“What Do We Do and Why Do We Do It?”
Parts 3 and 4: Salutation/Collect through Creed
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
“The Lord be with you.” (“And with thy spirit.”) This is not, “Hi, how ya doin’?” “Fine; you?” As the one whom you have called to carry out the responsibility before this altar, I am speaking the blessing of the Lord Jesus to you. And you, as the body of Christ in this place, are affirming the call and the ordination. When I was ordained and installed here, you promised to honor and uphold me as your pastor, and that you would receive me, show me that love, honor, and obedience in the Lord that you owe to the shepherd and teacher placed over you by your Lord Jesus Christ. When we speak this Salutation to one another, you are renewing my ordination and my installation as your pastor. You are saying, “Yes, we have called you by the Holy Spirit to gather our prayers and speak them to God before this altar.” They do not cease to be your prayers, however. I say, “Let us pray.” We are praying together. But since God is a God of order rather than disorder, one of us must speak on behalf of all. And so, as I invite all who are gathered to pray, I “collect” those prayers into a single, concentrated prayer, which sums up the Church’s focus for the day. It is the reappearance of the thread which began with the Introit, and which we will see again in the readings, Gradual, and sermon. As we look at the Introit, Collect, and Gradual for today, we can begin to piece together a picture: “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity” (Psalm 133:1, ESV)! “O God, through the humiliation of Your Son You raised up the fallen world.” “Christ has risen from the dead. God the Father has crowned him with glory and honor, He has given him dominion over the works of his hands; he has put all things under his feet.” The fallen world has been raised up because Jesus lowered Himself; but the Lord is still Lord, and those who are under the Lord’s dominion, that is, those who recognize the risen Lord as their Lord, also dwell together in the unity of the Spirit given by that Lord. We, as this united body of the Lord, offer together our prayer to the Lord of all creation. “Grant to your faithful people, rescued from the peril of everlasting death, perpetual gladness and eternal joys” (Collect for Easter III).