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Improving a Prayer Book

This coming Sunday, the NZ Lectionary booklet and the 2020 book, called A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa (NZPB/HKMA), have for the collect:

Lord, help us to see:
to see what is eternally good and true,
and having seen, to go on searching
until we come to the joys of heaven.
This we ask through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.

2020NZPB/HKMA page 599

This is this one of several feeble prayers in the book. And to make matters worse, not only has this 2020 edition discarded even more of the better-quality collects that were in the 1989-2005 NZPB/HKMA (the 1989-2005 books had already ditched some classical prayers), rather than retaining some of those treasures in Sundays not yet covered, this same prayer was the assigned collect last month also (Lent 3)!!!

At that time last month, I wondered: Who is “Lord” addressed to: Jesus? God the Trinity? The First Person of the Trinity? I noted that the word “Lord” is gendered – as a newly-composed collect, it could use far more complementary language. And as it was revised from 2005 for this 2020 book, why was “Lord” not revised at the same time? Furthermore, “having seen what is eternally good and true” – what are we “to go on searching” for?

Moreover, in this online discussion of this prayer four weeks ago, a commenter helpfully highlighted “especially the nonsense of seeing all that is good and true and then presumably avoiding it all till we go to our eternal reward. Not sure why ‘to see’ is repeated twice.”

By adding some images from Ephesians 1, I built on what the commenter called a “very quick recasting of” this prayer. Here is, I hope, an improvement of this prayer (I’m sure this can continue to be enhanced):

God of wisdom and insight,
you enlighten the eyes of our heart,
help us to see what is eternally good and true,
and, having glimpsed them, 
may we always strive to grow in them
until we come to the joys of heaven;
we ask this through Jesus the Light of the World,
who is alive with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.

The 1998-2005 editions of NZPB/HKMA gave three options to choose from for each Sunday and Holy Day. This 2020 book only gives one.

NZ Anglicanism has no consistent understanding of the role or nature of the collect in the Eucharist. There are several places that it can be prayed within a service – or it can be omitted altogether. The collect(s) in the NZ Prayer Books are not required to be used, you may draw them from any source, or compose one yourself, either prepared or spontaneously. There are communities that do not see the collect as a “collecting” the community’s silent praying to collect and gather the people. In many places that do not see it as the ministry of the presider to gather the community in this way, people can end up saying the collect (or even a number of collects) together, treating it (them) as yet another lovely prayer or prayers. They do so unrehearsed. In such places, I understand the tripping over the repetition this Sunday and last month: “… to see: to see…”

While this week, “Lord” is ambiguous, next week the 2020 book assigns as the sole collect a prayer addressed to Jesus. Yet in 2012, General Synod Te Hinota Whanui (GSTHW) resolved

that in any revision of A New Zealand Prayer Book/He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa each Sunday and Holy Day be provided, in the text, with at least one collect which follows the taonga/treasure of Trinitarian collects (that is, addressed to God, the First Person of the Trinity, through Christ, in the Spirit)

New Prayer Book defies General Synod

Remodelling the collects, along with reworking the more than 50 male pronouns that the 2020 book has added to the 1989-2005 NZPB/HKMA is part of improving a Prayer Book.

If you are interested in further exploring collects, here are some starting places:

Authorised Great Thanksgivings?

I am being asked about “the list of The Great Thanksgivings authorised by the General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui“.

As it is omitted from this list, I am being asked if the Great Thanksgiving on NZPB/HKMA pages 732-3 is NOT “authorised by GSTHW”?! I can assure you that that prayer IS authorised by GSTHW. The given list is incorrect.

This has led to some interesting further discussions. The printed editions of NZPB/HKMA from 1989-2005, and even the printed 2020 book do NOT include the Great Thanksgiving found on pages 732-3 as being able to be used in A Form for Ordering The Eucharist. The online 2020 book, however, DOES appear to allow this use. The Church’s own most up-to-date list of agreed changes to the Prayer Book, however, does NOT have this (online version’s) change as being agreed to by the Church.

Furthermore, to my knowledge, five Great Thanksgivings on the list being discussed (F420, T419, S421, H420, S485), while being authorised translations, are not “authorised by the General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui”.

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