Monday, December 09, 2013

About the Collect for the 2nd Sunday in Advent

First I should say that I downright revere Thomas Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer.  Long time readers remember that traditional Anglican liturgy was key in luring me to Anglicanism.  And I think his collect for the 2nd Sunday in Advent, an original composition by Cranmer, is an excellent one.  For those who don’t have a BCP handy it reads:

BLESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.  

But (And now I may have to duck.) I wish Cranmer had not made this a collect in Advent.  Yes, my wish is “a fond thing,” admittedly pointless.  Nevertheless, I think a collect more directly related to Christ’s Advent would have been more appropriate.  In that regard, I like the Sarum collect for Advent 2, translated:

Stir up, O Lord, our hearts to prepare the way of Thy Only Begotten; that by His coming we may be counted worthy to serve Thee with purified hearts.  Who livest etc.

This collect has strong themes of Christ’s coming and of our preparation and response to the same.  And it echoes nicely the “Stir up” collect of the Sunday Next Before Advent.

Cranmer’s collect just does not fit as well in Advent in my not-so humble opinion.  I think it would fit very well early in Trinity season.  That long season of “ordinary time” emphasizes our response of discipleship to the great things God has done through Jesus Christ.  And close attention to His word is central to that.

But – let there be no misunderstanding – I am not advocating so altering Cranmer’s work in public liturgy.  Such a disruption to traditional Anglican worship would not be worth it.  And this collect is much beloved.  I am sure a great many would not want it moved to a less prominent place.

As for me, I intend to use both the Sarum and Cranmerian collects in my personal Daily Office.

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