THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
June 28th A.D. 2020
“All of you be subject to one another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
Over the past two Sundays in Trinity Season we have been considering the first foundation of our spiritual life, which is the Love of God. The love that he requires of us. The love that we have for one another as brethren in the Church. Way back in The Season of Advent (November of last year…that seems like an eternity ago), where we anticipate the 2nd coming of Christ through…
The Season of Christmas – when the Son comes to us from heaven through the Virgin Mary…
The Season of Epiphany – when Christ manifests himself to the Gentile Kings…
The Pre-Lenten Season – when we prepare for the Lenten disciplines…
Lent– when we follow Christ into the desert and fast and pray for repentance and grace…
Holy Week – the last week of our Lord’s life before he is crucified. This includes:
Maundy Thursday – the Institution of the Lord’s Supper
Good Friday – the trial, crucifixion, and death of our Lord
Easter Sunday – the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…
Ascension – the ascension of our Lord into heaven, where he is crowned King of Kings as he sits at the Father’s right hand…
Whitsunday (or Pentecost) – where the Holy Ghost enters into our hearts and leads us to the Father and the Son…
(November, December, January, February, March, April and through May) we had the opportunity to see, just how much God loves us. Lesson after Lesson after Lesson. We saw to what great lengths he will go to bring us back to Himself and give us a supernatural life in this world and in the world to come. Let it be said with all clarity,
“We love because he first loved us!”
And his great love has the power to change us into the type of persons that truly LOVE God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves. Obeying the first and greatest commandment (and the second that is like unto it) is the ONLY proper response to the daily, never-ceasing, overflowing love of God that he pours upon us Day after Day after Day. But this obedience must be trained in the school of humility and prayer. It will not be acquired overnight.
Therefore, we can begin to see the wisdom of the Prayer Book and Classical Christian devotion. How, from the beginning, we are taught to pray at least in the morning and evening of every day. The logic behind this is that we MUST learn that we need God every day. He provides, protects and preserves us with great faithfulness every day and every night of our lives. Another reason, is that we, as Christians, are to make sure that God, Christ, the Holy Ghost and the Church are deliberately held before our minds some time every day. That is why our daily prayers, devotional readings and attendance at Church are NECESSARY PARTS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. We have to be reminded of what we believe because if we are not then our Faith will not remain alive in our hearts. It must be fed. Daily. Most People are usually not reasoned out of the Christian faith…most people do not just stop going to church…they simply drift away and say that it is all so impractical…There are no easy fixes. Jesus requires all that we have and all that we are. And to think it ought to be anything less is a subtle form of pride.
Yes, the vice of pride is so hard to overcome…but CS Lewis, the great Anglican layman and professor, helps us to understand how to begin, he writes:
“The first step to humility is to realize that one is proud. I want to add now that the next step is to make some serious attempt to practice the Christian virtues. A week is not enough. Things often go swimmingly for the first week. Try six weeks. By that time, having, fallen back completely or even fallen lower than the point one began from, one will have discovered some truths about oneself. No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is.”
The only reason why we fail to pray is because we are prideful. When we try to do good, behold evil is right there with us. We think we can go it alone…alone without God’s help and love…which is the essence of pride. But what do we do once we realize we have fallen, that we are weak, that we cannot do it alone. We must ask God’s help. Never get discouraged and respond to the never-failing love of God.
We must ask for God’s help…for this is what St. Peter calls “humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God…casting all our cares upon him…because he cares for us.” Do you have cares? Do you have worries? They are to be cast upon God through prayer. Someone else may choose to ruminate, cogitate and deliberate about cares and worries…Christians are to pray…to ask the assistance of the Holy Spirit…and to seek the face of God.
But very often what God first helps us towards is not an admirable and virtuous prayer life, instead he helps us develop the habit of always trying again. Always returning to him. Always asking for His help. No matter what.
Let me close with a brief reflection on the Gospel lesson from this morning. In all of our seeking and praying to God, let us never forget that our Lord is constantly seeking us, praying for us, and interceding for us. He does this unceasingly because he loves you. He loves me. He will not rest until we are found and set upon the road to the Father’s house. As the shepherd searches for the lost sheep, as woman searches for the lost piece of silver, so he searches for us. And as the shepherd rejoices over finding the sheep over…even so there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. So if we have fallen or failed in our prayers to God, let us sincerely REPENT and cause a great eruption of joy in the halls of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us REPENT, rise from our slothful sleep, and, by God’s grace, try again and again…for this process will cure all of the prideful illusions that we may have about ourselves and truly teach us to depend on God alone for all things.