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by: Ruth Thillen
Collect for Purity BCP p. 355 Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
As we moved into Lent, this prayer at the beginning of our worship was set aside in favor of the Penitential Order, including the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments. First, let me say, I love hearing and responding to the Commandments; clear direction for our interactions with God and with each other, and a connection to the history of our faith. That makes the Collect for Purity, which I have heard over and over, all my life as a “cradle” Episcopalian, even stronger for me. All hearts are open, all desires known, no secrets hidden. Whoa! So God knows when I say something nice to someone, but in my head and heart, I am saying something else, something less kind. So as we recite this prayer, I am called to clean up my act, and I know that I can’t do that without God’s help. So I mean it when I say “Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts [my heart] by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit.” And when we get to the Confession (which happens earlier in the service during Lent, but later during the rest of the year), I am ready to open up to God and leave behind that nasty thought. Then I can more easily love God, and sing his praises, and glorify his name. And patiently (I hope) await the Resurrection.