Sunday, November 19, 2023

A couple of good collects and then some. . .

Though we have one more Sunday in this Church Year, it is worth readying ourselves for the end of one Church Year and the beginning of another -- especially since Thanksgiving will sit in between and occupy a goodly amount of our attention.  So here is the old collect, a week early, for your consideration.

We thank Thee, Lord God, Heavenly Father, that in the past church year Thou has preserved Thy Word among us in purity, and by it sensibly quickened our souls; and we beseech Thee, that Thou shouldst gracious forgive us all our neglect, unbelief, and disobedience of Thy Word, and continue unto us this precious treasure with Thy blessing forevermore; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

There is, by the way, a corresponding collect for the beginning of a new Church Year which you might just include in your devotions for December 3.

 Almighty Lord God, who hast by Thy grace this day permitted us to enter a new church year, we beseech Thee grant unto Thy Church Thy Holy Spirit and the wisdom which cometh down from above, that Thy Word, as becometh it, may not be bound, but have free course and be preached to the joy and edifying of Christ's holy people, that in steadfast faith we may serve Thee, and in the confession of Thy name abide unto the end; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Sadly, we hardly note the end of one Church Year and the beginning of another, much less the particular Sunday we are observing.  I have noticed that many pastors do not even mention the Sunday the readings were appointed for when they begin the lection.  

By the way, in reading through the old Liturgy and Agenda (CPH 1936) I noted that antiphons and versicles for the Commemoration of the Dead (p. 110) and for prayers for the Churching of Women.  There is something else I had forgotten about -- There are changeable general prayers for the seasons, festivals, and holidays.  Included in these seasonal General Prayers is one for the beginning of the Church Year and its close, and for the Commemoration of the Dead.

Close of the Church Year:

O Thou Father of mercies, we bring unto Thee this day our sacrifice of praise for the innumerable and inestimable spiritual blessings with which Thou hast favored us in Christ Jesus during the church year now drawing to its close.  Thou hast caused Thy divine Word to be preached to us, which is able to make us wise unto salvation; Thou hast permitted us to enjoy the holy Sacraments for our comfort and sanctification, and hast accompanied the means of grace with the effectual working of Thy Holy Spirit in our hearts.  We bless Thee for Thy goodness and praise Thy holy name; and we beseech Thee, that Thou woulds in mercy forgive us all the sins of the past year for Jesus' sake, and graciously preserve the blessed light of Thy Gospel unto us and all Christendom.  Govern us by Thy Holy Spirit, that, receiving Thy Word with gladness and continuing therein all our days, we may be sanctified through Thy truth, and finally obtain eternal salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Beginning of the Church Year:

O eternal, immortal, invisible, and only wise God, Thou hast brought us to the beginning of another church year, and we acknowledge with thankfulness all the mercies which Thou hast bestowed upon us from the beginning of our lives to this moment.  We praise Thee for the preservation of our being from day to day.  We thank Thee for food and raiment, for health and strength, for kind friends and benefactors, for peace and protection by day and for rest and safety by night, for the many advantages which Thou affordest us in this favored land, and for all our other blessings.  But, above all, we heartily thank Thee for the gift of Thine only-begotten Son to be for men on earth the Savior from sin; for Thy mercy in having called us to a state of salvation through Jesus Christ; for the Church in which Thou hast placed us; for Thy faithful ministers; for Thy holy Word and the blessed Sacraments; and for the divine life and power dispensed to us from the abounding riches of Thy grace.

Remember for good, we beseecheth Thee, the Church which Thy right hand hath planted, and water it abundantly with the dew of Thy blessing.

Cause the Gospel of Thy dear Son to be preached with wisdom and power, and give us increase of grace meekly to hear and with pure affection to red3eive the Word of the lowly Son of Man, that, accepting Him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, our only Redeemer, we may be united unto Thee by faith, and walk in the way of Thy commandments all our days.

Dwell in the hearts of our baptized children, that they may sing hosannas unto Thee; and add to Thy Church daily such as believe and are saved.

Prosper all endeavors to spread abroad Thy Gospel in the world.  Show Thy truth unto them that are in error; teach Thy ways unto the wicked, and let sinners be converted unto Thee.

Strengthen the weak, comfort the afflicted, and sanctify the faithful through Thy truth.

Vouchsafe Thy favor unto our land; and grant that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by Thy governance that Thy people may joyfully serve Thee in all godly quietness.

O Thou God of peace, sanctify us wholly, that our whole spirit, and soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful are Thou, who has called us, who also wilt do it, to the praise of Thy holy name, for Jesus Christ's sake.  Amen

Now tell me that they did not know how to pray in days gone by!

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