Third Sunday after
D. G. Phillips
Broad Cove – July 2 AD 2006
1 Peter 5:5f St.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand
that in due time he may exalt you.
Trinity Sunday our minds were lifted up by St. John to the heavenly
vision of God and Jesus reminded us that if we want to see heavenly
things, we must be born again, born of water and of the Spirit.
a new life, was begun in our baptism, confirmed by the gift of faith.
If we are to see it more clearly, if we are to enter it more fully, we
must pass through a period of suffering. As St. Peter reminds us this
morning, the God of all grace, who hath called us into his eternal
glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make
you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
suffering he is talking about is the suffering we experience if we love
our Lord, and try to follow His commandments. His commandments are
spiritual – and yet to the carnally minded, they are oftentimes contrary
to what we might normally think or feel.
thoughts and feelings are called “passions” – they are a gift to help us
to relate to the world around us and to God. Ideally they make us
desire what is good – God and our neighbour, and hate what is evil. And
yet, we are fallen creatures. We are born with confusion in our souls
about the passions. And when we sin we become further confused – and
the devil would use these passions to bind us in destructive ways of
thinking and acting.
and in the weeks to come, we will look at all of these passions of the
soul –shining the light of Scripture upon them so we become more aware
of them in us, confess if we are being led astray by them, and seek the
counsel and the grace of Jesus, to no longer be overwhelmed by them….it
is all a part of our being born again to the new life, the life of
Today we are considering the passion of “Pride”. It is a called a
“passion” because we suffer it, when it arises in our
souls – we all experience these thoughts of pride.
is a passion of the rational part of the soul – it is not so much a
feeling that comes over us, though feelings may result, but it is a way
Dorothy Sayers has described it as “the sin of trying to be as God.” It
is called the root of all sin because we encounter it first at the
moment of the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden. The serpent convinced
our first parents to eat of the tree of which God told them not to eat –
they became the judges of what is right and what is wrong, taking heed
to the devil’s false promise:
shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
think oneself to be God is very subtle to see in ourselves – because it
is the very air we breathe. Sayers continues, “whenever we say, whether
in the personal, political, or social sphere, I am the master of my
fate, I am the captain of my soul, we are committing the sin of Pride;
and the higher the goal at which we aim; the more far reaching will be
the subsequent disaster.”
you know of such a moment of disaster through following your own ideas
of what is right, being the captain of your own soul. Disaster in one’s
life, being lost and recognizing that one is lost, having hurt ourselves
or loved ones around can be moment of gracious conversion of the soul –
a conversion from thinking ourselves to be the center to recognizing our
creatureliness and our dependence upon the One who made us. When we
break through our pride and see it revealed to us clearly by God, it
results in a “hearty desire to pray” – maybe partly out of fear, because
we know how subtly we can be taken in by pride and how destructive it
can be – it is the very severing of ourselves from the life of God.
tells us a parable this evening that He told to the proud Pharisees and
Scribes. It is a particular manifestation of pride in the religious
soul – as church goers, we need to take special heed that we are not
fooled like this. The Pharisees and Scribes wanted to be followers of
the law and yet they fell into pride. It was revealed in them in the
way they judged Jesus as unholy, unrighteous, simply because he
“receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.”
tells them, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one
of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go
after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it,
he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he
calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice
with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that
likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more
than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
life of heaven, the life into which we are being born again, we both
continually realize that whatever righteousness we have, has been given
us by God, and we only rejoice when we see another soul around us
converted and brought into the fold. There is no place whatsoever for
thinking some souls worth saving and others unworthy – we have all been
and are all being brought back to God by Christ.
in Church Sunday by Sunday is not the test of whether or not our souls
are converted – the test is what is our motivation for being here. It
should be because we see ourselves as needy, because we have been given
a desire to pray, because we know we stray so easily, and because we
want to give thanks to God. We rejoice inwardly when someone who has
not been for a while arrives – because another soul is being stirred
like ours. There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over
one sinner that repenteth. If we are entering the kingdom of heaven
we know something of that joy – there is no resentment, no feelings of
second part of the parable, Jesus describes a woman sweeping her house
for a lost coin, until she finds it and then rejoicing. This is perhaps
a call for us who are the Church, who have been found by Christ, to
continue to mix with those who have been lost to the church, in the
hopes of recalling them to the kingdom.
there any place for pride in the Christian soul?
with any passion it does have its place.
not wrong to have a feeling of gladness at accomplishing some task. It
would be wrong not to desire to excel because of fear that one might
become proud. There is a kind of pride of race, or pride of nation
which is healthy if we have somehow thought ourselves to be less than
another on these grounds – less human. But we measure the limits of
that pride, when we for one moment think ourselves better than another.
St. Peter reminds us that the devil will take these feelings of pride
and twist them for ill - Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
walketh about seeking whom he may devour The antidote always is
humility: All of you be subject to one another, and be clothed with
humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God…casting all
your care upon him, for he careth for you. Humility before our
neighbour and before God.
wrong for us to undervalue our worth, our dignity as human beings – but
we measure our worth not by what we have done, but by what God the Son
has done for us – taking upon himself our flesh, dying on the Cross for
each of us, that we might die with him and ascend with Him.
our spiritual disciplines are meant to help undermine our pride and keep
us mindful of the presence of God and seeking His direction continually
– reading Scripture, prayer, and coming regularly for the Holy Communion
where we have presented before us the Son of God's humbling himself on
the Cross for us. These disciplines help us both to be humble before
God, but at the same time, to be continually striving for greatness of
not wrong for us to desire to be great, to be lifted up into the kingdom
of heaven, to be crowned with the righteousness of Christ, to be united
with the divine life, to be images and likeness of God, to be as God.
that true exaltation, St. Peter reminds us, comes about not by self
assertion, but by the way of humility –
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may
exalt you in due time…
God of all grace, who hath called us into his eternal glory by
Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while – (that is, after
we have refused continually to consent to foolish pride), make you
perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and
dominion for ever and ever. Amen.