Prayer for the week

The collect and its explanation

Collect

Easter 4 – Sunday 22nd April

Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life:
raise us, who trust in him,
from the death of sin to the life of righteousness,
that we may seek those things which are above,
where he reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Readings

Acts 4:5-12; Psalm 23; 1 John 3:16-24; John 10:11-18

Explanation

This is one of the collects that is full of hope and uplifting imagery: the first thing we say is to pronounce the Easter Good News that Jesus is alive and gives life to all.

We pray that we might be taken up, lifted out of, raised up from a life of sin to a life of righteousness. The collect puts it even more starkly – our lives of sin are like being in a living death. It is only when we turn to Jesus that we can in fact live a living life.

Every person likes to feel accepted and loved. Knowing that others love and accept us is important for our health and well-being. Many people doubt though that God loves them and feel that in fact the life of righteousness cannot be for them. No human being is “good enough” to earn righteousness in God’s sight: because we all sin, it is impossible to be “right” with God based on our own merits. But we can be righteous in his sight through our faith in Jesus Christ.

This is where the little word “trust” comes in. The verb “trust” carries the idea of complete confidence and dependence. We are in fact totally reliant on God for everything – for being right with him and being loved by him. This is not a state we enter into often – too often we try to everything by ourselves. This collect reminds us that before we can “seek the things which are above”, we have to have the trust in God that he will raise us from our lives of sin to lives of being right with him.