Ash Wednesday: A reflection on the collect of the day

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. —BCP, p. 217

Listening to the Agnus Dei from the Bach B minor Mass. and Erbarme dich from Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, both sung by Andreas Scholl. Continue reading “Ash Wednesday: A reflection on the collect of the day”

Ash Wednesday: A reflection on the collect of the day

The Feast of the Epiphany: reflections on the collect of the day (Jan 6)

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O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

—Collect for the Feast of the Epiphany
from Collects: Contemporary, The Book of Common Prayer

There is a pause—albeit very slight, perhaps milliseconds—between the sparks which fly from the striking of a match and the bursting of the match into a full flame. So it is with the spark of the divine birth at Christmas, a relatively unheralded event witnessed by a few shepherds and animals, which took some time to burst into the flame of a star at the Epiphany, witnessing the recognition by the world that light had come into the darkness and a new era was about to begin.

Epiphany is about light. Light shining in darkness. The light of Christ sparking into human time and erupting into a flame which will not only beat back the darkness, but eventually engulf the world in the flames of its Holy Spirit. But there is time for a pause. There must be, because it takes time for our eyes to adjust to the light, to recognize its sudden presence in our world, and then to welcome the new warmth as a beneficial transformation of our lives.

In the cold and dark of the season, may this star erupt into your consciousness, coaxing you out of the shadows and into the full light of the wondrous, warming presence of Jesus Christ Our Lord.

The Feast of the Epiphany: reflections on the collect of the day (Jan 6)

The 2nd Sunday after Christmas Day: Reflections on the Collect

hb_1985.112.1O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

—Collect for the Second Sunday after Christmas Day
from Collects:Contemporary, The Book of Common Prayer

The collect for the Second Sunday after Christmas Day is one of my favorite prayers, highlighting the full meaning of the Incarnation and, hence, the wisdom at the heart of the nativity on Christmas Day. We see that the occasion is not merely the birth of a cute little baby—even the birth of a baby into perilous circumstances—but the mystical joining of human and divine in a way that honors, vindicates and transforms our notions of human nature while holding out the promise of our being able to share in the divine life in our flesh. Continue reading “The 2nd Sunday after Christmas Day: Reflections on the Collect”

The 2nd Sunday after Christmas Day: Reflections on the Collect

Reflections on the Collect for Jan 1: The Holy Name

sea-dawn-sky-sunsetThis is a reflection on the collect for January 1, the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, from the Book of Common Prayer.

Eternal Father, you gave to your incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we pray, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

—Collect for The Holy Name
from Collects: Contemporary, The Online Book of Common Prayer

What does it mean for Jesus to be “the sign of our salvation”? Is it merely a way of avoiding Hell? A mantra by which to comfort ourselves in tough times? Someone to thank when things go well? And why plant it in every heart?

Continue reading “Reflections on the Collect for Jan 1: The Holy Name”

Reflections on the Collect for Jan 1: The Holy Name