04 December 2016

Praying in Advent with USPG,
(8): 4 December 2016

‘Through our sharing in this holy sacrament teach us to judge wisely earthly things’ (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

Patrick Comerford

Today is the Second Sunday of Advent [4 December 2016]. This morning, we light the second candle on the Advent Wreath, which represents the Prophets.

Second Sunday of Advent: Sunday 4 December

The Advent Wreath Prayer (The Prophets):

Loving God, your prophets spoke out
in the darkness of suffering and loss,
of a light coming into the world.
May we, with your global church, proclaim your light
as we stand alongside the marginalised of the world,
that they may find new strength and hope in you.

Praying through Advent:

Advent began last Sunday [27 November 2016], and 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).

USPG is also marking the time around the beginning of Advent, from 25 November to 10 December, as ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.’

An article in the USPG Prayer Diary is contributed today by the USPG-supported Delhi Brotherhood Society (DBS), which runs a helpline and community action programme to support women who face violence. The DBS reports:

‘This is the distressing story of a girl aged 12. We will call her Kavita to protect her identity.

‘Kavita’s father was a labourer and alcoholic. Every day he would fight with his neighbours.

‘Then a man from the neighbourhood, Ganga [not his real name], abducted Kavita, took her to a secluded place, and abused her before fleeing the scene, leaving Kavita unconscious.

‘The next morning, Kavita was found by some passers-by who reported the matter to the DBS Women’s Helpline. Our workers took Kavita to hospital, where a medical examination revealed the full brutality of the abuse she had suffered.

‘Helpline staff immediately phoned the police – who are not always responsive – and applied pressure so they would arrest Ganga. This happened and the man was sent to prison.

‘The Women’s Helpline works around the clock to support women and girls in distress. The Indian government helps in various ways, particularly where legal support is needed. Most cases we deal with concern the harassment of women by husbands or in-laws who want dowry payments.’

The USPG Prayer Diary:

Sunday 4 December 2016 (Second Sunday of Advent):

Lord, as you healed the bleeding woman,
we bring before you all who are unwell today.
Be close to all who are pregnant or in labour,
and bless all those who love and care for them.

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

Isaiah 11: 1-10; Psalm 72: 1-7, 18-19; Romans 15: 4-13; Matthew 3: 1-12.

The Collect of the Day (Second Sunday of Advent):

Father in heaven,
who sent your Son to redeem the world
and will send him again to be our judge:
Give us grace so to imitate him
in the humility and purity of his first coming
that when he comes again,
we may be ready to greet him with joyful love and firm faith;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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:

here you have nourished us with the food of life.
Through our sharing in this holy sacrament
teach us to judge wisely earthly things
and to yearn for things heavenly.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Continued tomorrow

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