20 May 2024

Daily prayer in Ordinary Time 2024:
12, 20 May 2024

“I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9: 24) … Christ the Pantocrator depicted in the dome in a church in Panormos, near Rethymnon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2024)

Patrick Comerford

The 50-day season of Easter came to an end yesterday with the Day of Pentecost (19 May 2024), sometimes known as Whit Sunday. The Church Calendar returns to Ordinary Time, which continues until Advent, and the liturgical colour returns to green.

This week, between the Day of Pentecost and Trinity Sunday next Sunday (26 May 2024), my morning reflections include the daily Gospel reading, the prayer in the USPG prayer diary, and the prayers in the Collects and Post-Communion Prayer of the day.

Today, the Calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship recalls Alcuin of York (804), Deacon and Abbot of Tours. Alcuin was descended from a noble Northumbrian family. Although the date and place of his birth are not known, he was probably born in 735 in or near York. He entered the cathedral school there as a child, continued as a Scholar and became Master.

In 781, he went to Aachen as adviser to Charlemagne on religious and educational matters and as Master of the Palace School, where he established an important library. Although not a monk and only in deacon’s orders, in 796 he became Abbot of Tours, and he died there in 804.

Alcuin wrote poetry, revised the lectionary, compiled a sacramentary and was involved in other significant liturgical work.

Before this day begins, I am taking some quiet time this morning to give thanks, for reflection, prayer and reading in these ways:

1, today’s Gospel reading;

2, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary;

3, the Collects and Post-Communion prayer of the day.

‘We pray that the spiritual gifts born of diverse languages and cultures may be released to inspire us all …’ (USPG Prayer Diary) … celebrating Greek rhymes and songs, poets and poems, in a doorway in Rethymnon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2024)

Mark 9: 14-29 (NRSVUE):

14 When they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them and some scribes arguing with them. 15 When the whole crowd saw him, they were immediately overcome with awe, and they ran forward to greet him. 16 He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak, 18 and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid, and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.” 19 He answered them, “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, help us! Have compassion on us!” 23 Jesus said to him, “If you are able! All things can be done for the one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!” 26 After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand. 28 When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.”

A woodcut image of Alcuin of York by Kreg Yingst

Today’s Prayers (Monday 20 May 2024):

The theme this week in ‘Pray With the World Church,’ the Prayer Diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), is ‘Pentecost Reflection.’ This theme was introduced yesterday with a Reflection by the Revd Duncan Dormor, USPG General Secretary.

The USPG Prayer Diary today (20 May 2024) invites us to pray:

We pray that the spiritual gifts born of diverse languages and cultures may be released to inspire us all within a truly global Church.

The Collect:

God of wisdom, eternal light,
who shone in the heart of your servant Alcuin,
revealing to him your power and pity:
scatter the darkness of our ignorance
that, with all our heart and mind and strength,
we may seek your face
and be brought with all your saints
to your holy presence;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion Prayer:

Merciful God,
who gave such grace to your servant Alcuin
that he served you with singleness of heart
and loved you above all things:
help us, whose communion with you
has been renewed in this sacrament,
to forsake all that holds us back from following Christ
and to grow into his likeness from glory to glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Alcuin’s library in York was destroyed by the Vikings in 866 … York Minster Library has been housed in the 13th-century Archbishops’ Chapel since 1810 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version, Updated Edition copyright © 2021, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.