An Attempt at Composing a Collect

Tony SigWell, things have been quite slow around here, and I can’t promise they’ll speed up. Nevertheless I wanted to try and run a collect by ya’ll and see what you thought. It’s a prayer for peace that I’m basing on the book of Ephesians. Though slightly clunky so far, it is an attempt not only to get at a core part of Paul’s epistle, but also to maintain it’s distinctive trinitarian shape, which flows less easily than a traditional Anglican collect. One of the reasons I wanted to write it is for the prayer and fasting group that some of us are loosely involved in, for easy memorization and recitation when we’re not near other prayer resources. What would you change?

“Almighty God, heavenly Father, who is rich in mercy, and who by grace has made of many nations a single people in Jesus Christ, having broken down the dividing walls of hostility: Preach peace, we ask, to those far off and those near who are dead in trespasses and caught up in the violence of the world, that we with them may be made alive together with Christ, who is our peace and through whom we have access in one Spirit to You. Amen”

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7 Comments

  1. Amen.

    I think it delivers the burden of Paul’s message pretty well. I might dare to exchange an ‘all’ for the ‘we’ in the last line in order to suggest ‘through whom all have access in one Spirit to You’

    I’m not suggesting universalism of salvation, only universalism of opportunity.

    Reply

    1. “All” is by no means a stretch for Ephesians, and I don’t think it need imply universal salvation. But “we” is the wording in Ephesians (at least according to the RSV. I’m too lazy to look it up in my GNT right now) and “we” need not imply exclusive access. “We,” I feel, strikes a doxological note, not a dogmatic note; so it’s as if to say that “we here in this place have been made into a single people by you.” It’s a prayer of gratitude and praise with the “we.”

      But “all” would work well, too.

      Reply

  2. Tony, it’s beautiful. The only thing that sounds clunky to me is when I say out loud “…who by grace has made of many nations a single people…” I think it’s the people, but I’m not sure how you’d change it. I’m going to use it in morning prayer.

    Reply

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I had the same feeling. But “people” is singular. I suppose we could use “nation” like 1 Peter’s “holy nation,” but then we’re reaching out of the book. How does it sound to you?

      Reply

  3. What a great idea. First who is the audience? Is it just adults, children & adults?

    I’m having difficulty with “those far off and those near who are dead in trespasses and caught up in the violence of the world”

    It seems like two divergent points that imply linkage. Does this mean those who are in unrepentant sin do so because they are in a violent world?

    I think “dead in trespasses” may be too negative, perhaps strengthen or help/assist those who faulter in sin.
    Otherwise I like it.

    Reply

    1. It’s intent isn’t to link the two that closely. If we threw a demonstrative pronoun in there it could strengthen the distance. “those far off and those near, those who are caught up…”

      And certainly “dead in trespasses” is strong, but that’s the RSV rendering and I was using that as a base text. In fact most modern translations use it now that I’m looking at it.

      Reply

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