Echoing last week's parable, this week's scripture passage relates the tale of yet another contrite tax collector welcomed and redeemed by Jesus. Our two anthems delve into the psychological and spiritual worlds of those whom God calls to faith in Christ. Henry Loosemore's O Lord Increase our faith (for many years attributed to Orlando Gibbons) sports an unusual text; an entreaty for the increase of our faith and strength in response to adversity ending with the touching "Sweet Jesus, say amen." The well-loved S.S. Wesley anthem Thou wilt keep Him draws on a remarkable five separate scriptural snippets in its four short minutes, describing a kind of escalation of passion from 'perfect rest' to a visionary receiving of the light of God and the outcry, "O let my soul live and it shall praise thee!"
The monetary undertones of today's story and sermon bring to mind the church's own ageless struggle with the temptation to serve money rather than God, perhaps most notoriously in the selling of indulgences that was among the practices that gave rise to the 16th century Protestant Reformation. But today's story also underlines perhaps the greater gift of that momentous event in church history, the deep personalisation of the Christian's relationship with God through Christ. All this is especially appropriate as Protestants worldwide commemorate the 499th anniversary of October 31, 1517, when on the eve of All Saints' Day Martin Luther famously nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Schlosskirche (Castle Church) in Wittenburg, launching the Reformation.
Interim Music Director