Collect For The Last Sunday Of The Church Year
O God, absolve your people from their offenses that, from the bonds of our sins which by reason of our frailty we have brought upon ourselves, we may be delivered by your bountiful goodness: through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.
The Collect is a prayer peculiar to Western Liturgy. You won't find it in Eastern liturgy (which has its own beauty). The Collect collects, or summarizes the church's prayers and thoughts for the given Sunday. This is our prayer every Last Sunday of the Church Year.
Normally a Collect has four parts.
It addresses God by various names or titles. Sunday's is addressed to God. To Him who is above all, the Supreme Being, whom we know as our Father in Christ.
Next there is a characteritic of God that the church cites, such as gracious, merciful, willing to hear, loving, patient etc. But this Collect lacks that element. Some are like that.
Then comes the petition, "Absolve your people from their offenses."
Followed by the purpose clause "that we may be delivered ..."
Remember that prayer is divine conversation. By it the baptized enter into dialogue, not with some great worthy of the world, but with the Eternal, and ever Holy Trinity. In union with Christ, of course. For we have no access to God apart from him.
By "absolve" here we are asking God, with whom nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37), to dissolve the mess we've constructed of our lives, our families, our churches and our world. We are shipwrecks one and all! No Christian is the sweet-natured person s/he presents to the world, but sin seethes inside of us all. Every thought, word and deed that proceeds from our Old Adam is sin. Thus we are sin-generators. Sin factories. Belching out evil day and night from our smoke stacks.
If you think not, then you are in need of repentance and Christian instruction. For Holy Scripture says, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:9). But it also says that, "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all injustice." Yes, this is the result of baptism, in which we also receive the New Adam into ourselves. Christ. And that nature loves God, and serves him gladly. Freedom! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Most Collects conclude with a Trinitarian formula. This is an ancient practice of formal worship: to mention aloud the One, True God, so that his name is never left silent, but proclaimed by his church; and so that his people are constantly instructed in the truth.
You would do well to take home the insert each week and keep it handy so that you might pray the Collect each day. Not to mention follow the schedule of Daily Readings from Sacred Scripture. You can do no better.
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