Saturday, 25 October 2014

It Was Friday, But Sunday's Coming

Already on the train ride into London Waterloo, I see the Christmas decorations in some workplaces - Santas, snowpersons, reindeer etc. It does seem way too early, although if the Church of England still followed the Alternative Service Book lectionary, then tomorrow would be 9 Before Christmas.

There is November to get through - All Saints' Day, Remembrance Sunday and Thanksgiving (yes, I celebrate Thanksgiving, finding it a useful annual moment to reflect with gratitude) - before we move onto Advent, beginning late November or early December.

One thing that is normal in Church of England churches is what is often incorrectly called "Midnight Mass" (from Article XXVIII it is clear that the Church of England doesn't have Masses, due to the theology behind the Mass) - that late evening celebration of the Lord's Supper, beginning on Christmas Eve and running into the first minutes of Christmas Day itself. As Christmas begins, the church is marking Good Friday and Easter Day.

And this is one of the strengths of Common Worship in my opinion, with its focus being on daily acts of worship. I try, where possible, to use its Morning Prayer when I get up and a merger of Evening Prayer and Compline before hitting the hay, so my waking day is bookended spending time with God.

The Collect for Friday from Compline:

  • Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God
  • who at this evening hour lay in the tomb
  • and so hallowed the grave
  • to be a bed of hope for all who put their trust in You
  • give us such sorrow for our sins
  • which were the cause of Your passion
  • that when our bodies lie in the dust
  • our souls may live with You forever

The Collect for Saturday from Morning Prayer:

  • Grant, Lord
  • that we who are baptised into the death
  • of Your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
  • may continually put to death our evil desires
  • and be buried with Him;
  • and that through the grave and gate of death
  • we may pass to our joyful resurrection;
  • through His merits,
  • Who died and was buried and rose again for us,
  • Your Son Jesus Christ our Lord

The Collect for Saturday from Compline:

  • Stay with us, O God, this night
  • so that by Your strength
  • we may rise with the new day
  • to rejoice in the resurrection of Your Son,
  • Jesus Christ our Saviour

The Collect for Sunday from Morning Prayer:

  • God of glory,
  • by the raising of Your Son
  • You have broken the chains of death and hell:
  • fill Your Church with faith and hope;
  • for a new day has dawned
  • and the way to life stands open
  • in our Saviour Jesus Christ

And, finally the Collect for Sunday from Compline:

  • Almighty God,
  • by triumphing over the powers of darkness
  • Christ has prepared a place for us in the new Jerusalem:
  • may we, who have this day given thanks for His resurrection,
  • praise Him in the eternal city
  • of which He is the light;
  • through Jesus Christ our Lord

Weekend-after-weekend, the Collects place the focus on Good Friday and Easter Day.