Proper 13

Let us pray (in silence) [that God may guide our community]


Let your continual mercy, O Lord,
cleanse and defend your Church;
and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help,
protect and govern it always by your goodness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

The Book of Common Prayer (TEC) p.232

The source is the Gelasian Sacramentary (#1218). Starting from the Gregorian supplement (#1174), through the Sarum missal and the various Books of Common Prayer, this collect was assigned to the sixteenth Sunday after the Pentecost octave (Trinity XVI):

Ecclesiam tuam, Domine,
miseratio continuata mundet et muniat,
et quia sine te non potest salva consistere,
tuo semper munere gubernetur.

For 1549 this was translated as:

LORD, we beseche thee, let thy continual pitie clense and defende thy congregacion; and, because it cannot continue in safetie without thy succoure, preserve it evermore by thy helpe and goodnes; through Jesus Christ our Lorde.

For the 1662 revision, Bishop Wren suggested substituting "Church" for "congregation". "Congregation" was the Puritan preference. Ecclesia meant an assembly, in the scriptures - the assembly of God's people. Other Anglican prayer books appear not to have followed using this collect. I am always happy to correct such a statement if you get in touch with me.

The image of the original is to steer, guide, govern, pilot a ship - clearly a highly appropriate metaphor building on the church as ship.

The new Roman Missal has transferred this to be the collect for Monday of the third week of Lent and ICEL has translated it as:

God of mercy,
free your Church from sin
and protect it from evil.
Guide us, for we cannot be saved without you.
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