By Ellen Ceely
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (1979 Book of Common Prayer)
This is one of the most beautiful and convicting Collects I’ve read.
We live in a world that continuously asks: who can fix our problems? How will we solve the chaos and strife that surrounds us? When and how will people’s hearts change? The Bible gives us the answer: God. He alone can bring into order humanity’s unruly will that seeks to destroy its fellow people. God alone can redirect the affections of sinners.
How does he do this? With his unending grace. Through his undeserved love and goodwill toward us, God teaches us to love what he commands and to desire what he’s promised. God changes the world, not us. We act on his behalf and show the world who he is through our words and actions, but it’s he who opens the eyes and hearts of those around us.
What does this mean for our lives? The change God brings to our lives through his love and grace helps us fix our hearts on him. In Christ, we find true peace and joy. When we live in the presence of the Almighty God, it doesn’t matter what happens in the world around us. We can live in peace and experience unending joy because the Creator fully knows us. We still work to help the people around us, but we live understanding that nothing can snatch us away from God’s presence.
Every day there seems to be more bad news from all parts of the world. Whether we’re reading the news or scrolling through social media, it’s painfully obvious the world is in pain. For me, this can lead to fear and worry. Within that fear and worry, I often forget to go to the One who holds the world in his hands. This Collect reminds me to anchor my heart in the joy of Christ, holding fast to the peace that passes all understanding.
How does this week’s Collect resonate with you? Does it encourage you to redirect your focus in some way? What’s one way you can do that every day this week? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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