The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of Texas, visited Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church last Sunday to confirm and pray for some of our youth and adults who made a public affirmation of their faith or who, having already made a public affirmation of their faith, were received into the Episcopal Church from another tradition. He also preached an interesting sermon entitled “Mother’s Day Is Complicated,” which is worth a few minutes of your time to ponder as you reflect on your relationships.
At the end of this liturgy, having prayed for those who needed our prayers and our words of welcome, having gathered around the Lord’s Table to give thanks for it all, and having received the gift of Holy Communion, the Bishop offered a blessing that included the words of Phillips Brooks. Better known as the author of the words to the Christmas carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” Brooks was the Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Boston after the Civil War before serving briefly as the Bishop of Massachusetts. He was also one of the greatest preachers in America in the 19th century. In a sermon entitled “Going up to Jerusalem,” Brooks wrote these words, the first paragraph of which Bishop Doyle adapted slightly to use as his blessing:
O, do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men [and women]! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks! Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle. But you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come in you by the grace of God. . . .
May God let us all first see our Jerusalem and then attain it. What is that prayer but the great prayer of our Collect in the Prayer Book — that by his holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by his merciful guiding may perform the same, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.