01 January 2017

Praying at Christmas with USPG,
(8): 1 January 2017

The Naming and Circumcision of Christ … a stained-glass window in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

Patrick Comerford

We have reached a new year and today is New Year’s Day. This is the First Sunday after Christmas, and in the Calendar of the Church today also marks the Feast of the Naming and Circumcision of Christ.

We are still in the Christmas season, and each morning throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas I am using the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency, USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), for my morning prayers and reflections.

This week, the prayers in the USPG Prayer Diary focus on the needs and work of the Anglican Church of Indonesia.

In the USPG Prayer Diary today, the Revd Henok Hariyanto, of the Church of the Good Shepherd, in the Anglican Church of Indonesia, writes:

‘I want to write about a poor slum community on Batam island. Politicians promise them many things, then do nothing after being voted into power. There are many social problems, such as gambling, domestic violence and theft.

‘The first time we visited, a young man had crashed his motorcycle because he was drunk. He was ling in the street, bleeding. People thought he had died. While we tended to him, his brother and friends, also drunk, with many tattoos, came to fight us. We were sacred and decided not to enter the community.

‘But two days later, a man came to apologise on behalf of the men. We felt that this was a sign from God to go back to the community.

‘We started to build relationships by offering medical care and distributing food. And five years on we have a community centre with a library and a daily programme for children.

‘We offer counselling and we hold sports events which bring people together.

‘Though this community was initially reluctant to accept us, they can now see what we have achieved together.’

The USPG Prayer Diary:

Sunday 1 January 2017, the Naming and Circumcision of Christ:

Thank you Lord for this New Year,
For all the possibilities it will bring.
Be close to those who enter it with fear,
and inspire all to move forward in your name.

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

Numbers 6: 22-27; Psalm 8; Galatians 4: 4-7; Luke 2: 15-21.

The Collect of the Day:

Almighty God,
whose blessed Son was circumcised
in obedience to the law for our sake
and given the Name that declares your saving love:
Give us grace faithfully to bear his Name,
to worship him in the freedom of the Spirit,
and to proclaim him as the Saviour of the world;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever..

Post Communion Prayer:

Eternal God,
whose incarnate Son was given the name of Saviour:
Grant that we who have shared in this sacrament of our salvation
may live out our years
in the power of the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Continued tomorrow

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