Lent #2 ~ March 16

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“O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy . . . "

Psalm 27Genesis 15:1-18Philippians 3:17-4:1Luke 13:31-35

The Collects in the Book of Common Prayer are real gems. Thomas Cranmer is responsible for the translation of most of these ancient prayers. It is impossible to know the specific source of some of them. These prayers were used so frequently and among so many churches for so long that it is almost impossible to discern their origin and authorship. In this way they truly are the prayers of the Church.

The Collect chosen for the second week of Lent comes from some of the more ancient prayer books. And, it is a prayer that was to be prayed by schismatics and others who had departed from, and divided, the church. During Lent, slowly and deliberately, these folk would make their way back into the fold trusting solely in the grace of Christ, “whose glory it is always to have mercy”.

Most of us haven’t been schismatic. We’ve not divided the church. We’ve not led large groups of people astray. We’ve not undermined the integrity of the Christian community. Even so, we should take courage from the opening words: “whose glory it is always to have mercy”. God wants to be merciful. God exults in mercy. God is glorified through and in his mercy. He longs to be merciful and for many of us, it takes some time for that mercy to take root in the hard soil of our lives.

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Paul Hill