Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity 11 November 2018 A.D.

Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity         11 November 2018 A.D.        Morning Prayer

        The 100th Anniversary of the Armistice ending World War I

             Psalm 73     First Lesson. Malachi 3:13-4:3.    Second Lesson. Luke 10:17-24
            
                                        O LORD, we beseech thee, absolve thy people from
                                        their offences; that through thy bountiful goodness
                                        we may all be delivered from the bands of those sins,
                                        which by our frailty we have committed. Grant this,
                                        O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, 
                                        our blessed Lord and Saviour.                         Amen.

    Today is the one hundredth anniversary of the armistice that began the process to end the First World War, at the time being called the Great War or the “War to end all Wars”.   But has history would prove and the wickedness of mankind would prevail, this was only one of many wars in the 20th Century.  Of course in scope, this war and what would be known as the Second World War would eclipse all other conflicts in as far as geographic reach.  There would be a number of conflicts that would be mostly regional in scope and limited to a couple of cultures, but in the same sense, these too would be catastrophic to certain regions of the globe.  Most of these other conflicts would involve the attempt to impose a single government or expression upon a people, using violence, executions, starvation, and other means to get the job done.  Many of these conflicts would be the single-mindedness of a small group or individual imposing their ideals of what a government should look like.  With the exception of the Spanish Civil War, these other conflicts would be the implementation of some form of Socialism/communism/command type of government upon a people.  
   Beloved, it does not matter what these folks try to do, their will and their way will be overthrown.   In some cases we will witness this, in others we will not.  As we have seen in the last 100 years, every single socialistic/communistic form of government has failed.  Any that have survived in some form of communism has had to evolve into a quasi-capitalistic form in order to stay in power.  The commune, the ideal of “one for all, all for one”, does not work in the real world.  There will always be those who are over or in control of the masses.  Communism works for ants, bees, and termites. They all work to keep the colony alive. There is a division of labor, you have guard insects, worker insects, nursery insects, and one queen.  Each colony in fact is like a multi-celled creature, all working together to make the colony thrive.  When one tries to apply that concept to humans, things begin to break down.  
   Now you ask, how does this all relate to our scripture for today?
Let’s look at the last three verses of the selection from Malachi.  In these verses, from chapter 4 we are reading about the destruction of the proud and wicked.  They will be burned up.  What day is this?  This is the day the Lord returns, the wicked and the proud are deemed stubble, that day they will burn up. Nothing will be left of them, even down to the root or any branches.  Over the centuries, when man has tried to subjugate his fellow man with an oppressive form of government, there has been a winnowing out of such governments.  In each case there have been better, more moderate forms of government, mostly based on the Judeo-Christian law system, that bring a more balanced form of governing to a people.  We look at the advancements of Western Civilization, when man has been allowed to flourish and prosper due to the diligence of his own labor, there we find levels of good government.  When the opposite is allowed to grow, only chaos, death, and destruction follow.  All evil will be thrown down, one day.
   On that day, those who are in the Lord will be protected. They will find healing in the wings of the Sun of righteousness.  “... The saints' triumphs are all owing to God's victories; it is not they that do this, but God who does it for them...”*.   
For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. 

Let’s read what Matthew Henry says about this portion of Malachi:

“ Here is a reference to the first and to the second coming of Christ: God has fixed the day of both. Those who do wickedly, who do not fear God's anger, shall feel it. It is certainly to be applied to the day of judgment, when Christ shall be revealed in flaming fire; to execute judgment on the proud, and all that do wickedly. In both, Christ is a rejoicing Light to those who serve him faithfully. By the Sun of Righteousness we understand Jesus Christ. Through him believers are justified and sanctified, and so are brought to see light. His influences render the sinner holy, joyful, and fruitful. It is applicable to the graces and comforts of the Holy Spirit, brought into the souls of men. Christ gave the Spirit to those who are his, to shine in their hearts, and to be a Comforter to them, a Sun and a Shield. That day which to the wicked will burn as an oven, will to the righteous be bright as the morning; it is what they wait for, more than those that wait for the morning. Christ came as the Sun, to bring, not only light to a dark world, but health to a distempered world. Souls shall increase in knowledge and spiritual strength.  
Behold another day is coming, far more dreadful to all that work wickedness than any which is gone before. How great then the happiness of the believer, when he goes from the darkness and misery of this world, to rejoice in the Lord for evermore!”
Overall we must understand that the Lord is in control of all. We see chaos, we read of riot, we see depicted on TV the waves of protests and anger, but we must not fear any of this. 
The Lord of Peace will have the last word.  Jesus Christ is not created, he is begotten. He and the Father are the great I AM.  The Holy Spirit gives us power to resist the fear that encompasses those who do not know God.   He is the comforter promised by Jesus just before he ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. 
     We see this very power revealed in the final passage for today found in Luke 10:17-24.
 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
  And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
  Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
  Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
  In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
  All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
  And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see:
 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

 Again from Matthew Henry:
 “All our victories over Satan, are obtained by power derived from Jesus Christ, and he must have all the praise. But let us beware of spiritual pride, which has been the destruction of many. Our Lord rejoiced at the prospect of the salvation of many souls. It was fit that particular notice should be taken of that hour of joy; there were few such, for He was a man of sorrows: in that hour in which he saw Satan fall, and heard of the good success of his ministers, in that hour he rejoiced. He has ever resisted the proud, and given grace to the humble. The more simply dependent we are on the teaching, help, and blessing of the Son of God, the more we shall know both of the Father and of the Son; the more blessed we shall be in seeing the glory, and hearing the words of the Divine Saviour; and the more useful we shall be made in promoting his cause.”
 
Let us pray:
O ALMIGHTY God, Who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men; Grant unto thy people, That they may love the thing which thou commandest, And desire that which thou dost promise; That so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, Our hearts may surely there be fixed, Where true joys are to be found; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

GRANT to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as are right; that we, who cannot do any thing that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

   December 2018   
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