Sunday, 2 April 2017

Praying in Lent 2017 with USPG,
(36) Sunday 2 April 2017

Bishop Margaret Vertue of False Bay … ‘For me, discipleship means being anchored in the love of Christ, committed to God’s mission, and transformed by the Holy Spirit’

Patrick Comerford

Today is the Fifth Sunday in Lent, sometimes known as Passion Sunday, and these last two weeks in Lent are known as Passiontide.

This morning [2 April 2017] I am presiding at and preaching at the Eucharist in Saint Mary’s Church in Askeaton, Co Limerick, and Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin, in Tarbert, Co Kerry. The lectionary readings are: Ezekiel: 37: 1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8: 6-11; John 11: 1-45.

I plan to reflect on the Gospel reading on the Raising of Lazarus from the dead and what it means as we move towards Good Friday next week and the joys of the Resurrection on Easter Day.

The Lent 2017 edition of the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) follows the theme of the USPG Lent study course, ‘Living an Authentic Life.’

I am using this Prayer Diary for my prayers and reflections each morning throughout Lent. Why not join me in these prayers and reflections, for just a few moments each morning?

In the articles and prayers in the prayer diary, USPG invites us to investigate what it means to be a disciple of Christ. The Lent study course, ‘Living an Authentic Life’ (available online or to order at www.uspg.org.uk/lent), explores the idea that discipleship and authenticity are connected.

This week, from today (2 April) until Saturday (8 April), the USPG Lent Prayer Diary is following the topic ‘Counting the Cost.’ The topic is introduced this morning in an article in the Prayer Diary by the Right Revd Margaret B Vertue, Bishop of False Bay Diocese, South Africa.

She writes:

Discipleship in South Africa is costly. We are called in the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim Christ and the love of God for all people – black and white together – rich and poor together – straight and gay together – young and old together. We continue a long and painful struggle against oppression. We speak out strongly against those who abuse or misuse authority.

Violence and unemployment increase daily. We witness a growing discontent and anger among our young people. We hear the cries of children and mothers who are vulnerable to the evils of poverty and abuse.

In this context, the church endeavours to speak truth to power, provide a moral compass, and encourage the disheartened and marginalised. Our leaders seek truth, justice and fairness. Even when darkness and tragedy overwhelms us, we remember the joy of serving the Lord – we don’t give up hope, we pray that the light will shine again.

It is our prayer that the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of all people will be fulfilled every day. And we thank God for giving us a dignity that no-one can take away. For me, discipleship means being anchored in the love of Christ, committed to God’s mission, and transformed by the Holy Spirit.

Sunday 2 April 2017,

The Fifth Sunday in Lent :

Holy God, as we enter Passiontide today,
help us to walk alongside our brothers and sisters
who are marginalised, and work with them
to transform unjust structures of society
.

Collect:

Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
Grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross,
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Post Communion Prayer:

God of hope,
in this Eucharist we have tasted
the promise of your heavenly banquet
and the richness of eternal life.
May we who bear witness to the death of your Son,
also proclaim the glory of his resurrection,
for he is Lord for ever and ever.

Continued tomorrow.

Yesterday’s reflection.

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