Summary: The Collect for Trinity 11 is quite profound and has something to teach us: O God, you declare your almighty power most chiefly in showing mercy and pity
The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity THE COLLECT - God's power is shown in mercy and pity
O God, you declare your almighty power
most chiefly in showing mercy and pity:
mercifully grant to us such a measure of your grace,
that we, running the way of your commandments,
may receive your gracious promises,
and be made partakers of your heavenly treasure;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Today’s collect dates back to before the 8th century and it has undergone many revisions since then, the first being when Thomas Cranmer's faithful translation was drastically altered by the reformation in 1662.
They added the phrase "that we, running the way of Your commandments, may receive Your gracious promises. .." and this has a dramatic affect on the following phrase "and be partakers of Your heavenly treasures"
It almost implies that we can earn these heavenly treasurers by obedience (the Mosaic Law) rather than the true gift of God’s grace.
Rather than Grace being a free gift as a result of God’s mercy and pity it is giving the impression that it is something that can be earned.
Today’s Collect is closely linked to the Gospel of St. Luke 18:9-14, the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, in which we see God's willingness to show mercy when He is approached with penitence and humility.
The prayer gives us an insight into God's character which is of great importance.
God declares His almighty power most chiefly in showing mercy and pity.
A unique attribute of power, which some would see as weakness, but God leads us and shows us His way and we try and follow.
This gets to the heart of the Gospel and it raises a question to which the protestant Reformers gave their absolute all (and in some cases surrendered their bodies to be burned) in seeking to hear the answer:
Is God primarily wrathful or is He primarily gracious - merciful?
On Judgement day is God going to evaluate me according to what I deserve - Heaven forbid, as I deserve absolutely nothing!
Or is God on the day of Judgement going to judge me according to some other standard of undeserved compassion?
What, at the end of the day - at the end of my days - is God like?
This prayer makes a clear and definitive assertion that God demonstrates His power primarily in showing mercy and pity.
As they say: To Err is human to forgive is divine.
There is a story about KING FREDERICK II, an 18th -century king of Prussia, today’s Germany.
He was on a visit to a prison in Berlin when the inmates crowded around him to proclaim their innocence; all except one man who sat quietly in the corner with his head bowed.
Frederick walked over to him and said, "What are you here for?"
"'Armed robbery, your majesty," the man replied.
"Are you guilty?" the king asked.
"Yes, sir. I deserve this punishment."
The king turned to the guard and ordered, "Set this guilty man free; I don't want him corrupting all these other innocent people."
Finding God's pardon in our lives begins by admitting our guilt.
To insist we are innocent when we are not leaves us in a prison of our own making and yet when we admit our need, our guilt, God offers us grace and forgiveness.
Imagine, if you could start your life all over today? You can do that by placing your faith in the sacrifice of God's one and only Son, Jesus Christ.
For many this is too much to take in, it’s even beyond our understanding as it is the most wonderful and precious gift in the world… God’s free gift of GRACE.
It all seems TOO GOOD to be true!
God’s infinite gift of Grace, His free gift of forgiveness.
The human soul is searching, is longing for Grace and as long as the body is alive from its birth to it’s death the soul is searching for God’s Grace and even beyond the grave.
Psalm 42 says it all: ‘As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, yea for the living God.’
In an age when power and its acquisition is the goal of many, when men and women even abuse the use of power for personal gain - this prayer stands out like a beacon shinning in the darkness of this power crazy world.
'O God, you declare your almighty power
most chiefly in showing mercy and pity:'
Power is seen as the main motivating force in human affairs and there are many examples of its abuse in every age – so this prayer stands out in contrast.
It shows that power in hands of God has a very positive dimension in showing mercy and pity.