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The Circumcision of Christ: 1 January 2014

The Circumcision of Christ.

Psalm 122
Laetatus sum
I WAS glad when they said unto me : We will go into the house of the Lord.
2. Our feet shall stand in thy gates : O Jerusalem.
3. Jerusalem is built as a city : that is at unity in itself.
4. For thither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord : to testify unto Israel, to give thanks unto the Name of the Lord.
5. For there is the seat of judgement : even the seat of the house of David.
6. O pray for the peace of Jerusalem : they shall prosper that love thee.
7. Peace be within thy walls : and plenteousness within thy palaces.
8. For my brethren and companions’ sakes : I will wish thee prosperity.
9. Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God : I will seek to do thee good.

The Collect.
ALMIGHTY God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true Circumcision of the Spirit; that, our hearts, and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epistle Reading: Philippians 2.9-13
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 2.15-21

Toon: “The Book of Common Prayer (1662) makes no special provision for the Second Sunday after Christmas (which occurs 4 out of 7 times), but directs that what is provided for the Feast of the Circumcision be used on this day also. Editions of the Prayer Book since 1928 do, however, usually provide Propers for the Second Sunday (see e.g., the PECUSA Prayer Book of 1928).

The Collect is addressed to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who by adoption and grace is also our Father. Circumcision was the entrance into the covenant of the Law (Genesis 17:12) and to receive it implied taking on the whole obligation of the Law. It was the Father's will that his Incarnate Son should, as one born of a woman and under the Law, submit to that Law. Thus "when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus" (Luke 2:21). Yet he did not submit to the Law for his own sake, but for ours in order to fulfil in our place our debt to the whole Law of God, ceremonial and moral. He was born to be our Representative and Substitute, whether we be Jew or Gentile. And the shedding of the drops of blood at his circumcision point to the greater shedding of his precious blood for us at Calvary, thirty or so years later.

In the light of this crucial doctrine about the Incarnation, Circumcision and Obedience (active & passive) of Christ Jesus, we earnestly pray for an internal gift of grace, the true circumcision of the Spirit. Not the old circumcision of the flesh but "circumcision of the heart, in the spirit" (Romans 2:28-29). That is, we ask for the action of the Holy Spirit upon our spirits that energised by heavenly power we shall be enabled to cut away all sinful desires from our hearts and to put them to death (mortified - see Colossians 3:15). For it is only when the power of evil desires and habits is dispelled from the various faculties and recesses of the soul, that we are able seriously to obey the will of the Lord, our God, in the name of his blessed Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thus, when spiritually circumcised and whether male or female, we are able to present out bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God (Romans 12:1). Hands, cleansed and ready to work on God's assignments; feet, washed and ready to run his errands of mercy and love; eyes, purified from lust, ready to meditate upon and contemplate God's works and words; ears, cleansed of flattery and enticement, ready to hear the voice of God and the cry of the needy; the tongue, mortified of evil speech and idle words, ready to praise the Lord - in all a living sacrifice!

It seems that Archbishop Thomas Cranmer created this Collect not by translating the Collect in the Sarum Use, but by using and adopting the Latin benediction for this feast. Translated this Benediction runs, "Almighty God, whose only-begotten Son on this day received bodily circumcision, purify your minds by the spiritual circumcision from every allurement of vice, ..."

In conclusion, even as the Litany joins together the Nativity ("made of a woman") and the Circumcision ("made under the law"), so let us celebrate these Events by our faithful use of this Collect to the salvation of our souls and the redemption of our bodies” (


For The New Year: "Almighty and Everlasting God, from whom cometh down every good and perfect gift; we give thee thanks for all thy benefits, temporal and spiritual, bestowed upon us in the year past, and we beseech thee of thy goodness, grant us a favorable and joyful year, defend us from all dangers and adversities, and send upon us the fullness of thy blessing; through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever One God, world without end. Amen" ("The Book of Worship: Approved by the General Synod of the Evangelical Reformed Church," 1947, p. 120).


Sunday after Christmas-Day - 2013

The Sunday after Christmas-Day.

