Trinity Rublev

God has no gender. The Persons of the Holy Trinity have no gender. The Christian tradition of praying to the First Person, in and through the Second Person, in the unity and power of the Third Person of the Trinity is able to be done in a gender-inclusive way; even in a complementary-language way. This dynamic of praying is the tradition (yes – with exceptions that prove the rule) in the Eucharistic Prayer (and other major prayers). The Eucharistic Prayer is the core of The Ministry of the Sacrament. In the West, the collect (with a similar Trinitarian dynamic), is the core of The Ministry of Word and Prayer.

This tradition I have just briefly described expresses and facilitates our being drawn into God as we are incorporated into Christ, the incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity.

While collects in A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa have a pick-a-Person-of-the-Trinity-any-Person approach, I have long been an advocate of renewal of this Trinitarian dynamic.

Furthermore, this approach, as I indicated, has no issues with inclusive language.

The following is just one example of a collect that has been prayed on the same day by Christians for over 13 centuries:

Faithful God,
source of all good,
graft in our hearts the love of your name,
and bind us more closely to you
so that you nourish the goodness you sow in us,
and, by your watchful care,
you tend and guard the good you have nourished;
through Jesus Christ
who is alive with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

[I’ve been putting up a traditional collect like this most weeks onto this site, and they will be collected together into a revision of a Book of Prayers in Common.]

Now General Synod Te Hinota Whanui 2016 (GSTHW16) wanted to change A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa. Currently, page 549 includes:

At the end of a Collect, when needed, the minister may add

Hear this prayer for your love’s sake. Amen.

Or Praise to you our God; you answer prayer. Amen.

Or when the prayer is addressed to God

This we ask through Christ our Mediator / Saviour /
Redeemer / Lord. Amen.

Or when the prayer is addressed to God and ends with words
referring to Jesus Christ

Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever. Amen.

And GSTHW16 would like to change this to:

Concerning Sentences, Prayers and Readings for the Church’s Year

The minister chooses one, or more, of the Collects set down for the Day for use in the service, and selects the Sentence, Psalms, and Set Readings from pages 550-723, or selects the alternatives set down in A Prayer Book for Australia, or in Revised Common Lectionary Prayers.

At the end of a Collect, when needed, the minister may substitute one of the following

General
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

or, if the Collect is addressed to the second person of the Trinity
For you are alive and reign with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

or, if the Collect is addressed to the third person of the Trinity
Who with the Father and the Son,
live and reign,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The first diocesan synod to debate this was Auckland, and they have voted against it, primarily, if what I have been told is correct, because of the uninclusive language.

So the moral of the story: praying to the First Person, in and through the Second Person, in the unity and power of the Third Person of the Trinity deepens our spiritual life and is the easiest to do in a gender-inclusive way.

I don’t know about you – but I think it is peculiar to have reference to another Anglican province’s Prayer Book in the middle of our own one.

Finally, I remind you, in NZ Anglicanism this is all in the “may” part of regulations. There is no (longer a) must use a collect. So you may use a collect (or any prayer, or nothing). You may take it from any resource, or write your own, or make something up on the spur of the moment. And – whether GSTHW16’s change happens or not – you may end it any way you like.

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Image: Rublev’s Trinity – Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54421

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