Collect For Epiphany 5 (Series A)
The Collect for the upcoming Sunday is a beauty: O Lord, keep your family the church continually in the true faith that, relying on the hope of your heavenly grace, we may ever be defended by your mighty power …"
Take each element of it into consideration and meditate on it for a few moments. It is medicine for the soul!
We ask God to "keep" us - for we cannot keep ourselves in the face of enemies that are too strong for us: sin, death, devil, judgment, pain, loss, weakness, poverty fear of the known and the unknown alike.
The church is God's family in that all her Members have been "begotten from above" (Jn 3:5) by holy baptism. We have all come wet and glistening through the same birth canal of mother church; and all commune at the same family table. God is our Father, the church our mother, Jesus our Brother.
We rely for all we need on the hope of "heavenly grace". That is, grace, goodness, kindness, tender-mercy that comes from heaven. For the paltry help of the world will never do for what we need.
God, for whom nothing is impossible, promises to defend us against any and every enemy. He is our Shield. As the hymn St. Patrick's Breastplate teaches us to sing:
Christ, be with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit,
Christ where I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
Christ be praised that he has given his church such inexhaustible treasure.