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The First Sunday of Advent-2012

The First Sunday of Advent.
The Collect.
ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

[This Collect is to be repeated every day, with the other Collects in Advent, until Christmas-Eve.]

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 28.14-22
Psalter: Morning-8, 50; Evening-96, 97
Epistle Reading: Romans 13.8-14
Gospel Reading: Matthew 21.1-13

Barbee and Zahl: “The Collect for Advent I (and enjoined to be read each day of Advent in the 1662 revision) was composed by Archbishop Cranmer for the 1549 Prayer Book. Like other Reformation Collects, it is based on the Epistle (Romans 13:8-14) and Gospel (St. Matthew 21:1-13) which follow” (2)

“The Collect for the First Sunday of Advent ( . . . ) ties together not only the first coming and the final coming of God – the two advents of Christ – but it binds together our human present with the future, which is even now rushing towards us. ( . . . )

The point of this first prayer devised by Cranmer for the Christian year is that our present life is the incubator for our future and enduring life. And every moment of this life is accompanied by Him who visited the planet in great humility.

Do you see your life as a unity, a kind of oneness, even in the midst of rags and patches, its experienced many-ness? You are even today the person who was born with your name years ago and you are at the same time the person who will live forever in the Kingdom of God. Your life has inexhaustible  meaning” (3).

St. Athanasius: “There were thus two things which the Saviour did for us by becoming Man. He banished death from us and made us anew; and, invisible and imperceptible as in Himself He is, He became visible through His works and revealed Himself as the Word of the Father, the Ruler and King of the whole creation” (“The Incarnation of the Word” III.16).

Who Is This, So Weak and Helpless?
(by Bp. Wm How)
1. Who is this, so weak and helpless, Child of lowly Hebrew maid,
Rudely in a stable sheltered, Coldly in a manger laid?
’Tis the Lord of all creation, Who this wondrous path has trod;
He is Lord from everlasting, And to everlasting God.

2. Who is this, a Man of Sorrows, Walking sadly life’s hard way,
Homeless, weary, sighing, weeping Over sin and Satan’s sway?
’Tis our God, our glorious Savior, Who above the starry sky
Is for us a place preparing, Where no tear can dim the eye.

3. Who is this? Behold him shedding Drops of blood upon the ground!
Who is this, despised, rejected, Mocked, insulted, beaten, bound?
’Tis our God, Who gifts and graces On His church is pouring down;
Who shall smite in holy vengeance All His foes beneath His throne.

4. Who is this that hangs there dying While the rude world scoffs and scorns,
Numbered with the malefactors, Torn with nails, and crowned with thorns?
’Tis our God Who lives forever ’Mid the shining ones on high,
In the glorious golden city, Reigning everlastingly.

Primus Pilus II


Collects for the Order of Centurions: 2012-2013

This year I will be taking the weekly Collects from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. I will post the readings, along with any rubrics, under the Collect. And then I will be quoting some meditative thoughts from a work by C. Frederick Barbee and Paul F. M. Zahl, “The Collects of Thomas Cranmer”, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1999 (ISBN: 0-8028-3845-6). On occasion I may also append some personal observations along with those of the earlier Church fathers. I look forward to this coming year and hope to be able to serve you well.

Primus Pilus II
Michael W. Philliber
Edmond, OK
'Joy is the serious business of Heaven.' C. S. Lewis


Twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity, MMXII

Almighty and everlasting God, thy mercy show to suppliant people, that we who put no trust in the character of our merits, experience not thy judgment, but indulgence, by the Lord...

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, misericordiam tuam ostende supplicibus: ut qui de meritorum qualitate diffidimus, non judicium tuum, sed indulgentian sentiamus, per 
per Dominum

English-Lutheran Service Book
Almighty God, we beseech thee, show thy mercy unto thy humble servants, that we who put no trust in our own merits may not be dealt with after the severity of thy judgement, but according to thy mercy. Through

Introit: Have mercy upon me O Lord...
Psalm: In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust...
Epistle: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18  But I would not have you to be ignorant...
Gradual: I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge ...
Gospel: Matthew 24:15-28 While he spake these things unto them, .. 

see it all here

This is the last collect I shall address in this study, which is appointed for the Twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity. This brings our study of weekly collects in the traditional Lutheran Service Book to an end.  We began on 1st Advent last year, and end on the Sunday next before Advent.  

