Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, August 22, 2015
I prayed through the Evening Prayer from www.dailyoffice.org on my laptop this evening. I noticed one piece of the service, in particular. In the Collect for Saturday, a portion of this prayer read as follows: “Grant that as we sing your glory at the close of this day, our joy may abound in the morning as we celebrate the Paschal mystery; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
This part of the Saturday prayer always seemed to just “be there.” Never particularly standing out for me. I know I come from a Reformed tradition that doesn’t ordinarily observe Communion (or, the Eucharist) on a weekly basis. The congregation I serve observes Communion on the first Sunday of the month. (I wonder whether that frequency colors the way I view the Collect for Saturday? Interesting thought. I will need to meditate on that for a while.)
However, tonight this part of the prayer—the Paschal mystery part—stood out for me. Front and center, as my dad used to say.
I was so curious I went to the Episcopal Church’s website and looked up Paschal Mystery. Here’s some of what I found. “Paschal means pertaining to Easter (the Pascha) and to its antecedent the Hebrew Passover. The Passover has the promise of redemption and the gift of freedom at the Red Sea. In the NT, the Paschal concept includes Jesus’ death and resurrection, the ascension and gift of the Holy Spirit, baptism, the calling of a new people from every nation and language, and participation in the mystery through eating and drinking with our Risen Lord.” 
Wow! That’s most of what I preached in my sermon tonight!
I filled the pulpit for a pastor friend who’s away on vacation this week. I preached on John 6, the bread of life come down from heaven. This statement on the Paschal Mystery from the Episcopal Church hit most of the highlights. Also, I had the opportunity to celebrate communion tonight with the congregation I visited.
I think the combination of the sermon I preached, the Scripture passage I read, and the opportunity to observe communion all contributed to my particular notice of this Collect for Saturday. All three of these factors helped me to reach more deeply in my prayers tonight. To come before God in a different way this evening.
Thanks, God, for a new appreciation of the Paschal Mystery. Truly, I had never really reflected on that particular phrase, until tonight. Dear Lord, help me to bring that appreciation and joy into my worship of You tomorrow morning. We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.
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Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!