Psalm 121
Levavi oculus
I WILL lift up mine eyes unto the hills : from whence cometh my help.
2. My help cometh even from the Lord : who hath made heaven and earth.
3. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved : and he that keepeth thee will not sleep.
4. Behold, he that keepeth Israel : shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5. The Lord himself is thy keeper : the Lord is thy defence upon thy right hand.
6. So that the sun shall not burn thee by day : neither the moon by night.
7. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil : yea, it is even he that shall keep thy soul.
8. The Lord shall preserve thy going out, and thy coming in: from this time forth for evermore.

The Collect.
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

[Then shall follow the Collect of the Nativity, which shall be said continually unto New-year’s Eve.]

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 9.2-7
Psalter: Morning-2, 8; Evening-89
Epistle Reading: Galatians 4.1-7
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 1.18-25

St. Irenaeus: “On this account, therefore, the Lord Himself, who is Emmanuel from the Virgin, is the sign of our salvation, since it was the Lord Himself who saved them, because they could not be saved by their own instrumentality; and, therefore, when Paul sets forth human infirmity, he says: “For I know that there dwelleth in my flesh no good thing,” showing that the “good thing” of our salvation is not from us, but from God. And again: “Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Then he introduces the Deliverer, [saying,] “The grace of Jesus Christ our Lord.” And Isaiah declares this also, [when he says:] “Be ye strengthened, ye hands that hang down, and ye feeble knees; be ye encouraged, ye feeble-minded; be comforted, fear not: behold, our God has given judgment with retribution, and shall recompense: He will come Himself, and will save us.” Here we see, that not by ourselves, but by the help of God, we must be saved” (“Against Heretics,” III.20.3).


The Holy Innocents (28 December) - 2013

The Innocents’ Day.

Psalm 79
Deus, venerunt
O GOD, the heathen are come into thine inheritance : thy holy temple have they defiled, and made Jerusalem an heap of stones.
2. The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the air : and the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the land.
3. Their blood have they shed like water on every side of Jerusalem : and there was no man to bury them.
4. We are become an open shame to our enemies : a very scorn and derision unto them that are round about us.
5. Lord, how long wilt thou be angry : shall thy jealousy burn like fire for ever?
6. Pour out thine indignation upon the heathen that have not known thee : and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy Name.
7. For they have devoured Jacob : and laid waste his dwelling place.
8. O remember not our old sins, but have mercy upon us, and that soon : for we are come to great misery.
9. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy Name : O deliver us, and be merciful unto our sins, for thy Name’s sake.
10. Wherefore do the heathen say : Where is now their God?
11. O let the vengeance of thy servants’ blood that is shed : be openly shewed upon the heathen in our sight.
12. O let the sorrowful sighing of the prisoners come before thee : according to the greatness of thy power, preserve thou those that are appointed to die.
13. And for the blasphemy wherewith our neighbours have blasphemed thee : reward thou them , O Lord, seven-fold into their bosom.
14. So we, that are thy people, and sheep of thy pasture, shall give thee thanks for ever : and will alway be shewing forth thy praise from generation to generation.

The Collect.
O ALMIGHTY God, who out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast ordained strength, and madest infants to glorify thee by their deaths; Mortify and kill all vices in us, and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith even unto death, we may glorify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[Then shall follow the Collect of the Nativity, which shall be said continually unto New-year’s Eve.]

Epistle Reading: Revelation 14.1-5
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew2.13-18

For a short meditation on this day see my post at:

Also, in a recent Advent sermon I brought up this incident. You can see what I brought out here:

St. John, Apostle and Evangelist - 2013

Saint John the Evangelist’s Day.

Psalm 11
In Domino confido
IN THE Lord put I my trust : how say ye then to my soul, that she should flee as a bird unto the hill?
2. For lo, the ungodly bend their bow, and make ready their arrows within the quiver : that they may privily shoot at them which are true of heart.
3. For the foundations will be cast down : and what have the righteous done?
4. The Lord is in his holy temple : the Lord’s seat is in heaven.
5. His eyes consider the poor : and his eye-lids try the children of men.
6. The Lord alloweth the righteous : but the ungodly, and him that delighteth in wickedness, doth his soul abhor.
7. Upon the ungodly he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, storm and tempest : this shall be their portion to drink.
8. For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness : his countenance will behold the thing that is just.

