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The Collect For Purity


Ernest-OnuohaTraditionally, this collect for purity is usually a prayer said near the beginning of the Eucharis in most Anglican rites. It was part of the preparation prayer before the actual communion said by the Priest and Communicants. However, history had it that Thomas Cranmer translated this prayer from Latin into English and from there it entered almost all the Anglican prayer book.

It is worthy of note that Cranmer’s translation of this prayer first appeared in the first prayer book of Edward VI (1549) and carried over into the second prayer book of Edward VI (1552) and the Book of Common Prayer (1662). Expectedly, this puts the worshippers into the mood to be aware that to God Almighty “All hearts are open, all desires are known and no secrets are hidden…”

Therefore, people of God should be aware that God is all knowing and nothing is hidden from Him. It, therefore, suggests that people should come before Him, as they are and not to try to put up a façade.

However, in the Old Testament, prophet Jeremiah did observe: “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Let us take note that the owner knows the hearts no matter how bad or desperately wicked they may be.

Fortunately, the Bible is emphatic that nothing is hidden from Christ. John Piper notes with great delight that: One reason to admire and trust Jesus above all other persons is that He knows more than anyone else. He knows all people. He knows all people thoroughly, their hearts and their thoughts. “He knew all men” (John 2:24), “You, Lord… know the hearts of all men” (Acts 1:24). And Jesus knowing their thoughts said: “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? (Matthew 9:4)

Piper was not done; there is no one who perplexes Jesus. No thought or action is unintelligible to Him. He knows its origin and end. The most convoluted psychotic and the most abstruse genius are open and laid bare to His understanding.
He understands every motion of their minds. Jesus not only knows all people thoroughly, as they were and are today; He also knows what people will think and do tomorrow. He knows all things that will come to past.
Thus, His disciples said, truly, “now we know that you know all things and have no need for anyone to question you, by this we believe, you came from God, (John 16:30)

It is important that we remind believers that God in His relationship with us is more interested in what we think than what we do. Our thinking most times controls our actions, no matter how we pretend. It, therefore, calls for caution when we appear before the Lord’s Table at Eucharist, if there is any sin we need to repent of, we should go ahead and pour our hearts unto Him. It is not good to look good before the Lord when we know we are living in sin, which eventually will lead to damnation.

Remember, the Devil is busy recruiting people into his party and would not tolerate that any should defect to God. As a child of God desirous to make heaven we need to avoid him and all his antics. We are therefore beckoned upon today to respond like the call by the Priest at the Eucharist: “Holy things to Holy People, if any is Holy, let him come, if any is not, let him repent, the Lord is here”!

Ven. Ernest Onuoha,
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.

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