The Collect for Proper 29: The Sunday closest to November 23

Almighty and everlasting God,
whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son,
the King of kings and Lord of lords:
Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin,
may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
(BCP 236)

Marion Hatchett states that “[t]his is a somewhat free translation by Capt. Howard E. Galley [, the working editor of the 1979 BCP,] of the collect of the Feast of Christ the King in the Roman Missal” (Hatchett, 195; for more about Galley and his work on the 1979 BCP, see his obituary in The New York Times). 

The Preamble, “Almighty and everlasting God” affirms our trust that God is able to do what we ask and that what we ask involves God’s governance of all that God has created and is re-creating.

The Acknowledgement, “whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords,” uses the description of the person and work of Jesus found in 1 Timothy 6:11-15 (see also Revelation 17:14 and Revelation 19:16).  According to our Catechism, this mighty work of restoration is described as the mission of the Church—our calling is, through prayer, worship, proclamation of the Gospel, and promoting justice, peace, and love (Catechism:  The Church, BCP 855). 

The Petition, “Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule” describes both our current circumstances and a vision of how Christ’s reign is different from what we experience.  Sin is defined as “the seeking of our own will instead of the will of God, thus distorting our relationship with God, with other people, and with all creation” (Catechism:  Sin and Redemption, BCP, 484).  From this definition of sin, one could also include sin as a distortion of one’s relationship with oneself.  This distortion of our relationships with God, ourselves, other people, and everything else in creation is the root cause of the divisions between us.  These divisions lead to and reinforce the circumstances that enslave us.  If this distortion is not corrected, we continue in unhealthy ways of being.  Yet, while we see divisions among ourselves based upon gender, social status, economic status, nationality, religion, and many of other distinctions, Christ does not reign through creating divisions but by creating unity (see Galatians 3:25-29 and Deuteronomy 15:1-6).  As the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus’ reign begins with his setting the captives free (Luke 4:16-21 in which Isaiah 61:1 is quoted).

This Petition can be seen as an expansion of the first sentence in the prayer that Jesus taught us “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven” which we say in the Daily Office (BCP 97, 106, 121, 132) and in the Sunday Eucharist (BCP, 364). 

The Pleading, “[through God the Father’s well-beloved Son], who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen” focuses on Jesus’ reign and affirms that this form of sovereignty is in harmony with the life of the Trinity. 

Through the pandemic, we have become more aware of divisions—ways of thinking, being, and doing that enslave or entrap us into patterns that do not reflect Christ’s gracious rule. 

During this time of pandemic, what has God revealed to you as attitudes or actions that separate you from God, yourself, others, and creation?  What has our King of kings and Lord of lords freed you from so that you can live more fully under his most gracious rule?

What has God revealed to us, as a parish, as attitudes or actions that separate us from God, each other, those around our parish, and creation?  What has our King of kings and Lord of lords freed us from so that we can live more fully under his most gracious rule?  What might living more fully into the reality of Christ’s gracious rule look like and sound like for us as a parish?

Almighty and everlasting God,
whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son,
the King of kings and Lord of lords:
Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin,
may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

© 2021 Donna Hawk-Reinhard, edited by Kate McCormick
The citations from Marion Hatchett are from his Commentary on the American Prayer Book, HarperOne, 1995
Quotations and page references to The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) are from the 1979 standard edition. 
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

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