Thanks for joining me! This week we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We have not prayed this prayer at mass since 2019. When we live in liturgical time, our weeks change depending on the date of Easter. If Easter is later, we have more Ordinary Time before Lent versus afterwards.
That can often mean that after Easter, we’ll celebrate a Feast day, Pentecost Sunday, for example, and at our celebration, we will pray the prayers for Pentecost. The very next day starts a new week of Ordinary time, causing us to miss the Collect written for Ordinary Time of that week.
When Lent begins later, like it does this year, we have the opportunity to pray this prayer:
Grant us, O Lord, we pray, that the course of our world may be directed by your peaceful rule and that your Church may rejoice, untroubled in her devotion. 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.
Perhaps you were like me, in that when we got to the part about the course of our world directed by God’s peaceful rule, you said, “Wouldn’t that be nice.” Then I thought about it again, because the world is directed by God’s rule even though it may not seem like it to us.
Somehow the Israelites in the desert are a great example for many things, and this is another. They experienced temptation, they worshiped idols, they were hungry, they suffered defeat in the hands of their enemies, and God was still directing their course. God used those things to turn the hearts of his children back to him.
Set in modern day and not in a desert, I can’t help but imagine that this course is like on being a cruise ship. The helmsman stands at the wheel, steering the ship, and when you get onboard, you put all your trust in knowing that the crew knows how to get you to the destination. You may experience some rough waves, or maybe a storm, but you stay on the ship because it will get you to where you want to go.
The prayer reminds us, however, that it’s not just staying on the ship that matters, we must rejoice to be here! Why would we rejoice? We rejoice because God IS still directing our course and we rejoice because nothing disturbs our devotion to God.
How do we get a devotion so great? We study God’s word; we spend time with him. We use our Lenten practices to grow closer to God, not for the sake of losing weight (although Lent can be a good time to start a new healthy habit!).
As I thought about a rejoicing Church, I wondered what the world sees in Christians today. Does the world see people who are worried and filled with fear, or do they see believers filled with the joy and faith in God's plan? Do they see the excitement within his modern day followers who trust that God parts the way for his people, once again?
In this time which we are in, after a pandemic, with rumors of war, and the lack of love for human life, we must remember who the battle is actually between. It is between God and the devil, a creature who was made by God but who has the sole intent to take everyone he can away from the peaceful Kingdom of Heaven.
Keeping our eyes on the Lord and following his peaceful direction will lead us to everlasting devotion.
Lectio the Liturgy: The Collect reminds us that we are to be untroubled or undisturbed in our devotion. Where do you stand in your devotion to God and the Church? Perhaps this Lent, as we think about what we want to “give up”, we first ask ourselves, “Will giving up ________, or will doing ________ help me grow in the devotion I have to God?”