The Collect for the 6th Sunday after Easter contains a rather curious phrase, “riches beyond imagination.” Prayer is a tremendously important part of our expression as Anglicans. Not that it isn’t equally important to other traditions. I said in last Sunday’s sermons that when Anglican’s pray, “they do theology.” We are careful when we write prayers because they become such a central expression of our theological point of view. It is why we vary rarely drop old prayers and write new one. We do, but it’s rare.
It seems to me that, “riches beyond imagination,” would so easily be misunderstood. There are, after all, Christians who believe that if they are good, and true to God’s word, they will be rewarded by God with worldly riches.
That’s not what our Collect suggests in any way. The prayer goes on, “Pour into our hearts such love toward you, that we, loving you above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire…” Clearly, loving God is a richness beyond all the possession we could ever desire.
Our theological point of view, expressed in this Collect, is that being loved by God, choosing to love God is a richness that satisfies. Of course, we still need food, shelter, belonging, etc., and so do our neighbours. Seeking hearts full of the love of God is not, and cannot be, an end in and of itself. Our greatest richness is in giving. Our greatest possession is that which we can freely give away. God’s love is not ours to keep but to pass on. Imagine the riches.