Sunday, 2 December 2018

‘Then they came for the Jews,
and I did not speak out’: the
costly message of Hanukkah

Celebrating Hanukkah … a work in Murano glass seen in a shopfront in Murano in the lagoon of Venice last week (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

I am in Limerick this evening for the Advent procession, ‘Darkness into Light,’ in Saint Mary’s Cathedral. The theme of darkness and light is important in both Jewish and Christian traditions at this time of the year, and in the Jewish calendar this evening [2 December 2018] is the first night of Hanukkah, the holiday that continues for eight days until nightfall on Monday 10 December 2018.

Hanukkah (חֲנֻכָּה‬) commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire. It is also known as the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication.

Hanukkah continues for eight nights and days, starting on 25 Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, and falls sometime between late November and late December.

The name Hanukkah comes from the Hebrew verb ‘חנך‎’ meaning to dedicate. On Hanukkah, the Maccabean Jews regained control of Jerusalem and rededicated the Temple. Many homiletical explanations have been given for the name:

The story of Hanukkah is told in the First and Second Book of Maccabees, which describe in detail the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the lighting of the menorah.

These books are not part of the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, which came from the Palestinian canon. However, they were part of the Alexandrian canon, the Septuagint (LXX).

The story of Hanukkah is alluded to in I Maccabees and II Maccabees. The eight-day rededication of the temple is described in I Maccabees 4: 36 to 4: 59, although the name of the festival and the miracle of the lights do not appear there.

A similar story is alluded to in II Maccabees 1: 18 to 1: 36, where Nehemiah relights the altar fire in a miracle on 25 Kislev, which appears to be the reason for why Judah Maccabee choses this date for rededicating the altar.

In I Maccabees 4 and II Maccabees 1: 9, the feast is seen as a delayed observation of the eight-day Feast of Booths (Sukkot). II Maccabees 10: 6 links the length of the feast with the Feast of Booths.

In the New Testament, John 10: 22-23 recalls Christ walking in Solomon’s Porch at the Temple during ‘the festival of the Dedication … in Jerusalem. It was winter.’

Judea was part of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt until 200 BCE when King Antiochus III the Great of Syria defeated King Ptolemy V Epiphanes of Egypt at the Battle of Panium. Judea then became part of the Seleucid Empire of Syria.

King Antiochus III the Great, guaranteed the right of his new Jewish subjects to ‘live according to their ancestral customs’ and to continue to practice their religion in the Temple of Jerusalem. However, in 175 BCE, his son Antiochus IV Epiphanes invaded Judea, at the request of the sons of Tobias. They had led the Hellenising Jewish faction in Jerusalem, and were expelled to Syria around 170 BCE when the high priest Onias and his pro-Egyptian faction seized control. The exiled sons of Tobias lobbied Antiochus IV Epiphanes to recapture Jerusalem.

The Second Temple in Jerusalem was looted, public worship stopped, and Judaism was outlawed. In 167 BCE, Antiochus ordered an altar to Zeus erected in the Temple. He banned circumcision and ordered pigs to be sacrificed at the altar of the Temple.

Antiochus’s actions provoked a large-scale revolt. Mattathias, a Jewish priest, and his five sons Jochanan, Simeon, Eleazar, Jonathan, and Judah led a rebellion. It started with Mattathias killing first a Jew who wanted to comply with Antiochus’s order to sacrifice to Zeus, and then a Greek official who was to enforce the government orders behest.

Judah became known as Judah the Hammer. By 166 BCE, Mattathias had died, and Judah replaced him as leader. By 165 BCE, the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid monarchy was successful. The Temple was liberated and rededicated. The festival of Hanukkah was instituted to celebrate this event.

Judah ordered the Temple to be cleansed, a new altar built in place of the polluted one and new holy vessels made. According to the Talmud, pure olive oil with the seal of the high priest was needed for the menorah in the Temple, and it had to burn throughout the night every night. The story goes that one flask was found with only enough oil to burn for one day, but it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight-day festival was declared by the Jewish sages to commemorate this miracle.

The Hanukkah menorah on a shelf in the synagogue in Chania in Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

The version of the story in I Maccabees says an eight-day celebration of songs and sacrifices was proclaimed with the re-dedication of the altar, but it makes no specific mention of the miracle of the oil.

Both books are part of the Old Testament in Roman Catholic and Orthodox editions, but were rejected by many traditions at the Reformation. They are regarded by Anglicans as part of the Apocrypha in the Old Testament. By excluding these books from Biblical readings, many Church traditions miss a story that was part of the Christian narrative for 1,500 and also miss a story that Jews see as miracle that confounds racism, anti-Semitism and religious and racist hatred.

The Jewish historian Josephus, in his Jewish Antiquities, tells how the victorious Judas Maccabeus ordered lavish yearly eight-day festivities after rededicating the Temple in Jerusalem that had been profaned by Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Josephus does not say the festival was called Hanukkah but rather the ‘Festival of Lights.’