The Collect.
MERCIFUL Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church, that it being enlightened by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[Then shall follow the Collect of the Nativity, which shall be said continually unto New-year’s Eve.]

Epistle Reading:1 John 1.1-10

Gospel Reading: St. John 21.19-25


St. Stephen's Day - 2013

Saint Stephen’s Day.

Psalm 52
Quid gloriaris?
WHY boastest thou thyself, thou tyrant : that thou canst do mischief;
2. Whereas the goodness of God : endureth yet daily?
3. Thy tongue imagineth wickedness : and with lies thou cuttest like a sharp rasor.
4. Thou hast loved unrighteousness more then goodness : and to talk of lies more than righteousness.
5. Thou hast loved to speak all words that may do hurt : O thou false tongue.
6. Therefore shall God destroy thee for ever : he shall take thee, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling, and root thee out of the land of the living.
7. The righteous also shall see this, and fear : and shall laugh him to scorn;
8. Lo, this is the man that took not God for his strength : but trusted unto the multitude of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.
9. As for me, I am like a green olive-tree in the house of God : my trust is in the tender mercy of God for ever and ever.
10. I will always give thanks unto thee for that thou hast done : and I will hope in thy Name, for thy saints like it well.

The Collect.
Grant, O Lord, that in all our sufferings here upon earth for the testimony of thy truth, we may stedfastly look up to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed; and, being filled with the Holy Ghost, may learn to love and bless our persecutors by the example of thy first Martyr Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O blessed Jesus, who standest at the right hand of God to succour all those that suffer for thee, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

[Then shall follow the Collect of the Nativity, which shall be said continually unto New-year’s Eve.]

Epistle Reading: Acts (6.8-7.53) 7.54-60

Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 23.34-39


The Nativity of our Lord - 2013

The Nativity of our Lord, or the Birth-day of Christ,
Commonly called Christmas-Day.

Psalm 98
Cantate Domino
O SING unto the Lord a new song : for he hath done marvellous things.
2. With his own right hand, and with his holy arm : hath he gotten himself the victory.
3. The Lord declared his salvation : his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.
4. He hath remembered his mercy and truth toward the house of Israel : and all the ends of the world have seen the salvation of our God.
5. Shew yourselves joyful unto the Lord, all ye lands : sing, rejoice, and give thanks.
6. Praise the Lord upon the harp : sing to the harp with a psalm of thanksgiving.
7. With trumpets also and shawms : O shew yourselves joyful before the Lord the King.
8. Let the sea make a noise, and all that therein is : the round world, and they that dwell therein.
9. Let the floods clap their hands, and let the hills be joyful together before the Lord : for he is come to judge the earth.
10. With righteousness shall he judge the world : and the people with equity.

The Collect.
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin: Grant that we, being regenerate and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Epistle Reading: Hebrews 1.1-12
Gospel Reading: St. John 1.1-14

Toon: “The Collect is addressed to the Almighty Father, as in the Creed --- I believe in one God, the Father Almighty.

In addressing the Father, and in his holy presence, we remind ourselves with due reverence and awe, of the supremely important Event that lies behind Christmas Day. That the eternal Father has given to the world, has sent into the world, his only-begotten Son, and in doing so has caused him to assume as his own, to take unto himself, our very human nature; and to achieve this by taking that human nature within the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary and being born from her, both as her son and as the Incarnate Son of God. Thus the One Person of the Only-Begotten Son by making his own our human nature became One Person with two natures, one divine and one human. He is Immanuel, God with us.

On the basis of this Fact and this Truth, we are well placed in genuine humility to offer our earnest petition to the Father in the Name of this Son.

"Grant" is a verb that suggests that what we ask for only God can supply. We pray that we (who have been baptized by water and the Spirit and made God's children by being adopted into his family) may daily be renewed by his Holy Spirit. That is we need God's immediate assistance through the presence of the Holy Ghost in order to live daily as faithful children of God, disciples of Christ, who call his Father, "our Father."

We celebrate the Incarnation at a specific time ("as at this time") in the Christian Year; but, we are to live as God's born-again people every day.

