23 December 2022
Praying in Advent with Lichfield Cathedral
and USPG: Friday 23 December 2022
We are in the last week of Advent, and there are just two days to Christmas Day.
The traditional counting of the ‘O Antiphons’ began last Saturday (17 December) with ‘O Sapientia.’ For eight days before Christmas, the canticle Magnificat at Evensong has a refrain or antiphon proclaiming the ascriptions or ‘names’ given to God through the Old Testament.
Each name develops into a prophecy of the forthcoming and eagerly-anticipated Messiah, Jesus, the Son of God. O Sapientia, or ‘O Wisdom’, was followed on Sunday by ‘O Adonai’, then O Radix Jesse (‘O Root of Jesse’) on Monday, O Clavis David (‘O Key of David’) on Tuesday, O Oriens (‘O Dayspring’) on Wednesday, then O Rex Gentium (‘O King of the Nations’) yesterday and, finally, today, O Immanuel Immanuel (‘God is with us’).
Before today gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for reading, prayer and reflection.
During Advent, I am reflecting in these ways:
1, The reading suggested in the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar produced by Lichfield Cathedral this year;
2, praying with the Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar;
3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary, ‘Pray with the World Church.’
Luke 1: 57-66 (NRSVA):
57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. 60 But his mother said, ‘No; he is to be called John.’ 61 They said to her, ‘None of your relatives has this name.’ 62 Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. 63 He asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And all of them were amazed. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 Fear came over all their neighbours, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard them pondered them and said, ‘What then will this child become?’ For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.’
The Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar:
Reflect on this story: God is shaping a new future and John the Baptist will be the forerunner and herald of a new age. Pray for the new-born – for all the delight, joy and promise they bring. Pray for parents wondering about the kind of world their children will grow up in and inherit.
God our redeemer,
who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary
to be the mother of your Son:
grant that, as she looked for his coming as our saviour,
so we may be ready to greet him
when he comes again as our judge;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
who chose the Blessed Virgin Mary
to be the mother of the promised saviour:
fill us your servants with your grace,
that in all things we may embrace your holy wil
l and with her rejoice in your salvation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
as Mary waited for the birth of your Son,
so we wait for his coming in glory;
bring us through the birth pangs of this present age
to see, with her, our great salvation
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
USPG Prayer Diary:
The theme in the USPG Prayer Diary this week is ‘International Migrants Day.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday with a reflection on International Migrants Day by Bishop Antonio Ablon, Co-ordinator of the Filipino Chaplaincy in Europe, part of the Philippine Independent Church.
The USPG Prayer Diary invites us to pray today in these words:
Let us pray for workers who are vulnerable and exploited. May their voice be heard, wrongs revealed and injustice righted.
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