Daily Word of Grace # 143 (October 1, 2020)

In one of the most powerful and honest collects in The Book of Common Prayer we pray, “Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found” (219).  This collect makes some people uncomfortable, especially those who are convinced they can “bring into order (their) unruly wills and affections” on their own, without God’s help.  And yet biblically, this collect hits the mark, a bullseye in fact.  In his Letter to the Romans the Apostle Paul put it this way, “I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…I can will what is right, but I cannot do it.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do” (Romans 7:15, 18-19).  Paul then describes this inner battle between spirit and flesh concerning one’s will, only to cry out, “Wretched man that I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?” and then answer, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).  How does Jesus recue us?  Through grace, just as we pray in the collect, “Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise.”  Thankfully, God’s grace is always available to help us with our “unruly wills and affections.”

Love and Prayers,