[The first in a series of reflections on the Prayer Book this year.]
GRANT, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Collect for the Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity, read by laymen in place of the Absolution in the Daily Offices, reflects the comforting nature of the Book of Common Prayer for the faithful believer. The prayer begs that the Lord grant his people “pardon and peace” to the end that they may be “cleansed from all their sins” and subsequently serve Him “with a quiet mind.” What does it mean to serve the Lord with a quiet mind? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary offers several meanings of the adjective quiet in the English language, among which could include, calm, gentle, still, or secluded. However, perhaps the best definition in the context of this prayer is the sentiment of being “free from noise or uproar.” The Lord extends to us in peace through the grace of forgiveness to be loosed from our sins that bind us. The “uproar” we often feel upon pondering our own weakness is the burden of guilt. Through the merits of Christ on the Cross, the “uproar” of our burdened souls can be cured and, through Him, we can obtain the peace we most deeply desire. The only thing that we must do is to reach out to Him, in faith, and by His grace, to receive the benefits of His Sacrifice for us, and thereby receiving the peace we desire.