Becoming Episcopalian: Collects

At my Inquirer's Class recently, we discussed the history of the Book of Common Prayer--and when we reached the part where there's a ton of Collects, the priest had us write our own based on the guideline in this video:

Essentially, a collect has four parts.

  1. Name God. (Can be any one of his many names.)
  2. Name the good thing He has done.
  3. Give the petition.
  4. Trinitarian flair.

I hit a writer's block. Everyone else came up with, quite frankly, beautiful collects, which we prayed at the end of our class.

For some reason, I simply couldn't write. The ideas came to me, but I kept dismissing them as "stupid" or "uneducated," and I kept thinking that I don't feel worthy enough to write a collect. Others can, but not me. I knew these thoughts were illogical, but I couldn't get past them.

But....the idea of writing a collect stuck with me, even after the class. I wanted to write a collect, even just for myself. I thought it might be a good way to try to articulate the fears I face throughout the day, to seek healing from childhood abuse, to pray for my young siblings who still live at home. It sounded like a devotionary. therapeutic practice I could try.

And for some reason it's less daunting to write online for thousands of people than it is to write in class for 10 people. Here's my first collect. Still very much a rough draft, but I'll let it be:

O loving God, you sent your Son to minister to all peoples, regardless of their age, race, class, or beliefs. Please help us to be as welcoming and gracious to all who are unlike us. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Then in my journal, I felt the need to clarify to nobody in particular that by "unlike," I don't mean it in a xenophobic way. People unlike us, I meant, are people who have different beliefs, political leanings, etc....

Okay. I need to revise this. It's going to bug me until I do. Seriously, I shouldn't have to feel obligated to explain a collect...

O loving God, you sent your Son to minister to all peoples, regardless of their age, race, class or beliefs. Please help us to likewise be nonjudgmental in our day-to-day life. In Jesus's name we pray. Amen.

Much better.

If you have a favorite, please share in the comments.

Filed under: Becoming Episcopalian


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  • This is a Collect written by Pope Gregory. It got lost in the transition from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer to the 1979 version. I like it because it was to be said at Mass on the "Sunday Next before Advent." So we are still in so-called ordinary time, just on the cusp of our preparation for the Coming. The latin first words were "Excita Domini" and this Sunday was known in the old days as "Stir Up" sunday. It is a celebratory collect, anticipating the feast, the party, the wonder of our wills (plural) doing His will. ("Let's open a bottle of champagne together, shall we??")

    "STIR up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy
    faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the
    fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded;
    through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

  • PS I hated the video.

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