Sunday, 3 May 2020

From the Romans to Calatrava,
Valencia blossoms in the sun

Oranges ripening under blue skies in Valencia (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Patrick Comerford

Some weeks before the outbreak of Covid-19 or the Corona Virus pandemic, before Italy and Spain went into ‘lockdown’ and virtual isolation, I spent a few carefree days in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain.

I was conscious that week that back in Ireland there was snow, ice and freezing temperatures. But in Valencia, the oranges were ripening on the trees, the skies were blue, and the temperatures were in the high teens.

Valencia is Spain’s third city, but for tourists and travellers it is almost as if Valencia lives in the shadows of Barcelona. Both Valencia and Barcelona are Catalan-speaking cities, and Valencian is the Catalan dialect spoken throughout the ethnically Catalan Valencia region, just south of Catalonia.

The similarities with Barcelona, which I visited four years ago, are striking. Both Mediterranean ports have large harbours full of cruise ships, pretty beachfront promenades, atmospheric Gothic cores, picturesque central markets, and attractive, futuristic architecture.

Barcelona has long had the tourism edge over other cities with Gaudí’s distinctive architecture, cheap flights and a better soccer team. But lately Valencia has come into its own as a destination for things not seen farther north, and as a less suffocating, more tranquil alternative.

The port city of Valencia is on Spain’s south-east Orange Blossom Coast, where the Turia River meets the Mediterranean Sea. There are several beaches as well as Albufera park, a wetlands reserve with a lake and walking trails.

A fountain in the area where Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 BCE (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Roman and ‘Modernista’ architecture

Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 BCE. Its historic centre is one of the largest in Spain, covering about 169 hectares. The city has a relatively dry subtropical Mediterranean climate with very mild winters and long warm to hot summers. In recent years, more people are discovering this friendly haven and the sites that make Valencia special and one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations.

The heart of Valencia is its Barrio Carmen, a labyrinth of mediaeval lanes full of dusty Art Nouveau pharmacies, crumbling castle walls, Gothic archways, airy plazas full of café tables, and bubbling fountains.

The architectural sites in the heart of the city include the cathedral, which is the centrepiece of the old town and which claims the original Holy Grail among its treasures; La Lonja, the 15th century Gothic silk and commodities’ exchange; the Mercado Central or central market; and the 100-year-old Estación del Norde, the city’s beautiful Modernista train station.

Valencia Cathedral was first built in the 13th century but stands on the site of a Roman temple, a Visigoth cathedral and a mosque (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

One of the first places I visited in the city was Valencia Cathedral, which is almost 800 years old. It is said to have been consecrated in 1238 by Archbishop Pere d’Albalat of Tarragona after the Reconquista or Christian conquest of Valencia, and was dedicated to Saint Mary on the orders of James I the Conqueror.

However, this was a site of religious worship from many centuries earlier. At first, a Roman temple stood here, later the Visigoths built a cathedral here, and this was converted into a mosque by the Moors.

The colourful apse in Valencia Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

There is evidence that some decades after the Christian conquest of Valencia, the mosque-cathedral remained standing, even with Quranic inscriptions on the walls, until 1262. Hypothetically, the mosque corresponded to the current transepts of the cathedral, the ‘Apostles’ Gate’ would be the entrance to the mosque, and the Almoina (‘alms’) gate the mihrab.

Most of Valencia Cathedral was built between the 13th century and the 15th century. Pope Alexander VI was born Rodrigo de Borja near Valencia and he was still a cardinal when he petitioned the Pope to make the Bishop of Valencia an archbishop. Pope Innocent VIII granted the request in 1492, shortly before Rodrigo de Borja became Pope. The cathedral was burned during the Spanish Civil War and many of its decorative features were lost.

The shrine of the Holy Grail in the chapter house of Valencia Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Holy grail or pious tale?

The cathedral’s greatest treasure is a chalice said to be the true Holy Grail. This chalice with Arabic inscriptions was given to the cathedral by king Alfonso V of Aragon in 1436. This chalice is held in the Chapel of the Holy Grail, where it continues to attract pilgrims.

It is most likely that it was produced in a Palestinian or Egyptian workshop between the 4th century BC and the 1st century AD. However, an inventory said to date from AD 262, says the cha
lice was used by early Popes in Rome and that during one state-sponsored Roman persecution of Christians, the church divided its treasury to hide it with its members, and the chalice was given to the deacon Saint Lawrence.

