The Third Sunday after Easter

Christ_Taking_Leave_of_the_Apostles

Christ Taking Leave of the Apostles, between 1308 and 1311, Duccio di Buoninsegna, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena

THE COLLECT

ALMIGHTY God, who shewest to them that be in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness: Grant unto all them that are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s religion, that they may eschew those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

THE EPISTLE

1 St. Peter 2.11-17

DEARLY beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles; that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake; whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him, for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness; but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

THE GOSPEL

St. John 16.16-22

JESUS said to his disciples, A little while and ye shall not see me; and again a little while and ye shall see me; because I go to the Father. Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while and ye shall not see me; and again a little while and ye shall see me; and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while and ye shall not see me; and again a little while and ye shall see me? Verily, verily I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in travail, hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.


“Risen Life of Unworldliness”

A Devotional Exposition of the Teaching of
the Christian Year, by Melville Scott.
THE Christian, as risen with Christ and following His holy example, has yet to live his life in the world. Thus he must consider how to be “ in the world, yet not of the world,” and how, while “not of the world,” he may yet combine the heavenly and earthly calling. This is the special subject of the Epistle.

THE EPISTLE. (1 S. PETER ii. 11.) LIFE IN THE WORLD.
A. Separation from the World.

Christians must look upon the world as strangers in it. They must regard it as from the outside. They may not imagine that whatever is done there is right. They are also pilgrims or sojourners whose position is temporary, for “they have no continuing city, but seek one to come” (cf. Heb. xi. 13-16). They must cultivate a life of detachment from much of its business and pleasure, at least in heart. Especially must they “abstain from fleshly lusts.” Many things are allowable, some thing indifferent, but these are directly contrary to the Christian life, for they “war against the soul.”

B. Duty before the World.

But this separation must not be the separation of pride and contempt, which is no less un-Christian than worldliness.

The Christ is to remember–

(1) His Duty of Example.
He is only to condemn the world by showing it something better, not by abuse of it. He will best show what is wrong by doing what is right. Christianity works not by revolution, but revelation, and the Christian is so to live that the world shall confess that the Christian life is truly beautiful (honest), and a sure comfort and stay in times of sorrow and anxiety–“in a day of visitation.”

(2) The Duty of Submission.
Though the particular form of any government is “a creation of man,” yet the authority of government is of God, and obedience a Christian duty to be done for “the Lord’s sake.” The laws, so far as they are wise, express the wisdom of God, and human justice, so far as it is just, is based on the justice of God. Obedience to these lies at the foundation of society, itself an ordinance of God, and is the only security for order, liberty, confidence, and prosperity. The Christian cannot regard States as “an affair of one world,” for though this world may end them it will not see the end of their good and evil.

(3) The Duty of Service.
The Christian owns no man master upon earth, and can say to the world, “Thou are not my master,” but he must not forget to say, “Self is not my master,” otherwise he will “use his liberty for a cloak of his wickedness,” and be like the barons who desired the Pope to absolve them from their allegiance to the king that they might serve neither.

The world need not suspect Christian liberty, for it is only endangered by those who, pretending to serve it, are really seeking their own ease or advancement. “Let princes and States choose such ministers as are more sensible of duty than of rising, and such as love business upon conscience.” (Bacon. Of Ambition.)

If the Church and God come first and men and kings second, let them be content to be second; for if self comes first they will be nowhere.

It is to be noticed that we are to honour both the king and all men, and are, therefore, to a large extent, to have the same feelings towards them as towards the king on his throne. We learn, therefore, the duty of universal reverence and politeness; to have the same manner to the poor as to the rich; to consider men as men, and regard with interest their feelings, necessities, burdens, and sorrows.

THE GOSPEL. (S. JOHN xvi. 16.) A LITTLE WHILE.
A. A Lesson for the First Disciples.

(1) Christ gently warns His Disciples that a separation was imminent. They had hoped for a future like the past, and that Christ would be ever with them for guidance, teaching, and protection. They could not realize that the present was but for a little while.

