The presentation of Christ in the temple, commonly called the Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin
BEHOLD now, praise the Lord : all ye servants of the Lord;
2. Ye that by night stand in the house of the Lord : even in the courts of the house of our God.
3. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary : and praise the Lord.
4. The Lord that made heaven and earth : give thee blessing out of Sion.
Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thy Majesty, that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in substance of our flesh, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts, by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Old Testament Reading: Malachi 3.1-5
Psalter: Psalm 84
Epistle Reading: Galatians 1.1-24
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 2.22-40
Toon: “Let us now turn to the actual content of the Collect.
"Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thy Majesty." God the Father is both all-powerful and all-alive. He is not merely everlasting but everliving. And he is "Majesty," a most appropriate word here as what is being remembered actually happened in the temple of Jerusalem, the LORD's earthly palace in the time of the old covenant. He is the "great King over all the earth" (Psalm 47:2). Did not Isaiah see "the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up" with the train of his robe filling the whole temple (Isaiah 6: 1)?
"That, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in substance of our flesh." As Jesus is the Incarnate Son of God, One Person made known in two natures, divine and human, he is both of one substance with the Father and also of one substance with us. He shares our human nature, our humanity, our flesh and blood. As the infant of 40 days he appeared in the temple as boy, as human, as flesh, but Simeon and Anna were given eyes to see also that he was/is the Son of God who has taken to himself our human flesh.
"So we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts." We fervently ask the Father for the sake of his Son and by his Holy Spirit to assist us in our self-examination and penitence that we may know his forgiveness and cleansing, and thus approach him with purified hearts.
Perhaps here we can think of infant baptism followed later by confirmation and whole-hearted commitment to the Lord and his work. In such baptism we are presented by sponsors/godparents and then later we take unto ourselves the promises they made for us and we receive the strengthening of the Lord in order to be full and active members of his Church.
The ending of the Collect, by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is the only use of "by" in the Collects of the editions of the Prayer Book from 1549 to 1662 in this way. Usually it is "through Jesus Christ." Perhaps it was directed against any idea of addressing intercession to the Blessed Virgin Mary by making it absolutely clear that Jesus is the sole and only Mediator between God and man.
One final comment. As the festival occurs in Epiphany, the season wherein the emphasis is upon the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, at his Baptism, and in other ways, it fits into this theme, being his earliest manifestation inside the house of his heavenly Father” (http://www.pbs.org.uk/bcp/commentary_detail.php?CommentaryID=14).