Grant, Almighty God,
as You invite us so kindly and graciously to Yourself,
that we may not be resistant,
but with every evil affection subdued,
offer ourselves to Your service.
And since You require nothing else from us
but to observe what is right toward one another,
O grant that we may be mindful of the brotherhood
that Your only begotten Son by His own blood has consecrated,
and call on You as our father,
and prove by our whole conduct that we are Your children.
And may every one of us so labor for one another that,
being united in heart and affection,
we may with one sentiment aspire towards that blessed life,
where we shall enjoy the inheritance
that has been prepared and obtained by the blood of Your son,
and through Him prepared for us in heaven. Amen.
John Calvin, 1509-1564, Swiss Reformer
Lifting Up Our Hearts, freely modified
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Just as I had determined to bring disaster on you and showed no pity when your ancestors angered me,” says the Lord Almighty, “so now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid. These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.
I know, O Lord, and do with all humility acknowledge myself
an object altogether unworthy of your love;
but sure I am, you are an object altogether worthy of mine.
I am not good enough to serve you,
but you have a right to the best service I can pay.
Do then impart to me some of that excellence,
and that shall supply my own want of worth.
Help me to cease from sin according to your will,
that I may be capable of doing you service according to my duty.
Enable me so to guard and govern myself,
so to begin and finish my course that,
when the race of life is run,
I may sleep in peace and rest in you.
Be with me to the end, that my sleep may be rest indeed,
my rest perfect security and that security a blessed eternity.
St. Augustine of Hippo, 354-430
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
in whom we live and move and have our being,
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.
Of your great mercy, forgive us.
Grant us purity of heart and strength of purpose,
that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing your will,
and no weakness from doing it.
In your light may we see light clearly,
and in your service may we find our perfect freedom,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
St. Augustine of Hippo, 354-430, extracted from Confessions
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said,
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”