Almighty and everlasting God, who in Christ hast revealed
thy glory among the nations: Preserve the works of thy
mercy, that thy Church throughout the world may persevere
with steadfast faith in the confession of thy Name; through
the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with
thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Preservation and perseverence are the themes of this week’s collect. What good themes, as we drag through the end of summer and the end of Ordinary Time in the Christian calendar.
At this time of year I am always counting down the weeks until Advent, not just because I love Advent and Christmas, but also because I am ready to again study (and in a way live) the life of Christ.
To me this is the great beauty of a church calendar. It refuses to allow us only to focus on those things we like about our faith. It walks us through the life of our great Teacher and then demands that we “go out and do likewise”. The anticipation of Advent, leads to the fulfillment of Christmas, then into the ministry of Epiphany, the sorrow and contemplation of Lent and finally, gloriously, into the celebration of the Resurrection.
We could stop there, spending our lives and thoughts on “what Christ has done for me” but the calendar drags us relentlessly forward, reminding us at Pentecost that we are equipped by God to serve God and our neighbor, and then giving us more than half the year to practice being Christ to one another. And just when we are fainting, running out of steam and the ability to continue on our path, we are returned to Anticipation at Advent.