28 December 2018

Praying at Christmas with USPG
and Lichfield Cathedral
(4): 28 December 2018

‘Pray for all who suffer as a result of genocide’ … a panel naming victims of the Holocaust on the memorial in the ghetto in Venice (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

Christmas continues … today is the Fourth Day of Christmas. But, instead of expecting ‘four Colly birds,’ today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents [28 December 2018].

Throughout the season of Advent this year, I spent 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 for 2018 being used in Lichfield Cathedral. I am continuing this practice until this morning.

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.

USPG is the Anglican mission agency that partners churches and communities worldwide in God’s mission to enliven faith, strengthen relationships, unlock potential, and champion justice.

Under the title Pray with the World Church, the current USPG prayer diary (7 October 2018 to 16 February 2019), offers prayers and reflections from the Anglican Communion.

The USPG Prayer Diary began this week with a reflection on Anglican Heritage by Bishop Dato’ Dr Charles Samuel, Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of West Malaysia.

The USPG Prayer Diary:

Friday 28 December 2018, the Holy Innocents:

Pray that the Church might continue to learn from mistakes made in mission, even where local lives and traditions have been lost.

The Holocaust memorial in the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Lichfield Cathedral Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar:

Lichfield Cathedral’s Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar for 2018 suggests you light your Advent candle each day as you read the Bible and pray. It suggests setting aside five to 15 minutes each day.

Buy or use a special candle to light each day as you read and pray through the suggestions on the calendar. Each week there is a suggestion to ‘eat simply’ – try going without so many calories or too much rich food, just have enough. There is a suggestion to donate to a charity working with the homeless. There is encouragement to pray through what you see and notice going on around you in people, the media and nature.

The calendar is for not only for those who use the Cathedral website and for the Cathedral community. It is also for anyone who wants to share in the daily devotional exercise. The calendar suggests lighting your Advent candle each day as you read the Bible and pray.

Today’s suggested reading is Matthew 2: 13-18.

The reflection for today suggests:

Pray for all who suffer as a result of genocide, ethnic cleansing and the evil intent of others. Pray for the world’s children.

The readings in the Revised Common Lectionary as adapted for use in the Church of Ireland being are:

Jeremiah 31: 15-17; Psalm 124; I Corinthians 1: 26-29; Matthew 2: 13-18.

The Collect:


Heavenly Father,
whose children suffered at the hands of Herod:
By your great might frustrate all evil designs,
and establish your reign of justice, love and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Post Communion Prayer:

Eternal God,
comfort of the afflicted and healer of the broken,
you have fed us this day at the table of life and hope.
Teach us the ways of gentleness and peace,
that all the world may acknowledge
the kingdom of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yesterday’s reflection.

Series concluded.

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