Bishop Eric Menees
Last week we examined the Lord’s Prayer in our service of Morning Prayer. With the Lord’s Prayer we moved on from our study of scripture, and our response to it, and we lifted up our voices in prayer. This begins with the Lord’s Prayer but is immediately followed by the Suffrages and the Collects.
Today, I’d like to examine the Suffrages. Mr. Webster tells us that “Suffrage” has both a political meaning and a religious meaning. Politically speaking, “Suffrage” is “the right to vote in political elections.” Of course, we in the United States think immediately of the Suffrage Movements, which resulted in the 15th & 19th Amendments to the Constitution granting the right to vote to African American men in 1870 and to women in 1920.
What these two amendments did was give voice to the voiceless. In a similar way, the suffrages we offer up to the Lord are giving voice to our humble cares and concerns for ourselves and for others.
In the liturgical sense a Suffrage is a series of petitions by a leader, either lay or ordained, followed by responses of the congregation. We offer these petitions with the sure and certain knowledge that God hears and responds to our prayers.
Following Anglican tradition, the suffrages are prayed in a three-fold form of petitions for ourselves, the State, and the Church. These prayers are vitally important as they remind us to bring before the throne of God those things that so affect us in our everyday lives as individuals as well as the everyday lives of all who live in our society, believer and non-believer alike.
Officiant O Lord, show your mercy upon us:
People And grant us your salvation.
Officiant O Lord, guide those who govern us;
People And lead us in the way of justice and truth.
Officiant Clothe your ministers with righteousness;
People And let your people sing with joy.
Officiant O Lord, save your people;
People And bless your inheritance.
Officiant Give peace in our time, O Lord;
People And defend us by your mighty power.
Officiant Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
People Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
Officiant Create in us clean hearts, O God;
People And take not your Holy Spirit from us.
I pray that as you offer up these suffrages, your vote – your petition – your amen will not only touch the heart of God but be a blessing to you as well.