(7 September 2014, 23 August 2015)
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who are always more ready to hear than we are to pray, and are wont to give more than either we desire, or deserve; Pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, you Son, our Lord.
Exodus 34:29-35; Psalm 34:1-10; 2 Corinthians 3:4-9; Mark 7:31-37
One of the major dynamics of Christian teaching is the dual work of Law & Gospel. The Epistle here notes the glory of the Old Covenant Law, and asserts that the New Covenant is even more glorious, because where the Law brought condemnation and death, the Gospel brings righteousness and life. Where the Law tells us we are insufficient, the Gospel tells us we have our sufficiency from God. The Collect and Gospel reading together give an example: as the mute man whom Jesus healed was unable to ask for mercy by himself, so are we unable to ask God for anything without the mediation of Jesus Christ, whom we know to be even more ready to hear than we are to pray! And so we can celebrate the goodness of God, as in the Psalm.