Sunday, May 17, 2009

rest the weary heart...

"But Deliver Us From Evil" marks the final message in Henry Wilder Foote's sermon series on the Lord's Prayer. He has been a fine companion on the way...

'So then we can see how our Lord's Prayer should culminate in this final petition, " Deliver us from the evil that is so real." How can we be delivered ? Only by laying hold on and being upheld by Him who is more real.

Men were tempted enough to let the evils shut out everything else from their sight. Therefore it is that our prayer began at the true beginning with the great thought of God, " Our Father," and it passed on to make His Name, His kingdom, His will supremely present to us before it trusted us to speak of our own needs at all. So now at last it brings us face to face with the problem of evil, with our minds full of the thought of God.

And when our minds are illuminated by that thought I think we all feel that every other evil seems small to us except that of sin and conscious wrong. It is that from which in our deepest prayer we pray to be set free. "O . wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?"

We in this church may have gained an advantage in the simplicity of our faith, by the omission of certain phrases in our Liturgy. But we lose more than we gain if we fail to remember that the real enemies indicated by the words " the world, the flesh, and the Devil" beset us every hour.

We smooth over life, sometimes, till we smooth away all its meaning. The fact remains, from generation to generation, that human nature has its mingled substance of good and evil, and that it casts its shadow, long and dark, before the light of God's righteous law. If we loose our hold for a moment on the word which is associated with the church and religion, the word Sin, and take the word which carries practical religion into daily life, the word Right, the whole subject is at once depolarized for us.

Our religion teaches us that God is Love. Faith in His love implies trust in His loving-kindness. But what kind of faith is that which can trust no further than it can see? Life is hard, you say; it bears painfully upon you. Be thankful still, and all the more be thankful, that you know that behind its stern seeming is this blessed Reality, the one ultimate ground of Christian Faith, the Living God, our Father in Christ Jesus. If, indeed, we may know Him as the Father, we can flee from Him by fleeing to Him; the darkest affliction will drive us to the Heart of the Mystery, which is God; and we shall find that we can rest the weary heart there in communion with Himself."

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