Holy Cross Day

On September 14, some Christians observe Holy Cross Day. In the Roman Church the day’s focus is on the finding of the relics of the original cross. Among Lutherans the focus is on the words of Jesus, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Here is an extended collect and a blessing with the focus on cross bearing by Veit Dietrich, a student of Martin Luther.

Lord God, heavenly Father,
in your fatherly and infinite wisdom
you place your children on earth under the cross
and we endure many troubles.
Through these you guard us against sins
and lead us to believe, hope and pray.
Have mercy on us,
and hear our prayers in every affliction and need,
and send us your gracious help
so that we may know your grace and fatherly goodness,
and praise and glorify you with all your saints in eternity,
for you, with your Son and the Holy Spirit alone are the eternal God. Amen.

Source: Veit Dietrich, Summaria christlicher lehr, Epiphany 4, 1548. Prayers from the Evangelical Lutheran Heritage, #223.

May the almighty and gracious God,
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
forgive us all our sins,
help us to live in daily repentance,
and grant that whatever crosses he sends
serve to lead us to despise and avoid what is evil
and love and practice what is good,
until we depart this life and enter eternal life. Amen.

Source: Veit Dietrich / Franziskus Vierling, Votum (a reflective prayer or blessing) on Hebrews 12:1-17, from the Altenberger Bibel. Prayers from the Evangelical Lutheran Heritage, #224.

 

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Give Us Patience

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O Lord God, Father of all mercy,
graciously look on your poor flock
for whom your dear Son Jesus Christ
did not refuse to be betrayed
into the hands of sinners,
and endured the shameful death of the cross.
Give us your grace
that we may follow the example
of your dear Son
and bear all suffering
with patience,
so that you,
with your beloved Son
and the Holy Spirit
may be glorified always.
Amen.

Source: Die pommersche Kirchen-Ordnung und Agenda, p. 288(3). Translated for A Collection of Prayers.

Original in German:

O Herr Gott, Vater aller Barmherzigkeit, du wollest gnädiglich sehen aus deine arme Heerde, um welcher willen dein lieber Sohn sich nicht hat geweigert, in die Hände der Sünder übergeben zu werden und für unö den schmählichen Tod am Kreuz zu leiden: Du wollest uns auch Gnade geben, daß wir nach dem Exempel deines lieben Sohns alles unser Leiden mit Geduld tragen, auf daß du sammt deinem lieben Sohn und dem heiligen Geiste allezeit von uns geehret werdest, Amen.

A similar prayer is found in the Coburg Agenda.

 

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Cross before Glory

Prayer Book Bible Reading Book Of Common Prayer

Almighty God,
your dear Son did not ascend to joy
until he first suffered pain,
and did not enter into glory
before he was crucified.
Mercifully grant that we,
walking in the way of the cross,
may find it as the true way
of life and peace;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.
Amen.

Source: Freely modified from Book of Common Prayer, Palm Sunday liturgy.

Source of this version: Freely modified from http://www.beliefnet.com/prayers/catholic/comfort/in-the-way-of-the-cross.aspx

Teach and Lead us Nearer to You

Ever loving and eternal God,
source of light that never sets,
and of love that never fails,
Life of our life,
Father of our spirits;
draw near to us,
and by remembering your never failing mercy,
teach and lead us nearer to you.

By the good news of your Son our Savior,
by his life and teaching;
by his passion and Cross;
by his heavenly exaltation and the influence of his Spirit:
teach and lead us nearer to you.

By the ministry of your church,
teach and lead us nearer to you.

By all our conflicts,
by all our aspirations,
by all our fears,
by all our joys and sorrows,
by life and death itself,
teach and lead us nearer to you.

Source: Condensed and freely modified from Devotional Services for Public Worship: Including Services for Baptism, Admission Into the … by John Hunter, © 1903

Original litany:

Almighty and Eternal God, Source of the light that never sets and of the love that never fails, Life of our life. Father of our spirits; hear us as we now beseech Thee, by Thine infinite mercy and goodness, to draw us, Thy weak and erring children, nearer and nearer to Thee in trust and love, in submission and obedience to Thy holy and blessed will.

By all Thy works; by Thy wonders in heaven and on earth; by the order which reigns over all; by the beauty which shines through all; by the bounty which blesses all:

Minister and People, Teach us, and lead us ever nearer to Thee.

By the remembrance of Thine ancient mercies; by the revelation of Thyself to saints of old; by every holy record of wisdom and piety; by every faithful word of Thy servants, and by every good example:

Minister and People, Teach us, and lead us ever nearer to Thee.

By the memory of Thy Son our Saviour, the Brightness of Thy glory and the Image of Thy Person; by His life and teaching; by His passion and Cross; by His heavenly exaltation and the influence of His spirit:

Minister and People, Teach us, and lead us ever nearer to Thee,

By the Church of Jesus Christ ; by its holy ordinances, offices, and ministries; by its Sunday worship and teaching; by all its seasons of meditation and prayer, and by all the associations of the House of God:

Minister and People. Teach us, and lead us ever nearer to Thee.

