17 September 2023

Daily prayers in Ordinary Time
with USPG: (112) 17 September 2023

The theme of the Season of Creation this year is ‘Let Justice and Peace Flow’

Patrick Comerford

We are in Ordinary Time in the Church Calendar, and today is the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity (Trinity XV, 17 September 2023). Later this morning, I am singing in the choir at the Parish Eucharist in the Church of Saint Mary and Saint Giles, Stony Stratford.

The setting this morning is Jospeh Haydn’s Missa brevis Sti Johannis di Deo. We are singing 'The Lord is Compassion and Love', a responsorial version of Psalm 103, and as an anthem we are singing ‘Let All the World,’ an antiphon from George Herbert’s Five Mytical Songs, to a setting by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Before the day begins, I am taking some time this morning for prayer and reflection.

This week, I am reflecting each morning in these ways:

1, Reflecting on a theme in this Season of Creation, the annual Christian celebration to pray and respond together to the cry of Creation;

2, the Gospel reading of the day in the Church of England lectionary;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

‘Let Justice and Peace Flow’ … the River Ouse between Stony Stratford and Passenham also marks the boundary between Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

The Season of Creation:

The Season of Creation is the annual Christian celebration to pray and respond together to the cry of Creation: the ecumenical family around the world unites to listen and care for our common home, the Oikos of God.

The Season ‘Celebration’ began on 1 September, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and it ends on 4 October, the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology beloved by many Christian denominations.

This year, people and churches marking the Season of Creation are uniting around the theme, ‘Let Justice and Peace Flow.’

It is appropriate this morning to reflect on George Herbert’s ‘Let All the World’, which is being sung in Saint Mary and Saint Giles Church this morning:

Let all the world in every corner sing,
My God and King.
The heavens are not too high,
His praise may thither fly:
The earth is not too low,
His praises there may grow.

Let all the world in every corner sing,
My God and King.

The Church with Psalms must shout,
No door can keep them out:
But above all, the heart
Must bear the longest part.

Let all the world in every corner sing,
My God and King.

Find out more about the Season of Creation HERE.

Matthew 18: 21-35 (NRSVA):

21 Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ 22 Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

23 ‘For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25 and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26 So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” 27 And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.” 29 Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” 30 But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” 34 And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. 35 So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’

‘The Church with psalms must shout, / No door can keep them out’ … the west door of Saint Mary and Saint Giles Church, Stony Stratford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Today’s Prayer:

The theme this week in ‘Pray With the World Church,’ the Prayer Diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), is ‘Let Justice and Peace Flow.’ This theme is introduced today:

‘The Season of Creation is the annual Christian celebration to pray and respond together to the cry of Creation: the ecumenical family around the world unites to listen and care for our common home, the Oikos of God.

‘The 2023 theme is ‘Let Justice and Peace Flow.’

The movement seeks to bring awareness that the world humans have known, enjoyed and celebrated is changing rapidly. Biodiversity is being lost and the hope of keeping average temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius is fading. The futures of young people are threatened. We are presently more aware than ever of the link between fossil fuels, and violence and war.

As the urgency grows, it is believed that we must make visible peace with Earth and on Earth, at the same time, that justice calls us to repentance and a change of attitude and actions. Instead of despair, hope can be created if we work together as the People of God. By the Creator’s infinite love and mercy, streams can rise in the desert. An economy of peace can be built instead of an economy based on conflict.

Find out more about the Season of Creation: www.seasonofcreation.org

The USPG Prayer Diary today (17 September 2023) invites us to pray in these words:

Creator of Love, thank you for the gift of life,
which we share with all creation.
Call us again to safeguard everything you have made
for earth and all its fullness is yours. Amen.

The Collect:

God, who in generous mercy sent the Holy Spirit
upon your Church in the burning fire of your love:
grant that your people may be fervent
in the fellowship of the gospel
that, always abiding in you,
they may be found steadfast in faith and active in service;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post Communion Prayer:

Keep, O Lord, your Church, with your perpetual mercy;
and, because without you our human frailty cannot but fall,
keep us ever by your help from all things hurtful,
and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yesterday’s Reflection

Continued Tomorrow

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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