Sunday, 24 May 2020

Sunday intercessions on
Easter VII, 24 May 2020

‘Lord, make me an instrument of your peace’ (from the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis) … a mediaeval carved statue of Saint Francis of Assisi in the ruins of the Franciscan Friary in Askeaton, Co Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

These intercessions were prepared for use on the Seventh Sunday of Easter, 24 May 2020, in Castletown Church, Kilcornan, Co Limerick, and Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale, Co Limerick. However, the churches have been closed temporarily because of the Covid-19 pandemic:

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

Let us pray in this Season of Easter:

Heavenly Father, protect us in your name
so that we may be one,
as Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one (John 17: 11):

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;
enlighten the minds of those seeking
to contain the spread of the virus
and those searching for a vaccine;

Give hope to schools and places of education,
to teachers and lecturers,
to students and pupils,
to parents and staff;

Keep safe those who return to work this week,
give hope to those trying to get their businesses working,
give wisdom to the government,
guide all who make difficult decisions,
help us to protect our communities and ourselves.

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

Lord Jesus Christ:
you have called us to be your witnesses
to the ends of the earth (Acts 1: 8):

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.

Today is Anglican Communion Sunday.
In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer, we pray
for all members of the Anglican Communion around the world,
for the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby,
for all primates and bishops,
for members of the Anglican Consultative Council,
for the Secretary General, the Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon,
for the staff at the Anglican Communion Office in London
and the staff at UN offices in Geneva and New York.

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

We pray for our Bishop Kenneth;

In the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer,
we pray for all those in our dioceses engaged in Agriculture.

Christ have mercy,
Christ have mercy.

Holy Spirit, we are blessed,
for the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God,
is resting on us (I Peter 4: 14):

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

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

We pray for those who have broken hearts …
for those who live with disappointment …
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 …

We pray for those who mourn and grieve…
for Michelle, Ian, and the Shorten and O’Riordan families …
for Lynn and the O’Gorman, Hodge and Latchford families …
for those who mourn PJ and who mourn Sherry …
may their memories be a blessing …

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

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

A prayer from USPG:

A prayer on the Seventh Sunday of Easter,
in the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG,
United Society Partners in the Gospel,
a prayer from the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Merciful Father, …

Finding new hope in
the ‘in-between’ days
after the Ascension

The Seventh Sunday of Easter is an ‘in-between’ time in the 10 days between Ascension Day and the Day of Pentecost … confusing signs on the beach in Bettystown, Co Meath (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Sunday 24 May 2020,

The Seventh Sunday of Easter (Easter 7),

the Sunday after Ascension Day.


9: 30 am: Morning Prayer, Castletown Church, Kilcornan, Co Limerick

11.30 am: The Parish Eucharist, Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale, Co Limerick

The Readings: Acts 1: 6-14; Psalm 68: 1-10, 32-35; I Peter 4: 12-14, 5: 6-11; John 17: 1-11.

There is a link to the readings HERE.

‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven?’ (Acts 1: 11) … the Ascension window by Sir Edward Burne-Jones in Saint Philip’s Cathedral, Birmingham (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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

This Sunday is a strange ‘in-between’ time in the calendar of the Church. On Thursday (21 May 2020), we celebrated the Day of the Ascension; next Sunday (31 May 2020), we celebrate the Day of Pentecost.

In the meantime, we are in what we might call ‘in-between’ time.

It is still the season of Easter, which lasts for 50 days from Easter Day until the Day of Pentecost. But, this morning, we are still in the Easter season, in that ‘in-between’ time, these 10 days between the Day of Ascension and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Church at Pentecost.

Following the Ascension, two angels in white robes ask the disciples why they are standing around looking up into heaven. In the Gospel account of the Ascension (Luke 24: 44-53), they return to ‘Jerusalem with great joy,’ and seem to spend the following days in the Temple.

As the story unfolds in the Acts of the Apostles, the disciples, as well as the Virgin Mary and other women (see verse 14), spend their time in prayer, choosing a successor to Judas, as we are told in this morning’s first reading (Acts 1: 6-14).

Ten days after the Ascension, they are going to be filled with Holy Spirit, who comes as a gift not only to the 12 but to all who are gathered with them, including the Virgin Mary and the other women, the brothers of Jesus (verse 14), and other followers in Jerusalem – in all, about 120 people (see verse 15).

But during these 10 days, they and we are in that ‘in-between’ time, the 10 days between the Ascension and Pentecost. Their faith persists, but the promise has not yet been fulfilled.

They wait in hope. But until that promise is fulfilled they are, you might say, transfixed, believing without doing, unable to move from Jerusalem out into the wider world.

Is this the same upper room where they had gathered after the Crucifixion, behind locked doors, filled with fear, until the Risen Christ arrives and, as Saint John’s Gospel tells us, says to them: ‘Peace be with you … Peace be with you … Receive the Holy Spirit … forgive’ (see John 20: 19-23)?

Fear can transfix, can immobilise us. It leaves us without peace, without the ability to forgive, without the power to move out into, to engage with, the wider world out there.

Sometimes, our own fears leave us without peace, unwilling to forgive, unwilling to move out into the wider world.

Fear paralyses, it leaves us without peace, and as we protect ourselves against what we most fear, we decide to define those we are unwilling to forgive so that we can protect ourselves against the unknown, so that we can blame someone for the wrong for which we know we are not guilty.

