Friday, November 6, 2009

In Praise of God on Fridays

O Lord, when they broke your commandment and fell.
You did not despise nor reject them,
But as a tender Father, you visited them in so many ways,
Granting them your great and precious promise with the life-giving seed,
Opening to them the door of faith, and of repentance into life.
In the fullness of time you sent your Christ
To take on the seed of Abraham,
And in the offering of his life
He fulfilled, in perfect obedience
And in the sacrifice of death,
A ransom for the whole world,
And in his rising again, he gave us life.
O Creator of all things,
Your will is to return us to yourself,
That all should be partakers
Of your divine nature and eternal glory…
Blessed, praised, celebrated,
Magnified, exalted, glorified,
Hallowed be your name, the recalling,
The memory, and every memorial of it,
Now and forever.
Bishop Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626, Feast Day Sept. 26),
from the Laud Manuscript of the Preces Privatae,
as translated by David Scott

This portion of Bp. Andrewes' Private Prayers is a glorious example of his deeply scriptural, patristic, orthodox, and joyous understanding of the faith. It expresses well the Classical Anglican view of the Cross as not only the place of Christ's atoning sacrifice and holy sufferings, but also a "theatre of joys" (as Thomas Traherene spoke of it) and the gateway to sharing in the Divine Nature itself. 

Our Friday devotion through the year must be more than a recollection of human sin and the awesome love found on the Cross; it must be a realization of the new life we lead as Christians, and the continuous growth in grace and participation in God made possible through communion with the Risen and Ascended Lord. Only that makes our remembrance of the Crucifixion on Fridays complete and hopeful.

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