A later inventory, dated 1134, describes the chalice as the one in which ‘Christ Our Lord consecrated his blood.’

The chalice has been used during visits to Valencia by both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

The façade of the Church of the two Saint Johns with ‘the blind eye of Saint John’ where the rose window was never opened (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

In the heart of Valencia, Santos Juanes is a Roman Catholic church in the Mercat neighbourhood. The church is also known as the Church of the two Saint Johns, or Saint John of the Market, because it is beside the Central Market and faces the Llotja de la Seda or Silk Exchange.

The two Saint Johns named in the dedication are Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist.

A church was first built here on the site of a former mosque in 1240, two years after the conquest of Valencia by King James and his Christian armies. This follows a pattern found throughout the city, and the church is one of the so-called ‘foundational parishes’ in Valencia.

The Church of San Nicolás de Bari and San Pedro Mártir has been called the ‘Sistine Chapel’ of Valencia (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

The ‘Sistine Chapel’ of Valencia

But the ‘Baroque Jewel’ of Valencia must be the Church of San Nicolás de Bari and San Pedro Mártir, which has been called the ‘Sistine Chapel’ of Valencia. Pope Callixtus III (1455-1458), also known as Alfonso de Borja, was the Rector of the Church of San Nicolás from 1418 and Bishop of Valencia from 1429 before becoming Pope in 1455.

The interior of the Church of San Nicolás de Bari was completed between 1690 and 1693 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

The church is tucked away quietly in the streets of the old town, and is almost hidden from view in a laneway off Calle Caballeros, adding to the surprise awaiting visitors. Inside, it is one of the finest examples of a Gothic church with baroque decorations. Frescoes and plasterwork cover the entire interior, from small pilasters in chapels, to the walls, apse and vaulted ceiling, creating a visual and colour spectacle.

The frescoes were designed by Antonio Palomino in 1694 and completed ten years later by his pupil Dionis Vidal in 1704.

The dome in the Valencia’s Central Market, the Mercado Central (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Markets and railway stations

The Central Market or Mercado Central is an imposing modernist building built in 1928 on the site of one of Spain’s oldest food markets. It may be the most beautiful covered food market I have ever visited. The vast Modernista structure of iron and glass is brilliantly ornamented with luminous ceramic tiles.

Vividly coloured glass windows and cupolas house hundreds of vendors and stalls selling over extraordinary fruits, vegetables, spices, nuts, candy, bread, wine and cheeses, making the market a riot of colour, sounds and smells.

The courtyard in La Lonja, the former Silk Exchange (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Beside the Mercado Central, La Lonja or the Silk Exchange is an imposing late Gothic Monument to the mercantile power of Valencia. This splendid building is a Unesco World Heritage site and is one of Spain’s finest examples of a civil Gothic building.

La Lonja was built as the city’s silk and commodities exchange and was designed by the architect Pere Compte. It was built in the late 15th century, when Valencia was booming.

The main entrance was the Puerta de las Pecados or the ‘door of sin,’ is decorated with tendrils and figures on both sides. The name was a warning merchants about the dangers of sharp business practices.

The Estació del Nord or North Station, designed by Demetrio Ribes Marco (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

The Estació del Nord or North Station is the main railway station in Valencia. The entrance is on Calle de Xàtiva in the city centre next to the city’s bullring, just a 200-metre walk from the city hall.

The station was designed by the Valencian architect Demetrio Ribes Marco, and was built in 1906-1917. It is one of the main works of Valencian Art Nouveau and walking into the entrance hall is like stepping back in time. This is a grandiose, Modernista-style building and it is a visual feast of colours, with ceramic mosaics and vegetable, flower, orange tree and orange blossom motifs decorating every square metre.

The Plaza de Toros, built in 1850-1859. was modelled on the Colosseum in Rome (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

The Plaza de Toros, beside the Estación del Norte, is Valencia’s bullring, built in 1850-1859. It was designed in the neoclassical style by the Valencian architect Sebastián Monleón Estellés, who was inspired by the Colosseum in Rome and the Arena of Nîmes in France.

I have been a pacifist and a vegetarian all my adult life, so I have no fondness for or interest in bullrings. Indeed, the only bullrings I have enjoyed visiting are small squares in Wexford and Drogheda. But the Plaza de Toros in Valencia is an eye-catching building, formed by a 48-sided polygon, with 384 external arches, and a capacity for around 10,500 people.

