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November 24, 2023

Sisters and Brothers,

Every Sunday, we as a congregation (in highly unusual and non-canonical fashion), read the “Collect of the Day.” Funny thing is - the “Collect of the Day” is really the Collect for the week and is read at least twice a day every day through the week. The Collects are a type of summary, pulling themes from the readings and general Christian virtue, but we read them together once on Sunday with little intentionality and perhaps even less retention. It’s too bad. Some of these little prayers have long histories and ecumenical reach. Many are beautiful and deeply insightful. Like much of the Prayer Book tradition, I, church nerd that I am, wish we paid more and closer attention to them.

As liturgical Christians, we live our communal worshipping life with our times carefully marked and measured. We have seasons and days and years. They kinda match the calendar year, but often eschew the way society measures and marks the times. Most of us have neither the inclination nor the will to live within the church year rather than the secular. This week we live in between two points where the church and secular year intersect. I mark the occasion with two Collects: “For Thanksgiving Day” and “For Proper 29” - also know as the Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King. Each follows below:

A Collect for Thanksgiving Day

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A Collect for Proper 29

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Giving Thanks and the Reign of Christ. Make us faithful stewards. Grant that the peoples of the world may be freed and brought together. Indeed. Aren’t these our hopes as human beings all the time? That we might appreciate and do well with what we’ve been given, knowing that even what we “earn” is gift. That we might contribute to the care of others. That people might be free. That people might shed the pride and tribalism that holds us apart. These are human aspirations, not exclusively Christian ones, and yet we so struggle to make these aspirations priorities, let alone bring them closer to reality.

I hope, as the seasons of the church’s year change, and as the secular world chooses to mark the times, we will see that our Christian hope for the world is deeply embedded in our humanity. I hope, as you eat and celebrate and shop and give and rush about and decorate and complain about crowds and consumerism, you will see God’s hand at work in the world, manifesting Christ’s gracious, healing, and reconciling love. 

Yours in Christ,