Saturday, March 14, 2009

Reverie on a Misty March Saturday

Mickey's big hand has crossed the top of the clock as a dreary morning becomes a dreary afternoon here in Suburbia Majora. The temperature is hovering around 40 degrees and a considerable mass of rain is lurking in the southwest, in a swath that stretches from Charlottesville to Richmond. If I were seven, I'd likely be moping about and whining about being stuck inside on a Saturday. As I approach two-score and seven, I find these days to be a treat. As, the rains soak the front yard, I'm considering tomorrow's (Lent III) collect:

Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
I'm sad to confess that at one point in my journey, I would have dismissed this prayer out of hand as "rehearsed" and "uninspired". This pride-soaked mindset is rife within pentecostal & charismatic circles and is just downright ugly. I've long since repented of that outlook. There is plenty of room within the economy of God for extemporaneous prayer. I would suspect that this collect may well have been extemporaneously uttered by an Anglican divine in ages past. Tomorrow, tens of millions of Anglican saints around the globe will be praying this very prayer.

The collect speaks to our total inability to affect our situation, save for the intervention of the Almighty. We had, as aliens to God's Kingdom, no power to rescue ourselves from neither our sinful state nor our bleak future. Likewise, even now as God's children, we have no ability to persevere without the Divine hand of mercy.

It would be good during this Lenten season to both our physical and spiritual frailties, and the mighty hand of God that sustains us. His sustenance is more than sufficient for not only this life, but the life to come.

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