Collect for the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in
heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of
your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through
Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the
Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Scripture, Tradition and Reason. Lex Orandi Lex Credendi. What do Anglicans, we Episcopalians, believe? Come worship with us and see: our theology may be found in what we do and say and sing and pray when we gather for common prayer, public worship. But clinging as we do to Tradition, the creeds, doctrines, prayers and in some measure hymns — words, the poems — of our Christian ages, allows our theology, unless we are constantly mindful of it, to sink into quaint irrelevance like a city built on marshland. It isn’t as though these things are ignored, but it is as though they move glacially while the world around spins and darts off into space with the rest of our galaxy.
In the governance of our church, General Convention’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has the oversight task, as assigned by General Convention; and in fact currently contemplating a total BCP revision, SCLM is up to date in their way, which I reckon is an Episcopal way, reunions of joyful fellowship over glasses of dry red they conceive and discuss possible new projects of music and liturgy.
What’s needed? I would like them to retreat from obsession with the politically correct and mind the building, fix the front porch. As the front porch that we and our guests cross upon entering, the Collects for the Day urgently need more than sweeping or even scraping and repainting, i.e. tear out and rebuild. With some exceptions, they are beautiful works of art, relics of antiquity that assert theologies of ancient times when there was a flat earth sitting on pillars to hold above the subterranean deep and capped by blue firmament restraining the waters above. Not to say tidbits of naivete, superstition and fear. As for this morning, Epiphany4, though we may earnestly wish it so, Almighty and everlasting God does not, in fact, experience, or demonstration, "govern all things both in heaven and on earth". And that we say it, pray it, or earnestly believe it does not make it so. God has no hands but our hands to do His work today, and our hands are busy with the work of Satan. Let us not delude ourselves: God is not in control. Monsters are loose. And over against a statement I read in the SCLM website about "updating the BCP without changing the theology", the collects do want a theological review being especially mindful of Reason.
The Episcopal Church has in fact made available through Church Publishing, a little book "Prayers for an Inclusive Church" by Steven Shakespeare.
https://www.churchpublishing.org/products/prayersforaninclusivechurch It offers, as BCP does not, a collect for each Sunday around the entire three-year ecclesiastical calendar — as well as other liturgical events but I’m concerned about obsolete and theologically doubtful Collects for the Day, by Tradition the entry rite to our Sunday worship. Although authority to do so is not clear, some parishes are substituting its prayers for the Collect, each of which relates well to the Lectionary and the Day as the BCP collects do not necessarily. Not here with me on sabbatical, my copy is in my office at HNEC, so I can’t copy and paste its Collect for Epiphany4A.
Not to run a topic into the ground, PAX.
But in closing, in an email from a friend, a photograph I appreciated as relevant to changing the BCP
"Hgertrafikomlggningen" - The day Sweden switched from driving on the left to driving on the right (1967).
Another one I liked just for the halibut ->
A German Tank almost falls off a Russian bridge on July 4, 1941.
DThos+ in Stoppage Time