Collect for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

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.

John 1:19-28 (ESV)

The Collect for the Third Sunday in Advent

I am going to do something different for this post – a little comparison of the collect for the Third Sunday in Advent of the 1662 Prayer Book, the 2019 Prayer Book and an excerpt of B&C P’s version of the collect (as the rest of it is similar to the 2019) with some reflection before proceeding to the traditional Epistle and Gospel readings for the collect:

Book of Common Prayer 1662

O Lord, Jesu Christ who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee; Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer 2019

O Lord Jesus Christ, you sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries may likewise make ready your way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient toward the wisdom of the just, that at your second coming to judge the world, we may be found a people acceptable in your sight; for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Excerpt of B&C P’s version

O Lord Jesus Christ, at your first coming you sent your messenger to prepare your way: …

What is interesting is the parts of the collect of the 1662 and the 2019 Prayer Books which I have emphasized. The 1662 collect is in the context of Jesus’ first coming with an implicit reference to John the Baptist as the singular messenger who prepares his way which the rest of the collect then flows smoothly into a prayer for all ministers to follow in John’s example. The 1662 lectionary’s gospel reading helps to clarify who is the messenger in the collect.

Whereas in the 2019, the starting emphasis seems to be on Jesus sending “messengers the prophets” (plural) to prepare the way for our salvation. At first glance, it does not name John the Baptist nor does it implies it. However, my understanding is that if one has Matthew 11:13-14 in mind where John the Baptist is the culmination of the Law and Prophets, it followds that like the Old Testament prophets and John, minsters are to call us to repentance and lead us to God who can only save us.

For B&C P’s version, we decided to maintain the first part of the collect according to the 1662 Prayer Book but in contemporary English. It will be published in a prayer book supplementary which we plan to release soon.

And now, for the readings…

The 1662’s Epistle reading for this collect is:

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God

1 Corinthians 4:1-5 (ESV)

The 1662’s Gospel reading paired with the collect is:

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepersare cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,

“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’

Matthew 11:2-10 (ESV)

Have a blessed Sunday. Gaudete!

The Collect for the Second Sunday in Advent

Today marks the Second Sunday in Advent. Below is the classic collect (prayer) from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer in modern English to mark this week:

Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and the comfort of your holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

This collect is paired with the following Bible lessons: Romans 15:4-13 and Luke 21:25-33.

If you are curious about the collect and the relationship between it and the first lesson, check out this blog post here.

Advent and Sirach 18

Sirach 18 so happens to be the first lesson for the Morning Prayer according to the 2019 lectionary. It is a reading from the Apocrypha and there is always plenty of good examples of Christian life to be learnt, just like how Article 6 of The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion defines how the Apocrypha should be rightly used. You can check out the Sirach 18 passage here.

It opens by extolling God before moving on to the subject of humanity. There is God’s grace and mercy to humans even when He disciplines (verses 11 to 14). The rest of the chapter is advice on how to conduct one’s self. In verses 19 to 26, it talks about sin, judgment and death. God’s grace and mercy taken together with our sin, death and judgment are things which Christians should bear in mind particularly during this Advent season as we think of Jesus’ first coming and prepare for the second.

Brench & Chaiphakdi Productions

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8

B&C P is a collaborative project between Fr. Matthew Brench and Ms. Parady Chaiphakdi to harness the renaissance of classical Anglicanism taking place at the grassroots level across the world, especially online, and make such writings and wisdom accessible to the faithful, particularly in South East Asia.

Our premier work will be The Anglican Life of Prayer, which is a modernisation of the 1662 Prayer Book’s Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer. It will contain further excerpts from the 1662 BCP and a glossed edition of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, and is particularly prepared for the Anglican churches in South East Asia.

On this site, Brench and Chaiphakdi also provide periodic insights and encouragements for the use of the daily prayers and the Scripture lessons that accompany them.