Tuesday, July 18, 2017

leave us not

Today was our monthly commemoration of the Holy Name of Jesus, one of our two special devotions in the Society of St. Margaret. We have particular readings and hymns for the day, and our non-scriptural noon reading is also chosen accordingly.

This week it is my turn to do the noon reading, so for today I found a portion of a sermon on the Holy Name written by our founder, John Mason Neale, in the 19th century.  I thought I might share this with you, as this is a prayer for us all.

Jesus icon in St Margaret's Chapel, Duxbury, MA, for All Saints Evensong 2013

Sermons on the Apocalypse, the Holy Name, and the Proverbs
by John Mason Neale
SERMON I: THE NAME OF STRENGTH.
Preached August 7th, 1856.

"Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and we are called by Thy Name; leave us not."--JER. xiv. 9.


You heard last night what S. Bernard said in his own religious house, then in the first fervour of its devotion. And I thought, as we were then hearing those words of his, on fire as they are with love, how true it is that JESUS CHRIST is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. Is there anything that was said by that great Saint to those servants of CHRIST seven hundred years ago, that I might not say to you now? Have I any new motives to give you? Have I any less strength to offer you? Have I any less dear hope to set before you? No. It is the same prayer: they used it, and so must we: "Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us: and we are called by Thy Name: leave us not." Thou art in the midst of us. I cannot but feel that it is so of a truth. I must not doubt GOD'S love and mercy, I must not dishonour this day by forgetting the Almightiness of the Name it bears, because I know--O how much!--my own unworthiness, and because, my dear Sisters, I know your sins and weaknesses. I could not but feel this morning as to one after another I gave the Living Bread that cometh down from heaven, and the Wine that blossoms into purity, that the text was true. I might have said then: "Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us. By my hands, albeit altogether miserable and unworthy, Thou hast vouchsafed to come among us. Thou seest each of these Thy children kneeling before Thee. Thou knowest their wants: Thou pitiest their weaknesses. Give to her that grace which Thou seest her so much to need: give to her strength against that temptation by which Thou knowest her to be so much assailed: enable her to strive with all her might to keep that resolution which Thou knowest her so earnestly to have made. Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us: Thou hast begun the good work, Thou must perform it. Thou hast loved all these with an everlasting love, Thou must give them more and more love. Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and we are called by Thy Name. It is the Name we take on our lips oftener than any other: it is the Name we desire to bear in our hearts beyond all other: it is the Name to which we keep this day holy, and to which we desire to be ourselves holy: we are called by Thy Name: leave us not." 


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