The Collect for Proper 5:  The Sunday closest to June 8

O God, from whom all good proceeds:
Grant that by your inspiration we may think those things that are right,
and by your merciful guiding may do them;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(BCP 229)

In the season after Pentecost, like in the season after the Epiphany, we count the Sundays since the Feast Day rather than number the Sundays in the season (see BCP 211-228).  Until our current 1979 BCP, the Episcopal Church used the method found in the Sarum Missal of counting Sundays between the end of the Season of Easter and the beginning of Advent by referring to the number of Sundays after Trinity Sunday.  (Cross and Livingston, eds, “Trinity Sunday,” The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 3rd ed., p. 1654).  With our current BCP, we count the Sundays after Pentecost instead as a sign of unity with other denominations.   For those who are interested in the titles for the Collects during The Season after Pentecost, I’ve included a brief explanation at the end of the meditation.

This Collect had been used for the Fifth Sunday after Easter as early as the eighth century and this practice continued into early Prayer Books; Marion Hatchett states that those who selected the Collects for BCP 1979 thought that this Collect better serves the Church in this Season (Hatchett, 187).

The Preamble, “O God,” does not provide us with additional information. 

The Acknowledgement, “from whom all good proceeds,” when read through the lens of Mark 10:18 with Matthew 7:7-11, reminds us that God, who is good, provides us with everything that is good.  Knowing that all good proceeds from God provides us with another source of confidence about how God will answer our petitions.

The Petition, “Grant that by your inspiration we may think those things that are right, and by your merciful guiding may do them,” can be read as a prayer for grace to live into Romans 12:1-2:  “I [Paul] appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (NRSV). 

The first half of the Petition, “Grant that by your inspiration we may think those things that are right,” is a request that God graciously breathe into our minds ideas, ways of thinking, and even thoughts themselves that are in agreement with God’s way of thinking. 

The second half of the Petition, “and by your merciful guiding may do them,” asks for the grace to discern how to live according to the good thoughts that God has given us.  Through God’s grace, living in harmony with God by intentionally applying God’s gifts of good thoughts, words, and deeds, we live into our baptism. 

The Pleading, “through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen,” reminds us that our prayers are mediated to the Holy Trinity through Jesus Christ, and that all good gifts are worked into our lives through the Holy Spirit.

How do we recognize those inspirations that are from God?

What new ideas for how we might live, worship, and serve others as a parish have come to you since we prayed this prayer last year?  How have we as a parish experienced God’s guidance in the past?  What do you think we will experience as God guides us in our discernment of how we are called to live in this coming year?

O God, from whom all good proceeds:
Grant that by your inspiration we may think those things that are right,
and by your merciful guiding may do them;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(BCP 229)

© 2022 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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