Thank you for joining me as we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Almighty every-living God, whom, taught by the Holy Spirit, we dare to call our Father, bring, we pray, to perfection in our hearts the spirit of adoption as your sons and daughters, that we may merit to enter into the inheritance which you have promised. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
My first reading of this prayer brought one thing to mind: If everyone would let God do this one thing, the world would be changed. What is the one thing? “Perfect in us the spirit of adoption as your sons and daughters.”
Leading up to that, let’s look at the word, “dare.” The Latin prayer uses a word (praesumimus) that figuratively means to take for granted.
How many things about our faith do we take for granted? Plenty. Last spring we found out that we had taken for granted our ability to go to church. We may take the Eucharist for granted, as we hold out our hands to receive, not even remembering that this is the same Jesus who taught, healed, and loved. We may take God for granted. “He’s a good God, he wants me to be happy and He won’t mind if I (fill in the blank).” “I’ll pray tomorrow, it’ll be fine.”
Another thing that we take for granted is our adoption as His children. In Ancient Rome, adopting a child meant that the child was freely chosen and desired by the parents, and that child would be a permanent part of the family. Parents couldn’t disown a child they adopted.
We have an example of adoption in the Israelites. God adopted Israel for his own family. They were chosen, they were his own. Centuries passed before God brought them out of the slavery of Egypt. Forty years of desert wandering later, they entered the Promised Land. In Scripture, 40 means a time of testing, or trial. When they got it figured out, they could go forward.
Why did God have to test them? God took the people out of Egypt, and he had to take Egypt out of the people. He wanted his sons and daughters to be free, to bond with Him, and to take on their new identity, not as slaves, but as His children.
What does this identity look like? One glance at news headlines will tell you that that’s not it. Our identity in Christ is freedom in God’s unconditional love and loving Him back. We are offered forgiveness and mercy. God gave up his own son to save the children he adopts. He is also a just God. Our own testing might be what he is using to take the Egypt out of us.
One way to practice our identity is to imitate our Father. Ephesians 5:1 tells us, “So be imitators of God, as beloved children.” George Bernard Shaw said that imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery, it is the sincerest form of learning.
I think it’s a safe bet to say that if every Christian would begin to imitate Christ, to truly strive to live their identity as a child of God, the world would be changed.
This week as we Lectio the Liturgy, meditate on this week’s Collect and Ephesians 4:30-5:2. As you journal, ask God show you areas where he wants you to grow in your identity as a child of God.
Thank you for praying with me,