06 December 2017

Praying in Advent with USPG
and Lichfield Cathedral
(4): 6 December 2017

USPG asks us to pray for the people living with HIV in Tanzania

Patrick Comerford

Advent began on Sunday and today is the Feast of Saint Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra in Patristic times who has been transformed into Santa Claus. Later this morning, I am celebrating a mid-week Eucharist for Advent in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick.

Throughout the season of Advent this year, 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.

Introducing this week’s prayers, the Prayer Diary says: ‘Throughout Advent, as we remember the Nativity, we’re looking at how the world is reaching out to mothers and babies.’

This week, the diary follows the theme of the story told yesterday from the USPG-supported PMTCT (Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission) HIV programme run by the Church of Tanzania.

The USPG Prayer Diary:

Wednesday 6 December 2017:

Give thanks for the health workers of the Anglican Church of Tanzania, which has 37 health facilities countrywide, providing over 30 per cent of the health services in some remote areas.

Santa in the front window of a cafe in Bird Street, Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Lichfield Cathedral Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar:

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

Today’s suggested reading is Matthew 18: 12-14.

The reflection for today suggests:

Give thanks that God is merciful and generous. Like St Nicholas of old, make a donation to a cause supporting the desperately poor.

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

Isaiah 25: 6-10a; Psalm 23; and Matthew 15: 29-37.

Collect, Saint Nicholas (Common Worship):

Almighty Father, lover of souls,
who chose your servant Nicholas
to be a bishop in the Church,
that he might give freely out of the treasures of your grace:
make us mindful of the needs of others
and, as we have received, so teach us also to give;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

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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