Taste and See: United in life and love

Almighty ever-living God,
whom, taught by the Holy Spirit,
we dare to call our Father,
bring, we pray, to perfection in our hearts
the spirit of adoption as your sons and daughters,
that we may merit to enter into the inheritance
which you have promised.
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.

Collect for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

There may be a certain infelicity of phrasing in the English translation of the Collect this Sunday. We ask for the spirit of adoption to be brought to perfection in our hearts. But what does that mean?

Adoption is what we are offered in Christ – and there is no stinting, no imperfection there.

The spirit of adoption, however, is our response to the gift, rather than the gift itself. God’s gift is not lacking in any way, but our response to it might well be. And that is not so clear in the translation.

What we ask, and surely what we need, is to live more truly, more authentically, as daughters and sons of God, : we need help, but it is our job to live from our faith in God’s promises. For that we do well to pray!

Photograph (c) 2018, Allen Morris. Stained glass. St Peter’s, Oundle.

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