O Lord, who hast taught us that all our doings without love are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
Every year, we have the opportunity to reflect on this prayer for only three short days, not the normal seven days with most Collect Prayers for the week. This is due to Ash Wednesday introducing us to the Season of Lent with a new Collect Prayer for the whole Lenten Season. We leave this most powerful prayer in how to approach all spiritual disciplines to a brief period. Moreover, in the flurry of activity in preparing for the Wednesday service as well as with Shrove Tuesday, this prayer can often fall into neglect. The first part of this prayer should always stop us and humble us. We are taught throughout Holy Writ that if our works and words lack love, they are worth absolutely nothing. This Collect Prayer is speaking of the love of Jesus Christ. It is not speaking of the warm fuzzy love of this world that condones sins. No, this speaks of the sacrificial love of Christ that saved us, that enables us and calls us to do all things and say all things in the love of Jesus Christ. This love is such that prays for all our moments with others to be used properly to convey Christ’s love through the call to repentance and submission to His Loving Word. This love is such that does not add humanistic lists to repentance, as we often like to add. No, it is to trust Jesus Christ enough to let His Word work through the Holy Spirit. It is to trust Jesus to speak His loving Words to all sorts and conditions of the people He leads us to interact with in our lives.