The miracle of the one-day supply of oil miraculously lasting eight days is first described in the Talmud, written about 600 years after the events described in the books of Maccabees. The story is widely regarded as a legend and its authenticity has been questioned since the Middle Ages.

The Talmud says that after the forces of Antiochus IV were driven from the Temple, the Maccabees discovered that almost all of the ritual olive oil had been profaned. They found only a single container that was still sealed by the High Priest, with enough oil to keep the menorah in the Temple lit for a single day. They used this, yet it burned for eight days.

A Hanukkah menorah in the Jewish Museum in Venice (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Hanukkah is not a Sabbath-like holiday, and there is no obligation to refrain from work and similar activities forbidden on the Sabbath. People go to work as usual but may leave early to get home to light the lights at nightfall.

The festival is marked by lighting candles on a candelabrum with nine branches, a Hanukkah menorah (or hanukkiah). One branch is typically placed above or below the others and its candle is used to light the other eight candles. This unique candle is called the shamash (שמש‎, ‘attendant’). Each night, one additional candle is lit by the shamash until all eight candles are lit together on the final night.

The Talmud prohibits using the Hanukkah lights for anything other than celebrating the Hanukkah miracle. They are not for lighting the house, but so passers-by who see it and are reminded of this miracle. This means lamps placed at a window or near the door facing onto the street.

The Hanukkah menorah is also kindled daily in the synagogue, at night with the blessings and in the morning without the blessings.

A large number of songs have been written on Hanukkah themes. One of the best known is Ma’oz Tzur (Rock of Ages), written in the 13th century by a poet known as Mordechai. The tune is most probably from a German hymn or a popular folk song. Some Sephardic families recite Psalms, such as Psalms 30, Psalms 67 and Psalms 91.

Many families exchange gifts each night, such as books or games. Traditional foods include potato pancakes, known as latkes, jam-filled doughnuts and fritters. Rabbinic literature also records a tradition of eating cheese and other dairy products during Hanukkah, to remember Judith and how she overcame Holofernes by feeding him cheese, which made him thirsty, and giving him wine to drink. When Holofernes became very drunk, Judith cut off his head.

The story of Hanukkah is one of resistance to hatred, prejudice, racism and anti-Semitism. It is a story that too many Christians are unaware of, both its narrative and its significance.

A Hanukkah menorah in the Jewish Museum in Venice (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

But today anti-Semitism is on the rise as a pernicious form of hatred and racism. Earlier this week in New York, a Jewish professor’s office at Columbia Teachers College was vandalised with anti-Semitic graffiti, including swastikas and an anti-Semitic slur.

Professor Elizabeth Midlarsky researches the Holocaust and how non-Jews helped Jews during the Holocaust. She arrived at work to find large swastikas scrawled in red paint on the walls outside her office. The word ‘Yid’ was also spray-painted on her wall.

This is not the first time her office was vandalised. In 2007, a swastika was spray-painted on her office door and her mailbox was stuffed with anti-Semitic flyers.

The New York Police Department says 309 hate crimes have been reported as of 7 November this year – a slight increase from 2017, a year that saw a dramatic rise in hate crimes both in New York City and nationwide throughout the US. Over half of those reported hate crimes in New York City, 159, were anti-Semitic in nature. Earlier this month, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said that the rise in hate crimes was, in part, due to the ‘current atmosphere’ of heightened racial and religious rhetoric.

The ‘current atmosphere’ includes the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting at the end of October. In this mass shooting, 11 people were murdered at the Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation in Squirrel Hill on 27 October while Shabbat morning services were being held. Seven other people were injured in the deadliest attack so far on the Jewish community in the US.

All this has taken place since the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Until a few months ago, I found myself comparing the rhetoric from the White House and those late tweets with the utterances from the far-right in Germany in the early 1930s. But, after visits in the past three months to the New Synagogue and other key places in the former Jewish Quarter in Berlin on the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, to the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen, and to Europe's first ghetto in Venice, I am now convinced that what is happening has brought us closer to 1938. Barbed wire fences have gone up, children are being separated from their parents and detained in cages and compounds, ethnic and cultural minorities are being targetted with impunity by the ultra-right while the president regards himself as supreme leader, above the law and speaking in repeated slogans that stir up the crowds, and says the victims share equal responsibility for attacks. And now troops are being told to fire gas and live ammunition at people who are disparaged and marginalised.

Before he left office, President Barack Obama said: ‘The light of hope must outlast the fires of hate. That’s what the Hanukkah story teaches us. It’s what our young people can teach us – that one act of faith can make a miracle, that love is stronger than hate, that peace can triumph over conflict.’

In the face of the right-wing racist hatred fuelled by the Trump administration it is important that we all pay heed to the message of Hanukkah. The peril of not being aware of the dangerous and slippery road we are all facing is summarised in the words quoted on the Holocaust Memorial in Washington of the theologian Martin Niemöller (1892-1984), held as prisoner at the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.

