus places His evidence before the bar. He taught often in parables so that the simple farmer or fisherman could grasp greater spiritual truth when illustrated by earthly logic. But those educated too much in `theological error' may not be able to grasp the simplicity of the Gospel which a child can easily grasp. It is not faith and knowledge that saves us, but `faith in Christ' and right knowledge of Him. We may know the print in a thousand theological works, but if we lack the nature of a little child in faith, we are lost
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     13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. Despite the delusional dreams and copyrighted commercial works of many today, no one has ascended to heaven or come down but Christ.

     14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. God sent fiery serpents among the Children of Israel in the Wilderness for their sins. When they pleaded for relief, God told Moses to erect a brass serpent on a pole for all to look unto when bitten that they might live.  The serpent represented our sins that are crucified on the cross with Christ. Looking to the sacrifice of Christ, for our own sins, we are saved from eternal death. (Numbers 21:6-9) We have the same symbolized in the medical kadusa today.

     16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life Do not be deceived by modern versions of the Bible such as the NIV. Jesus Christ is the literal ISSUE of the Father. He is God because He is of the same substance with God. Not a son or daughter through the adoption that we are, but the true and issuing Son of the Father – the only Begotten, not One and Only!

Bishop Dennis Campbell’s Sunday Sermon
As is oft the case, we are honored to present Bishop Dennis’ Sunday sermon presented to his parish.  Dennis has a special sermon for Trinity Sunday:

The Holy Trinity
Trinity Sunday

June 3, 2012



Today marks one the high points in our Anglican cycle of prayer. In a sense, today is the destination toward which we have been moving through all the seasons of the cycle of prayer. Today is the day we commemorate the full revelation of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus, we have called this day Trinity Sunday.



The Trinity is the foundational doctrine of the Bible and the Christian faith. It is so central that to misunderstand or deny the Trinity is to misunderstand or deny every other doctrine of Christianity. The Trinity is a deep and mysterious truth, but it is well stated for us in many places. The Nicene Creed is almost entirely about the Trinity, and it has become the foundation for many of the later statements about Him. The first five of our Anglican "Articles of Religion" are about the Holy Trinity, and we could even say Articles II through V explain the first Article, which says;



There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.



We are not going to do a doctrinal study of the Trinity today. We need to do that some time, because, as I said a few moments ago, the Trinity is the foundation of all Christian doctrine, and of the entire Bible. But today I want to look back over the recent weeks of our cycle of prayer, looking at the way the Trinity, in other words, the way God Himself, is the answer to all our needs and prayers.



The first half of our cycle of prayer deals with the major doctrines of the Bible. But it does not deal with them in an academic way; it takes us into them devotionally. One of the major, and very valid, complaints people have about the study of doctrine is that it often seems too ivory towerish and unrelated to life. But our cycle of prayer is doctrinally devotional. It takes us through the preparation for the Messiah, the ministry of Christ, and the advent of the Holy Spirit. It leads us into the deep things of God; things like the nature and ministry of Christ, the nature and being of God, and the full revelation of God as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. But we are not led into these things simply to gain intellectual knowledge of propositional truth. We are led into the deep things of God that we may love and worship Him. We learn about God in order to adore the wonderful being and works of God.



We begin in Advent. Praying for grace to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armour of light, we are led to worship the grace of God, who, perfect in every way, invites imperfect sinners into His presence and love. In the Collect for the second Sunday of Advent we are led to look for God in the Holy Bible. We pray that we may hear, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest Scripture so by its teachings we may embrace the blessed hope of everlasting life in Christ. In Christmas we adore a helpless infant, who, though without the external trappings of wealth and station in life, is none other than God with us. Through Christmas, Epiphany, and Lent, we follow the life and ministry of that infant through manhood and death. Passion Sunday recalls the terrible price God paid to reconcile us unto Himself. What wonderful love it was when God the Creator died for man the creature's sin. But Easter celebrates His victory over sin and death. What power lies in the hand of God that even death itself is easily conquered by Him in the Resurrection.