The City of Arts and Sciences, designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, is one of the ‘12 Treasures of Spain’ (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Calatrava’s extravaganza

The Alameda is a green riverbed that that snakes through the ancient city but has been drained and is full of lawns and gardens.

At the height of a property boom in the early 2000s, Valencia decided it wanted to raise its profile through the kind of hyper-ambitious, grandiose architectural project that would attract a new kind of tourism.

One of the results is the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, the City of Arts and Sciences, designed by the Valencian-born architect, Santiago Calatrava, and Felix Candela. They have produced a cultural complex of glittering glass structures that soars above the waterfront, and it covers 350,000 square metres on the former riverbed of the River Turia.

This is one of the best-known works by Calatrava. Although it has not been without its controversies, it has become the most important modern tourist destination in Valencia and is one of the ‘12 Treasures of Spain,’ alongside the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Seville Cathedral, the Alhambra in Granada, the Cathedral of Santiago Compostela and Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

The landscaped walk at the top of L’Umbracle in the City of Arts and Sciences (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Close by is Calatrava’s opera house, which has attracted Plácido Domingo, world-famous conductors, and a dance series with features from flamenco to zarzuela.

The whole complex was originally budgeted at €300 million, but it has cost nearly three times the initial expected cost, and many people in Valencia complain about both the costs and the many design flaws that have involved continuous, major repairs.

Despite the critics, this is a fascinating and captivating work of art, architecture and engineering. It is not one building, but a collection of buildings and facilities.

Yet, one of the real architectural pleasures of Valencia is the collection of narrow, cobbled streets and small squares, lined with small shops, cafés, restaurants and colourful buildings. It is truly worth taking time to sit down and simply watch life passing by.

Dame Kathleen Lonsdale (1903-1971), the Irish-born scientist, celebrated in an exhibition in Valencia (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

This three-page feature was first published in May 2020 in the ‘Church Review,’ the Dublin and Glendalough diocesan magazine

A colourful square … and time over coffee to sit and watch life passing by (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Sunday intercessions on
Easter IV, 3 May 2020

Christ the Good Shepherd, with the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist on each side … a stained-glass window in Saint Mary’s Church, Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

These intercessions were prepared for use on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, 3 May 2020, in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick, and Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Co Kerry. However, the churches have been closed temporarily because of the Covid-19 or Corona Virus pandemic:

Christ is Risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Let us pray in this Season of Easter:

Lord God, our Heavenly Father,
Surely goodness and loving mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever (Psalm 23: 6):

In this diocese,
we pray in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic,
for peoples of all nations:

Loving Father,
we entrust to you the sick, the quarantined, and their families.
Bring them healing in body, mind and spirit.

Comfort the bereaved and anxious;
sustain and protect frontline medical staff, carers and essential workers;
further the efforts of those seeking to contain the spread of the virus;

Give wisdom to those in authority
making decisions in response to the epidemic,
and guide us all to protect ourselves and our communities.

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

Lord Jesus Christ:
you came that we may have life,
and have it abundantly (John 10: 10):

We pray for the Church,
that we may share that life generously and in abundance.

We pray for churches that are closed this morning,
that the hearts of the people may remain open
to the love of God, and to the love of others.

In the Church of Ireland, we pray this month for
The Diocese of Connor and the Bishop-elect, George Davison.

We pray for Archbishop John McDowell,
who took office as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
on Tuesday last.

In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer,
we pray for the Nippon Sei Ko Kai,
the Anglican Communion in Japan,
and Most Revd Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu, Primate and Bishop of Hokkaido.

We pray for our Bishop Kenneth;
in the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer,
we pray for diocesan members of the General Synod.

In this parish, we give thanks for the life of
Rosemary Eacrett of Doonard, Tarbert,
who died last Wednesday in Killarney.
She lived in Tarbert for almost 50 years
and was a very valued parishioner of Saint Brendan’s,
serving as Treasurer for many years and as a vestry member.

Christ have mercy,
Christ have mercy.

Holy Spirit:
though we may walk through
the valley of the shadow of death,
we will fear no evil;
for you are with us (Psalm 23: 4):

We pray for ourselves and for our needs,
for healing, restoration and health,
in body, mind and spirit.

