Sunday, 11 December 2016

Praying in Advent with USPG,
(15): 11 December 2016



Patrick Comerford

This is the Third Sunday of Advent, and later this morning I am presiding at the Community Eucharist in the Chapel of the Church of Ireland Theological Institute.

This Sunday is often known as Gaudete Sunday, and this morning we light the Third Candle (Pink) on the Advent Wreath, which represents Saint John the Baptist.

Third Sunday of Advent: Sunday 11 December

Saint John the Baptist:


Lord Jesus, your cousin John
prepared the way for your coming.
Inspire your church across the world,
like John, to speak out against injustice:
that the world may become
a fairer and just home for all.

Praying through Advent:

Throughout this time of preparation for Christ’s coming at Christmas, I am praying each morning and using for my reflections the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency, USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel). This week, the prayers focus on the needs of the Church of Ceylon, the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka.

The USPG Prayer Diary this morning includes an article by teachers at the USPG-supported Saint Andrew’s Little Flower Nursery School in Templestowe. The school looks after the children of marginalised tea plantation workers:

‘Durga is five years old. When she came to school for the first time nine months ago she didn’t know how to hold a pencil, but now she can write everything. She likes dancing and shows leadership qualities. She studies hard, and one day she would like to be a teacher.

‘Durga lives on the Templestowe tea estate in a small mud house. Her mother works on the estate, while her father works in a rice mill. [At least one parent must work on the estate for the family to have a house.]

‘When her mother goes to work, she takes Durga to school and Durga’s three-year-old sister to the Child Development Centre, which is run by the Church of Ceylon.

‘Sabish is also five years old. He walks half-a-kilometre from Injara tea estate to school. His father works on the estate, while his mother works at home making clothes then selling what she can. Sabish’s grandmother also lives in their small house.

‘Sabish is clever and talkative. He likes drawing, singing and football, and his dream is to become a doctor and help his community.’

The USPG Prayer Diary:

Sunday 11 December 2016:


Loving Lord, as we look forward to celebrating your birth, we pray especially for children, babies and families. Bless them, their homes and communities. Let them know the fullness of your love and purpose.

‘Inspire your church across the world, like John, to speak out against injustice: that the world may become a fairer and just home for all’

Readings (Revised Common Lectionary, the Church of Ireland, Holy Communion):

Isaiah 35: 1-10; Psalm 146: 4-10, or the Canticle Magnificat; James 5: 7-10; Matthew 11: 2-11.

The Collect of the Day:

O Lord Jesus Christ,
who at your first coming sent your messenger
to prepare your way before you:
Grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries
may likewise so prepare and make ready your way
by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,
that at your second coming to judge the world
we may be found an acceptable people in your sight;
for you are alive and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end.

The Advent Collect:

Almighty God,
Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post-Communion Prayer:

Father,
we give you thanks for these heavenly gifts.
Kindle us with the fire of your Spirit
that when Christ comes again
we may shine as lights before his face;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Continued tomorrow

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