Knights Templar

The Grand Priory of Knights Templar in the United Kingdom


Weekly Prayers

Grand Priory of Knights Templar in the United Kingdom

From the Office of the Grand Priory Chaplains

Fr. Steven Jones

The Necessity of Self-Surrender                                                                            15th February 2020

As we progress once again toward the season of Lent, my mind turns, as it annually does, to questions of sacrifice, and the surrender of my will in obedience to Christ. I have been particularly provoked in my mediations this month by the Prologue to the Primitive Rule of our Order, which commences, ‘We speak firstly to all those who secretly despise their own will and desire with a pure heart to serve the sovereign king as a knight and with studious care desire to wear, and wear permanently, the very noble armour of obedience.’

This invocation challenges me, as my inner being often prefers my own will to God’s, and too often strays into disobedience. As I have wrestled with this matter, I was surprised to find inspiration and instruction at my local Garden Centre. There I was looking at some Gladioli bulbs, ready for March planting. I am not much of a gardener, but the basic principles of growing those bulbs to maturity made me think a lot about a passage we find in John 12, where the action is happening in the days before Jesus’ arrest and trial. In this section of John’s Gospel, Jesus tells those following Him that the time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I find that strange. Didn’t Jesus know that He was about to be crucified, not glorified? Why didn’t He say that the time had come for the Son of Man to be crucified? For this profound reason – that Jesus knew, and teaches us, that there is glory on the other side of self-surrender. He saw through the horrors of Good Friday to the coming exaltation of Easter Sunday. Jesus explains how that principle applies to us by picturing a seed falling to the ground and dying. He says that it is only by dying that the seed can produce a harvest of many times its own size. He is talking about Himself, of course, but He is also talking about us. When I looked at the Gladioli bulbs I realized that, if they could talk, they would probably wish to stay in the warmth and light of the Garden Centre, rather than being pushed into dark, damp, cold earth. But it is only in their burial in the ground that they will split apart and produce something even more beautiful than they already are. They have to go into the ground. And in Christ, that is true of us also. St. Paul explains in Romans that if we are willingly buried with Christ, we can be raised with Him also. If we allow ourselves to be buried by our self-surrender, we will be resurrected on the other side as something much more beautiful than we are now.

So that is how I am getting myself ready for Lent. On the other side of Passion Week, I want to be a servant of God more useful than I am now. So into the ground of self-surrender I must go, believing that despising my will and wearing the very noble armour of obedience will restore me in the faith, transform me in character, and empower me in Christ’s service. I invite you to join me.    

Spend a little time in your prayers for those on our prayer list and others in need of comfort and our thoughts across many nations.

Every blessing in Christ Jesus,

Fr Steven.