13 December 2018

Praying in Advent with USPG
and Lichfield Cathedral
(13): 13 December 2018

The shrine of Santa Lucia di Siracusa or Saint Lucy in the Church of San Geremia in Venice (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

Today the calendar of the Church remembers Saint Lucy [13 December], who was martyred in Syracuse in Sicily during the Diocletian Persecution, ca 283. Her relics are kept in a shrine in the Church of San Geremia in Venice. In the Church of England, Common Worship also remembers the Lichfield-born lexicographer Samuel Johnson on this day.

Later this evening, I am taking part in the Tarbert Community Carol Service at 7 p.m. in Saint Brendan's Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Co Kerry.

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 for 2018 being used in 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.

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 an article by Paulo Ueti, a Bible scholar and theologian in the Anglican Church of Brazil.

The USPG Prayer Diary:

Thursday 13 December 2018:

Pray that all men and women might learn to question traditional values that devalue women.

‘Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist’ (Matthew 11: 11) … an icon of Saint John the Baptist in a small chapel in Georgioupoli in Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Lichfield Cathedral Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar:

Today the calendar of the Church remembers both Saint Lucy and in the Church of England the Lichfield-born lexicographer Samuel Johnson.

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 11: 11-15.

The reflection for today suggests:

As Christmas cards arrive pray for their senders. Give thanks for the affection they bring. Resolve to send some happiness.

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

Isaiah 41: 13-20; Psalm 145: 1, 8-13; Matthew 11: 11-15.

The Collect:

Father in heaven,
who sent your Son to redeem the world
and will send him again to be our judge:
Give us grace so to imitate him
in the humility and purity of his first coming
that when he comes again,
we may be ready to greet him with joyful love and firm faith;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Post Communion Prayer:

here you have nourished us with the food of life.
Through our sharing in this holy sacrament
teach us to judge wisely earthly things
and to yearn for things heavenly.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

‘As Christmas cards arrive pray for their senders’ … a Christmas card with Saint Mary and Saint George Church, Comberford, between Lichfield and Tamworth, in the Diocese of Lichfield a watercolour by Freda Morgan, 2008

Yesterday’s reflection.

Continued tomorrow.

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