(2) Christ kindly comforts His Disciples.
The coming change was not loss, but gain. The approaching grief was also only for “a little while.” This second “little while” must be their comfort in thinking of the first, for if sorrow was soon to come it would soon pass by.

The joy of reunion would surpass the joy they had enjoyed, for it would be the joy of a clearer vision and a closer intimacy, and “their heart would rejoice,” for this joy should never pass away. All grief should be swallowed up, and no more remembered, even as the pangs of birth are forgotten in the rapture of motherhood.

B. A Lesson for All Christians.

The experience of the first disciples is a lesson for all.

(1) Of Warning.
As strangers and pilgrims, “a little while” is written on the whole of our earthly life. The whole history of the world, human life at its longest, human effort at its strongest, is all for a little while. There is an acceleration of apparent velocity as the years pass, and the years in youth loiter but run apace in age.

We must never fall into the error of thinking that to be permanent which can only be transient, and become so entangled in cares, riches, and pleasures as to forget that they must end.

This lesson is conveyed by the first “little while.”

(2) Of Encouragement.
The importance of life is not measured by its brevity, and consists both in what we leave behind us and in what we shall take with us–our example and influence, which we leave, and our character, which we shall retain. While the “little while” lasts let us do our utmost. Our three great enemies know their time is short, but we know it too. The stress of conflict and the tension of endurance will not be for ever. Reunion with Christ and those we love may be very near, must be near. How sad to say at the last, “I could have held out had I known it was only for so short a time.” This is the teaching of the second “little while,” and is full of encouragement. The second “little while” not only more than makes up for the sadness of the first, but shall issue in that which shall be for ever.

THE COLLECT.
The Collects for all the Sundays connected with Easter are eminently practical, and point to various aspects of the Risen life. It is to be a life not only of good desires, but of good actions; purified from the leaven of error and sin; fashioned after Christ’s example, and, to-day, marked by careful consistency.

A. Christianity.

Our very Christianity is due to God Who, by the light of His truth, revealed to our wandering footsteps the way of righteousness. By the fall we lost our way; by conversion and baptism we return into the right path. We ask that God, Who has done so much for us, would do yet more, and keep us in the right path.

B. Consistent Christianity.

Having been admitted into Christ’s Church, which is clearly defined as “the fellowship (or society) of Christ’s religion,” we pray for consistency, to cast off all that is inconsistent and to pursue all such things which a Christian ought to do. We are to be Christian in what we avoid and in what we aim at, otherwise we shall both hurt the Christian name and bring disgrace upon our fellows in Christ’s religion.

Psalm 119:145-176

Morning or Evening

Psalm 119:145-176

Clamavi in toto corde meo

ICALL with my whole heart : hear me, O Lord, I will keep thy statutes.
146. Yea, even unto thee do I call : help me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.
147. Early in the morning do I cry unto thee : for in thy word is my trust.
148. Mine eyes prevent the night-watches : that I might be occupied in thy words.
149. Hear my voice, O Lord, according unto thy loving-kindness : quicken me, according as thou art wont.
150. They draw nigh that of malice persecute me : and are far from thy law.
151. Be thou nigh at hand, O Lord : for all thy commandments are true.
152. As concerning thy testimonies, I have known long since : that thou hast grounded them for ever.

Vide humilitatem

O CONSIDER mine adversity, and deliver me : for I do not forget thy law.
154. Avenge thou my cause, and deliver me : quicken me, according to thy word.
155. Health is far from the ungodly : for they regard not thy statutes.
156. Great is thy mercy, O Lord : quicken me, as thou art wont.
157. Many there are that trouble me, and persecute me : yet do I not swerve from thy testimonies.
158. It grieveth me when I see the transgressors : because they keep not thy law.
159. Consider, O Lord, how I love thy commandments : O quicken me, according to thy loving-kindness.
160. Thy word is true from everlasting : all the judgements of thy righteousness endure for evermore.