By the kindness and love Thou hast shown us from the beginning of our days until now; by the relations of home; by the love of little children; by the affection and fidelity of friends ; by the trials and bereavements which chasten and hallow our earthly love; and by all the memories of our dead:

Minister and People. Teach us, and lead us ever nearer to Thee.

By the conflict of our souls with temptation; by our falls and failures; by our shame and repentance; by every holy aspiration, striving, and victory:

Minister and People, Teach us, and lead us ever nearer to Thee,

By all the experience and discipline of life; by health and sickness; by success and disappointment; by joy and sorrow; by all the chances and changes of our passing days:

Minister and People, Teach us, and lead us ever nearer to Thee.

In all time of our wealth, and in all time of our tribulation ; in every circumstance and in every place; in life and in death, O Most Merciful God, our Father and Redeemer:

Minister and People. Teach us, and lead us ever nearer to Thee. Amen.

Fix Our Hearts with Steadfast Faith

Merciful and eternal God,
you did not spare your only Son
but gave him up for us all
that he might bear our sins on the cross.
Grant that our hearts may be so fixed
with steadfast faith in him
that we may not fear any trouble;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Source: Saxon Agenda 1540, LXII (B)

 

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Transform Loneliness into Comfort

Lord Jesus,
you were alone
in your suffering on the cross.
Be near those who are alone
in their pain and sorrow today.
Let your gracious presence
transform their loneliness into comfort,
since you are the sure refuge
of the weary and heavy laden.
Amen.

Source: Freely modified from The Old World and the New, ed. L. H. M. Soulsby, p. 12

“weary and heavy laden” is a reference to Matthew 11:28

For All in Affliction or Sorrow

God of all comfort,
we commend to your mercy
all those who bear any cross or trouble:
the nations who are afflicted with famine, pestilence, or war,
our fellow Christians who suffer persecution for the sake of the Gospel,
all who travel and are in danger by sea or land or air,
and all who are oppressed with poverty, sickness,
or any infirmity of body or sorrow of mind.
We pray particularly for the sick and afflicted members of this church,
and for those who desire to be remembered in our prayers,
and for those we name in our hearts before you.
May it please you to show them your fatherly kindness,
disciplining them for their good
that their hearts may turn to you
and receive complete comfort and deliverance
from all their troubles;
for Christ’s sake.
Amen.

Source: Freely modified from Book of Common Worship (Presbyterian), 1906

As a paragraph:

God of all comfort, we commend to your mercy all those who bear any cross or trouble: the nations who are afflicted with famine, pestilence, or war, our fellow Christians who suffer persecution for the sake of the Gospel, all who travel and are in danger by sea or land or air, and all who are oppressed with poverty, sickness, or any infirmity of body or sorrow of mind. We pray particularly for the sick and afflicted members of this church, and for those who desire to be remembered in our prayers, and for those we name in our hearts before you. May it please you to show them your fatherly kindness, disciplining them for their good that their hearts may turn to you and receive complete comfort and deliverance from all their troubles; for Christ’s sake. Amen.

You Will Wipe away Every Tear from our Eyes

O God,
you are as rich in pity as you are in power,
merciful and mighty.
See your whole creation,
as it has been groaning
in the pains of childbirth until now.
As you have broken the power of evil
by the cross of Christ
and by his endless sacrifice
you take away the sin of the world,
hasten the time
when the last enemy of humanity
shall be completely defeated
and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning,
nor crying, nor pain anymore,
and you will wipe away every tear from our eyes;
through your redeeming love
in Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Amen.

Source: The Order of Divine Service for Public Worship … Compiled by W.E. Orchard, Etc. London, 1921, p. 115 (Litany of the Sick)

Also found here: Collects and Prayers for use in Church,  United Lutheran Church in America, 1935, #244

“hasten the time” may be a reference to Matthew 24:22

“See your whole creation, as it has been groaning in the pains of childbirth until now” is a reference to Romans 8:22

“by his endless sacrifice, you take away the sin of the world” is a reference to John 1:29

“the last enemy of humanity shall be completely destroyed” is a reference to 1 Corinthians 15:26

“death shall be no more, … and you will wipe away every tear from our eyes” is a reference to Revelation 21:4

For Those Who Suffer

Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior,
for us you bore the agony of the cross.
Draw near to your servant _____,
who suffers pain,*
and make all things serve your good purpose,
that by your grace he may know
that the sufferings of this present time
are not worth comparing
with the glory that is to be revealed to us;
with the Father and the Holy Spirit
you live and reign,
one God, now and forever.
Amen.

Source: Freely modified from William Bright, Bright’s Ancient Collects, p. 237 #3

Also found here: Collects and Prayers for use in Church,  United Lutheran Church in America, 1935, #243

*the word pain can be substituted with something more specific: illness, weakness, depression, setbacks in treatment, slow recovery, trouble of mind, etc.

“make all things serve your good purpose” is a reference to Romans 8:28

“the sufferings of this present time…” is a reference to Romans 8:18

“who suffers pain” in the original prayer was “who suffers pain or trouble of mind, (especially N.), hallow all their crosses in this life, and crown them hereafter, where all tears are wiped away where with the Father &c ”

 

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