The Collect of Sunday, the 3rd Sunday of Lent reminds us of the power of right living, and of spiritual exercises to free us from sin.
O God, author of every mercy and of all goodness,
who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving
have shown us a remedy for sin,
look graciously on this confession of our lowliness,
that we, who are bowed down by our conscience,
may always be lifted up by your mercy.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
The Collect does not labour the point – there is something of noble simplicity at play here – but it is also unfoinching in noting the disability and stress of our condition as sinners: needing a remedy, lowly, bowed down…
But it is also firm and clear in its expression of trust and hope: God is author of every mercy and all goodness, who has alread given the remedy for sin in the spiritual exercises of fasting, prayer and almsgiving, and will lift up – by his mercy – those presently and properly bowed down.
The quiet dignity of the Collect hides/reveals a faith profound, simple and secure… And these words are given us to express our faith, to lead us deeper into the life of faith.
Lenten Devotion in the church of St Justin, Nablus, Palestine. (c) 2012, Allen Morris