As Jesus continued on from there,
he saw a man named Matthew
sitting at a kiosk for collecting taxes.
He said to him, “Follow me,”
and he got up and followed him.
Matthew 9:9, CEB
Collect commemorating Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
We thank you, heavenly Father, for the witness of your apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of your Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Come wander with me. Hear what the Spirit is saying, as you listen to what we ask (and what we say about ourselves and our God) in the Collect we pray as we commemorate Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.
We thank you, heavenly Father
- Only one other Collect (Saturday in Easter Week) begins with the words “we thank you.” My personal prayers often begin with the words, “thank you.” Other collects contain thanksgiving, but this prayer on Matthew’s Feast Day and the prayer on Saturday in Easter Week mark the only 2 times our communal prayer in worship begins with thanksgiving.
we pray that, after [Matthew’s] example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him
- Wow. That is some request. It intrigues me that our request is that we imitate the example of Matthew, that we hear and then obey (with ready wills and hearts no less) the calling of our Lord to follow. We don’t ask for graces to prepare ourselves to be sent (an apostle is one who is sent by another) or even to proclaim ‘good news’ (what Matthew ultimately did, what an evangelist does); we ask to be able to hear and obey and follow. We ask God for grace (and good-will) to hang out with Jesus.
- If you are reading this. chances are you have indeed heard this call and have followed Jesus.
- Into what adventure have you followed him?
- Were you able, like Matthew, to follow immediately?
- Were you more like me (and so many others I have met along the way) and hesitated, wondered, asked questions, started, stopped, sat down and didn’t move, and, you get the idea … well?
- My following has hardly been immediate or perfect, but here I am. I do thank God for that grace; I thank God that I have so many traveling with me who have similar stories. I thank God for the example of Matthew, who just got up and followed.
What are your thoughts as you listen to this prayer, especially the notion of “call”? And, by the way, have you noticed how often “call” is part of our prayers? What are your experiences, your hopes, your beliefs, given voice in this prayer? Please continue the conversation in the Comment section. Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.