Skip to comments.The Rev. John Leal: sermon for Trinity 20
Posted on 10/20/2005 3:26:53 PM PDT by sionnsar
From the Rev. John Leal, of Providence Reformed Episcopal Church in Texas, we have this sermon for Trinity 20 that is based on Ephesians 5:15 and Matthew 22:1. This sermon is well worth reading (or listening to) in its entirety, but I would like to mention in particular what Rev. Leal says about the "wedding garment":
But what is meant by the wedding garment?This sermon fits in very well with some things we have mentioned here recently, including the two Bible studies from Sydney posted yesterday. May we indeed take these lessons on faithfulness to heart.
Now here we must observe that acceptance at the last day is described through Scripture in a variety of ways. In one case, it is having made the most of the talents entrusted by the Master; in another, bearing seed an hundred-fold; in another, having lamps burning at the Judge's coming; in another, it is according to works of mercy done to the poor and afflicted; in another, it is having faith in. Christ, or calling upon His Name; in another, it is having charity or the love of God; in another, it is the knowledge of God, in which is eternal life; in another, it is walking by the Spirit, having the fruits of the Spirit, and the Spirit witnessing with our spirit that we are the children of God; being dead with Christ in this world, that we may live with Him.
Now all these express in a different way, or express by different things, that which renders us accepted of God in Christ at the last; but the wedding garment is something different again from all these. And what does it signify? It may indeed be well said that it signifies charity; or, that it is faith; or, that fine linen of the Bride which is the righteousness of saints; or, having put on Christ, and being clothed with His righteousness; or, being "clothed with humility;" all which is very true. But we want to explain it more particularly, according to the figure. Surely it must refer to something that renders a man an acceptable guest at a wedding, and the absence of which would render his presence unsuitable at such a place, so that he were better away.
This marriage garment is well explained in the Christian joy of heart, "the fruit of the Spirit is joy; "and we may add, delight at the presence of the Bridegroom; for this it is which occasions this gladness of heart. It is, in short, what St. Paul mentions as another requisite for receiving the crown. The Lord, the righteous Judge, shall at that day give a crown of righteousness, not to me only, but "unto all them also that love His appearing." To love His appearing, to look forward to it, and rejoice in His presence with spiritual joy, this must be the wedding garment of the soul The same temper, pervading our every-day life, would be shown in what the Collect expresses by cheerfulness, "that being ready in body and soul we may cheerfully accomplish" His will.
"How shall I, who am unworthy, enter into the splendor of Your saints? If I dare to enter into the bridal chamber, my clothing will accuse me, since it is not a wedding garment; and being bound up, I shall be cast out by the angels. In Your love, Lord, cleanse my soul and save me." +John Chrysostomos (from the prayers we say just before communion in the Divine Liturgy)
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