This is a little follow up on our Instructed Eucharist. Did you ever hear the phrase “the Ordinary of the Mass” or the “Propers of the Day” and wonder what they meant? The Ordinary of the Mass is comprised of those parts of the Eucharist that stay the same. The Propers are those parts that change by design, such as the Collect of the Day, the prayer right after the Gloria or the Kyrie.
I bring this up now because last week the Proper Collect for our Feast of St. James superseded the regular Collect of the day. It was “Proper 12 The Sunday closest to July 27” and reads:
“O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
I share it now because it seemed to me that in this election year this collect was too apropos to miss. There are other collects that deal directly with an election, for the nation, for a president and for liberty. We will say them all in turn in the months ahead. But the Proper 12 Collect says something definitive about who is actually in charge and where our ultimate allegiance lies—God is our ruler and guide.
In these dangerous times we trust in God to increase and multiply divine mercies. And we pray as we navigate these turbulent political waters, that “we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal”—in other words, that we as Christians and Episcopalians keep our priorities straight. May God give us the grace and power so to do!