Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday in Lent 1: What kind of bishop I would have

Opening Sentence
I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son." Luke 15:18, 19

Collect of the Day
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan; Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

For the Ministry (Ember Days)

I. For those to be ordained

Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts, in your divine providence you have appointed various orders in your Church: Give your grace, we humbly pray, to all who are called to any office and ministry for your people; and so fill them with the truth of your doctrine and clothe them with holiness of life, that they may faithfully serve before you, to
the glory of your great Name and for the benefit of your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

II. For the choice of fit persons for the ministry

O God, you led your holy apostles to ordain ministers in every place: Grant that your Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, may choose suitable persons for the ministry of Word and Sacrament, and may uphold them in their work for the extension of your kingdom; through him who is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

III. For all Christians in their vocation

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before you for all members of you holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 119:49-72




Lessons: Genesis 37:25-36, 1 Corinthians 2:1-13, Mark 1:29-45

If any man ask me then what kind of bishop I would have, I answer, such an one for age, as may be a father; for wisdom, a senator; for gravity, a stoic; for light, an angel; for innocency, a saint; for industry, a labourer; for constancy, a confessor; for zeal, a martyr; for charity, a brother; for humility, a servant to all the faithful ministers and other Christians under his charge. I would have him venerable for those several excellencies which are most remarkable in the ancient and most imitable bishop, -- the devotion of St. Gregory, the indefatigableness of St. Augustine, the courage of St. Ambrose, the learning of Nazianaen, the generosity of Basil, the eloquence of Chrysostom, the gentleness of Cyprian, the holy flames of Ignatius, the invincible constancy of Polycarp, -- that so he may come nearest to the Apostolical pattern, and resemble the most of any Christian or minister the grace and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. I would have him (yet not I, but the vote of all pious antiquity requires a bishop) to be among men the most moral; among Christians, the most faithful, among preachers, the most painful; among orators, the most persuasive; among governors, the most moderate; among devotionaries, the most fervent; among professors, the most forward; among practisers, the most exact; among sufferers, the most patient; among perseverants, the most constant. He should be as the holy of holies was, both to the inward court of those that are truly sanctified and converted; and to the outward court of those that are called Christians only in visible profession, I would have nothing in him that is justly to be blamed or sinisterly suspected, and all things that are most deservedly commended by wise and sober Christians. I would have a bishop of all men the most complete, as having on him the greatest care, that of the Church and of souls; and this in a more public and eminent inspection, as one daily remembering the strictness of God's account and expecting either a most glorious crown or a most grievous curse to all eternity.

John Gauden

In the Cross of Christ I Glory (Davis)