Saturday, 22 December 2018

Praying in Advent with USPG
and Lichfield Cathedral
(22): 22 December 2018

‘Pray for the world’s poor, the weakest and most marginalised. Remember God cherishes them. Seek to love God in them. Pray to be shown him in them’

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:

Saturday 22 December 2018:


In this Advent season, in remembering the Nativity, give thanks for USPG-supported maternity health programmes run by the Church of Bangladesh.

‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour’ (Luke 1: 46-47) … The icon of ‘Christ Crucified, Risen and Lord of All’ above the nave altar in Lichfield Cathedral (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 reflection is headed ‘O Rex Gentium’ (‘O King of the Nations’), referring to the sixth of the O Antiphons in the final week of Advent:

Latin:

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti
.

English:

O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race
.

Today’s suggested reading is Luke 1: 46-56, which is familiar as the canticle Maginificat, recommended in the Revised Common Lectionary as a canticle tomorrow [23 December 2018, Advent IV] and as part of the longer version of the Gospel reading.
The reflection for today suggests:

Pray for the world’s poor, the weakest and most marginalised. Remember God cherishes them. Seek to love God in them. Pray to be shown him in them.

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

I Samuel 1: 24-28; Psalm 113; Luke 1: 46-56.

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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