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The Fifth Sunday after Trinity
by the Rev. Melville Scott
from The Harmony of the Collects, Epistles and Gospels
A Devotional Exposition of the Teaching of the Christian Year, 1902.
As the love of God is manifested in grace to sinners, and in mercy to sufferers, so is it also shown in giving the blessing of peace to His people in their trials and dangers. As He has grace for sin, mercy for misery, so He has peace for discord, and this peace is to be found in His Church, as promised in St. John xiv. 27. 

The Church of God is the home of peace as the earthly home of the children of God.  It is entered by a door of peace, the one baptism for the remission of sins, and the peace of baptism is continually renewed by the ministry of absolution.  The sacraments which minister peace with God are also sacraments of fellowship with one another.  The Church is, therefore, not only God’s place of sanctuary for sinners and a refuge from doubt and perplexity, but it is also the home of God’s family. S. Peter gives us the laws of this home.  It is to be:— 

     A.   A Home of Brethren. 

We are to love “as brethren.”  There is to be one mind in that holy house, even though there be many temperaments and much variety of opinion.  There is to be “compassion” in its true sense of mutual sympathy and consideration.  We all require this on account of our weaknesses and peculiarities of character, our errors and faults, our cares and difficulties, and should, therefore, learn to place ourselves in the position of others in order to realise how they feel.  We are to show pity for those in trouble.  We are to manifest “courtesy,” shrinking from all that gives pain or annoyance to others and is inconsistent with Christian love. 

     B.   A Home of Guarded Tongues.  

As we are to agree as brethren, so we are to learn to differ as brethren.  The heirs of the Divine blessing are to learn to bless and live lives of blessing even towards those whom naturally they are inclined to do anything rather than bless.  There is to be no malice or guile, for we are members one of another and these separate. 

     C.   A Home of Holy Work and Prayer.  

Quoting Ps. xxxiv. 16, S. Peter describes the life of Christians as lived under the eye and ear of God, under His eye as directing all our work, under His ear as listening to our prayers.  Such a life is safe from harm.  Should suffering come, happiness, or rather “blessedness,” for the word is a reminiscence of the Sermon on the Mount, will not depart.  The Christian will not be afraid as other men fear:  “Be ye not afraid of their terror” (Is. viii. 12).  He will “sanctify the Lord God in his heart,” or, according to the best attested reading, “ sanctify in your hearts the Christ as Lord.”  The meaning of the passage is best explained by continuing the quotation: “Let Him be your fear and let Him be your dread, and He shall be for a sanctuary” (Is. viii. 13, 14).  The fear of God will be, that is, a refuge from all other fear. 

Such is S. Peter’s view of the Church of Christ as the home of peace in a troublesome world. The divisions of the Church are, therefore, the contradiction of the very object of the Church, as preventing that for which “we were baptized into one body.” 


We are to learn that the peace of the Church so much to be desired, is, after all, a means and not an end.  It is not to be selfishly enjoyed, but used as an opportunity for arduous toil.  As in Acts ix. 31, “Then had the churches rest and were edified, and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.”  May it not be that we have lost peace because we have used it amiss? 

The Gospel may be summarised as follows:— 

     A.   A Working Master.  

The disciples had finished their work, their “ships were standing by the lake, but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets,” in preparation for their return home. 
Their work was at an end, but Christ’s work was never finished.  He could say, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”  An idle Christian is unlike his Master. 

Christ preached from many pulpits—the Synagogue, the well-side, the Pharisee’s table, the plain, the mountain, the Temple, the upper-room, the cross, but He loved the floating pulpit of the fishing boat best of all, and the eager audience that “pressed upon Him to hear the Word of God.” 

     B.   A Working Church.  

Though they are wearied, unsuccessful, despairing, Christ calls upon His disciples “to launch out into the deep and let down their nets for a draught.”  They are to be brave, and leave results to Him. 

Success is not due to the Church, but to the Master.  He can dispose the hearts of men no less than the shoals of fish.  He can fill the net to breaking and the ship to sinking.  Alas! that we are so far separated that we cannot beckon to our comrades. Many fish are lost by our unhappy divisions, and instead of helping we often hinder. 

     C.   A Humble Church.  

Christ’s best workers are the humblest, who feel themselves unworthy of His presence, who feel that the power is not theirs, but Christ’s.  Yet Christ, Who gives His disciples the message of peace, would have them serve Him “in all godly quietness.”  He gives peace to their anxious consciences, and promises success in their work.  Our work is to catch men, not for any selfish purpose, nor by any deception leading men into anything of which their reason and judgment disapproves, but rather through their reason and judgment.  We are to catch men in Christ’s net of love and to persuade them that there is no bondage and confinement in the net of Christ.  Our difficulty is this, that men are unwilling to be caught, and that they prefer their own liberty in the broad sea of sin and self-will.  Our power is Christ’s power, as our mission is the mission of Christ.  To realise this will enable us to labour in peace and fear not. 

How often has this scene spoken peace to Christ’s Church, and enabled for joyful and effective service! 


This Collect gains infinite significance when it is viewed in its evident connection with the Epistle and Gospel. 

     A.   A Prayer for Peace.  

We pray that the course of the world may be peaceably ordered by the governance of Him Who directed the apostles in their labours, and Who, as the Epistle teaches, is able to protect the Church from harm, and enable it not to be afraid of the terror of those who persecute, and make it to suffer for righteousness’ sake. 

     B.   The Purpose of Peace.  

The peace of the world is to be used for the joyful service of the Church.  There is a quietness of sleep and worldliness which is not godly, and sometimes a godliness not sufficiently quiet.  We are to serve God without anxiety, quietly maintaining godly reality and habits, quietly cultivating the Christian character and performing all Christian duties.