(23 March 2014, 8 March 2015)
WE beseech you, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of your humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of your Majesty, to be our defense against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hates nothing that you have made and forgives the sins of all them that are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Numbers 22:21-31; Psalm 9:13-20; Ephesians 5:1-14; Luke 11:14-28
For a third week in a row we are given a reminder of demonic activity in the Gospel lesson, this time Jesus himself teaching about the organized nature of the attacks of the evil one. This time, however, we also get a picture of powerful angels in the Old Testament reading. Like Balaam, we cannot see what’s going on in the spiritual realms unless God opens our eyes. Rather than focus on such things, however, the Epistle reading directs our attention to that which we can see: the life of Jesus. We are, therefore, to be imitators of God, walking in love as Christ loves us. Therefore we can both cry out to God in times of distress and be comforted by his often-invisible power, as the Psalm and Collect both express.