Thursday, 6 December 2018

Praying in Advent with USPG
and Lichfield Cathedral
(6): 6 December 2018

Saint Nicholas, the inspiration for Santa Claus, in a mosaic in Westminster Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

Today the Church Calendar in Common Worship commemorates Saint Nicholas [6 December], the Bishop of Myra who is the inspiration for Santa Claus. 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.

We are in the middle of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, and the USPG Prayer Diary beging this week with an extract from a speech given at this year’s USPG Conference, ‘All Things Are Possible,’ in High Leigh by Jessica Richards, co-ordinator for Campaigns and Advocacy in the Church of South India.

The USPG Prayer Diary:

Thursday 6 December 2018:


Pray that the Anglican Churches around the world might become beacons of hope in standing up for the rights of women.

The Great West Door of Lichfield Cathedral on a cold winter night (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 the Church Calendar in Common Worship commemorates Saint Nicholas. The suggested reading is Matthew 7: 21, 24-27.

The reflection for today suggests:

Pray for courage to go deeper in faith and understanding. Remember our duty to help a rising generation come to faith.

Readings (Common Worship):

Isaiah 61: 1-3; Psalm 68; I Timothy 6: 6-11; Mark 10: 13-16.

Collect:

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.

Post Communion Prayer:

God, shepherd of your people,
whose servant Nicholas revealed the loving service of Christ
in his ministry as a pastor of your people:
by this Eucharist in which we share
awaken within us the love of Christ
and keep us faithful to our Christian calling;
through him who laid down his life for us,
but is alive and reigns with you,
now and for ever.

Yesterday’s reflection.

Continued tomorrow.

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