The early Christians did not just say “hello” when they met, but they wished each other the highest blessing, that God would be with them (2 Thessalonians 3.16).
The pastor greets us by wishing us the Lord’s presence. We assure him that we are praying for him by saying, “And with thy spirit.”
The Collects, or short prayers, have come to us from the rich treasury of the Church’s devotion. The youngest of the prayers are as old as the Reformation, and not a few of them have been in use for over fourteen hundred years.
The word “Collect” has been variously interpreted. The first meaning attached to it grows out of the gathering of the Faithful for the procession to the Church. This was known as the “colecta,” the “gathering together.” Another meaning is that it collects, or gathers, or recites the facts which are being commemorated on that day in the readings from the Scriptures.
“The Little Service Book” was written by the Rev. Berthold von Schenk (1895-1974), pastor of Our Saviour—New York, as an explanation of the Common Service for children.