Gleanings from the Collects: The Third Sunday of Easter

Heavenly Father, you have delivered us from the dominion of sin and death, and brought us into the kingdom of your beloved Son: Grant that, as by his death he has called us to life, so by his love he may raise us to eternal joys; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

This collect for the Third Sunday of Easter is a revision of the collect in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer for Saturday in Easter Week, which in turn was a revision of a Mozarabic collect.[1]

The prayer begins “Heavenly Father.” This is at the same time a term of respect and a term of endearment. Jesus taught us to call God “Abba”[2]which is what a small child would call his Father. We have been given this privilege because we have been adopted into the household of God[3]and made joint heirs with Jesus Christ.[4]

The next line speaks of being delivered “from the dominion of sin and death, and brought us into the kingdom of your beloved Son.” This brings to mind the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land. The connection should give us an abiding sense of security that our salvation has been God’s plan throughout the ages. We are not an afterthought not did God react to an unexpected predicament. While it is incomprehensible, the truth is that we have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.[5]In other words, if you are in Christ then you can rest that He set His love on you before He made the heavens and the earth. That is why St. Paul said that nothing will be able to separate us from His love.[6]

The petition, “Grant that as by his death he has called us to life, so by his love he may raise us to eternal joys” is to be prayed with certitude. A paraphrase could be, “Just as certain as his death has called us to life, so His love will raise us to eternal joys.” Keeping this truth before us, that we have been raised from death to life and our future is eternal joy, makes this a prayer of celebration and is “meet and right” for the Easter season. 

The conclusion of the prayer should not be overlooked or perfunctorily prayed. “(Jesus) who lives and reigns with you (Father), in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.” Besides being a welcomed confession of the Holy Trinity[7]it places the prayer in context and grants us assurance. We are not putting positive thoughts out into the Universe, rather we are addressing the eternal Triune God. And we can be assured that with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all things are possible,[8]especially when we pray according to His will.[9]


[1]Collects from the 8thcentury in Spain when they were under Islamic rule

[2]Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15

[3]Galatians 4:4,5

[4]Romans 8:17

[5]Ephesians 1:4

[6]Romans 8:38,39

[7]It has been my experience that extemporaneous prayer rarely invokes the Holy Trinity 

[8]Matthew 19:26

[9]I Jn5:14,15

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