17 March 2021

Praying in Lent and Easter 2021:
29, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin

Saint Patrick depicted on the cladding for current restoration work at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During Lent and Easter this year, I am taking some time each morning to reflect in these ways:

1, a photograph of a church or place of worship that has been significant in my spiritual life;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).

This week I am offering photographs from seven churches that have shaped and influenced my spirituality.

Today (17 March 2021) is Saint Patrick’s Day, so my photographs this morning are from Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. I was due to preach there on Saint Patrick’s Day last year, before the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic cancelled almost everything. Although I have few links with Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, I have been invited to preach there in the past, and as a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, I robed with the chapter of Saint Patrick’s on past occasions, including the installation of a new dean and the opening service for the General Synod of the Church of Ireland.

Instead, I have chosen Saint Patrick’s Cathedral this morning because I enjoy the fact that this is my name day. The Greek writer Dimitrios Venderakis, the son of a Cretan poet, once said that his father’s name was the profitless burden which he was condemned by irrevocable ill-fortune to bear on his shoulders throughout his life. But a surname roots us in history and family tradition, while first names establish individual identity and personality. Names have a particular significance in the Bible: Adam names the animals as a sign of dominion; Abram become Abraham, Sarai becomes Sarah, Jacob becomes Israel, Simon becomes Peter, Saul becomes Paul.

When Moses questions whether he is up to the task God is giving him, God tells him: ‘I AM who I AM … Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I AM has sent me to you” … This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations’ (Exodus 3: 14-15). By revealing his name, God offers an intimate invitation into relationship.

My mother often told me that she wanted to name me Paul. But my uncle Arthur who took me to be baptised had me named after his stepmother’s father, Patrick Lynders, and his half-brother, Patrick Comerford.

Candlelight in the choir stalls in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

John 4: 31-38 (NRSVA):

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him [Jesus], ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ 32 But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ 33 So the disciples said to one another, ‘Surely no one has brought him something to eat?’ 34 Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. 35 Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. 36 The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.’

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (17 March 2021), prays:

Let us pray that global measures and policies to address climate injustice will restore the integrity of creation and enable communities in Mozambique to survive.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Inside Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin (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

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