Our Collect of the Day from Sunday, the fourth in Epiphanytide, is the first Sunday Collect this season that matches the old Prayer Book tradition. The first three Sundays have modern Collects to reflect the modern Epiphany emphasis on missions, and now this fourth one takes us back to the original Epiphany tradition. Here it is:
O God, you know that we are set in the midst of so many and grave dangers that in the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright: Grant us your strength and protection to support us in all dangers and carry us through every temptation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
What I thought we’d do with this Collect today, rather than analyze it or link to a Scripture reading, is match it up with a hymn. And, rather than dig up a lesser-known song as we’ve done a few times already, let’s pair this classic Collect with a classic hymn: O worship the King.
According to hymnary.org this song appears in nearly 1,000 different books, and probably hundreds more that aren’t compiled on that site. The lyrics were written by Robert Grant in 1833, loosely based on Psalm 104. It has been set to a couple different tunes, so I’ll let you readers fight over if LYONS or HANOVER is best, or if one should vote third party.
It is the 5th verse that especially links up with the Collect for Epiphany IV.
Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In thee, Lord, we trust, nor find thee to fail;
Thy mercies, how tender! how firm to the end!
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and friend!
Both the prayer and the hymn consider us in terms of frailty. We are “set in the midst of so many and grave dangers”, we need God’s “strength and protection” that, unlike us, are “firm to the end!” It seems appropriate to consider this hymn a sort of response or follow-up to the Collect: we pray for God’s promised protection, and then we sing joyfully of his steadfast love, his covenant faithfulness, by which we know that our maker, defender, and redeemer is also our friend.