Hanukkah means ‘the light of hope must outlast the fires of hate’ (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

A stroll through the souk
of Tangier, once the haven
of spies and their intrigues

Tangier on the coast of Morocco was an English colony in 1662-1684 and an international zone in 1924-1956 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

Tangier once had a reputation as a safe haven for spies and their spying activities. It played host nests of spies throughout the Cold War and before that during World War II, and the association of Tangier with spies and their secretive lifestyles has made the city a location for many books and films.

Because of its political neutrality in the mid-20th century, Tangier became a centre for spying and smuggling and attracted foreign capital. During World War II, a British bank in Tangier discovered the first samples of high-quality forged Bank of England banknotes produced by Nazi Germany in ‘Operation Bernhard,’ and US spies used Tangier to plot a landing in the ‘Torch Operation.’

Tangier was a centre of spying and intrigue for centuries (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Tangier stands on the north-west coast Morocco, at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar, where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic. This too is where Europe and Africa meet, where the Islamic and Christian worlds find the frontier and meeting point of tolerance.

These all combine to give Tangier its unique international flavour. And so, during a brief stay in Seville – before winter began to close in in Ireland – I took the short ferry journey between the ‘Pillars of Hercules,’ from Tarifa in the south of Spain to Tangier on the north African coast.

In the Caves of Hercules … Hercules was said to have slept here before completing his Twelve Labours (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

‘The Door of Africa’

Because of its location, Tangier is known to Moroccans as Boughaz or ‘the Bride of the North’ and ‘the Door of Africa.’ Tangier has been shaped across the centuries by many civilisations and cultures. It was fought over by Berbers, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines and Arabs, and in more recent centuries by the Portuguese, English, Arabs, French and Spanish.

This legacy can be heard in the Souks and the Medina and seen in the architecture and the streets of the city, which still has its French, Spanish, British and American quarters – the golf course and race track are in an area known as California.

Arabic is the language of the people, but everyone seems to understand French, and Spanish and English are widely understood too, from the cafés and restaurants to the market stalls and tourist shops, and even among the traders and children in the souks and on the streets.

Tangier has been fought over by competing civilisations for centuries (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

The city’s name is said to come from Tingis, the daughter of Atlas, the mythical supporter of the heavens. However, it is more likely the name derives from the Semitic word tigisis, meaning ‘harbour.’ The Greeks said Hercules slept on the coast south of Tangier, in the Caves of Hercules, before completing his twelve harbours.

But the beginnings of Tangier can be traced to the fifth century BC, when the Berbers made it a strategic town, followed by Phoenician colonists from Carthage, who made it a trading centre.

The commercial town of Tingis came under Roman rule in 146 BC and was a colony under Augustus. Originally, the city was part of the Roman province of Mauretania Caesariensis, spread across much of North Africa. Later the province was subdivided, with the area around present-day Tangier named Mauretania Tingitana. Under the Emperor Claudius, the colony was known as Colonia Julia from 38 BC.

In the early Christian period, this was the scene of the martyrdom on 30 October 298 of Saint Marcellus of Tangier, a centurion who refused to take part in sacrifices to the Roman gods on the birthday of the Emperor Maximian, and of Saint Cassian, who was beheaded a few weeks later on 3 December.

Tingis was still the main Roman city in Mauretania Tingitana in the fourth century, experiencing a new wave of political and commercial development. But the Vandals captured Tingis in the fifth century, and from here they swept across the Maghreb.

A century later, Tangier fell to the Byzantine Empire in 534-682 before coming under the control of the Umayyad Caliphate in 702-703.

Three Irish Governors

Tangier first developed its reputation as a city of spies and smugglers when it was an English colony (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

When the Portuguese began their colonial expansion across the globe in the early 15th century, they failed to capture Tangier in 1437, but finally took the city in 1471. Portuguese rule lasted until 1662, when Tangier was given to King Charles II of England as a wedding present when he married the Portuguese Infanta, Catherine of Braganza.

The English gave Tangier a garrison and a charter that made it equal to English towns. During this brief period, English Tangier had three Irish-born governors.

Colonel Sir John FitzGerald, who was lieutenant governor in 1664-1665, was descended from a branch of the FitzGerald family of Glin Castle, Co Limerick, who were Knights of Glin.

William O’Brien, 2nd Earl of Inchiquin, was Governor in 1675-1680, and commanded the Tangier garrison during the Great Siege in 1679-1680. He was succeeded by a third Irish governor, Thomas Butler (1634-1680), Earl of Ossory. He was born at Kilkenny Castle, the eldest son of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond. However, Lord Ossory died before he could move to Tangier. His son, James Butler, succeeded as the 2nd Duke of Ormond in 1688.

Tangier first developed its reputation as a city of spies and smugglers during this short period as an English colony. The English planned to improve the harbour so that Tangier could play the same role that Gibraltar in later British naval strategy.

