By Brooke Holt
O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (The Collect, 6th Sunday After Easter, Book of Common Prayer)
Our Collect for today begins with an expression of trust and an allusion to Paul’s letter to the Philippians: “And the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). The prayer reminds us God is good, his plans for us are good, so good that they surpass our ability to comprehend or understand.
With this prayer comes the challenge of believing the declaration. Do you believe God loves you this much? Do you believe his plans for you are truly good? Do you believe he is trustworthy and true, worthy of your life and obedience?
Our readings from the Lectionary this week will continue to pose these questions. Paul will be asked to travel to Macedonia to preach the Gospel (Acts 16:6-10). Jesus will teach his disciples that those who love him will keep his words (John 14:18-24). The Psalmist will petition the Lord to shine his light upon us that we may faithfully walk in his way and declare his saving power to all nations (Psalm 67). Finally, the words of Revelation will remind us of our ultimate hope—our home with the Lord—where his light will be the light, and the river of life will flow from the throne making all things new (Revelation 21).
What I appreciate about this Collect is the prayer for the Lord to pour out his love into our hearts so that we can believe these truths, love him wholeheartedly, and then obey him. Truthfully, this needs to be my daily prayer: Lord, teach me to love you. Once the Lord fills my cup with his love, it is amazing how that love overflows in my life. Then, I can love him; I long to obey him; I trust him, and I know he is good.
What about you? Would this be the way for you to begin your day? Have you considered that as God pours out his love into your heart through his Holy Spirit, you then experience the desire to obey him as you come to understand how good he is and how good his plans are for you? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Why is trust so difficult? Unlike all the broken promises of this world, God’s redeeming promises are absolute, trustworthy, and true. The covenants of God afford us with abundant reasons to trust God with his plan for our lives. Trusting God: Redeeming Promises of the Word small group Bible study explores the six major redeeming promises of God found in his Word. Learn more about God’s commitment to his people, the nature of a covenant, and how you can find your security in being a child of God’s redeeming promises. Learn more about God’s promises today.
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