The format is a bit different this week as we’re on vacation, however, we’re still going to Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
O God, protector of those who hope in you, without whom nothing has firm foundation, nothing is holy, bestow in abundance your mercy upon us and grant that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may use the good things that pass in such a way as to hold fast even now to those that ever endure. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
I’ve been thinking this week about the Who of this prayer and what God has for those who hope in him. He is the protector, he is the firm foundation, he makes things holy - including us.
It’s really a gift, isn’t it? Protection, a solid foundation under everything, and we are holy, our worship is holy, because our God is holy. What else could we possibly want? That’s what the rest of the prayer is about.
We ask for God’s mercy (in abundance!) so that we can hold fast to things that are eternal, and not grasp onto earthly things that pass. These good things that pass away are meant to point us to things that are eternal. When we are given a beautiful gift we love the giver more than the gift. The beautiful sunrise over the mountain isn’t all about the beauty of creation, it points us to the Creator.
Not clinging to this life, no matter how amazing the good things are, requires effort on our part. Sometimes the earthly things look so good. It is so easy to fall into the temptation of worshipping the wrong things, or becoming lazy in growing in our relationship with God. We may even become attached to things or practices and not even realize that instead of pointing to God, they are replacing him.
However, this relationship, and how we live from it, is the eternal, it is one thing that will ever endure.