“Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name, increase in us true religion; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Chris tour Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.” – The Book of Common Prayer, The Collect for Year B, Proper 17
Do we pay attention to the collect each Sunday? Do we realize what we are asking God to do in our lives? Are we serious about what we pray? Let’s look at what we are asking God to do in this collect.
First is our acknowledgement of who the Lord is: mighty and powerful, one who gives good things to his people. Next, we ask him to work in our lives; we ask him to graft his will into our lives. This word “graft” describes a process of literally uniting our lives in his life. The concept of grafting was easily understood during Jesus’ time. Wine vines flourished in the ancient world. Growers would take a branch and attach it onto a rootstock, which provided nourishment for the grafted branch to grow and flourish. The result would be improved fruit for wine production.
When we ask God to graft into our hearts the love of his name, we are asking him to change us, to literally unite our hearts to his so that we would be nourished and empowered to be his people in the world. This grafting into Christ actually takes us back to the process of creation. God created mankind in his image, male and female he created them. We are the to be the Imago Dei - the image of God.
What kind of fruit do we produce when we are grafted into Christ? In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). We are asking to be transformed, to be made more Christ-like. Let’s look at the fruit of the Spirit.
Love is the fruit that enables us to live in peace and kindness with all people, to recognize each other as the beloved of Christ.
Joy is a quality that allows us to live in gladness and delight. It is not simply laughing and having a great time. It is being calmly filled with a knowledge of God’s presence.
Peace occurs in us when we rejoice in Christ, trusting him and bringing our concerns and joys to him in prayer.
Patience can be challenging for us in our culture. We live in the “I want it now” world, the world where Burger King’s famous “Have it your way!” slogan tells us we can have it all. Patience is the quality that lets us rest and endure.
Kindness and compassion are closely linked and call us to treat one another as we wish to be treated and to care for those who are less fortunate.
Faithfulness means that we are reliable, trustworthy.
Gentleness is not weakness. Rather is a sense of strength under control. I read once it is a “grace of the soul.”
And, finally, self-control is a saying “no” to things that take us away from Christ and saying a continual “yes” to things that please him.
When we pray like this, we are asking God to be very present to us, to work in our lives, to change us, to make us more and more into his image. It is a powerful, life changing prayer!
How might the Lord want to graft his spiritual fruits into your life today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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