The Collect For Advent 1
As you may already know the Collect is an ancient form of western liturgical prayer in which the theme for the Sunday is distilled into short prayer.
While there are well-established formulas for most Collects the Collects of Advent are of a more desperate nature! Desperate because the church senses that the end of all things is near. "Nearer now than when we first believed," in the words of Sunday's epistle. And, as salvation draws nearer so does the sense of danger, that the Old Evil Foe will accelerate his efforts to snatch us from the Savior's hand. Which, though impossible, doesn't stop him from trying! As the saying goes: It's always darkest befor the dawn.
And so the church prays, "Stir up your power, O Lord, and come, that by your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by your mighty deliverance; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen."
Make this prayer your own, pray it morning, noon and night and be certain that Jesus the Lord to whom we pray will answer it by his coming. As he came once in weakness to redeem us, he comes to us now in power by the agency of his Word and Sacraments; and will come in ever greater power and glory for the final judgment.
For those who refuse to turn from sin and seek forgiveness from Christ that judgment will pure terror. But for the baptized it will be a day of "mighty deliverance" from every enemy, and our entrance into the Kingdom of God.
4. Strive, man, to win that glory;
Toil, man, to gain that light;
Send hope before to grasp it
Till hope be lost in sight.
Exult, O dust and ashes,
The Lord shall be thy part;
His only, His forever,
Thou shalt be and thou art.
And so pray this Collect often, it is the cure for every sin, every illness, every loss, disappointment, fear, worry or setback. "Stir up your power, O Lord, and come, that by your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by your mighty deliverance."