In thanks to God for St Barnabas, here is the collect for the day for us to pray together followed by the relevant Epistle and Gospel readings.
B&C P’s version
O LORD God Almighty, who didst endue thy holy Apostle Barnabas with singular gifts of the Holy Ghost; Leave us not, we beseech thee, destitute of thy manifold gifts, nor yet of grace to use them alway to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O Lord God Almighty, who endued your holy Apostle Barnabas with particular gifts of the Holy Spirit [giving generously of his life and substance]: we beseech you, do not leave us destitute of your manifold gifts, neither of grace to use them always to your honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
NOTE: The phrase in brackets has been added from a modern version for theological clarity.
The collect for the day from the Book of Common Prayer (1662) and B&C P’s rendition of it in modern English
The Epistle reading:
The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.
Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
Acts 11:22-30 (ESV)
The Gospel reading:
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
This post was something that I was thinking of making at the start of this year but I sat on it until a recent Sunday sermon about relying on God in prayer by Pr Dinesh Natorajan and some conversations about prayer following the sermon nudged me to type this out. A couple of things from the sermon stood out in the conversations I had were about not praying enough and not praying in the right way.
The sermon and the conversations brought back some memories back when the pandemic hit in early 2020 and lockdowns were in place. Adjusting to the pandemic was hard, and it came to a point when doing things was hard, including praying. It was then I figured I had to do something or else I will find it difficult to get back to praying. One of the things I tried was doing the 1662 Daily Office in earnest. I soon found myself wearing out pretty fast as doing just one of them (either the 1662 Morning Prayer OR the Evening Prayer) was quite a spiritual workout by itself and I found it hard to do it alone on a daily basis, and I petered out very quickly when I was in a rocky patch in life.
In such cases, I found it helpful to start easy and then slowly build up with the Psalms as suggested here where a psalm and the Lord’s Prayer are prayed daily. It took me some weeks to get used to it but during that, but it eventually led me to build up to doing the 2019 Daily Office with some people on the internet. Early on, it was quite tempting to stick to a particular psalm which I resonated with, but I eventually realised that I had to step out and explore other psalms so that I would grow and experience the whole gamut of human emotions expressed in prayer to God in Psalms such as fear, guilt, outrage, sorrow, thanksgiving and joy. It also prays for a wide range of issues from God’s will to be done on earth, rulers and justice to personal needs.
What helped in exploring the Psalms is that in Anglicanism, all the 150 Psalms are traditionally read in the course of a month where a different set of psalms are read/prayed in the Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, according to a schedule corresponding to the day of the month. This may or may not be rigorous to some people.
The 60 Day Psalter cycle (the psalm reading schedule) suggested in the Saint Aelfric Customary blog post is from the 2019 Book of Common Prayer which is easier, can download from here. Just scroll down to the appropriate month and date to get the corresponding 60 day psalm cycle. The I and II beside the month is to indicate the readings for a particular prayer where I is for Morning Prayer and II is for Evening Prayer.
If you are just starting out, it is best to start with one (either the monthly schedule in I or II) for a time. Once you’re comfortable with the pace, it can be expanded to the Psalms in both Morning and Evening Prayer of the 60 day cycle. The rigour can be increased to the traditional one month cycle which can be found in the same file.
This practice can also be done with another person or in a family setting where the Psalms are prayed responsively (either by alternating the verses or lines).
I pray that the Holy Spirit kindle in you the fire of God’s love and illumine you as you pray and meditate upon God’s Word.
This is a short post to share the collects for Easter Day.
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: We humbly beseech you, that, as your grace goes before us to put good desires into our minds, by your continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
NOTE: The above is a modernised version of the Easter Day collect from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. The 1662 BCP appoints the collect above to be used for the week.
Below are other Easter Day collects for the week which have become popular in modern (20th century) prayer books.
O God, who for our redemption gave your only begotten Son to die upon the Cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the devil and the power of death: Grant us grace to die daily to sin, that we may live with him in the joy of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.
Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that we who celebrate with reverence the Paschal feast may be made worthy to attain to everlasting joys; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in the fullness of his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
[Jesus] said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Matthew 9:37-38 (ESV)
The more I read and think about the passage above, the more I feel that I should take Ember Weeks more seriously for a few reasons. But first, a little bit of introduction to what they are.
Ember days are a set of special days of praying, fasting and thanksgiving which happens quarterly in the Anglican liturgical calendar. It happens on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of these weeks of the four seasons – the first Sunday in Lent (spring), Pentecost or Whitsunday (summer), Holy Cross Day on 14th September (autumn) and St Lucy’s Day on 13th December (winter).
The fasting and praying during Ember Days points back to the fasting and praying in the Bible before sending off people who were set apart by the Lord for his work (Acts 13:2-3) and the appointing of elders (priests) in every church by prayer and fasting (Acts 14:23).
According to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer’s Ordinal, godly (1 Timothy 3:1-7, 8-13 and Titus 1:5-9) and educated men who are discerning a call to ministry undergo a rigorous process of being “called, tried, examined, and known to have such qualities as are requisite of the same” and are then ordained by public prayer and imposition of hands. Below is an excerpt of the ordination of a deacon in the 1662, in modern English:
At the Making of a Deacon
Then the Bishop laying his hands severally upon the head of every one of them, humbly kneeling before him, shall say, TAKE Authority to execute the Office of a Deacon in the Church of God committed unto you; In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
B&C Productions, The Anglican Life of Prayer
As being called and ordained into the ministry of deacon, priest and bishop are rather weighty matters, it is equally important for Anglicans to:
pray to God to guide Bishops and priests that they will lay their hands upon men who are truly godly and able to serve;
pray to God to strengthen and replenish those who are currently serving as clergy.
