For some time now, the blog Anglican Pastor has featured an on-going series titled, "Collect Reflections" in which the weekly collects from the Book of Common Prayer are posted, explained, and thoughtfully considered.
Those unfamiliar with the term 'collect' might ask, "What exactly is a collect?" Essentially, it is a brief prayer appointed by the church for a given Sunday that typically draws on the Gospel or Epistle readings of the day and is used to prepare the spirit of the worshipers for the lessons that follow. In other words, it is what we might call an 'opening prayer' that sets the tone for the day's worship. The term 'collect' likely comes from the Latin phrase ecclesia collecta, referring to the gathering of the church for worship. In the collect, prayed at the beginning of the service, we physically gather and unite our bodies as we spiritually gather and unite our thoughts.
A couple of years ago, I simply posted Veit Dietrich's collects through the course of the church year, a practice I have been inspired to revisit and revise, this time using the historic collects that are common across the Western Church as featured in the Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church.While I do not intend to expand on these cherished weekly prayers as much as our Anglican brethren at Anglican Pastor, I do intend to spend a little time ruminating on these brief but rich prayers that we might enjoy their richness and revel in their truths. After all, these prayers have been formed for us and passed down to us by a long line of witnesses to the historic Christian faith. As Luther Reed points out in his magisterial work, The Lutheran Liturgy, "With an unbroken use of nearly fifteen centuries by multitudes of believers in all lands, the collects constitute an important part of the liturgical inheritance of the church." We would do well to spend a few minutes considering their beauty and mining their riches each week.
May God be pleased to bless our exercise of prayer!
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