image :: Letterpress, Herbert Pföstl (21st century, Austrian)

“The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire… and in His temple all cry, ‘Glory!'” Psalm 29:8-9

We’re getting ready for the start of Lent in just a couple of weeks or so. I thought I’d give everyone some orientation to the 2018 Lenten Readings before we get there. I’m grateful you’ve joined us, or you can sign up here.

Each year I pair Bible texts with commentary in the daily readings. In the past I’ve used various resources such as the Revised Common Lectionary, sermons on the Cross of Christ across the centuries, Wesley’s Scripture Hymns and excerpts from the Early Church Fathers. Once again this year, the Scripture texts will be very brief. The prayers reflecting on each Scripture sentence are known as “collects” from the Book of Common Prayer.

A collect [pronounced: COL -lect] is a simple prayer meant to gather the people for worship in light of Scripture. All of the collects recorded in the Book of Common Prayer more or less fit a pattern that was developed by English Reformer Thomas Cranmer for the first edition of 1549.

He borrowed elements of the liturgy of the Reformed church in Cologne, adapted ancient prayers of Early Church Fathers such as John Chrysostom, reformed historic Latin liturgies from Gelasius (5th century), Gregory the Great (6th century), and others. He also wrote dozens of new prayers.

And these collects are remarkable for the way the teach us to read the Word of God and respond in prayer.  The Christian believes that God speaks with power, and we can only cry “glory” in response. In His Scripture, we read the truth about God and ourselves, and then we speak God’s words back to Him.  That’s what we will be doing together this Lent.

More in my next post about how a collect works.


  1. Pingback: Lent devotionals with arts component – Art & Theology

  2. Pingback: How Collects Work | 2018 Lenten Readings

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