The Son of God may be said to have had two "births" - an origin/birth of the Father (and beyond our understanding) in eternity, and a birth as man from the Blessed Virgin Mary in space and time. Likewise his disciples may be said to have had two births - one from their mothers and one from above (in holy Baptism with regeneration). By their second birth they are united through the Holy Ghost with the Incarnate Son and in him to the Father.

The Collect ends with a full recognition of the sovereignty of the one God as Three Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost” (
[If in any Church the Holy Communion be twice celebrated on Christmas Day, the following Collect, Epistle, and Gospel may be used at the first Communion. [Appropriate for Christmas Eve]

Psalm 8
Domine, Dominus noster
O LORD our Governor, how excellent is thy Name in all the world : thou hast set thy glory above the heavens!
2. Out of the mouth of very babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength, because of thine enemies : that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
3. For I will consider thy heavens, even the works of thy fingers : the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained.
4. What is man, that thou art mindful of him : and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5. Thou madest him lower than the angels : to crown him with glory and worship.
6. Thou makest him to have dominion of the works of thy hands : and thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet;
7. All sheep and oxen : yea, and the beasts of the field;
8. The fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea : and whatsoever walketh through the paths of the seas.
9. O Lord our Governor : how excellent is thy Name in all the world!

GOD, who makest us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of thine only Son Jesus Christ; Grant that as we joyfully receive him for our Redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him when he shall come to be our Judge, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.]

Epistle Reading: Titus 2.11-15

Gospel Reading: Luke 2.1-14


Fourth Sunday in Advent - 2013

The Fourth Sunday in Advent.
Psalm 5
Verba mea auribus.
PONDER my words, O Lord : consider my meditation
2. O hearken thou unto the voice of my calling, my King, and my God : for unto thee will I make my prayer.
3. My voice shalt thou hear betimes, O Lord : early in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
4. For thou art the God that hast no pleasure in wickedness : neither shall any devil dwell with thee.
5. Such as be foolish shall not stand in thy sight : for thou hatest all of them that work vanity.
6. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing : the Lord will abhor both the blood-thirsty and deceitful man.
7. But as for me, I will come into thine house, even upon the multitude of thy mercy : and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.
8. Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness, because of mine enemies : make thy way plain before my face.
9. For there is no faithfulness in his mouth : their inward parts are very wickedness.
10. Their throat is an open sepulchre : they flatter with their tongue.
11. Destroy thou them, O God; let them perish through their own imaginations : cast them out in the multitude of their ungodliness; for they have rebelled against thee.
12. And let all them that put their trust in thee rejoice : they shall ever be giving of thanks, because thou defendest them; they that love thy Name shall be joyful in thee;
13. For thou, Lord, wilt give thy blessing unto the righteous : and with thy favourable kindness wilt thou defend him as with a shield.

The Collect.
O LORD, raise up (we pray thee) thy power, and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness, we are sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before us, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through the satisfaction of thy Son our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

The Collect from the First Sunday in Advent is to be repeated every day, with the other Collects in Advent, until Christmas-Eve.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 40.1-11
Psalter: Morning-98, 99; Evening-101, 103
Epistle Reading: Philippians 4.4-7
Gospel Reading: St. John 1.19-28

Toon: “This Collect is the last for the season of Advent and is used for the Sunday and such other days as they are up to Christmas Eve.

The two major themes of Advent have been the First Coming in humility and the Second Coming in glory of the one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of the Father.

In this last period of Advent the emphasis is upon the Second Advent because from Christmas Eve the emphasis will most solidly be upon the First Coming, the Incarnation of the eternal Son from the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Collect is addressed to the Father, the first Person in order of the Holy Trinity, and it is an earnest request that he will gather up his power and descend to his people (by the Holy Ghost) in order to help, succour and sustain them in the race they are running in their earthly pilgrimage towards the goal & fullness of the kingdom of heaven (see Hebrews 12:1).

In making this petition, God's people recognize that due to their sins of omission and commission they have failed to run in God's grace as gracefully and swiftly as they are called to do and ought to have done. Thus they look to the Father to provide them through his Son and by his Spirit, and in grace and mercy, the help they need. In particular they look to the "satisfaction of thy Son", to his perfect obedience of the Father in his life and in his death, as the basis for asking for divine mercy and assistance (i.e., to his active and passive obedience).