In our epistle reading (I Peter 4: 12-14; 5: 6-11), Saint Peter urges his readers to accept their ordeals and trials as sharing in the sufferings of Christ.

He reminds us that our sufferings today are brief and momentary, for God has called you to his eternal glory in Christ.

The Risen Christ tells us: ‘I am with you always, to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28: 20). But too often we are caught between Ascension Day and Pentecost, waiting but not sure that the kingdom is to come, frightened in the terror and the pain of the present moment.

Feeling powerless and fearful and not knowing what to do combine to make a deadly cocktail that not only immobilises us but robs us of hope.

But, hopefully, we can also see ourselves in the nurses, the doctors, the police, the emergency responders, who respond immediately, without considering how they put themselves in further danger … the supermarket staff, the delivery drivers, the people in communities who deliver shopping, the postal workers who check on the elderly and the vulnerable, the gardai who take smiles and verbal abuse with equal stoicism.

We can see ourselves in them. And hopefully we can see the face of God in them.

And this is our Easter hope and faith.

This is the hope that we will never lose our capacity as Christians to live with the Risen Christ, listening to his desire that we should be not afraid, and that we should love one another.

This is the hope we wait for between the glory of the Ascension and the empowering gifts the Holy Spirit gives us and promises us at Pentecost.

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

‘For the words that you gave to me I have given to them’ (John 17: 7) … Christ as the Great High Priest with an open Bible … an icon in the Church of Saint Spyridon in Palaiokastritsa, Corfu (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

John 17: 1-11 (NRSVA):

1 After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5 So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

6 ‘I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8 for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.’

‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble’ (I Peter 5: 5) … street art in Waterford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Liturgical Colour: White (Easter, Year A)

The Greeting (from Easter Day until Pentecost):

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:

O God the King of Glory,
you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ
with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven:
Mercifully give us faith to know
that, as he promised,
he abides with us on earth to the end of time;
who is alive and 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:

Eternal Giver of love and power,
your Son Jesus Christ has sent us into all the world
to preach the gospel of his kingdom.
Confirm us in this mission,
and help us to live the good news we proclaim;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing:

God the Father,
by whose glory Christ was raised from the dead,
raise you up to walk with him in the newness of his risen life:

Dismissal (from Easter Day to Pentecost):

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

‘Sing to God, sing praises to his name; exalt him who rides on the clouds’ (Psalm 68: 4) … a kite above the beach at Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Hymns:

431, Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendour (Opening hymn)
518, Bind us together, Lord (Gradual)
418, Here, O my Lord, I see thee face to face (Offertory)
456, Lord, you give the great commission (Post-Communion hymn)

‘For the words that you gave to me I have given to them’ (John 17: 7) … Christ as the Great High Priest with an open Bible in an icon in the Church of the Metamorphosis in Piskopiano, Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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.

‘Sing to God, sing praises to his name; exalt him who rides on the clouds’ (Psalm 68: 4) … a sculpture near the beach in Bettystown, Co Meath (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Praying in Easter with USPG:
43, Sunday 24 May 2020

‘Lord, make me an instrument of your peace’ (from the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis) … a mediaeval carved statue of Saint Francis of Assisi in the ruins of the Franciscan Friary in Ennis, Co Clare (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Today is the Seventh Sunday of Easter. This morning, I had hoped to be leading Morning Prayer in Castletown Church, Kilcornan, Co Limerick, and presiding at the Parish Eucharist in Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale, Co Limerick.

Although our churches remain closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, 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 (24 to 30 May 2020), the theme of the USPG Prayer Diary is ‘Change is Possible.’ Rebecca Boardman, USPG Regional Manager for East Asia, Oceania and Europe, introduces this theme in the Prayer Diary this morning. She writes:

‘As I write, March is drawing to a close. In the past weeks, the exponential spread of COVID-19 across the globe has challenged every aspect of daily life causing rapid, widespread and almost unimaginable change. Businesses and schools have shut, planes are grounded and commuter cars sit dormant.

‘We are finding new ways of being community. Church services are streamed into our living rooms and families are enjoying Sunday lunch connected by video. Many of us here in the UK are now more connected to our neighbours with local groups emerging to support the most vulnerable.

‘We have been told that we are in a crisis and we are responding. The scientific community has repeatedly sounded the alarm on biodiversity breakdown and the climate emergency. What would happen if we addressed the ecological crisis with such urgency?

‘2020 is a critical year for climate action. How can we harness the learnings, level of understanding and urgency with which we are responding to COVID-19 to respond to our ecological crisis? Can we emerge from this better connected to each other and to the planet in a way that will allow for the planetary healing so desperately needed?’

Sunday 24 May 2020 (Seventh Sunday of Easter):

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
(From the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis)

The Readings:

Acts 1: 6-14 or Ezekiel 39: 21-29; Psalm 68: 1-10, 32-35; I Peter 4: 12-14, 5: 6-11; John 17: 1-11.

The Collect of the Day:

O God the King of Glory,
you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ
with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven:
Mercifully give us faith to know
that, as he promised,
he abides with us on earth to the end of time;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post-Communion Prayer:

Eternal Giver of love and power,
your Son Jesus Christ has sent us into all the world
to preach the gospel of his kingdom.
Confirm us in this mission,
and help us to live the good news we proclaim;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow