Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Praying with Hearts that Hear

The Collect of the Day for this past Sunday teaches us to pray with amazing boldness what can only be prayed from the most absolute humility.

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Thine only-begotten Son, so that by His coming we may be enabled to serve Thee with pure minds; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth, and reigneth, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.

Does anyone really pray this way anymore? How many churches even use this prayer in their worship anymore? Of those that do, do they actually believe that God gives what is besought in this prayer?

Does anyone today really believe that God enables those who are His children and who gather in the name of Jesus to serve or worship Him with pure minds?

Do people even understand anymore what it means that we should worship with pure minds?

More and more what is said or professed by people as their belief is that the perfect Church cannot be found or exist on earth. More and more what people confess rather than the holy catholic Church is that the Church cannot be holy because it is made up of imperfect people, sinners. More and more the belief that the Church is the gathering of those whom God has purified into the name of Jesus through Baptism to believe and confess with the same mind and mouth the one true faith by which He keeps us united with Jesus Christ through the means of grace is set aside and discarded, except perhaps in their so-called “quia” subscription to their official book of doctrine. But do they still believe that God grants that we may be enabled (by Him alone) to serve Him with pure minds?

It is amazing how many do quote the Psalms regarding “singing a new song.”

This would be truly wonderful if these folk had any clue as to what this means. They imagine the “new song” to be one that they produce and sing. But the new song that the Psalms teach is the new song that God has given, the new song of the new man. This song is new to the Old Adam, but is actually the original song given to Adam in Creation. This new song is the renewed song that is written for us in Holy Scriptures. This is why the New Testament admonition is as in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16:

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

This is the new song that the Old Adam and our sinful flesh resist and reject. According to our own reasoning we imagine that the original song is worn out and weak. We do not realize that the real strength for happiness and true exuberance comes from the original song of Creation that is established forevermore as the New Song of Regeneration. This song is called the new song because it takes lifeless and corrupt fleshly people and makes them new again in Christ.

This can only happen when we are made to serve or worship God in the unity of the pure mind that God renews to each of us in Baptism and preserves in us through His Holy Communion.

It is interesting that in the prayer that the Lord Jesus gives us to pray that there is absolutely nothing new from what has already been fore-written in the Scriptures. Everything that He teaches us to pray is what the Lord God has already declared to be His holy and gracious will for us. He teaches us the meaning of being made to be a new creature again, new as God ordained from the beginning and even from eternity.

God does indeed cause us to serve Him with pure minds, when the minds with which we serve Him are the minds that He renews in us through His pure and unchanged means of grace. When our services are purely the gathering to receive from Him the service that He has ordained, we do receive the pure minds for which we pray, the pure minds that He gives in place of the corrupt minds that we bring to Him. In true humility we pray and even expect to receive what only He can give. What we pray with the humility of expectant faith, He grants with His own mighty AMEN!

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