Sultan Moulay Ismail ibn Sharif of Morocco failed to seize Tangier in 1679-1680. But the unwillingness of Parliament to continue funding the English presence and a crippling blockade by the Sultan’s Berber troops finally forced the English to withdraw. Before they left in 1684, they destroyed the town and its port facilities.

The old walled city is a complex labyrinth of narrow streets and colourful alleyways (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

The city was partly rebuilt under Sultan Moulay Ismail. A century later, in 1777, Morocco was the first country to officially recognise the newly independent United States. But by then Tangier was in decline, and by 1810 it had a population of no more than 5,000. In 1821, Sultan Moulay Suliman gave the US the Legation Building in Tangier, the first foreign property owned by the US government. It is still standing today and is a popular tourist attraction.

Tangier is a melting pot of languages and cultures (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

But Tangier became a pawn in the hands of the European powers in the early 19th century. Britain blockaded the port in 1828 in retaliation for piracy; in 1844, it was bombarded by the French under François d’Orléans, Prince of Joinville; and Giuseppe Garibaldi lived in exile here in 1849-1850 after the fall of his revolutionary Roman Republic.

Later, Tangier gave its name to Tangerine oranges, first exported from Morocco through the port by Major Atway of Palatka, Florida, the first person to grow and cultivate the fruit as a distinct crop in the Americas.

Oranges were first exported from Tangier to Florida in the mid-19th century, giving Tangerines their name (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

International intrigue

By 1856, Tangier was the largest port in Morocco, and its location made it a centre for international intrigue from the late 19th century. By the opening of the 20th century, it had a population of about 40,000, including 20,000 Muslims, 10,000 Jews and 9,000 Europeans.

The city increasingly came under French influence. Morocco was partitioned between France and Spain in 1912, with Spain occupying the far north and far south, and France declaring a protectorate in the rest of the country. The last Sultan of independent Morocco, Molulay Abdelhafid, was forced to abdicate in favour of his brother, Moulay Yusef, and was sent into exile in Dar el Makhzen, a palace in the Kasbah in Tangier.

Inside a mosque in Tangier (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

An international treaty signed in Paris in 1923 made Tangier an international zone administered jointly by France, Britain and Spain. Italy, Portugal and Belgium were added to the international administration in 1928, and they were joined by the Netherlands in 1929.

The international zone had an area of 373 sq km and by 1939 a population of about 60,000. Legally it not a part of Morocco, and Moroccans needed a passport to enter Tangier. But none of the international powers enforced a strict administration, and the port became attractive to spies and smugglers.

Spanish troops occupied Tangier on 14 June 1940, the day Paris fell to Nazi Germany. Despite calls by Spanish nationalists to annex ‘Tánger español,’ Franco claimed the occupation was a temporary wartime measure. When he abolished the city’s international status in November 1940, a diplomatic row erupted between Britain and Spain.

Eventually Spain guaranteed British rights and promised not to fortify Tangier, and the city became an international zone once again at the end of World War II in 1945.

Tourists clamber on camels at Achakkar beach, south of Tangier (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

The protecting powers met in Rabat in 1952 and agreed to abolish the zone’s international status. Tangier was integrated into the rest of Morocco when full sovereignty was restored in 1956.

With its reputation for refined nightspots and loose living, Tangier attracted European and American writers and artists like Henri Matisse and William Burroughs, as well as Timothy Leary, Yves Saint Laurent, and Paul Bowls and a later generation of ‘Beat’ writers, as well as the Rolling Stones.

Tangier continued to be a hotbed of spies through the Cold War and it became a popular location for spy films, from My Favourite Spy (1951) and Espionage in Tangier (1965) to The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), starring Matt Damon, and the Bond film Spectre (2015).

An illustration of tolerance

The Rue Es-Siaghinie in the centre of Tangier … the Rue Synagogue and the Spanish Mission Church are to the right (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

At the heart of Tangier is the Medina or old walled city, a complex labyrinth of narrow streets and colourful alleyways leading down to the port. The centre of life in the Medina is the Petit Socco, a square once the haunt of drug dealers and prostitutes. Today it is lined with hotels, cafés, restaurants and tourist shops.

Because of its Christian past, Tangier remains a titular see in the Roman Catholic Church. A Spanish mission founded in 1630 was entrusted to the Franciscan friars. The city also has an Anglican church, Saint Andrew’s.

Rue Synagogue is a colourful side street beside the Spanish Mission Church (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

After lunch in the Mamounia Palace, I went strolling through the old Medina and the Rue Es-Siaghinie, lined with cafés and bazaars, jewellers’ shops and an arts centre. I tried to find my way into the Spanish mission church, built in the 1880s. Instead, I ended up finding two synagogues on ‘Rue Sinaguogue,’ a colourful back street beside the church: the Rebbi Akiva Synagogue and the Moshe Nahon Synagogue.

