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Resources 23rd Ordinary – 10 September 2023

I haven’t got a reworked collect for this coming Sunday in my Book of Prayers in Common. But in the 1989-2005 (the official not the 2020 draft) New Zealand Prayer Book, there is the suggestion that the following be an option for this coming Sunday:

Let us pray (in silence) [that we and the whole church may be kept by God’s love] 


God of grace and goodness, 
you know that by reason of our frailty we cannot but fail; 
keep us always under your protection 
and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord
who is alive with with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.

A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa (1989-2005) page 718 (→ pg 571)

This Gelasian Collect for Trinity 15 in the Sarum Missal read, “Custodi, Domine, quaesumus, ecclesiam tuam propitiatione perpetua: et quia sine te labitur humana mortalitas, tuis semper auxiliis et abstrahatur a noxis et ad salutaria dirigatur.”

Cranmer translated this for 1549 (Epiphany 5) as:
KEPE we beseche thee, O Lorde, thy Churche with thy perpetuall mercye: and because the frailtie of man without thee, cannot but fall: Kepe us ever by thy helpe, and leade us to al thynges profitable to our salvacion; through Jesus Christe our Lorde. Amen. 

The 1662 revisers restored “for all things hurtful” (lost again in the collect at the top):
KEEP, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

International readers of this page may echo my surprise: I cannot find this collect revised in any Anglican prayer books except New Zealand’s! Do let me know if your province’s revised prayer book has it. Just when the church needs all the prayer it can get – as well as acknowledgment of our frailty! Roman Catholics have this collect tucked away for Tuesday in the second week of Lent, where ICEL’s earlier translation (1973) had it translated as:

Lord watch over your Church and guide it with Your unfailing love. Protect us from what could harm us and lead us to what will save us. Help us always, for without You we are bound to fail. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Current ICEL (2011):

Guard your Church, we pray, O Lord, in your unceasing mercy, and, since without you mortal humanity is sure to fall, may we be kept by your constant helps from all harm and directed to all that brings salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

We are encouraged to think about the model of “Original Sin” (first coined by Augustine of Hippo, born more than three centuries after Jesus), or the (Eastern) Orthodox different concept of being born into a world of sin’s consequences and a fallen environment, or even the Calvinist concept of our “total depravity”. The heart of our prayer, whatever our perspective on why we fall/fail, is clinging to God in Christ.

NB – I wonder if the NZ rendering of “fail” instead of “fall” is a typo, or a misreading of a handwritten original.

Lectionary Readings Introduction

This site provides something different: many sites and books provide a brief summary of the reading – so that people read out or have in their pew sheet an outline of what they are about to hear. They are told beforehand what to expect. Does this not limit what they hear the Spirit address them? This site provides something different – often one cannot appreciate what is being read because there is no context provided. This site provides the context, the frame of the reading about to be heard. It could be used as an introduction, printed on a pew sheet (acknowledged, of course), or adapted in other ways.

Exodus 12:1-14

The Passover ritual may originate in a spring fertility rite. Here it wards off the plague and this passage concludes by setting it as a perennial commemoration of the exodus. This, Abib or Nisan (from Bablyonian, hence in postexilic books), marks the first month. Elsewhere, the agricultural calendar commences with the seventh month. With the month commencing at new moon, the fourteenth is full moon.

Ezekiel 33:7-11

Ezekiel returns to his theme of watchman (from 3:16-21). Those living within a walled city went out to work in the fields during the day, whilst the watchman on the walls scanned the horizon. If an enemy approached the watchman was to warn those in the fields. Both the watchman is required to be vigilant, and the people are required to heed the watchman’s call. In the Book of Common Prayer the bishop charges those to be ordained priests that they are to be “messengers, watchmen, and stewards of the Lord”.

Romans 13:8-14

Roman Catholics and those who use that version of the three year series are essentially back in sync this Sunday. Love in this cultural context is not an emotion – it places the value of the group above that of the individual, as Paul demonstrates by quoting Leviticus (interestingly without reference to Jesus’ reference to this).

Matthew 18:15-20
The “you” of verse 18 is plural. This text addresses the opposite of our individualistic culture where the group is there to enhance the individual. The advice is to deal with conflict within the group – it is not advice addressed to dealing with those outside the group.

Today’s readings online

Creation Season 2023

In the month of September, and concluding on the feast of St Francis on October 4, many people focus on creation. For Christians, creation is not merely an academic discussion about evolution or not – it is now, much more, seen as an essential part of mission, in partnership with others who share concern for what Pope Francis, in his encyclical Laudato Si, calls “our common home”.

This site is committed to the three year lectionary (RC) and its derivative, the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). Rather than departing from that lectionary, in previous years resources have been provided on this site for a “creation reading” of our shared biblical texts. This means that this site has such creation reflections for this year, Year A

A creation reading of the lectionary for the Sunday between 4 and 10 September:
The Exodus reading sets an earthy tone of land, springtime, full moon, lamb, fire, bread, herbs, and blood – in which life was understood to be held. Evil has for too long been read dualistically separating “heaven” and “earth”, “flesh” and “spirit”. We may need to read our New Testament texts into a more holistic vision where heaven and earth are more closely bound (Matthew 18:18), and our neglect of creation and greedy carelessness is included in a contemporary reading of the sins understood in Paul’s letter.

Creation Season Resources

Resources beyond this site:
textweek resources
Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary readings
Preaching Resources from Down Under

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2 thoughts on “Resources 23rd Ordinary – 10 September 2023”

  1. Not exactly in the Prayer Book of The Episcopal Church, but in Lesser Feasts and Fasts, authorized, although not to the same constitutional level as the BCP (for whatever that is worth in this day and age).

    Saturday in the Third Week of Lent
    O God, you know us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright: Grant us such strength and protection as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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