Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Psalm 126, Isaiah 19:18-25, and 2 Peter 1:2-15
St. Peter gives us a list of character traits that we need to grow within ourselves. Faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. If you don’t have these, he wrote, you’re so short-sighted that you’re blind. If you do have them, you will grow.
Growth should be our ultimate goal. When someone tells us that we are the same today as we were twenty years ago, or even last year, then we know that we’ve not grown any. God doesn’t want us to sit on our keister and just wait to go to heaven. He wants us up and moving, learning new things, becoming better people, serving our neighbors, and showing people why it is good to follow Jesus. By the way, you can’t really “follow” someone if you’re not moving much – especially if that someone covers as much ground as Jesus does.
The seasons after Epiphany and Pentecost are “green” seasons. The colors on the pulpit and altar are green, which reminds us of growing plants. Both seasons emphasize growth. The readings after Epiphany help us see Christ being revealed to us, and the readings after Pentecost help us see Jesus teaching about and demonstrating the kingdom of God. We’ve spent six months on growth, and now is the time to put it all together.
Take some time to think back over the summer and fall. What have you learned this year? In what areas of your life have you grown? What areas still need work? You may find the following prayer helpful:
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.