NAVIGATING THE JOURNEY OF FAITH
A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin
August 28, 2016 Fourteenth Sunday After Trinity
Lections: Jeremiah 2:4-13; Psalm 81:1-10; Hebrews 13:1-8;15-16; Luke 14:1;7-14
I bless Thee, O Heavenly Father, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, for that Thou hast vouchsafed to think of me, poor that I am. O, Father of Mercies and God of all comfort, I give thanks unto Thee, who refreshest me sometimes with thine own comfort, when I am unworthy of any comfort. I bless and glorify Thee continually, with thine only begotten Son and the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, for ever and ever. O Lord God, Holy lover of my soul, when Thou shalt come into my heart, all my inward parts shall rejoice. Thou art my glory and the joy of my heart. Thou art my hope and my refuge in the day of my trouble.
But because I am still weak in love and imperfect in virtue, I need to be strengthened and comforted by Thee; therefore visit Thou me often and instruct me with Thy holy ways of discipline. Deliver me from evil passions, and cleanse my heart from all inordinate affections, that, being healed and altogether cleansed within, I may be made ready to love, strong to suffer, steadfast to endure.
This prayer is from the 15th century devotional manuscript The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. John Wesley held it high regard and included it on his reading list for Methodists. The Imitation of Christ provides a discipline for spiritual formation, through practices of humility, obedience and simplicity of life, known in Wesley’s lifetime as pietism.
One way of approaching this book is to ask, What is the spirit of a person? Is it the spirit of Christ? When we long for the spirit of Christ, we “strive to become like him in every way.” We become enlightened, that is, “set free from the darkness of our own hearts,” by imitating him. Christ is our example of a virtuous life. Continue reading