Last week I posted the Collect for the Sunday before Advent from the Order of Worship for the Reformed Church in the United States. Now the cycle starts over, and included below is the Collect for the First Sunday in Advent.
The reader familiar with the Book of Common Prayer will immediately recognize this as the prayer that is used for Advent 1 there as well, a prayer that both looks back to Christ’s first coming in humility and forward to his second coming in judgment.
Such mirroring of the BCP will not always be the case, however; that is, the authors and compilers of the Order of Worship were not just copying and pasting from their Anglican brothers. To be honest, it would have been fine if they had done so; but because they didn’t, present-day Reformed Protestants have an even greater wealth of liturgical material to work with.
Indeed, we have an instance of that here. For also included for this Sunday is a “Festival Prayer,” which is not found in the BCP, though its opening is taken from the General Thanksgiving at the end of the BCP’s rites for Morning and Evening Prayer. This prayer reflect on Creation, Fall, and Deliverance, and asks for the gift of repentance that we may obtain our appointed end.
ALMIGHTY GOD, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when He shall come again in his glorious majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through Him who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, now and forever. Amen.
The Festival Prayer
ALMIGHTY GOD, Father of all mercies, we thine unworthy servants do render Thee unfeigned thanks, that after man, created in thine own image, had, through the fraud and malice of Satan, fallen under the power of the curse, Thou didst not leave him to perish in helpless misery, but didst provide a Deliverer and proclaim to the fathers, by the mouths of the prophets and holy men of old, the Advent of thy Son, the Hope of Israel, the Desire of all nations, the Redeemer of the world: to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
GOD of all grace and comfort, who hast not appointed us unto wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, aid us, we beseech Thee, at this time, to repent heartily and truly of all our sins, and so to humble ourselves, that, when He cometh, we may be prepared to receive Him with childlike faith, and join in the glad cry: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Amen.