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Baptism of Christ

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reflection on this Sunday’s collect/opening prayer

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6 thoughts on “Baptism of Christ”

  1. Hello, Bosco, and Happy New Year! Thanks for the very interesting and lovely reflections on this week’s Collect. Although I’m a Presbyterian, I am very drawn to the historic liturgy, especially as found in the Anglican tradition. So I usually just “lurk” here, but I do appreciate your work.

    Could you post sometime a little more about that “great historic tradition” you mention, in connection with the Church of South India’s new collect for Baptism of the Lord, of addressing central prayers to God (the Father/First Person), through Christ, in the Spirit’s power? Without disputing its historicity or “normative” character, might not a variety of address — sometimes to Christ, sometimes to the Spirit — guard against a tendency toward subordinating two persons of the Trinity to the third? Might not a Eucharistic prayer addressed to the Spirit on Pentecost, for example, be especially theologicall and liturgically appropriate? I guess addressing “non-central” prayers to the other persons of the Trinity could also guard against any introduction of heirarchies within the Godhead; but why are some prayers “non-negotiable,” so to speak?

    In any event, I’d enjoy and appreciate anything more you can say on the subject.

    1. Thanks for your very thoughtful question, Mike. I think, in time, this needs a blog post or more on its own. Particularly as this is a growing issue in New Zealand. Certainly, I would want to safeguard the equality of the Persons of the Trinity. Particularly as we celebrate the Incarnation, that God became human in order that we might become divine (theosis) might be a good starting point for the reflection. We become by grace what Christ is by nature. Praying as Christ to the Father in the Spirit celebrates and deepens our theosis. I recently wrote about this here and here. Thanks again for the question.

  2. Thanks for pointing me to those earlier posts, particularly the first one. The reference to “theosis” as a starting point (that we have been incorporated into Christ and therefore, if I’m following correctly, it makes sense logically that we, members of his body, would pray to the Father through the Spirit, as he did during his earthly ministry) was also helpful.

    It’s simply not an issue I’ve ever thought much about. I do agree with the point you raise in the open letter — the Persons are not interchangeable. And I’ve always tried, when crafting my own prayers for public worship, to make sure they are trinitarian in that they mention or invoke all three Persons. But the issue of thinking through whom to start with (so to speak) is new to me. I’ll look forward to more as you have time and inclination to discuss it!

    Thanks again, and blessings in your ministry.

    1. Thanks, Mike. Possibly another place to consider is not just historic liturgical usage but also the scriptures – how often is Jesus prayed to in the scriptures? How often is the Holy Spirit prayed to in the scriptures? Blessings.

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