These collects from the 1662 help us to pray for those who are about to be admitted as clergy and for our current ones:
In the Ember Weeks, to be said every day, for those that are about to be admitted into Holy Orders
ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who hast purchased to thyself an universal Church by the precious blood of thy dear Son; Mercifully look upon the same, and at this time so guide and govern the minds of thy servants the Bishops and Pastors of thy flock, that they may lay hands suddenly on no man, but faithfully and wisely make choice of fit persons, to serve in the sacred Ministry of thy Church. And to those which shall be ordained to any holy function, give thy grace and heavenly benediction; that both by their life and doctrine they may show forth thy glory, and set forward the salvation of all men; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
ALMIGHTY God, the giver of all good gifts, who of thy divine providence hast appointed divers Orders in thy Church; Give thy grace, we humbly beseech thee, to all those who are to be called to any office and administration in the same; and so replenish them with the truth of thy doctrine, and endue them with innocency of life, that they may faithfully serve before thee, to the glory of thy great Name, and the benefit of thy holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This is a short reflection of Psalms 108 and 110 which are appointed for the Morning Prayer according to the Book of Common Prayer 2019’s 60-day Psalm cycle.
Psalm 108 opens with praises in the first four verses before changing into a prayer. What stands out is the psalmist promising God that he will give thanks and praise to him among the gentile nations before changing to a prayer for God to exalt himself and to deliver his people from the enemy. It ends with a plea for God’s help as help from mere mortals are useless and then firmly declaring that God will defeat their enemies and it is only by being with him that their victory is certain.
The idea of God defeating the enemies then flows into the next psalm, Psalm 110 starting with: “The Lord said unto my Lord, “Sit at my right hand,* until I make your enemies your footstool.”“
From the lens of a Jew at that time, it is God’s promise to David and his house where David’s rule is happening while enemies are surrounding him. Then, the Lord acts by smiting their enemies and judging them, and will victoriously lift up his head.
As Christians, where we know that Jesus Christ has lived, suffered and died on the cross before being resurrected and then ascended to the right hand of God (Mark 16:9), these two psalms remind us that God is with us and that Jesus reigns even when it does not seem so currently. They also remind us of God’s promises that Jesus will return, judging the earth and bringing peace.
One of the things I enjoy about the season of Epiphany is how it shows how Christ was revealed in different ways. This graphic sums it up beautifully:
What is particularly special about today, which also known as Candlemas, is that two related things are happening at the same time to fulfill the Law of Moses – Jesus Christ is presented in the Temple to God (Exodus 13:2) and the purification of Mary (Leviticus 12:8).
Just as Christ was born of a woman under the Law of Moses, Mary the God Bearer, was not exempted from the Law. While Eve failed to obey God’s command, Mary obeyed God’s command.
Just as Christ was presented to God in the Temple, Jesus will present us pure and clean to the Father to be adopted as sons as reflected in the collect for today:
Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech your Majesty, that as your only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in the substance of our flesh, so we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Knowing this, we therefore can truly sing with Simeon in his canticle:
Lord, now let your servant depart in peace,*
according to your word.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,*
which you have prepared before the face of all people;
The season of Epiphany or Epiphanytide is one where liturgy has developed quite a bit so I will be presenting the classical 1662 Book of Common Prayer collect and readings before showing the same from the 2019 Book of Common Prayer.
Personally, I think that the classical 1662 collect is a good prayer for the beginning of the year while the 2019 collect highlights the Baptism of our Lord well.
1662 BCP collect and readings
B&C P’s rendering in modern English
O Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to receive the prayers of thy people which call upon thee; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O Lord, we beseech you mercifully to receive the prayers of your people who call upon you: and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Epistle reading:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Romans 12:1-5 (ESV)
The Gospel reading:
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Luke 2:41-52 (ESV)
2019 BCP collect and readings (Year C)
Eternal Father, at the baptism of Jesus you revealed him to be your Son, and your Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove: Grant that we, who are born again by water and the Spirit, may be faithful as your adopted children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
2019 BCP, The First Sunday of Epiphany (The Baptism of Our Lord) collect
The Old Testament reading:
Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.
Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
Isaiah 42:1-9 (ESV)
The Epistle reading:
So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
Acts 10:34-38 (ESV)
The Gospel reading:
As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Here is the collect, Epistle and Gospel readings to mark the Feast of Epiphany or The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.
1662 Book of Common Prayer
B&C P’s rendering
O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only begotten Son to the Gentiles: Mercifully grant, that we, which know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O God, who by the leading of a star did manifest your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles: Mercifully grant that we who know you now by faith may, after this life, behold the vision of your glorious Godhead; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Epistle reading is taken from Ephesians 3:1-2:
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
Ephesians 3:1-12 (ESV)
The Gospel reading is Matthew 2:1-12:
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
Merry Christmas! Below are two versions for the collect today (also known as “The Nativity of our Lord, or the Birth-day of Christ” in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer):
B&C P’s modernisation
Almighty God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Epistle reading is from Hebrews chapter 1:
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”?
“I will be to him a father,
and he shall be to me a son”?
And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”
Of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels winds,
and his ministers a flame of fire.”
But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment,
like a robe you will roll them up,
like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will have no end.”
Hebrews 1:1-12 (ESV)
The Gospel reading from John, chapter 1:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
O Lord, we pray that you raise up your power and come among us, and mightily help us; and, as we are sorely hindered by our sins from running the race that is set before us, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through the satisfaction of your Son our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honour and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
The above is a collect that B&C P modernised from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer for the Fourth Sunday in Advent.
The epistle reading is:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV)
The gospel reading is:
Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”
They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
“I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.