Being like Christ
Let us pray (in silence) [that we may grow ready for Christ's appearance]
your Son was revealed that he might overcome evil
and make us heirs of eternal life;
grant that we who have this hope in us
may purify ourselves as he is pure,
that when he appears in power and great glory,
we may be made like him,
to the honour of your name;
for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.
Before the 1662 revision of the BCP, on the rare occasion when there was a sixth Sunday after Epiphany prior to "Septuagesima" (the third Sunday before Lent), one merely repeated the previous Sunday's propers (collect, epistel, gospel).
The last time there was a "Sixth Sunday after Epiphany" and before "Septuagesima" was 2000, and the next one is in 2011.
It was probably Bishop John Cosin who drew up the proper (collect prayer and readings) particular to Epiphany 6 for the 1662 BCP revision. The rubric after the Twenty Fifth Sunday after Trinity instructs that these provisions were to be used just prior to Advent rather than just before Lent if they ran out of readings and collects at the end of the church's year. This prayer was, in fact, more likely to be used there. [For a different way of dealing with variations in Sunday numbers before Lent and after Pentecost]
This history explains the "Advent" feel of this collect which drew its images particularly from the epistle (1 John 3:1-8) and also the gospel (Matt 24:23-31) for the Sunday.
The BCP collect was:
O GOD, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil, and make us the sons of God, and heirs of eternal life; Grant us, we beseech thee, that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves, even as he is pure; that, when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, he liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
In New Zealand's adaptation the concept of "and to make us the children of God" has, unfortunately, been lost. This has been retained in the Church of England adaptation, which places this as a pre-Advent collect (Second Sunday before Advent):
whose blessed Son was revealed
to destroy the works of the devil
and to make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life:
grant that we, having this hope,
may purify ourselves even as he is pure;
that when he shall appear in power and great glory
we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom;
where he is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
BCP (TEC) has a similar eschatological perspective in placing it a week earlier than the Church of England (Proper 27 - Sunday closest to November 9):
O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
New Zealand, as usual, alters "devil" to "evil".
It is unclear to me why the NZ reformers applied this collect to August (p.716) in Year A, the 12th Ordinary Sunday in Year B, and the Fifth Sunday in Lent (p.698) in Year C.
The position of this site is that the collect need not directly echo a particular reading. It does, however, set the "flavour" of the service. The linking of the first and second coming of Christ does appear to me to be more appropriately used near where the Church of England currently locates it.
There is also value in reflecting that there need be no need to think that good collects can only come from the early church. This seventeenth century collect stands up well against models from a millennium earlier. Collects produced in this century need not be trite or look embarassing alongside classical ones. Celebrating Eucharist Chapter 6 has some useful ideas.
Some collects in NZPB have not worn well. Many are not forming Christians into praying to God, in and through Christ, in the power of the Spirit. Thankfully some earlier NZ collects have not survived into NZPB/HKMA:
God, your ways are not ours,
for you are the Jewish boy;
you are the questioning child his parents lost.
Make us willing to listen
and humble in what we believe is right. (Epiphany 1, 1984)
Unfortunately, some excellent collects have not made it into our NZPB/HKMA collection. Possibly the most surprising one to be missing is:
who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:
help us so to hear them,
to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them
that, through patience, and the comfort of your holy word,
we may embrace and for ever hold fast
the hope of everlasting life,
which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.