In Times of Trouble, Sing Alleluia to the Lord
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Augustine was born in north Africa to a pagan Roman father and a Christian Berber mother. He spent his youth as a true pagan and in his Confessions, describes his time in a heretical sect in Rome and how he came to Christ by the grace of God and the preaching of Bishop Ambrose of Milan, who baptized him in 386. Having entered fully into the way of Christ, Augustine returned to Africa to become bishop of Hippo, and is recognized as one of the early Church's greatest theologians.
Let us sing "Alleluia" here below while we are anxious, so that we may sing it one day there above when we are freed for care. Why are we troubled here? Do you not expect me to be troubled when I read: Is not a man's life upon earth full of trial? Do you not expect me to be troubled when I hear the words: Watch and pray that you do not enter into temptation? Do you not expect me to be troubled when temptation and trial so abound that the Lord's Prayer orders us to say when we pray: Forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors? Every day we pray, every day we are debtors. Do you think I can be free from care when every day I seek pardon for my sins and help in peril? When I have said for my past sins: Forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors, I go on at once to add because of perils still to come: Lead us not into temptation. And how can the congregation be in security when it cries with me: Deliver us from evil? And yet, brethren, in this evil plight of ours here below we must sing "Alleluia" to the good God who delivers us from evil.
Here too, amidst the dangers and the trials, we and others must sing "Alleluia," for God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, as Paul says. So then we must also sing here "Alleluia." Man is still a sinner, but God is faithful. Scripture does not say: He will not let you be tempted, but He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. You have entered into temptation, but God will also provide a way of escape that you may not perish in temptation. As the potter makes a vase, you are to be molded by preaching; you are to be fired by tribulation. But when you enter into temptation, think of the way of escape, for God is faithful: The Lord will keep your coming in and your going out.
And so it is too, when this body has been made immortal and incorruptible, when every trial and temptation has passed away. For the body is indeed dead -- and why? Because of sin; but the spirit is life, as the apostle says. Why? Because of righteousness. Is it a dead body we give up? Indeed no, for hear what Paul says; If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life also to your mortal bodies. So now the body is of an animal nature, then it will be spiritual.
How happy will be our shout of "Alleluia" there, how carefree, how secure from any adversary, where there is no enemy, where no friend perishes. There praise is offered to God, and here too, but here it is by men who are anxious, there by men who are free from care; here by men who must die, there by men who will live forever. Here praise is offered in hope, there by men who enjoy the reality; here by pilgrims on the way, there by men who have reached their own country.
So, brethren, now let us sing "Alleluia," not in the enjoyment of heavenly rest, but to sweeten our toil. Sing as travellers sing along the road -- but keep on walking. Solace your toil by singing -- do not yield to idleness. Sing but keep on walking. What do I mean by "walking"? I mean press on from good to better. The apostle says there are some who go from bad to worse. but if you press on, you keep on walking. Go forward then in virtue, in true faith and right conduct. Sing out -- and keep on walking.
Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
Most loving Father,
whose will it is for us to give thanks for all things,
to fear nothing but the loss of you,
and to cast all our care on you who care for us:
Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties,
that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from us
the light of that love which is immortal,
and which you have manifested to us
in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, now and for ever.
Pray with us today's prayer request:
The Good Shepherd Academy (GSA), Juba, South Sudan, is primarily a Christian Anglican-based school. In January we prayed: ‘'Your Kingdom come, through the facilities and people at GSA’. The facilities are also being used for implementing peace-building training for pastors, teachers, and other community leaders. One course is complete and another cohort of 47 leaders are receiving the intensive 3-month training. Pray for these courses to have a massive impact for God’s Kingdom, reducing hatred and violence, and leading to reconciliation.
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