The Collect for Proper 18

Posted by Rev. Rob Eaton, With 0 Comments, Category: Parsing the Collect,

Parsing the Collect
A weekly worship aid from the Interim Rector

The Collect for Proper 18  (aka The Sunday closest to September 7th; in 2017, September 10, and the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost)

This Collect never made it into Archbishop Cranmer’s original, or any of the later Books of Common Prayer.  At least, not until it was included in the 1979 BCP.  It is, though, one of those ancient collects, first seen in what is known as the Leonine Sacramentary (named in honor of Pope Leo).   The “Leonine Sacramentary” is the oldest of the three named sacramentaries, as I have discussed before. Only one manuscript of it is known, written in the seventh century (the 600’s). This manuscript was found in the library of the cathedral chapter of Verona, was published by Joseph Bianchini in 1735, and was by him attributed to Pope Leo I (440-61). With all its very specific references to the church In Rome itself, It represents a pure Roman use with no Gallican elements (as in “Gaul”).

In the Leonine Sacramentary the collect is found in a collection of collects for the comparable month of July.  So we’re not too far off in early September.

Here’s the Collect for the Sunday closest to September 7th, Proper 18:

Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

As with the collect for Proper 16, the classic outline of Invocation to God (sometimes called the Address or Invitation to God), then the Bidding or Petition, followed by closing, is entwined in this collect.   In this case more reversed than entwined.  But let’s un-entwine it.  Who is God and what attributes are being invited in this Collect?  “O Lord”, of course, would be the start of it.  Then from after the semi-colon we would add, “[who] always resists the proud who confide in their own strength, [and] so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy..” Then we place back into the order the bidding or our petition, “Grant us to trust in you with all our hearts.” How basic is that petition. It is the prayer of every moment, every fear, every need, every unknown, to for Gods help in to trust Him. It is so easy to hear the verse, Proverbs 3:5, “Trust the Lord with all your hearts and lean not on your own understanding.” Certainly we could have here one of the shortest Sunday Collects ever, “Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts. Amen.”

Let’s put the Invitation back in now before we rewrite this Collect! Perhaps the order is intertwined and reversed in order not to lose the simplicity of the petition by the address which, in this case, greatly assists in defining how that trust is brought to bear within us. In other words, we know we need to trust in God, and we ask his help in doing so. Very basic collect. Then we are immediately reminded of two things that are needed on OUR part, and perhaps why we need to keep looking to the Lord to help us in such a primary action of our relationship with God. Those two things from this collect are that God resists pride (uh-oh), and God never fails to bless those who are humble (ahh). As we look to the Lord to help us trust him, we see our own work to be done. What personal pride keeps you from trusting in God, or even “allowing God” to assist your trusting? What wonderful moments of experiencing God’s mercy in your life can you recall to assist you in believing in His faithfulness for the next?!


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