Week of the Sunday from May 29 to June 4
O God, the protector of all those who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy, that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal; grant this, heavenly Father, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Our collect for this week is specifically designated for the Sunday occurring between May 29 and June 4. As the date of Easter moves each year, so do the following Feast Days. So, our insights from this collect this year are unique and will not be the same every year.
What might the Lord have for us in this prayer to begin Ordinary Time, 2018?
It is the first week of Ordinary Time, a time in which the church settles into the glorious mundane and learns to walk with God through the wilderness, in between the resurrection and the return of the King. Every year we reorient ourselves to the gospel story from Advent to Pentecost. Having relived the story of Jesus, we enter Ordinary Time, come down from the mountaintop, and God trains us to walk with him in the valley, in the mundane.
What did we see on the mountaintop? We saw “the things eternal” which have been signified and promised in the resurrection and ascension of Christ Jesus. In Pentecost, we have received the downpayment and assurance of our future glorious inheritance by the seal of the Holy Spirit.
So, it is in this new time, this Ordinary Time, that we ask God to be our “ruler and guide,” specifically so that, “we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal.” These things temporal are the daily activities and occupations of the Christian life in this world.
Is the journey of life something to be embarked upon in our strength? Has Jesus, now ascended, left us alone to grasp and strive for the kind of existence we ought to have in this time? Thankfully, no! This request for God’s help to “pass through things temporal” is grounded in the prior declaration that God is the “protector of all who trust” in him. Without him, “nothing is strong, nothing is holy.”
What a profound statement! The implications are far-reaching and we must meditate upon them if we are to journey well through the days ahead. We need only to trust and obey our God and king. He is our strength, and he is our holiness. He is the one who upholds and carries us through the wilderness, just as he did for the nation of Israel until they entered the promised land.
So, Christian, lean on your creator and King, the one who gave everything for you, that you might find him to be your strength and holiness in the coming days. All this that you might pass through things temporal and find at the end of your life the reward of things eternal.
David C. Smith is married to his lifelong friend Kendalyn Smith. He is a deacon in the Anglican Church of North America, currently serving as Curate for Family Ministries at Church of the Resurrection in Flower Mound, Texas. He recently graduated with a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.