09 March 2020

Praying through Lent with
USPG (13): 9 March 2020

A pile of shoes in Auschwitz among the personal belongings plundered from the victims of the Holocaust (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During Lent this year, I am using the USPG Prayer Diary, Pray with the World Church, for my morning prayers and reflections. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the end of the Holocaust, so I am illustrating my reflections each morning with images that emphasise this theme.

USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) 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. It was founded in 1701.

Later today, I am attending a number of meetings in Dublin, including the Interfaith Working Group of the Church of Ireland and the Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue, when I hope to report on my participation in the launch of resources for Holocaust Memorial Day in the House of Lords in Westminster. These resources were used in the four churches in the Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin Group of Parishes.

Purim, which begins this evening [9 March 2020], is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman, an official in the Persian Empire, who was planning to kill all the Jews, as told in the Book of Esther (מגילת אסתר, Megillat Ester).

This is the only book in the Bible that does not mention God. But this book is a story that tells of the triumph of good over evil, and how the clever thinking of one woman saves a whole nation from genocide.

Sunday was International Women’s Day, and this week (8-14 March) the USPG Prayer Diary is focussing on women’s rights and gender-based violence.

On Sunday [8 March 2020], the USPG Prayer Diary published ‘Thoughts on International Women’s Day’ by Yvonne Barrow of the Human Rights and Social Justice Commission in the Diocese of Guyana.

Monday 9 March 2020:

Let us pray for Yvonne Barrow, and for the work she does in Guyana with the Human Rights and Social Justice Commission.

Readings: Daniel 9: 4-10; Psalm 79: 8-9, 12, 14; Luke 6: 36-38.

The Collect of the Day:

Almighty God,
you show to those who are in error the light of your truth
that they may return to the way of righteousness:
Grant to all those who are admitted
into the fellowship of Christ’s religion,
that they may reject those things
that are contrary to their profession,
and follow all such things
as are agreeable to the same;
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lenten Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s reflection

Megillat Ester or Scroll of Esther, silver with coloured stones and gilded, dated Vienna 1844, in the Jewish Museum, Vienna … Purim begins this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

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