Modern Prayer Books have given us some pretty neat prayers related to the passage and sanctity of time, and how we the liturgical tradition helps us encompass time into our very spirituality. I’ve written about a few of them already, and now we’re looking at two more from the Office of Daily Morning Prayer in the 2019 Prayer Book.
Collect for Endurance (Friday Morning)
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain,
and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
Mercifully grant that we,
walking in the way of the Cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
This prayer was written by Bishop Huntington and proposed for the 1892 Prayer Book, but not adopted until 1928 where it became the Collect for Monday in Holy Week. (Before 1928, Monday through Wednesday in Holy Week did not have unique collects.) This prayer continues in that role in the 1979 and the present Prayer Books, but was adopted in 1979 for Fridays in Morning Prayer, as continues to be the recommendation here.
The theology of the cross is the major biblical background for this prayer, drawing especially from the language of Romans 8. That our Lord had to suffer before he was glorified is a major theme in the Gospel according to Saint John and famous Holy Week texts such as Philippians 2, and the application of that “way of the cross” has been an enduring element in Christian spirituality ever since. Although there are victories to celebrate, as the Collect for Strength to Await Christ’s Return indicates, we still must also take up our cross and follow him. Though we have much to endure, we can find following Christ to be “the way of life and peace.”
Collect for Sabbath Rest (Saturday Morning)
Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works
and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures:
Grant that we,
putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary,
and that our rest here on earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest
promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This is another 19th century prayer, written by Edward Benson, the 94th Archbishop of Canterbury. His original used the word “sabbath” instead of “rest” in the body of the text. Its first entry into the Prayer Book tradition seems to be in 1979, labelled a “Collect for Saturdays”, where it remains here.
This prayer reads as a brief summary of a theology of rest, drawing primarily from Hebrews 4:1-9. The rest that God appointed for all his creatures on the Sabbath day is both an acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty in the old creation, and an anticipation of his completion of the new creation yet to be revealed. Our day of rest is to be a time to “put away earthly anxieties” and prepare for the divine work of worship.