The collect today is not to be found in the Book of Common Prayer, but is drawn from the sacramentary directly.  After the address and attributes, the petition follows that God would show to suppliant people his mercy. Micah wrote, "He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"  God hears the prayers of a contrite and humble heart. Isaiah said, " thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." We recall that Jesus said the humble tax collector who prayed in the Temple next to the puffed-up Pharisee would go home justified.

And then follows the result, that God would not exercise his righteous Justice against our sins, but rather grant his mercy for the sake of him who died for us. Hear what St John said, "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the Propitiation for our sins."

Ancient Homily of Chrysostom on the Epistle here


(Portions were paraphrased and passages cited from The Collect of the Day, by Paul Zeller Strodach, 1939, The United Lutheran Press, Philadelphia)

The Ancient Collect: Its history and form



Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity, MMXII

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful; that the divine fruit of their work they may more readily fulfill; and of thy goodness and remedies they may perceive greater things, through the Lord...

Excita, quaesumus, Domine, tuorum fidelium voluntates: 
ut divini operis fructum propensius exsequentes, pietatis 
tuae remedia majora percipiant, per Dominum
[Galatian Sacrementary]

Introit: O Come let us worship and bow down...
Psalm: O come let us sing unto the Lord...
Epistle: Colossians 1:9-14  For this cause we also...
Gradual: I will say of the Lord he is my refuge...
Gospel: Matthew 9:18-26  While he spake these things unto them... 

see it all here

Original English
STIERE [Stir] up we beseche thee, O Lord, the wylles of thy faythfull people, that they, plenteously bringing furth the fruite of good workes; may of thee, be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christe our Lorde. Amen.

In my tradition we hear this collect always on the last Sunday before Advent. We have called that Sunday "Stir Up Sunday".  Since most recipes called for Christmas Pudding to stand for several weeks, it became a practical command to stir up the pudding that day."Stir up, we beseech thee, The pudding in the pot, And when we get home, We'll eat it all hot!"  

 It is practically a request that God stir us up for the coming season too.

The Advent is all about the 1st and 2nd coming of Christ, and the Sundays before the Advent help us to close out the old Church year and look forward to the new coming Church year beginning the Sunday closest to the Feast of St. Andrew on 30 November.

In the Lutheran Tradition under our study this year, this collect is appointed for the 24th Sunday after Trinity with the lessons shown above and at the link. 

One may compare today's collect with the Epistle to the Colossians as appointed.  Paul wrotes that he prayed that they may be "filled with the knowledge of his [God's] will".  That is to be stirred up by the Lord, and what is the result of this petition?  Paul wrote, "being fruitful in every good work."  It is not hard to imagine that the minister composing this collect, perhaps Galatia himself, had this passage in mind. Finally, we continue to the reward. Paul points directly to the redemption through the blood of Christ, and our collect calls for us to perceive this greatest good thing, the remedy for our souls.  

Ancient Homily of Chrysostom on the Epistle here


(Portions were paraphrased and passages cited from The Collect of the Day, by Paul Zeller Strodach, 1939, The United Lutheran Press, Philadelphia)

The Ancient Collect: Its history and form



Julius - Centurion of the Augustan Cohort

Julius - Centurion of the Augustan Cohort

The Twenty-third Sunday after Trinity MMXII

Absolve, we beseech thee O Lord, the sins of thy people: so that from the bonds of our sins committed in our frailty, we may be delivered by thy bountiful goodness, through ...

Original English Translation
LORD we beseche thee, assoyle [absolve] thy people from their offences, that through thy bountiful goodnes we maye bee delyvered from the handes of all those synnes, whiche by our frayltye we have committed : Graunt this, &c. 

Introit: I know the thoughts that I think toward you saith the Lord...
Psalm: Lord, thou hast been favorable unto thy land...
Epistle:  Philippians 3:17-21  Brethren, be followers together of me...
Gradual: Thou has saved us from our enemies...
Gospel:  Matthew 22:15-22  Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel...

see it all here

This collect is said in course of the closing weeks of the Trinity season and repeated again on the Sunday before Advent in the Lutheran tradition. Here we will see it but once.

The collect begins with the petition:

Absolve...the sins of thy people 

The word absolve literally means "to pronounce somebody blameless: to state publicly or officially that somebody is not guilty and not to be held responsible".  From scripture we have these verses that confirm absolution of sin.

Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. 

