If you’ve spent much time on this blog, you’ll know that I think rather highly of the Collects (the prayers appointed for each Sunday) as offered in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Some of majestic, some are beautiful, some are funny, and some, like this Sunday’s, are downright dangerous.
“Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.”
Stir up your power and with great might come among us? Seriously? Jesus entered this world in the same way all the rest of have, born of a woman, totally dependent upon the outside world. He came in great meekness and humility. And he changed absolutely everything. The incarnation of Jesus, which we will celebrate with joy and song in just a few short weeks, is the story of God’s entering the world to save, redeem, re-create it. And he did it all by way of a tiny baby.
So what, then, are we doing asking God to come again, but this time with “power and great might”? Do we give any thought to what might happen if God answers this prayer? Those sins that “sorely hinder” us? They can’t be in the way when God comes with “power and might.”
This is a very dangerous prayer, perhaps our most dangerous. If God answers it, the whole world changes. But perhaps more dangerous than that, if God answers our prayer this Sunday, I will change. Am I ready for that? Are you?