God’s Never-Ending Mercy
Keep your Church, O Lord, by your perpetual mercy; and because without you the frailty of our nature causes us to fall, keep us from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable for our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
This week and next week’s collects focus on the Church (those who profess Jesus Christ as resurrected Lord, Romans 10:9–10), so I decided to comment on both of them in one email. Both exalt Almighty God’s perpetual mercy. Both acknowledge our vulnerable human nature and vulnerability to lurking dangers and our dependence on God’s boundless mercy.
God’s never-ending mercy opens wide the door to pray these collects. In them, we hear David urging “fear no evil” because the Lord is with us; his rod and staff comfort us (Psalm 23). Moreover, we stand in the convictions of the Lord’s prayer every time we ask our Father in heaven to lead us from temptation and deliver us from evil.
As I have meditated on these collects, Holy Spirit has pointed out two realities related to them. First, there are some things that only God can do. Only God can keep deleterious stuff from us. Only God can draw useful things to us. Only God can give the grace and forgiveness we long to know. Only God can purify, protect, and oversee his Church.
The other reality is that although there are things that only God can do, he chooses to do some things in concert with a praying Church. Mercifully, God answers prayer; therefore, we pray. Indeed, our Lord invites us to pray: “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:13–14). Jesus said, “Until now” or “Up to this point,” you have not asked me for anything. “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be abundant” (John 16:24).
May we continually look to God’s eternal mercy, pray without ceasing, offer thanksgiving in every situation, and solicit the welfare of people everywhere.