Lord of all power and might,
which art the author and giver of all good things;
graft in our hearts the love of thy name,
increase in us true religion,
nourish us with all goodness,
and of thy great mercy keep us in the same;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This is the collect of Thomas Cranmer for this Sunday of the Church Year.
It is the verbs of this collect that to me seem so powerful.
To graft: a part inserted from another so as to become nourished by and united with it(! )
To increase: to make greater in any respect
To nourish: to sustain, supply with what is necessary for maintaining life
To keep: to maintain, to cause to continue in some place, position, state or course;
to protect, guard, tend, take care of.
True religion: James, not the dictionary gives us this - "to visit orphans and widows in their troubles and to keep unspotted from the world." (KJV) Or as the Moffatt translation reads '...from the stain of the world.
This then is our position in Christ as well as our calling: purity of life and Kingdom work.
I'm reminded of the two fabrics noted in the Proverb of the Women of Excellence. Wool and linen.
Wool, in scripture always refers to the fabric of our humanity. One of the great flaws/characteristics of wool is that it readily soaks up stains and colors of anything close to it or any dye offered. Wool also deteriorates over time because of rot, the eating of bugs nor can it take sudden change in temperature.
Linen, on the other hand, which speaks to the garments of our Redemption, His righteousness, is resistant to staining, to spotting. Linen also is strong, enduring, not easily destroyed from outside elements.
The process to produce these two fibers is also in contrast. The steps for wool to yarn are simple and straight forward. Linen on the other hand, requires extreme conditions, many steps taken and hard work to achieve the final product.
Interesting. One along easy lines the other quite the opposite. So it is with our Soul work. Great pains and attention are needed to bring about that consistent purity of life and love which enables us to minister to others.
It all comes from being grafted, nourished and kept by the One Who before time began, chose me for His own with an Everlasting Love.
By His great mercy, may I desire above all things to love His name and "make His will my home."