Friday, April 21, 2006

Collect for the Day of the Resurrection (BCP, p. 163)

Almighty God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
The Lord is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

I think it is most interesting that the collect for Easter Sunday asks God to put into our minds good desires. Why would Cranmer talk about something that seems so simple in principle, but is so hard to accomplish in practice? Perhaps it is because it is just as much a part of the resurrection story as anything else, and it is a part of our response to the empty tomb. We still recognize that we are incapable on our own to do these good desires, but through God's help we might strive to make this a reality.

The special grace that is God's gift to us was bought on the hard wood of the cross. The good desires that we are to strive for should represent our sense of thanksgiving for the grace that God bestows upon each and every one of us. Of course, I am not speaking of good works and desires as something that buys or earns us anything. For there is nothing that we can do in this life to earn or warrant God's grace. It is purely out of thanksgiving and joy that we strive for those good desires on this side of eternity.

May our thanks and praise be offered to our Risen Lord and Saviour, who paid the price for our everlasting freedom.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Christ Jesus our Lord is risen from the dead!
May we offer him our undying praise and thanksgiving! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Collects for Good Friday (BCP, p. 156 &157)

Almighty God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified; Receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before thee for all estates of men in thy holy Church, that every member of the same, in his vocation and ministry, may truly and godly serve thee; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

O Merciful God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor desirest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; Have mercy upon all who know thee not as thou art revealed in the Gospel of thy Son. Take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy fold, that they may be made one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

On this most holy day, there is very little that needs to be said after praying the three collects appointed for today. May we all reflect upon our journey as Christians as we remember the Way of the Cross that Jesus walked on our behalf. Thanks be to Almighty God for that gracious gift that we can neither repay, nor truly comprehend. We can only offer our praise and thanksgiving for the joys that are found by being sheep of his fold.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Collect for the Sunday next before Easter, Commonly Called Palm Sunday (BCP, p. 134)

Almighty and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility; Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus took on our flesh. When he took that flesh upon himself, he subjected himself to the same trials, tribulations, temptations, and struggles that we endure. He did so in perfection, the way that we were intended to live before the fall. He did so even to his death, in great humility, on trumped up charges all in the name of love.

We are commanded to adopt that same humility as we live out our own lives. In so doing, we might obtain that glory, that Jesus bought and paid for with his life, death, and resurrection. Thanks be to God for that so costly a gift. May this Holy Week allow us to reflect upon the same.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Collect for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, Commonly Called Passion Sunday (BCP, p. 132)

We beseech thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon thy people; that by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all glory and honour, world without end. Amen.

As we pray this collect on Passion Sunday and approach the final week in Lent, prior to entering Holy Week, we seek two petitions. We ask that God govern us, and then preserve us in both body and soul. There is a calling into submission to the Creator of all things. There is a price to pay if we allow God to govern our lives. It means that we must pick up our crosses daily and follow Him. That is what allowing God to govern our lives looks like.

In doing so, we are preserved for all eternity, in body now here on earth, and in soul in union with Him. Living within these two entities we can rejoice in the mercy of Almighty God.