In the Sundays of Easter Season we begin to look to the Holy Spirit and the Trinity. The Trinity is the foundation of all. He is the basis of everything we have been praying for. All of the teachings of the Scriptures we have been looking at all through the year have been leading us to know and adore God, the Holy Trinity. The first Sunday after Easter we asked God to help us put away malice and wickedness, so we might serve Him in purity and truth. At that time we had just completed Scripture readings that followed Christ to the cross and the resurrection. Knowing that it was for us that He went to the cross, we prayed that we might turn from sin and serve Him. On the second Sunday of Easter we prayed that we would follow the example of Christ in holiness of life. On the third Sunday we prayed that we would be enabled to avoid things contrary to Christ, and to "follow all such things as are agreeable" to Him. 



All of our prayers during this time were the proper responses of faith by those who saw afresh the mighty love of God in the sacrificial death of Christ. But on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, we added a different emphasis to our cycle of prayer. It was not easy to see at first glance. We continued to ask for holiness. But in the Collect for that Sunday we affirmed that God alone can order our unruly wills and affections. And we asked God to enable us to love the things He commands and desire the things He promises. The new emphasis was on God as the only power to bring our sinfulness under control and to love and desire the things of God. We began there an increasing emphasis on the power of God as the only hope "that among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely be there fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord."



We began to shift our attention to the Holy Spirit. In Easter we emphasized that it was impossible that we sinners could ever have peace with God, unless God Himself did something to pay the price of our sin. He did this in Christ, on the cross. In the following Sundays we emphasized that it is also impossible for us to live the life of faith and holiness unless God Himself supernaturally enables us. He did this by sending the Holy Spirit. All of the prayers and emphasis of our cycle of prayer through the Easter Season have been about holiness. In all of them we have sought to put God first. But this is a task too great for us. As we have attempted to be holy, we have known the truth of our Lord's words to the sleeping disciples, "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." We must have a power greater than our own. We must have power only God can give. He alone can order our unruly wills and affections. He alone can enable our actions to match our desire for holiness.



On Rogation Sunday we took this one step further, praying "that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same." Inspiration means to instill life and power. In this case it is to put life and power into our desire to think and do the things of God. We are utterly dependent on God for this ability. He must inspire us, or we will be unable to accomplish this holy intention.



On Ascension Day we recalled that Christ rose bodily into the presence of God, and we asked that we might dwell there with Him by faith. But look at the way God is described in the Collect for Ascension Day. He is Christ, the Father, and the Holy Ghost, one God. We were being reminded that God has made a way for us to live a holy and Godly life. It is not by our own power, but by His. The Holy Spirit is our inspiration and our power.



On the Sunday after Ascension this doctrine was brought out much more fully. "Leave us not comfortless; but send to us thine Holy Ghost," we prayed. It is no accident that this prayer accompanied the reading from John 14:26 and following, which tells us of the comfort and help the Holy Spirit brings to His people.



Thus we were brought to Pentecost, or, "Whitsuntide." The meaning of Pentecost is that the full presence and power of God is come to His people. Christ is God with us; the Spirit is God in us. The Spirit is unity with God that is deeper and fuller than we can ever imagine. The ability to think and do the things of holiness is ours through the Spirit of God Himself. It is true we could never accomplish holiness by ourselves. If God will not keep us by His power we will fall rapidly and finally back into sin and hell. If God will not dwell within us and empower us to do His will, we can never hope to live a holy life any more than we could hope to save ourselves apart from Christ. But God has come to us. He has not left us orphaned. He has not left us in despair. He has come to dwell in us. In Whitsun Week we have rejoiced that He has sent unto us His Holy Spirit to enlighten and strengthen us to His service, to direct and rule us according to His will, to comfort us in affliction, to lead us into all truth, and to bring us together that we may manifest His power among all peoples. Today, Trinity Sunday, we have met to worship the Unity and to rejoice in the knowledge of our God.



Let us pray.

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LMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity; We beseech thee that thou wouldest keep us stedfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.

+Dennis Campbell

Bishop, Anglican Orthodox Church Diocese of Virginia
Rector, Holy Trinity Anglican Orthodox Church
Powhatan, Virginia

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