The churches and synagogues of Tangier illustrate an openness and tolerance that many visitors do not expect in Islamic-majority and Arab-speaking countries in North Africa and the Middle East.

A colourful arch on Rue Synagogue, beside the Rebbi Akiva Synagogue (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Tourists are distracted by the snake charmers, the stalls in the soukh, the camel rides on the beach and the stories of the Caves of Hercules. But Tangier is also benefitting from rapid development and modernisation, with new tourism projects, a modern business district, a new airport and a new football stadium.

A snake charmer with his snakes in the Kasbah (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Tangier’s economy is also set to benefit from the new Tanger-Med port, a global logistics gateway on the Strait of Gibraltar connected to 174 ports worldwide, with handling capacities of 9 million containers.

The colonnade of a modern mosque near the new port in Tangier (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

This feature was first published in the ‘Church Review’ (Dublin and Glendalough) and the ‘Diocesan Magazine’ (Cashel, Ferns and Ossory) in December 2018

Tangier is at the meeting point of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, of Europe and Africa (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

‘There will be … distress among
nations confused by the roaring
of the sea and the waves’

‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves’ (Luke 21: 25) … the setting sun and the waves on the beach in Ballybunion, Co Kerry (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

Sunday 2 December 2018, the First Sunday of Advent

11.30 a.m.: Morning Prayer, Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Co Kerry.

Readings: Jeremiah 33: 14-16; Psalm 25: 1-10; I Thessalonians 3: 9-13; Luke 21: 25-36.

May I speak to you in the name of God, + Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

The Poet Laureate John Betjeman loved to tell the story of a Japanese prince who arrived at Magdalen College, Oxford, as an undergraduate in 1925, the same year as Betjeman arrived at Oxford as a student.

The President of Magdalen College, Sir Thomas Herbert Warren (1853–1930), was known as a poet too, albeit a bad poet although he was Professor of Poetry at Oxford. He was also an insufferable snob, and Jeremy Paxman says he ‘was perhaps the greatest snob in England.’

When Prince Chichibu arrived at Magdalen in 1925, Herbert Warren hoped he would soon be followed by his elder brother, the future Emperor Hirohito. The prince told Warren he was a direct descendant of the sun goddess and let him know: ‘At home I am called the son of God.’

Warren took a deep breath, coughed and put the prince in his place: ‘You will find, your highness, that we have the sons of many famous fathers here.’

This morning, on Advent Sunday, our Gospel reading (Luke 21: 25-36) tells the story of the arrival of the Son of God on earth, not as a child in a Christmas nativity story or in a decorative crib, but ‘with power and great glory.’

We are warned to be on guard for that coming of Christ and his Kingdom so that our hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, so that day does not catch us unexpectedly, like a trap.

It might be too easy to transfer the awful and awesome fears and forebodings in this Gospel story to our present day and what is happening in the world today: our fears surrounding the consequences of ‘Brexit’ or our concerns about where the Trump presidency may take the world, the television images night after night of the plight of refugees in the Mediterranean, the English Channel or Central America, and the plight of starving children in Yemen.

But for many people, the apocalyptic images in this morning’s Gospel story are already being lived out in their lives. The whole world has collapsed around you, or so it may seem, if your family is homeless, if you have been made redundant, if a close family member has life-threatening medical condition, if you live with someone who is depressed or suicidal.

To return to John Betjeman: he spent time in Dublin during World War II as the British press attaché, and was an active parishioner in Saint John’s, Clondalkin.

In the first few verses of his poem ‘Christmas,’ Betjeman describes the frivolous ways we prepare for Christmas:

The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.

The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
‘The church looks nice’ on Christmas Day.

Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says ‘Merry Christmas to you all’.

And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children’s hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say ‘Come!’
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

Throughout the world, in these weeks of Advent, as we prepare for Christmas, many people feel insecure and threatened and are looking for hope. But it is hope that cannot be found in the shops and the magazines, in the jingles and the baubles.

Those things have little to do with the coming of Christ and his kingdom, or how we can show that we believe in his coming and show in our actions what we think are the priorities of the Kingdom of God, how they challenge the present state of the world.

The Gospel reading today speaks not of baubles and fripperies but speaks frighteningly about the state of the world today, telling us how ‘on the earth [there is going to be] distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves’ (verse 25).

It might be more accurate to read verse 25 so that it speaks about the people on the earth being perplexed by the sound and the echoes of the sea and the surf.

It is not difficult to think of the people from many nations who are confused and endangered by the sea and the surf and the waves: the people fleeing war and violence and mass murder in Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan, or who are being washed up against the European shores of the Mediterranean.

David Hamid, the suffragan bishop in the Anglican Diocese in Europe, recently warned that this is the ‘largest crisis that Europe has had to face since World War II.’

Some days ago, I was in London at a meeting of the Trustees of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), followed by a one-day meeting with USPG volunteers in Birmingham Cathedral. During those three days, I heard again and again of the work USPG is doing with refugees throughout the Diocese in Europe.