Micah 7:19 He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and You wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. 

Heberws 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more

Hebrews 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

In my tradition the minister still uses this term when pronouncing forgiveness: Almighty God,...hath given power, and commandment, to his Ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the Absolution and Remission of their sins. He pardoneth and absolveth all those who truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel.

In the midst of the petition is embedded the attribute and address "Almighty God"

Then comes the result:

"so that from the bonds of our sins committed in our frailty, we may be delivered by thy bountiful goodness"

We are indeed in bondage to sin. We are a sick people in our frailty.  There is only one cure, and that comes from the Great Physician who said he came to heal those who were sick...that is, those who are in bondage to sin. It is important to note that this is an ongoing need. That is because we are human and prone to sin, seven times seventy -- and more. But in our Lord's perfect grace, we may be assured that "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." [1 John 1:9]

You say your don't sin? You say you are not sick? Then the Gospel of Jesus Christ has nothing to offer you in the way of Salvation.  He comes to those of a humble and contrite spirit who acknowledge their sins before Almighty God. He said, 

They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. [Luke 5:31-32]

Homily-Chrysosom on Matthew


(Portions were paraphrased and passages cited from The Collect of the Day, 

by Paul Zeller Strodach, 1939, The United Lutheran Press, Philadelphia)

The Ancient Collect: Its history and form



Twenty Second Sunday after Trinity MMXII

God, our refuge and our strength, give ear to the pious prayers of thy Church, Author of all Godliness, and grant that what we ask for in faithfulness, we may obtain effectually, by the Lord.

Dues, refugium nostrum et virtus: adesto piis Ecclesiae tuae precibus, auctor ipse pietatis, et praesta ut quod fidelitar petimus, efficaciter consequamur, per Dominum. [Gelasian Sacrementary]

Original English Translation
GOD, our refuge and strength, which art the author of all godlines, be ready to heare the devoute prayers of thy churche; and graunt that those thynges which we aske faithfully we maye obteine effectually; through Jesu Christe our lorde. Amen.[1549 BCP]

Introit: If thou Lord shouldest mark iniquities...
Ps: Our of the depths have I cried...
Epistle:  Philippians 1:3-11 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you...
Gradual: Behold how good and pleasant it is...
Gospel: Matthew 18:23-35  Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king...

see it all here

Lord willing we will continue this study of the ancient collects that are retained in the traditional liturgical worship of the west and complete it on the Sunday before Advent. One church year since we began.

What a lovely little prayer we have to consider this week.  

I read the lessons for today and the Epistle of Paul seemed to compliment the collect very well.  Let us look at it in some detail:

Salutation: Simply "God" with no descriptive adjectives

Attribute:  "Author of all Goodness, Our refuge and our strength."

In the prayer these two are reversed,  but in my mind these attributes are best discussed as shown above.

* Author of all Godliness. I am reminded of James' epistle where he speaks of every good and perfect gift from God.  I remember too the Gospel where Jesus asked if a father would give his children a serpent, and how much more would God the Father give good gifts to his beloved children.  We have a collect in my tradition that I say nearly every morning in season that echos this scripture: 

Almighty and everlasting God, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift; Send down upon our Bishops, and other Clergy, and upon the Congregations committed to their charge, the healthful Spirit of thy grace; and, that they may truly please thee, pour upon them the continual dew of thy blessing. Grant this, O Lord, for the honour of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen

May it ever be so for the Order!

* "Our refuge and our strength"  Two more excellent qualities enumerated here from the opening of Psalm 46 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. They were made to go with each other.

Petition -- "give ear to the pious prayers of thy Church." Again my thoughts return to the Gospel of Luke. "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"  That is his promise, and our comfort and assurance of his goodness.

Result -- "and grant that what we ask for in faithfulness, we may obtain effectually,"  I now turn to today's Epistle. Paul wrote to the Philippians with love, and told them how confident he was in their eternal salvation. He begins by addressing them as saints. That is good to remember on All Saints Sunday, that all that are in Christ are his saints.  He wrote,  "to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi."  Then Paul delivers the bottom line up front (BLUF) as we say, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."   He will indeed brothers. You may count on his word and pledge, "Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."

Termination "Through the Lord"...

Affirmation " Amen"



(Portions were paraphrased and passages cited from The Collect of the Day, by Paul Zeller Strodach, 1939, The United Lutheran Press, Philadelphia)