Ash Wednesday/Lenten Collect
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect Prayer for the First Sunday in Lent
O LORD, who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights; Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
The second part of Collect Prayer for the First Sunday in Lent prays that God would “give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey thy godly motions …” This grace is through Christ and His finished work to pay for our sins through His death, to defeat death through His Resurrection, and to mediate on our behalf as our advocate to God the Father Almighty in His Ascension. As we pray in the Collect Prayer for the Season of Lent, it is God’s work in our hearts to “use such abstinence.” “Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness” speaks of God’s grace at work. In response to this great love, we are enabled to abstain through repentance and calling upon the Name of the Lord for the help we need to obey. This obedience, although imperfect, rests upon the righteousness of Jesus Christ that makes us righteous in the sight of God. This obedience, although imperfect, rests upon the true and perfect holiness of Jesus Christ that lived and died for us. All of these gifts of grace God grants us to live in repentance, abstinence, subduing the flesh, and obedience are not to glorify self. They are all to the honor and glory of Jesus Christ. Lent teaches us that we are unworthy through our sins to do or anything that can save ourselves. Lent teaches us in our wretched unworthiness that our only hope is to cling to Christ and His righteousness and His holiness. We truly have through the mercy of God perfect remission and forgiveness of sins.