Friday, 27 March 2020

Praying through Lent with
USPG (31): 27 March 2020

A monument to Jewish partisans and resistance to the Nazis and Fascists in Rome (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

I was supposed to be visiting the Church of the Province of Myanmar, the Anglican Church in Myanmar (Burma) this week on behalf of the Anglican mission agency USPG(United Society Partners in the Gospel).

The outbreak of Covid-19 or the Cornona virus pandemic meant that visit has been cancelled, and instead I planned to visit Lichfield for these three days (26-29 March) for a self-directed retreat. I had hoped to stay at the Hedgehog at the top of Beacon Street, at the corner of Stafford Road and Cross in Hand Lane, and to follow the daily services in Lichfield Cathedral or the Chapel of Saint John’s Hospital, which have been my spiritual home for almost half a century and have shaped my expressions of Anglican spirituality.

All these plans have been postponed or cancelled, one after another, due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, throughout Lent this year, I am continuing to use 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.

I am a trustee of USPG, 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.

This week (22-28 March 2020), the USPG Prayer Diary is focussing on Pakistan, human rights, slavery and the churches in Myanmar and Morocco, with a particular focus on Myanmar today and tomorrow.

These themes were introduced in the Prayer Diary on Sunday by Bishop Humphrey Sarfaraz Peters, Bishop of Peshawar Diocese and President Bishop, Church of Pakistan.

Friday 27 March 2020:

Let us pray for the Church in Myanmar, for God’s help with all the challenges it faces as it continues to grow and be a beacon of hope for the people of Myanmar.

Readings: Wisdom 2: 12-22; Psalm 34: 15-22; John 7: 1-2, 10, 25-30.

The Collect of the Day:

Lord God
whose blessed Son our Saviour
gave his back to the smiters
and did not hide his face from shame:
Give us grace to endure the sufferings of this present time
with sure confidence in the glory that shall be revealed;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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.

A half-open door in the chapel in Saint John’s Hospital in Lichfield … part of my planned retreat for three days that has been put on hold (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s reflection

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