Friday, April 27, 2007

The Collect: Easter III

The Prayer
(as in USA 1928. There are unimportant verbal changes from 1549 and 1662)
Almighty God, who showest to them that are in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness; grant unto all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s Religion, that they may avoid those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow such things as are agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Cranmer translated this from the Sarum Missal, a prayer first found in the Leonine Sacramentary, the oldest collection of Latin Propers to have survived. The prayer reflects the early custom in which converts were baptized at the Easter Vigil and wore white garments throughout the Paschal season. This prayer, like much of the liturgical content of the season, is primarily intended as a prayer for these new Christians, but becomes also a prayer for the rest of us.

Listen deeply to the voice of God, to the still, small voice within, to the voice that resounds from the pages of Scripture, to the voice that speaks through preaching, to the voice of the words of the liturgy. Listen.
Are we in error? Do our thoughts contain that which is untrue - that which is incompatible with the Truth of Christ? Undoubtedly they do.
Are we in error? Do our actions belie the Truth that we speak? Undoubtedly it is so.
Have we wandered from the way of righteousness? Is there darkness in our souls? It is so.
Does the Lord desire that we return? Does He call to our Spirits? Does He show us the error of our ways? Beyond all doubt he does, and he does.
Let us then leave that from which he calls us and seek that to which he calls us.
Let it be as the Prophet Isaiah has said:
Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads.”

-------------------ed pacht

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