Rebecca Boardman spoke in Birmingham Cathedral of USPG’s work with the Diocese in Europe, focussing on this work in Greece, France and Morocco. She pointed out that migration has always existed, and the Bible is a story of people on the move. It is not a new trend in Europe.

But in 2015, the photograph of Alan Kurdi washed up on a beach woke Europe up to the plight of refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean. That year, about 1 million arrived in Greece, mainly on the Aegean islands from Turkey.

Today, in 2018, about 68.5 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide, including migrants and refugees, and this figure may be an underestimate.

By 2018, the number of people moving through Greece has fallen to 17,000. But the same problems remain in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries.

The borders across Europe have started to shut down, barbed wire fences have gone up, and there is a knock-on impact. The route for migrants and refugees has shifted from the East Mediterranean to the West Mediterranean, and the routes have become more dangerous.

The Diocese in Europe works in 40 countries, from Morocco in north Africa through Europe and Turkey into the former Soviet Union.

In Morocco, USPG is supporting Saint Andrew’s Chaplaincy in Tangier, where Father Denis has been seconded from Nigeria to work with west Africans and provide pastoral support and care.

In Athens, the partnership of USPG and Saint Paul’s Anglican Church in the city centre has given hope to refugees and migrants and refugees who were once camped out in the city squares and parks. And it has created ecumenical partnerships that have brought the Greek Orthodox Church into a new and exciting stage in its work with the marginalised and bringing hope to people ‘confused by the roaring of sea and the waves.’

During these recent days in London and Birmingham, I listened to stories of how USPG and the Diocese in Europe are trying to be lights of hope in this dismal, dark winter.

The Advent candles on the Advent wreath represent the Patriarchs, the Prophets, Saint John the Baptist, and the Virgin Mary, all pointing to Christ in the midst of darkness, despite the disasters of famines, earthquakes and wars.

We can be beacons of hope. We can show in how we live our lives this Advent that we believe, that we want, good to triumph over evil, and to show that the Light of Christ shines in our hearts.

In the last three stanzas of his poem ‘Christmas,’ John Betjeman proclaims the wonder of Christ’s birth in the form of a question: ‘And is it true...?’

And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,
A Baby in an ox’s stall?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me?

And is it true? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare –
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.

And so, may all we think, say and do be to the praise, honour and glory of God, + Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

‘God was man in Palestine / And lives today in Bread and Wine’ … John Betjeman (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Luke 21: 25-36:

25 ‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’

29 Then he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

34 ‘Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.’

‘This most tremendous tale of all, / Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue’ (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Liturgical Colour: Purple (Violet)

The liturgical provisions suggest that the Gloria is omitted during Advent, and it is traditional in Anglicanism to omit the Gloria at the end of canticles and psalms during Advent.

First Sunday of Advent, 2 December 2018 (Purple Candle):

The Patriarchs and Matriarchs


O God of Abraham and Sarah,
we thank you for your faithfulness
throughout all time.
As today we begin our Advent journey,
may the light of your love
surround us and all for whom we pray,
as we watch and wait for your kingdom.

The Collect:

Almighty God,
Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Penitential Kyries:

Turn to us again, O God our Saviour,
and let your anger cease from us.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Show us your mercy, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.

Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Your salvation is near for those that fear you,
that glory may dwell in our land.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Introduction to the Peace:

In the tender mercy of our God,
the dayspring from on high shall break upon us,
to give light to those who dwell in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1: 78, 79)

Blessing:

Christ the sun of righteousness shine upon you,
gladden your hearts
and scatter the darkness from before you:

‘Your kingdom come, O God’ (Hymn 509) … Christ in Glory depicted in the mosaics in the apse of the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Hymns:

652, Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us (CD 37)
126, Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding (CD 8)
509, Your kingdom come, O God (CD 29)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

Christ in Majesty at the Last Judgment … a fresco in the Orthodox Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Tolleshunt Knights, Essex (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

‘There will be signs in the sun,
the moon, and the stars, and on
the earth distress among nations’

‘This most tremendous tale of all, / Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue’ (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Sunday 2 December 2018, the First Sunday of Advent

9.30 a.m.: The Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick.

Readings: Jeremiah 33: 14-16; Psalm 25: 1-10; I Thessalonians 3: 9-13; Luke 21: 25-36.

May I speak to you in the name of God, + Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

The Poet Laureate John Betjeman loved to tell the story of a Japanese prince who arrived at Magdalen College, Oxford, as an undergraduate in 1925, the same year as Betjeman arrived at Oxford as a student.

The President of Magdalen College, Sir Thomas Herbert Warren (1853–1930), was known as a poet too, albeit a bad poet although he was Professor of Poetry at Oxford. He was also an insufferable snob, and Jeremy Paxman says he ‘was perhaps the greatest snob in England.’

