Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday in Pentecost, Proper 5: The pattern of the pastor

Opening Sentence
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in you sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14


Commemoration: Anthony of Padua
O God, who by your Holy Spirit gave your servant Antony a love of the Holy Scriptures, and the gift of expounding them with learning and eloquence, so that your people might be established in sound doctrine and encouraged in the way of righteousness, grant us always an abundance of such preachers, to the glory of your Name and the benefit of your Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 72

Lessons: Ecclesiastes 9:11-18Galatians 5:1-15Matthew 16:1-12

In the study of a very fallible and unworthy minister, and above the desk where he writes sermons, hangs Andrea Del Sarto's head of Christ, the face of One whose passion is over, and who is now alive forevermore, full of peace and majesty. This minister has come to use that picture as a sacrament, in which the mind of the Lord is declared to his heart and conscience with secret approvals and saving judgments. If he consults his own ease and refuses some irksome duty, or through fears of man keeps back the wholesome truth, then is the face of the Master clouded with sadness and disappointment; if, being moved by the Divine Grace, that minister has during the day humbled himself or done some service at a cost to one of the disciples, then is the face lit up with joy, and the eyes of love bid him welcome on his return. The Christ is not in the poor print but in that minister's soul, and it is within we find the Lord before whom at every moment we stand to be approved or condemned. If God give us success, then to the feet of Jesus let our sheaves be carried; if it be his will we should fail, to the same dear Lord let us flee, who knows what it is to see his life fall into the ground and disappear. From his words let us learn to preach; from his example let us learn to serve; in his communion let us find our strength, comfort, peace, whom not having seen we love, to whom we shall one day render our account.

John Watson

Jesus Shall Reign