Courageous following

Let us pray (in silence) [that as a church we move following God's directing]


God of our forbears,
as your chosen servant Abraham
was given faith to obey your call
and go out into the unknown,
so may your Church be granted such faith
that we may follow you courageously
now and forever;

through Jesus Christ our Lord
who is alive with with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.

NZPB p. 622b

We are moving outside our comfortable boundaries. Prior to Constantine, it was clear who was in and who was out of the church. Mission began at the church door. And so did persecution.

After Constantine, all within the empire were "in". "Compel them to come in". Mission began at the empire's border. The priest at the gospel stood at the North of the Altar, proclaiming the gospel northwards to the non-Christians North of the empire.

Those days are behind us. In New Zealand, we sing to God in our National Anthem, but take care if you lead a prayer, or hymn, or read from the Bible in a state school - unless it is in Maori. Even our rites of hatching, matching, and dispatching are not as popular as they once were - people might still come and sing some Christmas carols. It is not clear who is "in" and who "out" as people shop in the divine deli mixing beliefs from innumerable sources.

The church is in a painful paradigm shift. We are journeying into the unknown. "So may your Church be granted such faith that we may follow you courageously." Certainly all this may point a direction forward to becoming a missional church - primarily there for others - all others - not for the survival of our church life.


My sourcing of this collect is conjectural.

The collect in the very influential Book of Common Worship of the Church of South India for the fourth Sunday after Pentecost is:

O, God, who, calling Abraham to go forth to a country which thou wouldest show him, didst promise that in him all the families of the earth would be blessed: Fulfil thy promise in us, we pray thee, giving us such faith in thee as thou shalt count unto us for righteousness; that in us and through us thy purpose may be fulfilled; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This was wonderfully reshaped in South Africa and incorporated as the ASB collect for the Seventh Sunday before Christmas:

God, Almighty Father, whose chosen servant Abraham faithfully obeyed your call and rejoiced in your promise that all families on earth would be blessed in him: Grant us so firm a faith that your promises may be fulfilled in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

[Please correct me if I am wrong - but I cannot find this in Common Worship.]
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