Today the church remembers John Keble, Priest, 1866.On July 14, 1833, before a distinguished group of judges assembled in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford, John Keble preached a startling sermon entitled “National Apostasy.” He accused the English government of forsaking its ancient and sacred commitment to Christ and his church. This sermon marked the beginning of the Oxford or Tractarian Movement which shook the English church and nation to its roots. The movement aimed at rescuing the institutional church from rampant liberalizing reforms that threatened to render the church impotent. Renewed emphasis was placed on the idea of the church as a divine institution, on the historic episcopate, and on The Book of Common Prayer. Of the many eminent churchmen who took part in this movement, John Keble was perhaps the most mature and certainly one of the best loved. His unquestioned loyalty to the Church of England and his wise and gentle leadership held the movement together and prevented many defections from Christianity on the one hand and to the Roman Church on the other. In the face of bitter controversy, there was no guile found in him. His religious poetry had such a fresh, simple, and straightforward quality about it that it remains popular today (see The Hymnal 1982, numbers 10, 656). As we seek to serve you, Lord Christ, help us keep our motives and our actions pure. Amen.
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Grant, O God, that in all time of our testing we may know your presence and obey your will; that, following the example of your servant John Keble, we may accomplish with integrity and courage what you give us to do, and endure what you give us to bear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.