February 9, 2014 by lellielieb
LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This is the collect for today, the fifth Sunday after Epiphany. As I read it and prayed it, the words that stood out to me were “grace” and “power.” I’ve been thinking about those words and the way they go together. It boils down to this: I can’t; He can. (Grace, Power)
The Epistle reading after the collect caught my attention and held it because it describes all the ways I need to lean on His grace and accept His power. The passage is from Colossians 3, and it doesn’t list the normal things I tend to think of when I think of being “defended by [God’s] mighty power.” There’s nothing like persecution or martyrdom in the list. Rather, it’s a plan for living the Christian life, and it’s beautiful. It provides something to shoot for, a plan for living this week and every week.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Just look at the list of words at the beginning–the things we are told to “put on!” Compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience–every one of those requires a power outside my own. Then we move on to what C.S. Lewis calls “the terrible duty,” forgiveness. I’m not to worry, either. Instead I must allow the peace of Christ to rule. And I’m to be thankful, full of scripture and ready to share it. I should have a song in my heart and praise on my lips, and ALL that I do should be worthy of the name of Jesus. That’s a tall order. I can’t do it except by God’s grace and through His power. Armed with collect and scripture, I move out into the week. Forward!