Saturday, March 5, 2011

I'm going to miss this prayer

This week's Collect (Book of Common Prayer 1979) is beautiful, and I have been blessed through praying it each day:

Most loving Father, whose will it is for us to give thanks for all things, to fear nothing but the loss of you, and to cast all our care on you who care for us: Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from us the light of that love which is immortal, and which you have manifested to us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

here's the traditional version,

Most loving Father, who willest us to give thanks for all things, to dread nothing but the loss of thee, and to cast all our care on thee who carest for us: Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, and grant that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from us the light of that love which is immortal, and which thou hast manifested to us in thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

It is placed for the 8th Sunday after the Epiphany, which doesn't happen most years. Epiphany has more Sundays when Easter (which moves about with the lunar cycle) falls late, and this year Easter is about as late as it can go.

I am trying to find the origin of this prayer. I found one site that credited it to this Oxford Professor. If it was composed by him, it obviously wasn't in the first Books of Common Prayer or the 1662 version, which is official for the Church of England.

Anybody know more? When and where did it enter liturgical use?

I'm going to miss it until we have another late Easter and 8th Sunday after Epiphany some year.

5 comments:

Bryan Owen said...

I, too, have been moved by the beauty and power of this week's Collect. It's been so long since we've had 8 Sundays in the Epiphany season that I didn't remember it. It's a real treasure of the Prayer Book.

The Archer of the Forest said...

According to Hatchett's Commentary on the American Prayerbook:

"This original collect by William Bright is printed in the appendix to his Ancient Collects (pp. 234-235). The 1928 revision printed it among additional family prayers. In the preamble are biblical allusions to 1 Timothy 2:1, Philippians 3:8, and 1 Peter 5:7. IN the Gospels the antithesis of faith is not doubt but fear, for faith is essentially trust in God's love and care."

The Archer of the Forest said...

I checked, and this prayer is indeed found on page 596 of the 1928 American Prayerbook under the heading "For Trustfulness."

The only thing that the Rite I Collect seems to have added or changed is deleting the comma in the third line: "our care on thee, who carest for us;" and it seems to have added the Trinitarian closing to make it a proper collect form, "who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."

The '28 version ends after "...thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."

Looking at various other previous prayerbooks, I see no other usage of this prayer or collect.

TLF+ said...

Thanks, Archer!

Rob Eaton+ said...

OMG, Tim. I read your first sentence as this week's COMING collect. Almost put me in a tizzy thinking either you and everybody else was a Sunday off, or I Was!
Phew....then I read the sentence again as you are praying the collect daily - just as I am.
I guess diocesan Special Conventions affect me more than I thought!

Anyway, Yes. I also have benefitted from praying this collect, and as I have included the same awareness in the last two Sunday's sermons that we rarely get to hear these two collects, and how distinct they are.