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Lindemann on Epiphany 5

by revalkorn ~ January 31st, 2011


On preceding Sundays our Lord’s deity was manifested by His miracles. This day it is shown forth by His teaching. Christ is our King. He welcomes not only Jews but also Gentiles into His Kingdom. All are called through pure mercy. We must then, in our turn, show mercy to our neighbor with whom we are made one in Christ Jesus. In doing this we shall have need of patience, since in God’s Kingdom here on earth there are both good and bad. This brings us an epiphany not of the past but of the present. The parable of the Holy Gospel describes the King’s present attitude towards His Church. Lest the wheat should be harmed by the destruction of the tares, the Lord of the Church permits both to grow until the harvest. His purpose is full of love for His own. If our Lord is to have an epiphany in and through us, we must manifest the same patience, for we are now under a dispensation of patience.

The Introit. “Worship Him, all ye His angels. Zion heard and was glad. The daughters of Judah rejoiced because of Thy judgments, O Lord. The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice, let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.”

The Collect. “O Lord, we beesech Thee to keep Thy Church and household continually in Thy true religion, that they who do lean only upon the hope of Thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by Thy mighty power.”

Perhaps a better rendering of the original Latin is keep Thy Church and Family by Thy continual fatherliness. We pray that God would defend and guard us against the invading, choking growth of the tares, for separation will not take place until the harvest. According to the ancient form, we pray that God would not fail in His duty as a Father. We now pray that we may not fail in our duty as members of His household. The word “lean” beautifully expresses continual hope. We are to cast not only our cares but ourselves upon God. “Evermore defended by Thy mighty power.” Our patience is more truly the patience of God with us, and our strength is His strength made perfect in weakness. Our hope lies in a patient God.

The Epistle (Col. 3:12-17).

The Gradual. “The heathen shall fear the name of the Lord and all the kings of the earth Thy glory. When the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory. Alleluia! Alleluia! The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice, let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Alleluia!”

The Proper Sentence. “Alleluia! Oh, praise the Lord all ye nations, and laud Him, all ye people. For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. Alleluia!”

The Gospel (St. Matt. 13:24-30).

The Proper Preface. “And now do we praise Thee that Thou didst send us Thine only-begotten Son and that in Him, being found in fashion as a man, Thou didst reveal the fullness of Thy glory.”


Christian Patience

As Christ is patient with His Church, so the saints are to be patient with one another. They are to reflect that which was and is so clearly manifested in Christ.

A. The Outward Manifestation of Patience. The remembrance of our blessings, which are so undeserved, is to be a constant call to patience. In spite of all we have been and are, we are “God’s elect,” chosen to be members of His Church; we are “saints,” consecrated to His service; “beloved,” accepted in Christ, forgiven by Christ and for Christ’s sake. Our very standing in Christ’s Church demands a forgiving disposition.

We are, therefore, to put on seven beautiful garments — compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering, forbearance, and forgiveness. Above and over all these, as the outmost adornment of our character, our robe, and the girdle that will keep all else in due place and order, we are to put on love.

B. The Inward Sources of Patience. As the first section treats of that which is more outward and to be “put on,” so this speaks of that which is to dwell within the heart and from there reach the conduct. We are to have within us:

1. The Peace of Christ. This peace, the sweet companion of surrender, includes peace of conscience, confidence, freedom from spiritual and temporal anxiety. In the mystery of its joy it is worthy of its Author. It is not a Christian luxury, but it is the very object of the Church and the Sacraments to impart it. It is to rule within the heart, banishing all irritability, repining, distrust, fear, all bitter feelings, enmities, jealousies. It is to decide for us our habits and lines of action, which must be consistent with its possession.

2. The Word of Christ. We are to have this Word in us, in our memories, hearts, and affections. It is to dwell in us, not as a visitor or a stranger but to be at home within us. It is to be present in rich abundance of knowledge, and with rich influence, guiding judgment, ruling conscience, subduing the will, molding inward character, and directing outward conduct.

So we shall ourselves have the comfort of the Scriptures (Rom. 15:4) and be able to teach and admonish others, helping them by the bright happiness of our faith.

3. The Name of Christ. We are to live our lives in unity and communion with Christ. As we have been baptized into His Name, so we are to take Him for our example. In this way we shall become patient with others, and there will be an Epiphany of Patience in the Church of Christ.


The Epiphany of Patience

A. A Mixed Church. The mixed character of the Church was not due to Christ, who sowed in His field the good seed of His life and example, of holy teachings and ordinances, watering it with the blood of His Cross and the dew of His Spirit. But in spite of all He taught, did, and suffered, there is, as He Himself foretold, evil in the Church. The Christian Church should be the Kingdom of God, but another kingdom should exist over the same ground and at the same time. The subjects of both should be mixed inextricably. Two kinds of seed lie under the same clod, grow in the same soil, come to productiveness in the same field.

Christ’s enemy also turns sower. He sows by stealth in the dark, and when men think least of him, he is the busiest. He goes his way confident of the fatal efficacy of the seed he has left behind him, the evil principles lodged in evil hearts.

B. A Patient Master. The first impulse of the servants is toward impatience. They are inclined to doubt the goodness of the Master’s seed. They wish to hurry the work of purification. Their Master bids them let both grow together till the harvest. His patience must not be taken for indifference. We must not be staggered at imperfection, nor may any scoff at it and turn it into an objection, for it will last only until the harvest. Until then imperfection must be endured, lest the wheat should be rooted up with the tares.

This counsel may be disregarded in two ways.

1. By Overdiscipline. By this it is attempted to drive out the tares. For this the present is not the time, nor are we the instruments. We cannot distinguish between wheat and tares, and we should ourselves well-nigh be turned into tares by such an employment. To sit in judgment upon others cannot be done without sin and spiritual injury to ourselves. We should also be in danger of driving out the unpretending and of retaining the boastful and self-confident.

2. By Separation. We may neither drive others out nor ourselves go out in order to hedge off a small portion of the field, vainly hoping that there are not, and never will be, any tares within it. The great sower of tares can creep through our hedge and sow within our enclosure as readily as elsewhere. So comes a new evil of division, easy to make but almost impossible to unmake; and instead of a humble and unboastful unity conscious of its faults and seeking to mend them by all due means, comes an endless subdivision into censorious and self-satisfied sects. Let us rather see that we ourselves are wheat and ere long are gathered into the barn and garner of our God. This is so great a work that it will leave little time or inclination for anything else.

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