If God's people are to live as those who expect the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, then they need not only to watch and pray but also to live as the obedient and faithful servants of God, engaged daily in his service and running the race that is set before them.

The Collect ends in doxology to the Three Persons of the Blessed, Holy and Undivided Trinity” (

Though this is not specifically about Advent and Christmas, you may find it helpful: “Grumbling and Grousing before the Grace of God.”


Third Sunday in Advent (and Ember Days) - 2013

The Third Sunday in Advent.
Psalm 4
Cum invocarem
HEAR me when I call, O God of my righteousness : thou hast set me at liberty when I was in trouble; have mercy upon me, and hearken unto my prayer.
2. O ye sons of men, how long will ye blaspheme mine honour : and have such pleasure in vanity, and seek after leasing?
3. Know this also, that the Lord hath chosen to himself the man that is godly: when I call upon the Lord, he will hear me.
4. Stand in awe, and sin not : commune with your own heart, and in your chamber, and be still.
5. Offer the sacrifice of righteousness : and put your trust in the Lord.
6. There be many that say : Who will shew us any good?
7. Lord, lift thou up : the light of thy countenance upon us.
8. Thou hast put gladness in my heart : since the time that their corn and wine and oil increased.
9. I will lay me down in peace, and take my rest : for it is thou, Lord, only, that makest me dwell in safety.

The Collect.
O LORD Jesu Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee; Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

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

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 35
Psalter: Morning-52, 53; Evening-93, 94
Epistle Reading: 1 Corinthians 4.1-5
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 11.2-10

Toon: “This Collect was written in 1661 by Bishop Cosin of Durham and inserted into the 1662 edition of The Book of Common Prayer, to replace the Collect that had been in there since the first edition of 1549. This was very brief: "LORD, we beseech thee, give ear to our prayers, and by thy gracious visitation lighten the darkness of our heart..."

The Address. In The Book of Common Prayer of 1662 only three Collects are addressed to the Incarnate Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Advent 3, St Stephen's Day & Lent 1) while the rest are addressed to God, the Father. Here Jesus of Nazareth is thought of as the exalted Messiah, who has been given the name of "the Lord" by his Father. He reigns in heaven at the right hand of the Father as the Lord of lords and King of kings over the whole universe and also over the kingdom of the Father, wherein are all the redeemed and holy angels.

The Recollection. As we address the Lord Jesus Christ, we recall in his presence an aspect of that which he has done in salvation history in order for it to become the basis for our specific petition to him. And what we recall is that He as the Lord of history and salvation caused John the Baptist to prepare the way for himself, as the Messiah of Israel, and for his messianic ministry of bringing the message and power of the kingdom of God from heaven to earth. We are not here presuming to tell the Lord Jesus what He already knows perfectly; but, rather, we are remembering in his presence what we need to have in mind in this act of prayer.

The Petition. God's people pray especially this Sunday and during the week for those who are ordained ministers, that they may be faithful heralds of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ even as John the Baptist was a faithful herald of the ministry of the Messiah at the First Coming. The description of a Christian minister (from the original Greek words of the NT) is in terms of a rower (huperetes) in the Church's galley and as a steward (dispenser/housekeeper) in the household of God. As slaves/rowers in the Church's galley, ministers receive orders and the timing of their rowing from the Captain, who is also their pilot on the voyage. As stewards or housekeepers, ministers also serve those who attend Christ's Banquet with that which the Lord himself has provided (see the Epistle reading). If the ministers are faithful as rowers and stewards they will be God's agents in bring people to repentance from sin and commitment to holiness and service of the Lord.

This prayer for clergy is particularly meaningful on this Sunday for Advent 3 is an ember week and Advent 4 is traditionally a time for ordinations. The Aspiration. No-one knows when the Lord Jesus will return to earth in power and great glory and accompanied by the holy angels. Yet it is most necessary that the household of God, the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, be in such a state of faithfulness, godliness and preparedness, that they may be found an acceptable people at his Parousia/Appearing. They want to hear at the Judgement his words, "Well done thou good and faithful servant."

