03 September 2023

Daily prayers in Ordinary Time
with USPG: (98) 3 September 2023

All Saints’ Church in Milton Keynes Village … one of the largest and most attractive mediaeval churches in Buckinghamshire (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Patrick Comerford

We are in Ordinary Time in the Church Calendar, and today is the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity (Trinity XIII, 3 September 2023).

Later this morning, I hope to be at the Parish Eucharist in Saint Mary and Saint Giles Church, Stratford, and in the afternoon to attend the Parish Fete in All Saints Church, Calverton.

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

This week, I have been reflecting each morning in these ways:

1, Looking at a church on the route of the annual Ride + Stride, organised by Buckinghamshire Historic Churches Trust and taking place next Saturday, 9 September 2023;

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

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

On All Saints’ Day 1995, 100 Saxon bodies were reburied at All Saints’ Churchyard (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

All Saints’ Church, Milton Keynes Village:

The annual Ride + Stride organised by Buckinghamshire Historic Churches Trust takes place next Saturday, 9 September 2023. Participants may be cyclists, walkers, horse-riders or drivers of mobility scooters. They can be of any age, but under-13s must be accompanied by an adult. All denominations are welcome.

Participants may visit as many churches as they like, planning their own route, and are asked to seek sponsorship from friends, relations and colleagues: so much per church visited or a lump sum. https://ridestride.org/

Ride + Stride offers opportunities find out what lies behind the churchyard gates of Buckinghamshire’s many churches and chapels.

Ride + Stride is open to walkers as well as horse-riders and cyclists. It always takes place on the second Saturday of September, between 10 am and 6 pm, and aims to raise money for the repair and restoration of churches and chapels of any Christian denomination in Buckinghamshire.

Half the money raised goes to the church or chapel of the participant’s choice, and the other half is added to a general fund administered by the Buckinghamshire Historic Churches Trust.

Churches are encouraged to make applications to the trust for grants to help with church repairs and restoration. Last year’s Ride + Stride event raised more than £26,610. Last year, the trust awarded grants totalling £28,000 to 11 churches that applied for funding to assist with both major and minor works.

My photographs this week are from some of the churches taking part in this year’s Ride + Stride next weekend. My photographs this morning are of All Saints’ Church in Milton Keynes Village.

The three-stage tower of All Saints’ Church is in an unusual position on the north side of the nave (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Matthew 16: 21-28 (NRSVA):

21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.’ 23 But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

27 ‘For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28 Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.’

The north side of the chapel, including one of two small low-side openings doors (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 ‘Harvest.’ This theme was introduced today:

As we approach the season of harvest, we are increasingly aware of how many families and individuals around the UK are now relying on emergency food parcels from food banks. Around 3 million parcels were given out last year alone.

Further afield, the Diocese of Kurunagala in Sri Lanka is unique for its work with farmers, plantation sector workers, labourers and interfaith collaborations. The recent economic crisis has had a huge impact on the diocese and it must take this into consideration when it plans its mission activities.

These activities have been a mixture of advocacy towards transformation on a national level and being grounded at a community level. The diocese has extended its outreach work to the most vulnerable with rations being deployed from time to time. A focus on well-being and the protection of children are also key areas the diocese is working on, through seminars and small group visits. To do this, the diocese partners with local Buddhist temples, enabling the Church to reach more people.

This autumn, USPG will be running a Harvest appeal and sharing stories about the amazing work of our partners in Sri Lanka. To find out more, visit www.uspg.org.uk

The USPG Prayer Diary today (3 September 2023, Trinity XIII) invites us to reflect on these words:

You shall go out in joy and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (Isaiah 55: 12)

The Collect:

Almighty God,
who called your Church to bear witness
that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself:
help us to proclaim the good news of your love,
that all who hear it may be drawn to you;
through him who was lifted up on the cross,
and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post Communion Prayer:

God our creator,
you feed your children with the true manna,
the living bread from heaven:
let this holy food sustain us through our earthly pilgrimage
until we come to that place
where hunger and thirst are no more;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The south porch at All Saints’ Church in Milton Keynes Village (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

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

The west end of All Saints’ Church in Milton Keynes Village (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

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