The Collect for Proper 6: The Sunday closest to June 15

Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love,
that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness,
and minister your justice with compassion;
for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
(BCP 230)

Written by the Rev. Dr. Massey H. Shepherd, this mission-focused Collect “includes quotations from the collects for the fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, the second Sunday after Trinity, and the twenty-second Sunday after Trinity in earlier Prayer Books” (Hatchett, 187).

The Preamble, “O Lord,” is relational—by calling God “Lord,” we acknowledge that God is sovereign over us and the one to whom we have pledged our allegiance through baptism (the sixth question to the candidate for baptism is “Do you promise to follow and obey him [Jesus Christ] as your Lord?” BCP 303).  Through the mystery of the Trinity, we have one Lord – “the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy [Spirit] Lord.  And yet not three Lords, but one Lord” (The Creed of Athanasius, Historical Documents, BCP 865).

The Petition, “Keep … your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love,” in naming the Church as God’s household, invites us into another glorious mystery—our salvation is not merely reconciliation with God, but being adopted and brought into God’s household, the Church (John 1:9-13, Ephesians 2:19, Galatians 4:6-7). 

On Trinity Sunday, we prayed that God would “keep us steadfast in this faith and worship”—“this faith” referring to trust in the mystery of the Holy Trinity.  We need grace to acknowledge the Trinity and power to worship the Unity of the Trinity. 

In this week’s Collect, we pray that all of God’s household, the Church, be kept in God’s steadfast faith and love.  In the sequence of these prayers, we first ask to be kept steadfast in the faith we have received and to be able to worship God.  Now we ask that we be kept in God’s steadfast faith—that God would continue to trust that the good work that God began in us will be completed, enabling us to be faithful in our calling (see Philippians 1:6 and 2:12-13, and Ephesians 2:10)—and God’s steadfast love.  Another way of looking at this petition is that we are asking God to be God’s self—patient and loving, faithful to those whom God loves and who love God. 

The Aspiration, “that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion” gives us the reason for why we need the petition.  In the Aspiration we hear that we are asking for this grace so that we can live into our mission of boldly proclaiming God’s truth and doing God’s justice compassionately.  God’s truth is revealed in the person of Jesus; God’s justice is doing what is right, which is also revealed in the person of Jesus, since Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).  But it’s not merely doing justly that is in view in this Aspiration, but compassionately ministering justice. 

The Pleading, “for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen,” connects the Petition and Aspiration to the life, work, and ministry of Jesus.  We ask for this prayer to be answered so that the Church—those who have been adopted into God’s household as Jesus’s brothers and sisters (Matthew 12:46-50)—may accomplish God’s will.   

Boldly proclaiming something can be hard work, especially if what one is trying to proclaim is an abstract concept or an idea of which one isn’t confident.  In this Collect we ask for grace to proclaim boldly God’s truth.  How might telling others about our relationship, as a parish, with Jesus, shift our thinking about what “proclaiming God’s truth” entails?

How does thinking about justice as something that is ministered with compassion challenge us to think about issues in our community and our nation that need to be addressed? 

Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love,
that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness,
and minister your justice with compassion;
for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
(BCP 230)

© 2021 Donna Hawk-Reinhard, edited by Kate McCormick

1 thought on “The Collect for Proper 6: The Sunday closest to June 15”

  1. Pingback: The Collect for Proper 14: The Sunday closest to August 10 - The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top