At this weekend’s liturgy for the First Sunday of Advent we will hear this prayer, the Opening Prayer of the liturgy (just before we sit for the scriptures) also known as the Collect.
Take a moment to consider it:
Let us pray.
Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess
the heavenly kingdom.
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,
There’s one line especially there that leaps out out me: “the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ.”
Resolve: “to come to a definite or earnest decision about… e.g. I have resolved that I shall live to the full”. (ref. definition)
The prayer is addressed to the first person of the Trinity, almighty God, and we are seeking to be actively involved in this meeting, this encounter, even to running forth to meet Christ.
It helps me to know that this prayer is a literal translation of the prayer they were using in Italy and France 1400 years ago. I’m praying not only today with Christians around the world, but back across the centuries. This is an ancient prayer expressing a timeless human desire – to encounter Christ with energy and enthusiasm.
And it helps me to know that God is giving me the freedom to run towards or to run away. God is seeking my cooperation in this transforming encounter.
- Take a moment now to savour the fact that even more than you are desiring (running towards) Jesus, Jesus is desiring (running towards) you. Are you running towards Him, or running away?
- Consider that Advent is a time of allowing Jesus to catch up with us.