The Termination. Since this Collect is addressed to the Second Person of the Holy, Blessed Trinity, the ending unites Him with the First and Third Persons in a brief doxology. There are three Persons, each of whom possesses in totality the One Godhead or Divinity/Deity and thus we say, "Three Persons and One God. A Unity in Trinity and a Trinity in Unity"” (

In the Ember Weeks, to be said every day, for those that are about to be admitted into Holy Orders.
ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who hast purchased to thyself an universal Church by the precious blood of thy dear Son; Mercifully look upon the same, and at this time so guide and govern the minds of thy servants the Bishops and Pastors of thy flock, that they may lay hands suddenly on no man, but faithfully and wisely make choice of fit persons, to serve in the sacred Ministry of thy Church. And to those which shall be ordained to any holy function, give thy grace and heavenly benediction; that both by their life and doctrine they may show forth thy glory, and set forward the salvation of all men; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Or this.

ALMIGHTY God, the giver of all good gifts, who of thy divine providence hast appointed divers Orders in thy Church; Give thy grace, we humbly beseech thee, to all those who are to be called to any office and administration in the same; and so replenish them with the truth of thy doctrine, and endue them with innocency of life, that they may faithfully serve before thee, to the glory of thy great Name, and the benefit of thy holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Second Sunday in Advent - 2013

The Second Sunday in Advent.

Psalm 120
Ad Dominum
WHEN I was in trouble I called upon the Lord : and he heard me.
2. Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips : and from a deceitful tongue.
3. What reward shall be given or done unto thee, thou false tongue : even mighty and sharp arrows, with hot burning coals.
4. Woe is me, that I am constrained to dwell with Mesech : and to have my habitation among the tents of Kedar.
5. My soul hath long dwelt among them : that are enemies unto peace.
6. I labour for peace, but when I speak unto them thereof : they make them ready to battle.

The Collect.
BLESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

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

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 55.1-13
Psalter: Morning-80, 82; Evening-25, 26
Epistle Reading: Romans 15.4-13
Gospel Reading: Luke 21.25-33

Toon: “The Collect in The Book of Common Prayer (1662) was written by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. It reflects the concern of the English Reformers that the Scriptures assume their proper authority and place, not only for doctrine and in worship, but also in daily living.

It is most fitting that at the beginning of the Christian Year the gift from God of the Holy Scriptures is celebrated by the Household of God. We, who are Christians, live in the light of the First Coming in humility of the Lord Jesus even as we look for his Second Coming in glory (see the Collect for Advent 1 for the Two Comings). All the time in this interim period of grace we are to be taught by his sacred Word, the Holy Scriptures.

This Collect is addressed to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is called "Blessed Lord." We are familiar with such expressions as "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel" (Luke 1:68) and "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 1:3). The general idea is that God, the Creator, is blessed (praised and adored) by all his creation and/or by his covenant people - the Latin would be benedictus. Then there is the further idea (see 1 Timothy 1:11 & 6:15) of God being "blessed" in the sense that his character and attributes are glorious and full of eternal beauty - the Latin would be beatus. Here it is benedictus (Benedicte Domine). Thus the Father is the Blessed Lord who is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, and praised and adored by all creation and especially by the redeemed thereof.

Having identified and addressed the One to whom we desire to offer prayer, we then engage in a moment of meditatory prayer, or recollection, as we remember a most significant fact in the relation of grace between God the Holy Trinity and man. He has caused all Holy Scriptures - the Canon with Two Testaments - to be written (and gathered and translated) for our benefit, salvation, sanctification, instruction and education. And he has given this amazing gift to his people to be used under his perpetual care as a permanent possession for our good and his glory.

Being in the presence of the Lord Jesus and suitably recollected by the help of his Spirit, we are in a position to offer our basic and extensive petition. And this begins with a strong verb, "Grant." This verb carries the sense of being wholly and totally in need of the mercy of the One to whom supplication is offered. In other words, we who make this petition do really and truly need his favour and help in order to benefit from the supremely wonderful gift that he has placed in the hands of holy mother Church, even the Holy Scriptures.