When Prince Chichibu arrived at Magdalen in 1925, Herbert Warren hoped he would soon be followed by his elder brother, the future Emperor Hirohito. The prince told Warren he was a direct descendant of the sun goddess and let him know: ‘At home I am called the son of God.’

Warren took a deep breath, coughed and put the prince in his place: ‘You will find, your highness, that we have the sons of many famous fathers here.’

This morning, on Advent Sunday, our Gospel reading (Luke 21: 25-36) tells the story of the arrival of the Son of God on earth, not as a child in a Christmas nativity story or in a decorative crib, but ‘with power and great glory.’

We are warned to be on guard for that coming of Christ and his Kingdom so that our hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, so that day does not catch us unexpectedly, like a trap.

It might be too easy to transfer the awful and awesome fears and forebodings in this Gospel story to our present day and what is happening in the world today: our fears surrounding the consequences of ‘Brexit’ or our concerns about where the Trump presidency may take the world, the television images night after night of the plight of refugees in the Mediterranean, the English Channel or Central America, and the plight of starving children in Yemen.

But for many people, the apocalyptic images in this morning’s Gospel story are already being lived out in their lives. The whole world has collapsed around you, or so it may seem, if your family is homeless, if you have been made redundant, if a close family member has life-threatening medical condition, if you live with someone who is depressed or suicidal.

To return to John Betjeman: he spent time in Dublin during World War II as the British press attaché, and was an active parishioner in Saint John’s, Clondalkin.

In the first few verses of his poem ‘Christmas,’ Betjeman describes the frivolous ways we prepare for Christmas:

The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.

The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
‘The church looks nice’ on Christmas Day.

Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says ‘Merry Christmas to you all’.

And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children’s hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say ‘Come!’
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

Throughout the world, in these weeks of Advent, as we prepare for Christmas, many people feel insecure and threatened and are looking for hope. But it is hope that cannot be found in the shops and the magazines, in the jingles and the baubles.

Those things have little to do with the coming of Christ and his kingdom, or how we can show that we believe in his coming and show in our actions what we think are the priorities of the Kingdom of God, how they challenge the present state of the world.

The Gospel reading today speaks not of baubles and fripperies but speaks frighteningly about the state of the world today, telling us how ‘on the earth [there is going to be] distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves’ (verse 25).

It might be more accurate to read verse 25 so that it speaks about the people on the earth being perplexed by the sound and the echoes of the sea and the surf.

It is not difficult to think of the people from many nations who are confused and endangered by the sea and the surf and the waves: the people fleeing war and violence and mass murder in Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan, or who are being washed up against the European shores of the Mediterranean.

David Hamid, the suffragan bishop in the Anglican Diocese in Europe, recently warned that this is the ‘largest crisis that Europe has had to face since World War II.’

Some days ago, I was in London at a meeting of the Trustees of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), followed by a one-day meeting with USPG volunteers in Birmingham Cathedral. During those three days, I heard again and again of the work USPG is doing with refugees throughout the Diocese in Europe.

Rebecca Boardman spoke in Birmingham Cathedral of USPG’s work with the Diocese in Europe, focussing on this work in Greece, France and Morocco. She pointed out that migration has always existed, and the Bible is a story of people on the move. It is not a new trend in Europe.

But in 2015, the photograph of Alan Kurdi washed up on a beach woke Europe up to the plight of refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean. That year, about 1 million arrived in Greece, mainly on the Aegean islands from Turkey.

Today, in 2018, about 68.5 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide, including migrants and refugees, and this figure may be an underestimate.

By 2018, the number of people moving through Greece has fallen to 17,000. But the same problems remain in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries.

The borders across Europe have started to shut down, barbed wire fences have gone up, and there is a knock-on impact. The route for migrants and refugees has shifted from the East Mediterranean to the West Mediterranean, and the routes have become more dangerous.

The Diocese in Europe works in 40 countries, from Morocco in north Africa through Europe and Turkey into the former Soviet Union.

In Morocco, USPG is supporting Saint Andrew’s Chaplaincy in Tangier, where Father Denis has been seconded from Nigeria to work with west Africans and provide pastoral support and care.

In Athens, the partnership of USPG and Saint Paul’s Anglican Church in the city centre has given hope to refugees and migrants and refugees who were once camped out in the city squares and parks. And it has created ecumenical partnerships that have brought the Greek Orthodox Church into a new and exciting stage in its work with the marginalised and bringing hope to people ‘confused by the roaring of sea and the waves.’

During these recent days in London and Birmingham, I listened to stories of how USPG and the Diocese in Europe are trying to be lights of hope in this dismal, dark winter.

The Advent candles on the Advent wreath represent the Patriarchs, the Prophets, Saint John the Baptist, and the Virgin Mary, all pointing to Christ in the midst of darkness, despite the disasters of famines, earthquakes and wars.

We can be beacons of hope. We can show in how we live our lives this Advent that we believe, that we want, good to triumph over evil, and to show that the Light of Christ shines in our hearts.

