Sunday, August 16, 2015

Collect for the eleventh Sunday after Trinity

Latin Collect
DEUS, qui omnipotentiam tuam parcendo maxime et miserendo manifestas, multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam, ut ad tua promissa currentes cœlestium bonorum facias esse participes. Per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum.

Prayer book of 1549
GOD, which declarest thy almighty power, most chiefly in shewyng mercy and pitie; Geve unto us abundauntly thy grace, that we, running to thy promises, may be made partakers of thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christe our Lorde.

Prayer book of 1662
O GOD, who declarest thy almighty power most chiefly in shewing mercy and pity; Mercifully grant unto us such a measure of thy grace, that we, running the way of thy commandments, may obtain thy gracious promises, and be made partakers of thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The collect of 1549 translates the Latin collect very well, but we notice that by 1662 there has been an apparent change in how we run to God. What might this mean? The answer may well lie in the nature of the very centre of the life of the Church, the Sacrament.

W remember that God has given sacraments to us as a means of His mercy and pity. He knows our need of Him which He demonstrates by not giving us what we really deserve (i.e. His mercy) and giving us what we do not deserve (His grace through His pity). The original collect focusses on the fact that we run towards God through His promises; the amended collect reminds us that we must run the way of His commandments. This is the heart of sacramental living.

The sacraments of the Church are the signs of the covenant that God has with us. If we play our part, (i.e. follow His commandments) then God plays His part (fulfills His promises). The process is like the thirsty man turning on a tap. In order for the tap to produce water, the tap must be turned on. We command the thirsty man to turn the tap on for his own benefit and the result is that, by turning on the tap, the man can receive life-giving water which the existence of the tap promises.

The sacraments are there for us, for our benefit, for our health and for our connection to Almighty God through Our Lord Jesus Christ. All we have to do is play our part and obey the instructions God gives us for the saving and health-giving grace that the Sacraments convey to us. That way we can find ourselves even now seeing the glittering of the heavenly gold in our lives.

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