The verbs used - hear, read, mark, learn & inwardly digest - are so arranged as to suggest perhaps the movement from initial, superficial acquaintance with the content of the Bible to the profoundest reception of that content deep in the soul, in the heart, mind and will, and in the fear of God. To hear is to hear both with the outer ear and with the inner ear and thus hear in the mind and the conscience, where the seed of the word of God must be sown. To read (which was not possible for all in the 16th century) is yet another route for the word to enter the soul. To mark is to pay close attention to what is heard and/or read, to meditate upon it, to chew the cud as it were. To learn is to commit to memory the essentials of what is heard and read. "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee" (Psalm 119:11). To digest the word of God can only occur when there has been the receiving, the noting, the meditating and the remembering, for, in digestion, the spiritual food (be it the milk or the solid food) enters the "blood stream" of the soul. "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119:103).

The result of the right reception of the Word of God is that (a) by patience; and (b) by the comfort of God's Word, we embrace and hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life ("blessed" here is beatus, pointing to the unique majestic glory of the Second Coming, which is the Christian hope). The patience is the patient waiting for the Second Coming of Christ to bring to an end this evil age and to inaugurate the age of the kingdom of God. And the "blessed hope" is also the glorious Appearing, the Second Coming of the Saviour. Thus a basic theme of the Collect is the right use of Scripture as a means of preparing for the Second Advent as we live in the Light of the first Advent. In other words, though it is a very appropriate prayer for the beginning of Advent and of the Church Year, it is also a prayer that is suitable every day and week!

And it ends with the full recognition that it is only through, by, in and with Christ Jesus that we go to the Father for succour and the Father comes to us with gifts and blessings” (

Primus Pilus II


First Sunday of Advent - 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 Peter Toon at  On occasion I may also append some personal observations along with those of some of the earlier Church fathers.

The First Sunday of Advent.
Psalm 1
Beatus vir, qui non abiit, &c.
1. BLESSED is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners : and hath not sat in the seat of the scornful.
2. But his delight is in the law of the Lord : and in his law will he exercise himself day and night.
3. And he shall be like a tree planted by the water-side : that will bring forth his fruit in due season.
4. His leaf also shall not wither : and look, whatsoever he doeth, it shall prosper.
5. As for the ungodly, it is not so with them : but they are like the chaff, which the wind scattereth away from the face of the earth.
6. Therefore the ungodly shall not be able to stand in the judgement : neither the sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
7. But the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous : and the way of the ungodly shall perish.

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: 21.1-13

Toon: “This beautiful and moving prayer was written specifically for The Book of the Common Prayer (1549) by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. Its structure, style and contents reveal just how perfectly he had mastered in English the grammatical structure of the traditional Latin Collects. It is a most appropriate prayer with which to begin the Christian Year for it is addressed to the Father, Almighty God, is centered upon the Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, and looks for the direct help in daily living of the Spirit of the Father and the Son (the Holy Ghost). And it takes specific guidance and inspiration from the Epistle.
Here in remembrance before Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we remember both (i) the Advent/Coming of the Only-Begotten Son when he humbled himself, took to himself our human nature and was born from the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bethlehem, and (ii) the future Advent/Coming of the same Son as the Lord of lords and King of kings to earth at the end the age in great glory, to raise the dead and to judge the peoples, and to inaugurate the kingdom of God.

As baptized believers, living in a world darkened by evil and sin, but given Light by Jesus Christ who is the Light of the world, we ask for the personal help of the Father, through the Holy Ghost, in order to live not as children of darkness but rather as children of light. Indeed, we pray to be protected by the armour of light (see Romans 13:12). When Christ Jesus returns to earth in his Second Coming he will dispel all shadows and darkness, clear up all doubts, chase away all sorrows and cause the new dawn of the new day of the new age to appear. Then we shall cast off our sleeping apparel and put on the shining dress of the kingdom of God, as we are raised to the life immortal.

Prayed each day at Morning and Evening Prayer and whenever the Lord’s Supper is celebrated during the four weeks of Advent, this Collect is a real means of grace whereby we prepare rightly during the four weeks of Advent to celebrate the Incarnation at Christmas and the Epiphany a little later.

In some forms of churchmanship Advent is regarded as a time of penitence, a kind of short Lent. Such may be based upon the words cast away the works of darkness, which requires not only effort (assisted by divine grace) but self- examination to become aware of sin and darkness in the heart, mind and soul. Further, the theme of the Second Advent calls forth from the people of God, fasting and prayer as they watch and pray.

Let us make full use of it and pray its words with appropriate piety and reverence” (