The Sixth Sunday after Trinity
excerpt fromCOMMON PRAYER: A Commentary on the Prayer Book Lectionary
Volume 4: Trinity Sunday to the Twelfth Sunday After Trinity
St. Peter Publications
Inc. Charlottetown, PEI, CanadaReprinted with permission of the publisher.
O God, who hast prepared for them that love thee such good
things as pass man’s understanding; Pour into our hearts such love toward
thee, that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which
exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.In this Collect today we address God who offers us eternal salvation. St.
Paul tells us of our hope as Christians when he affirms: “Eye bath not
seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things
which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (I Cor. 2. 9)
But why does God exclude from future blessedness those who do not love
him? Does God bear a grudge? No. The point is that those
who do not love God will not be capable of enjoying his eternal salvation
because of their own hardness of heart. A twentieth-century commentator
on this Collect (The Rev’d J.H.B. Masterman, Sunday Collects, 1922, page
104) suggests: “Just as a colour-blind person cannot enjoy the colour-effects
of a great picture; or a deaf man a great symphony; so a loveless man is
without the faculty for enjoying God’s good things.”
After addressing God as he who prepares heaven for us, we ask that he
may pour into our hearts a love for him. We must always remember
that our love for God does not come from ourselves, but from God himself.
God is the source of all goodness and love; love is a gift from God. St.
John puts it clearly when he says: “We love him, because he first loved
us.” (I John 4. 19).
Finally, the Collect tells the reason why we ask for a bounty of love
towards God, namely, “that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain
thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire.” if we love God above
all else (we have just prayed for his grace to do exactly that) then will
we obtain the promises of Christ which exceed our grandest imaginings.
We must seek first the Kingdom of God, putting the love of God first and
foremost in our hearts and minds in all we do.
The Epistle reading speaks of our hope of a future resurrection to that
life with Christ in which the “good things” mentioned in the Collect await
us. Over one hundred years ago, the Rev’d H.P. Liddon wrote how this Epistle
teaches us to love God above all else and to leave behind the inordinate
love of earthly things so that we might know the risen life of Jesus Christ:
Just as he left his tomb once for all, so should the soul,
once risen, be dead indeed unto sin. There must be no hovering about the
sepulchre, no treasuring the grave-clothes, no secret hankering after the
scent and atmosphere of the guilty past. Cling to the risen Saviour....
Cling to him by sacraments, the revealed points of contact with his strengthening
manhood. Cling to him by obedience and by works of mercy, through which,
he tells us himself, we abide in his love. And then, not in your own strength
but in his, ‘likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto
sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.’