Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and as we are sorely hindered by our sins from running the race that is set before us, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
As you remember, a collect is a short prayer that focuses our hearts on God’s majesty and eternal attributes. When we pray these Advent collects, we address God, make petitions, acknowledge the eternal unity of the Holy Trinity, and seal our prayer with an “Amen.”
Two sets of words stick out in this week’s collect; vivid words that describe the Lord. The first set of words strikes up images of unlimited power and might–utter competence and authority at the snap of a finger. The second set of words heralds images of lavish grace and mercy–sheer tenderness and goodness at all times.
As you meditate on this collect, consider the petitions. The first petition reminds us of sin’s seriousness; it is a driving hindrance to our Christian walk. At the same time, the second petition reminds us of Almighty God’s lavish grace and mercy. As the prophet said, though our sins are like scarlet, “they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18, NIV). Surely, mercy has triumphed over judgment!
As with every collect, we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the founder and perfecter of our faith, so keep your eyes on him, “who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed…” (Hebrews 12:2, MSG).
With Jesus as our example, may we all say, “Amen!”