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For the First Sunday in Lent: Gregory Nazianzen on Ministerial Encouragements

February 23, 2015

Here is another reading for the First Sunday in Lent from Faith and Life, this one being from Gregory Nazianzen:

May the God of peace, who places kings on thrones, and “raises up the poor out of the dust, and lifts up the beggar from the dunghill,”—who “chose David His servant, and took him away from the sheepfolds,” when he was the least and youngest of Jesse’s sons; He who “gives a word to those who preach with great power’,” for the full proclamation of the Gospel,—may He Himself “take hold of our right hand, and guide us in His counsel, and receive us with glory,” acting as Shepherd of shepherds and Guide of guides; so that we may act as shepherds of His flock with knowledge, and not with “the instruments of an inexperienced shepherd”—the former being announced as a blessing, the latter as a curse, to those of old;— may He “give strength and power to His people,” and Himself present His flock to Himself, all bright and spotless, and worthy of the heavenly sheepfold, in “the abode of those that rejoice’,” in “the brightness of the Saints’;” that we all, both flock and shepherds together, may sing His glory in His Temple, through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be all glory for ever and ever. Amen.

–St. Gregory Nazianzen, Apologetic Discourse, c. 117.

One might call this a written blessing for our ministers – and one that is apt for any and all who labor for the cause of the Gospel.

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