Sunday, March 15, 2015

Collect for the fourth Sunday in Lent

Prayer book
GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Breviary (Sarum)
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may be relieved. Through etc.

 These days, many folk seem to be rather hung up on getting what they deserve as part of the "entitlement culture". Of course, these folk are always concerned that they are missing out on something good and will find ways of doing so. If there is some benefit that comes from the government, there are folk who will do anything to try and receive it.

Loosely speaking, as we know, grace is receiving what one does not deserve and mercy is not receiving that which one deserves. Members of the "entitlement culture" would certainly find difficulty with the idea that they might be more entitled to a stiff penalty rather than trying to obtain a government handout. The fact of the matter is that by virtue of the corruption of our nature, the natural end of our lives is Eternal Death also called Hell,  a complete separation from God that comes from rejecting His love and transformation into what He would have us be.

Separation from God is what we deserve. If that's what we want, then that is what God will give, but not before He has shown us His mercy precisely by not giving us that separation immediately. He gives us ample opportunity for reconciliation with Him through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, an effort that comes solely from Him even though we do not deserve it. The more that we choose to turn towards God, the more we understand just how merciful and gracious He can be. Only by being humble and accepting what He gives us rather than demanding that which we believe to be entitled will we draw any benefit from His love.

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