Saturday, May 12, 2018

Some Saturday Reverie

From the Book of Common Prayer, A Collect for Saturdays:
Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Saturdays had a certain magic to them when we were kids.  It was a time of innocence when you could get up at 7:00 AM, have a few bowls of your favorite sugar-packed breakfast cereal, and enjoy a few hours of Cartoons.  How things have changed from those 60's & 70's Saturday mornings.  The networks no longer air cartoons, and any parent who would deign to allow their children to eat sugared breakfast cereals are held up to a certain level of scorn.  Back then, Saturdays (along with Sundays) were a day off for a majority of Americans.  True, people worked on the day, but these would typically be those employed in the retail/food sectors, or those providing vital health & safety services.  Today, Saturday is just the day that follows Friday as our economic realities have morphed over time.  Yet for all the changes, there is one fact that has not changed, and this is the fact that today is the day before Sunday.

Saturday precedes Sunday, and though this might sound like a Captain Obvious type aphorism, it has application.  Tomorrow will be a day to worship of the Almighty for many.  Followers will gather at their respective places of worship for prayer, praise, proclamation, and to celebrate.  As an Anglican Deacon, I will be proclaiming the Gospel, leading saints into corporate prayer and public confession, and bidding those saints peace as they go forth, "rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.  All of these aforementioned things were never met to be entered into in a casual manner.  Rather, they've always have meant to be approached thoughtfully and deliberately. This is why today's Collect exhorts us as it does.

Rather than being a cryptic call to a seventh day sabbatarianism, the prayer exhorts the very opposite.  The writer is calling those who'll be in the house of the Almighty tomorrow, to take the time to prepare today.  We pray that by "putting away all earthly anxieties" (through laying or cares and burdens at the foot of the cross), that we would be prepared for the service of the sanctuary tomorrow.

This isn't the exclusive command for the clergy, far from it.  All who enter into a heart of worship tomorrow will be engaged in that "service of the Sanctuary".  Our participation in corporate worship is our service.  This is why we are called to take time today, that we might make His praise glorious tomorrow.

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