In the last three stanzas of his poem ‘Christmas,’ John Betjeman proclaims the wonder of Christ’s birth in the form of a question: ‘And is it true...?’

And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,
A Baby in an ox’s stall?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me?

And is it true? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare –
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.

And so, may all we think, say and do be to the praise, honour and glory of God, + Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

‘God was man in Palestine / And lives today in Bread and Wine’ … John Betjeman (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Luke 21: 25-36:

25 ‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’

29 Then he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

34 ‘Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.’

‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves’ (Luke 21: 25) … the setting sun and the waves on the beach in Ballybunion, Co Kerry (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Liturgical Colour: Purple (Violet)

The liturgical provisions suggest that the Gloria is omitted during Advent, and it is traditional in Anglicanism to omit the Gloria at the end of canticles and psalms during Advent.

First Sunday of Advent, 2 December 2018 (Purple Candle):

The Patriarchs and Matriarchs


O God of Abraham and Sarah,
we thank you for your faithfulness
throughout all time.
As today we begin our Advent journey,
may the light of your love
surround us and all for whom we pray,
as we watch and wait for your kingdom.

The Collect:

Almighty God,
Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Penitential Kyries:

Turn to us again, O God our Saviour,
and let your anger cease from us.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Show us your mercy, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.

Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Your salvation is near for those that fear you,
that glory may dwell in our land.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Introduction to the Peace:

In the tender mercy of our God,
the dayspring from on high shall break upon us,
to give light to those who dwell in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1: 78, 79)

Preface:

Salvation is your gift
through the coming of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and by him you will make all things new
when he returns in glory to judge the world:

The Post-Communion Prayer:

God our deliverer,
Awaken our hearts
to prepare the way for the advent of your Son,
that, with minds purified by the grace of his coming,
we may serve you faithfully all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing:

Christ the sun of righteousness shine upon you,
gladden your hearts
and scatter the darkness from before you:

‘Your kingdom come, O God’ (Hymn 509) … Christ in Glory depicted in the mosaics in the apse of the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Hymns:

652, Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us (CD 37)
126, Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding (CD 8)
509, Your kingdom come, O God (CD 29)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

Christ in Majesty at the Last Judgment … a fresco in the Orthodox Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Tolleshunt Knights, Essex (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Praying in Advent with USPG
and Lichfield Cathedral
(2): 2 December 2018

‘Darkness into Light’ … taking part in the Advent Procession in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick, on Advent Sunday 2017

Patrick Comerford

Today is the First Sunday of Advent [1 December 2018], the beginning of the Season of Advent, and the beginning of a new Church Year. Later this morning, I am leading the services and preaching in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick (the Parish Eucharist), and Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Co Kerry (Morning Prayer). In the evening, I hope to take part in the Advent procession and carol service, ‘Darkness into Light,’ at 7 p.m. in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick.

Throughout the season of Advent this year, I plan to spend 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 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.

Theologically, practically and financially, USPG encourages and enables churches within the Anglican Communion to act as the hands and feet of Christ. Together, they are working to improve health, tackle poverty, put children in school, challenge discrimination, nurture leaders, give voice to women, and much more.

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 today includes 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:

‘One of CSI’s successful campaigns involves the girl child. In India, the girl child’s right to live is not a given: female foeticide is practised in many parts [estimates suggest hundreds of female foetuses and new-borns are killed every day]. Now, thanks to campaigners like CSI, girls are starting to march in the streets to assert their right to live.

‘Our girl child campaign trains congregations on children’s rights and abuse. We encourage churches to report cases of abuse to the state child helpline. We also run a campaign in schools and communities. We try to create spaces in which children can speak openly about abuse. We include children from all backgrounds, including street children and children with disabilities. The children take this knowledge back to their families and this initiates conversations – about the rights of girls – and we hope this will help society move towards the greater social inclusion of girls. This girl child campaign has been supported by USPG, for which we are very grateful.’

The USPG Prayer Diary:

Sunday 2 December 2018: 1st Sunday of Advent:


Lord Jesus, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
pour tour blessings on all women and children today,
especially those who face discrimination and violence.
Reveal to them their worth and dignity before you.

JESSICA RICHARD SPEAKS AT USPG CONFERENCE 2018 from USPG on Vimeo.


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 Luke 21: 25-36.

The reflection for today suggests going to Church and continues:

We realise that life is complicated: joy & sorrow, pleasure & pain. Pray for trust in God’s purposes and for alertness to his love and presence.

The West Door of Lichfield Cathedral late at night in November (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

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

Jeremiah 33: 14-16; Psalm 25: 1-10; I Thessalonians 3: 9-13; Luke 21: 25-36.

Collect:

Almighty God,
Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion Prayer:

God our deliverer,
Awaken our hearts
to prepare the way for the advent of your Son,
that, with minds purified by the grace of his coming,
we may serve you faithfully all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Continued tomorrow.