Sunday, 29 November 2020

Praying in Advent with USPG:
1, Sunday 29 November 2020

‘There is the Lamb of God’ … a detail in a window in Mount Melleray Abbey, Cappoquin, Co Waterford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Patrick Comerford

Throughout Advent and Christmas this year, I plan to use the Prayer Diary of the Anglican Mission Agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) for my morning reflections each day, and the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar produced at Lichfield Cathedral for my prayers and reflections each evening.

I am one of the contributors to the current USPG Diary, Pray with the World Church, introducing the theme of peace and trust later next month.

Today (29 November 2020) is Advent Sunday, marking the beginning of the Church Year, and the beginning of our preparations for Christmas this year and the coming of Christ.

The theme of the USPG Prayer Diary this week (29 November 2020 to 5 December 2020) is ‘There is the Lamb of God.’

Introducing this week’s theme, the Most Revd Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, writes:

‘There is the Lamb of God!’ Those were the words of John the Baptist as Jesus passed by, words that resonated with one of those with John: a man called Andrew. He and another followed Jesus … and I could claim that the rest is history.

But now imagine for just for a moment that Andrew, having heard those words, decided to stay where he was; to remain safe in the company of John, prepared to listen to powerful words of mission but unable to do anything with them. There would have been no meeting of Jesus and Simon Peter, no introductions of the Greeks to Jesus, a different version of the feeding of the five thousand. There would be no patron saint of Russia or of my own dear Scotland. Many things would be different and people may never have experienced faith without the witness of Andrew.

Sometimes it feels safer and more comfortable to sit and listen, to be part of the crowd. All I can say is thank God that Andrew decided to get up and follow.

So today, let us pray for those called to mission and the walk they courageously take.

Sunday 29 November (First Sunday of Advent and the Day of Intercession and Thanksgiving for the Missionary Work of the Church):

Almighty God, thank you for raising people
to take your Good News to the ends of the earth.
We give you praise
for their devotion and dedication.

Continued tomorrow

With Bishop Mark Strange at a conference in Edinburgh in 2012

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