Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Eleventh Sunday After Trinity

(We conclude today our commentary on the Prayer for the Whole State of Christ's Church.)

The final petition of this very comprehensive supplication brings everything into focus: “that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom.” This comes as something of a surprise, reminding us of all the things we have not prayed for in this prayer. We have not prayed for success, safety, health, prosperity, or increase of members. The shallow values of our commercial secular culture often penetrate the life and thinking of Churchmen and Church leaders, but such dubious priorities are conspicuously absent from this prayer. Ultimately, the only thing that matters is His heavenly kingdom. Being with God in His glory, in the fellowship of His angels and His saints, in the reality of our resur-rected Body, set free from the world, the flesh and the devil, with sin and death at last behind us-- that, and that alone, is our goal. It is all that matters. So we will pray in an even more comprehensive prayer, “Thy kingdom come.”

And we conclude with the phrase “our only Mediator and Advocate.” This is no literary flourish but a critical truth of the Gospel. The term mediator refers to a “go-between,” who represents God to us and us to God, effecting peace and reconciliation between two parties previously estranged. He is capable of such an undertaking because He possesses both a Divine and a Human nature. He is our advocate because He has carried our human nature right into the very presence of His Father. The human body which was nailed to the cross and was raised from the tomb (that same body, with all its scars and wounds!) is now in heaven.

This is what the Epistle to the Hebrews means when it calls Him our great high priest.

In this office, He is utterly unique. There is no one else who can reconcile us to God, no one else who can intercede for us, no one else who can plead our cause. No one else could say “All authority in heaven and earth has been given unto me.” He and He alone is our Saviour and Redeemer, our only Prophet, Priest, and King.

So if we expect God to hear, receive, or answer this or any other prayer, it can only be through Him and Him alone, in whose prevailing Name and words we pray.

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