Principes persecuti sunt

PRINCES have persecuted me without a cause : but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.
162. I am as glad of thy word : as one that findeth great spoils.
163. As for lies, I hate and abhor them : but thy law do I love.
164. Seven times a day do I praise thee : because of thy righteous judgements.
165. Great is the peace that they have who love thy law : and they are not offended at it.
166. Lord, I have looked for thy saving health : and done after thy commandments.
167. My soul hath kept thy testimonies : and loved them exceedingly.
168. I have kept thy commandments and testimonies : for all my ways are before thee.

Appropinquet deprecatio

LET my complaint come before thee, O Lord : give me understanding, according to thy word.
170. Let my supplication come before thee : deliver me, according to thy word.
171. My lips shall speak of thy praise : when thou hast taught me thy statutes.
172. Yea, my tongue shall sing of thy word : for all thy commandments are righteous.
173. Let thine hand help me : for I have chosen thy commandments.
174. I have longed for thy saving health, O Lord : and in thy law is my delight.
175. O let my soul live, and it shall praise thee : and thy judgements shall help me.
176. I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost : O seek thy servant, for I do not forget thy commandments.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
   As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Psalm 119:105-144

Morning or Evening

Lucerna pedibus meis

THY word is a lantern unto my feet : and a light unto my paths.
106. I have sworn, and am stedfastly purposed : to keep thy righteous judgements.
107. I am troubled above measure : quicken me, O Lord, according to thy word.
108. Let the free-will offerings of my mouth please thee, O Lord : and teach me thy judgements.
109. My soul is alway in my hand : yet do I not forget thy law.
110. The ungodly have laid a snare for me : but yet I swerved not from thy commandments.
111. Thy testimonies have I claimed as mine heritage for ever : and why? they are the very joy of my heart.
112. I have applied my heart to fulfil thy statutes alway : even unto the end.

Iniquos odio habui

IHATE them that imagine evil things : but thy law do I love.
114. Thou art my defence and shield : and my trust is in thy word.
115. Away from me, ye wicked : I will keep the commandments of my God.
116. O stablish me according to thy word, that I may live : and let me not be disappointed of my hope.
117. Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe : yea, my delight shall be ever in thy statutes.
118. Thou hast trodden down all them that depart from thy statutes : for they imagine but deceit.
119. Thou puttest away all the ungodly of the earth like dross : therefore I love thy testimonies.
120. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee : and I am afraid of thy judgements.

Feci judicium

IDEAL with the thing that is lawful and right : O give me not over unto mine oppressors.
122. Make thou thy servant to delight in that which is good : that the proud do me no wrong.
123. Mine eyes are wasted away with looking for thy health : and for the word of thy righteousness.
124. O deal with thy servant according unto thy loving mercy : and teach me thy statutes.
125. I am thy servant, O grant me understanding : that I may know thy testimonies.
126. It is time for thee, Lord, to lay to thine hand : for they have destroyed thy law.
127. For I love thy commandments : above gold and precious stone.
128. Therefore hold I straight all thy commandments : and all false ways I utterly abhor.

Mirabilia

THY testimonies are wonderful : therefore doth my soul keep them.
130. When thy word goeth forth : it giveth light and understanding unto the simple.
131. I opened my mouth, and drew in my breath : for my delight was in thy commandments.
132. O look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me : as thou usest to do unto those that love thy Name.
133. Order my steps in thy word : and so shall no wickedness have dominion over me.
134. O deliver me from the wrongful dealings of men : and so shall I keep thy commandments.
135. Shew the light of thy countenance upon thy servant : and teach me thy statutes.
136. Mine eyes gush out with water : because men keep not thy law.

Justus es, Domine

RIGHTEOUS art thou, O Lord : and true is thy judgement.
138. The testimonies that thou hast commanded : are exceeding righteous and true.
139. My zeal hath even consumed me : because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.
140. Thy word is tried to the uttermost : and thy servant loveth it.
141. I am small, and of no reputation : yet do I not forget thy commandments.
142. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness : and thy law is the truth.
143. Trouble and heaviness have taken hold upon me : yet is my delight in thy commandments.
144. The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting : O grant me understanding, and I shall live.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
   As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

1 Corinthians 14

Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?

For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.

11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.

12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.

31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.

35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

40 Let all things be done decently and in order.