Eternal Candle

WEEKLY REFLECTION | Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 19, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

A few years ago, one of my non-Episcopalian friends asked, “What is this COLLECT you keep talking about?” I hemmed and hawed and finally said, “It’s a very brief, formal  prayer, that brings together a number of thoughts addressed to God.” It wasn’t the time for a lesson on types of prayers. Then I said, ”It’s used in a lot of places in services. But I like to think about the one at the beginning of the Eucharist as collecting and focusing our prayers as we gather together.”

Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today’s collect needs that focus! It’s taking us from earth to heaven; raising concerns about anxiety and hopes for love; and asking us to consider the past, present and future.  WOW! That is a LOT to ponder, collected into five lines!

Tiny as it is, this prayer teaches us some serious things. It challenges us to take inventory and recognize what is truly important. Fads and fashions come and go. Jobs are gained and lost. Buildings are constructed and destroyed. People are born and die (alas!). Everything physical around us, including our own selves, changes. But that’s this world. Wonderful as it is, it is not forever

There is also eternity to consider. What do we have now that will go with us into eternity? How about these? Our love for each other and for God. Our faith in the mercy of Jesus. Our trust that the Holy One’s promises are true. Our prayers of intercession and thanksgiving. The joy of worshipping together.

Take a moment to jot down your own list: what is there in your life that is eternal? If you can’t think of anything, then we should talk!


Mo. Laura+

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