Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi – the Celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ; a Day of Thanksgiving for Holy Communion. Here is the NZ Anglican official collect:
at the breaking of bread you are made known.
In the Sacrament we are fed
with the living bread;
guide us to lives which revere and honour
the redeeming love of Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
Anyone who has been following this website for a while will know that I have been a strong advocate of Trinitarian prayers (for the Eucharistic Prayer and the Collect). We pray to God, the First Person of the Trinity, in and through Christ within whose body, the Church, we are drawn into God by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The above Kiwi collect simply feels as if it started life as a prayer addressed to Jesus, and it was retrofitted to Trinitarian format by using find-and-replace ‘Jesus’ to ‘God’. Its theology is straight out of the page 512-514 (NZ Prayer Book) Eucharistic Prayer where we ask our Loving God that we “be your body in the world”.
And anyone who can explain, on first hearing, what is meant by “guide us to lives which revere and honour…” wins a prize! Does it mean we are asking God to guide us to meet people who live lives which revere and honour the redeeming love of Christ? Or is it intended to mean “guide us to live lives…” And how many people are going to mispronounce the homograph “lives” as the third-person singular verb (of live) rather than the plural noun?
And this is the revised collect. I wonder now what it looked like before revision?
I really don’t know what is wrong with:
Let us pray (in silence) [that through the eucharist we may grow into Christ’s life]
Gracious and merciful God,
in a wonderful sacrament you have given us
a memorial of the passion of your Son
grant that we who receive these sacred mysteries
may grow up into him in all things
until we come to your eternal joy;
through our Saviour Jesus Christ
who is alive with with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.
NZPB/HKMA p. 586a
A history and reflection on this more appropriate collect is here.
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