On Tuesday I said Mass at Southwark Cathedral and encountered the Common Worship Collect for Advent 2. Oh dear! It seemed a prime example of the pomposity of many Collects which give the impression they are aimed at the President of the Antiquarian English Society of Oxbridge rather than God.
The wording is in stark contrast to the readings which speak of God’s compassion and mercy. They leave me with the question as to just what these Collects are designed to express, not least as so many of them begin by addressing God in the third person (I think that’s the tense - or is it the descriptive relative clause!) This is far from the approach to God we find expressed by the saints – John of the Cross for example or Francis of Assisi. No wonder many people have difficulty in relating to God as the One who loves them with a passion that brought Him amongst us.
Thank God for ‘Collects in Contemporary Language’ (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Opening-Prayers-Collects-Contemporary-Scripture/dp/1853114286) which also connect with the readings. This Sunday’s (Advent 3) is a good example:
O God, most high and most near,
you send glad tidings to the lowly,
you hide not your face from the poor;
those who dwell in darkness you call into the light.
Take away our blindness,
remove the hardness of our hearts,
and form us into a loving people,
that, at the advent of your Son,
we may recognise him in our midst
and find joy in his saving presence.
We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.