Friday, 21 December 2018

Praying in Advent with USPG
and Lichfield Cathedral
(21): 21 December 2018

‘Mary meets Elizabeth’ (1996), by Dinah Roe Kendall, in ‘Allegories of Heaven: an artist explores the greatest story ever told’ (Carlisle: Piquant, 2002)

Patrick Comerford

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 this week prays with reflections from Bangladesh, and began the week on Sunday with an article by Paul Senoy Sarkar, Programme Officer for Shalom, which is the development organisation of the Church of Bangladesh.

The USPG Prayer Diary:

Friday 21 December 2018:


Pray that the Christian community might be able to contribute as salt and light in Bangladesh’s political situation.

The Virgin Mary stands with the Christ Child, a Christmas scene carved by Mary Grant in the centre of the west door of Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford / Lichfield Gazette)

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 reflection is headed ‘O Oriens’ (‘O Rising Sun,’ but often translated in English as ‘O Dayspring’ or ‘O Morning Star’), referring to the fifth of the O Antiphons in the final week of Advent:

Latin:

O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

English:

O Morning Star, splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Today’s suggested reading is Luke 1: 39-45. The reflection for today suggests:

Pray for all who are expecting children, for all they look forward to and hope for. Pray for new parents delighting in their new-born children.

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

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

The Collect:

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.

The Post-Communion Prayer:

Father,
we give you thanks for these heavenly gifts.
Kindle us with the fire of your Spirit
that when Christ comes again
we may shine as lights before his face;
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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