21 December 2017

Praying in Advent with USPG
and Lichfield Cathedral
(19): 21 December 2017

‘We give thanks with Mary that she is to be the Mother of Jesus’ … a nativity scene in a shopfront in Bologna (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Patrick Comerford

We have just four days to go to Christmas Day. Sunday was the Third Sunday of Advent, and we are more than half-way through the last week of Advent.

Throughout this season of Advent, I am spending a short time of prayer and reflection each morning, using the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency, USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) and the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar from Lichfield Cathedral.

USPG, founded in 1701, is an Anglican mission agency supporting churches around the world in their mission to bring fullness of life to the communities they serve.

Under the title Pray with the World Church, the current prayer diary (22 October 2017 to 10 February 2018), offers prayers and reflections from the Anglican Communion.

This week, the Prayer Diary continues its Advent series, looking at how the Church is reaching out to mothers and babies. This week, it continues with reflections and prayers from Bangladesh.

On Sunday, the Prayer Diary included an article by Sister Gillian Rose, a former USPG mission partner, who oversees the USPG-supported Bollobphur Hospital, which is owned by the Church of Bangladesh.

The USPG Prayer Diary:

Thursday 21 December 2017:

Give thanks for the long service of Sister Gillian Rose, a former USPG mission partner who has dedicated much of her life to Bollobphur Hospital.

Snow at Lichfield Cathedral School last week (Photograph: Steve Johnson, 2017)

Lichfield Cathedral Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar:

Today, the calendar is headed ‘O Oriens,’ referring to the fifth of the O Antiphons in the final week of Advent.

The calendar suggests lighting your Advent candle each day as you read the Bible and pray.

Today, the calendar suggests reading Luke 1: 46-56.

The reflection for today offers this challenge:

As we give thanks with Mary that she is to be the Mother of Jesus, we give thanks for the values of God’s Kingdom; the poor have the highest worth.

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

Zephaniah 3: 14-18; Psalm 33: 1-4, 11-12, 20-22; Luke 1: 39-45.

The Collect of the Third Sunday of Advent:

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. Amen.

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.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow.

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