Dear Friends,
We learn to speak by hearing people speak. We learn to speak to God – to pray – by reading the Bible (God’s word written), and by hearing godly people pray. Praying an old, deeply biblical prayer, is one more way to learn to pray.
“O God, who by the leading of a star did manifest Your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles: Mercifully grant that we, who know You now by Faith, may after this life have the fruition of Your glorious Godhead; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Collect for Epiphany, 1662 BCP
In the early blogs entries, at this point I talk about concise theology and the biblical nature of the prayer. This time I will talk of these matters later. First, we need to puzzle over the very odd phrase “have the fruition of Your glorious Godhead.” It seems weird and wrong. What does it mean? How on earth can it be biblical or sound or worthy of our prayers? Should we ask for this?
I write to you to first contemplate several important passages of the bible, of Scripture. These Scripture texts are what the prayer is referring to. Once you understand this, you will want to pray in accordance with this very old prayer. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies Himself as He is pure” (1 John 3:2-3 ESV). Note how this text holds out the promise that in some mysterious, but true sense, when we finally see Jesus face-to-face knowing that when that happens, we “shall be like Him”, then we will seek to purify our lives right now. The hopeful glorification fuels a godly, Gospel-shaped desire to live a holy life. Listen also to this text, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” And shortly after this, “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while, we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened – not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (2 Corinthians 4:17 and 5:1-5 ESV). Note that the Lord is preparing for His children by adoption and grace “an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Note as well the we are being prepared for an eternal home, and that one day we will be “swallowed up by life.”
So, in the prayer, we are asking to not only know God by faith now, but to have something else happen “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” What is this something we ask for “have the fruition of Your glorious Godhead”? This means that all of God’s plans and work will come to fruition – be actual and complete. Furthermore, it is hard to know how to pray 1 John 2 and 2 Corinthians 4 and 5 without sounding like we want to be gods. This prayer was a couple of words, hedged in by doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Christ, to ask that whatever it means to “be like Him” and “to be swallowed up in life” and to bear “an eternal weight of glory” that this will come to fruition in us. But it is a fruition which is like God, but God is still “the head/the source/the rule” So we ask to have such faith that one day “we are like Him”, but He alone is still God and head and source and ruler.
George+