Let us pray (in silence) [that we may share Christ’s resurrection]
through your Son Jesus Christ
You overcame death and opened to us
the gate of everlasting life;
grant us so to die daily to sin,
that we may evermore live with him
in the joy of his resurrection:
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.
Maundy Thursday “Christian seders”, Holy Thursday “Christian Passover celebrations”, baroque additions of white vestments, liberal use of bells, and the singing of the Gloria at Maundy Thursday’s evening Eucharist can give the impression that Maundy Thursday evening is our Christian Passover celebration. It is not.
In the fifth century, St Augustine is still writing of the triduum of Christ crucified, buried, and risen” (Epistle 55). He means Friday, Saturday, Sunday. We can misread early church understanding of the triduum, extending it from Maundy Thursday to the Easter Vigil. In doing so we may be missing the centrality of Christ’s dying, burial, and resurrection as being Christ’s Passover. That is the Passover we celebrate and participate in. St Augustine could see the Easter Vigil as the hinge joining the death and the resurrection.
The collect is based on the second collect for Wednesday of Holy Week in the Gregorian sacramentary (no 324). Sarum moved it to the solemn Easter procession. Cranmer had intended to provide a procession text for every great festival. Only Easter Day survives of Cranmer’s intention. Cranmer translated the Latin collect and expanded it for the 1549 short devotion prior to Matins on Easter Day:
O GOD, who for our redempcion dyddest geve thyne only begotten sonne to the death of the Crosse: and by his glorious resurreccion haste delyvered us from the power of our enemye: Graunte us so to dye daylye from synne, that we maye evermore lyve with hym in the joy of hys resurreccion; through the same Christe our Lorde. Amen.
It was not seen again until the 1892 revision. For the 1928 it forms the collect for Easter Day. Its Holy Week origin is still apparent, making it a prayer well suited to linking the passion to the resurrection as we begin Easter.
The NZ preamble (“Almighty God,… the gate of everlasting life) has its origin in the Gregorian sacramentary (no 383), and through the Sarum missal was the collect of the first communion of Easter in 1549.
BCP (USA p.222):
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
[Restated as “…only-begotten One, Jesus Christ, …” by the Order of St Helena]
The Roman Catholic Easter Day opening prayer (ICEL) appears to be based on the same material, although I cannot yet confirm this:
Let us pray
[that the risen Christ will raise us up and renew our lives]
God our Father,
by raising Christ your Son
you conquered the power of death
and opened for us the way to eternal life.
Let our celebration today
raise us up and renew our lives
by the Spirit that is within us…