We pray for the needs of one another,
for those who are alone and lonely …
for those who travel …
for those who are sick, at home or in hospital …
Alan ... Ajay … Charles …
Lorraine … James … Terry …
Niall … Linda ... Basil …

We pray for those who grieve …
for those who remember loved ones …
for the family of Rosemary Eacrett
and her husband George …
their daughter Valerie Hilliard, son Peter,
and their families and friends …
May their memory be a blessing to us.

We pray for those who have broken hearts …
for those who live with disappointment …
for those who are alone and lonely …
We pray for all who are to be baptised,
We pray for all preparing to be married,
We pray for those who are about to die …
especially for those dying without the presence of family and friends …

We pray for those who have asked for our prayers …
for those we have offered to pray for …

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

A prayer on this Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Easter,
in the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG,
United Society Partners in the Gospel:

Heavenly Father,
we pray for those journalists who risk their lives to speak truth to power,
and we pray for more honesty in our media.

Merciful Father, …

‘We pray for those journalists who risk their lives’ (USPG Prayer Diary) … newspapers on sale at a kiosk in Rethymnon, Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

‘I came that they may have life,
and have it abundantly’

Christ as the Good Shepherd … a window in Saint Ailbe’s Church in Emly, Co Tipperary (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

Sunday, 3 May 2020, the Fourth Sunday of Easter.


9.30: The Parish Eucharist, Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick

11.30: Morning Prayer, Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin, Co Kerry

The Readings: Acts 2: 42-47; Psalm 23; I Peter 2: 19-25; John 10: 1-10.

There is a link to the readings HERE.

Christ the Good Shepherd, with the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist on each side … a stained-glass window in Saint Mary’s Church, Lichfield. The words below Christ read ‘Pastor Bonus’ … ‘The Good Shepherd’; the words on Saint John's scroll read ‘Ecce Agnus Dei’ … ‘This is the Lamb of God’ (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

A great conductor was once asked which instrument he thought the most difficult to play in the orchestra.

‘Second fiddle,’ he replied without hesitation.

He was a leader who knew how important ever individual player is, but also how important it is to provide appropriate leadership so that all can play together and to their full potential.

Do you ever wonder which is more difficult: to be a leader or to be a follower?

Being a good shepherd is not an easy task. It means taking care of difficult and often dirty animals, that can be wayward and wilful, that are easy prey and that often fail to reach their potential value.

There is a paradox in Christ being both the Lamb of God and the Good Shepherd. He understands what it is to lead, yet he is obedient to his Father.

The first Christians Saint Peter is writing to in our epistle reading (I Peter 2: 19-25) were often seen as second fiddles, as socially inferior, by their pagan neighbours, and they suffered regularly for their beliefs and how they put those beliefs into practice.

Yet, in their isolation, as they endured their sufferings, God notices them and cares for them in their endurances. The writer compares the sufferings of these early Christians with the sufferings of Christ, and he quotes from the ‘Servant Songs’ of Isaiah in which the Suffering Servant is abused as he faces suffering and death, yet entrusted himself to God, ‘the one who judges justly.’

Even when we have gone astray, when we feel marginalised, isolated or when others see us as ‘second fiddles,’ God cares for us as the Good Shepherd, as the guardian of our souls.

In following in his paths faithfully, the Psalm promises, we shall find that goodness and loving mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives, and dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

But what is it to dwell in the house of the Lord for ever?
The reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2: 42-47) provides an image of how the Early Church tried to live this out in sacrament, in word and in deed, in their prayer life and in their lifestyle.

After Pentecost, the newly-baptised Christians who join the church do not return to the Upper Room, and try to cramp in, returning to the old days of fear and isolation.

Instead, they continue daily to hear the Apostles’ teaching, joining in fellowship, the breaking of bread, and to pray together – just as we do at the Eucharist.

They live out that shared belief in their daily lives, sharing all things in common, and distributing their surplus wealth to all who are needy, ‘with glad and generous hearts.’ And, we are told, the Lord added new members to the Church each day.

When these days of isolation and fear are over, when the Covid-19 pandemic abates, let us rejoice in the opportunities to show our ‘glad and generous hearts’ with one another, in the Church, in our community, and in this country. For throughout our sufferings, the Lord is our shepherd. And he came that we ‘may have life, and have it abundantly.’

Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Christ as the Good Shepherd … a mosaic in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

John 10: 1-10 (NRSVA):

[Jesus said:] 1 ‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ 6 Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

7 So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’

‘The shepherd and guardian of your souls’ (I Peter 2: 25) … a stained glass window in All Saints’ Church, Mullingar, Co Westmeath (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Liturgical Colour: White

The Greeting:

Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Penitential Kyries:

Lord God,
you raised your Son from the dead.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus,
through you we are more than conquerors.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Holy Spirit,
you help us in our weakness.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

The Collect of the Day:

Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life:
Raise us, who trust in him,
from the death of sin to the life of righteousness,
that we may seek those things which are above,
where he reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Introduction to the Peace:

The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said,
Peace be with you.
Then were they glad when they saw the Lord. (John 20: 19, 20).

Preface:

Above all we praise you
for the glorious resurrection of your Son
Jesus Christ our Lord,
the true paschal lamb who was sacrificed for us;
by dying he destroyed our death;
by rising he restored our life:

The Post-Communion Prayer:

Merciful Father,
you gave your Son Jesus Christ to be the good shepherd,
and in his love for us to lay down his life and rise again.
Keep us always under his protection,
and give us grace to follow in his steps;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing:

The God of peace,
who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus
that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the eternal covenant,
make you perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight:

Dismissal::

Go in the peace of the Risen Christ. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thanks be to God. Alleluia! Alleluia!

The Good Shepherd … the Hewson Memorial Window in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Hymns:

Opening: 336, Jesus, where’er thy people meet
For Psalm: 21, The Lord’s my shepherd; I’ll not want (for the Psalm)
Gradual: 614, Great Shepherd of your people, hear
Offertory: 438, O thou, who at thy Eucharist didst pray
Post-Communion: 306, O Spirit of the living God

Christ the Good Shepherd … a window in Christ Church, Leamonsley, Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

This sermon was prepared for Sunday 3 May 2020, the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Easter IV), but was part of a celebration of the Eucharist in Saint Mary’s Rectory, Askeaton, Co Limerick.

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

Material from the Book of Common Prayer is copyright © 2004, Representative Body of the Church of Ireland.

The Good Shepherd Window in Saint Mary’s Church, Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Praying in Easter with USPG:
22, Sunday 3 May 2020

‘We pray for those journalists who risk their lives’ … newspapers on sale in Omonia Square, Athens (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter. Our churches remain closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but I am continuing to celebrate the Eucharist each Sunday, with all the lectionary readings and a sermon. I am also continuing to use the USPG Prayer Diary, Pray with the World Church, for my morning prayers and reflections throughout this Season of Easter. 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.

Throughout this week (3 to 9 May 2020), the USPG Prayer Diary is inspired by the work of Saint Nicholas Seminary, Ghana, and the theme of ‘Enhancing Church Growth in West Africa.’ This focus is introduced in the Prayer Diary this morning:

St Nicholas Seminary in Cape Coast, Ghana, is a Provincial Theological College. USPG has been supporting the college predominately through the provision of scholarships to the Seminary. St Nicholas plays an important role in leadership development and clergy formation of the Province.

The mission of St Nicholas Seminary is to educate lay and ordained leaders of the Church and world emphasising the life of daily prayer and worship, high sense of community life, pastoral care, ministerial formation and social justice. The training and formation of Seminarians at St Nicholas has a pastoral dimension. As they begin the formation programme, seminarians come to understand that the priest, like Christ, is ordained ‘not to be served, but to serve’ – not to dominate, but to inspire and guide the people of God. They should become vividly aware of the Church’s mission to all people, and be ready to minister to all people everywhere.

Sunday 3 May 2020 (Fourth Sunday of Easter and World Press Freedom Day):

Heavenly Father,
we pray for those journalists who risk their lives to speak truth to power,
and we pray for more honesty in our media.

The Readings: Acts 2: 42-47 or Nehemiah 9: 6-15; Psalm 23; I Peter 2: 19-25; John 10: 1-10.

The Collect of the Day (Easter IV):

Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life:
Raise us, who trust in him,
from the death of sin to the life of righteousness,
that we may seek those things which are above,
where he reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post-Communion Prayer:

Merciful Father,
you gave your Son Jesus Christ to be the good shepherd,
and in his love for us to lay down his life and rise again.
Keep us always under his protection,
and give us grace to follow in his steps;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

‘We pray for those journalists who risk their lives’ … newspapers on sale at a kiosk in Rethymnon, Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow