22 October 2023

Daily prayers in Ordinary Time
with USPG: (147) 22 October 2023,
Week of Prayer for World Peace (8)

‘Father Forgive’ … the Cross of Nails in Coventry Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Patrick Comerford

We are in Ordinary Time in the Church Calendar, and today is the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity (Trinity XX, 22 October 2023).

Later this morning, I hope to be at the Parish Eucharist in Holy Trinity Church, Old Wolverton. But, before today begins, I am taking some time for prayer and reflection early this morning.

The Week of Prayer for World Peace began last Sunday and ends today. My reflections each morning during these eight days have been gathered around this theme in these ways:

1, A reflection on the Week of Prayer for World Peace ;

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

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

The Week of Prayer for World Peace began with ‘A Call to Prayer for World Peace’ signed by faith leaders in 1974

A Week of Prayer for World Peace:

The International Prayer For Peace:

Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth
Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust
Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace
Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe

Day 8, Perceived Enemies: Praying for those we perceive as enemies:

Forgive do I creatures all, and let all creatures forgive me. Unto all have I amity, and unto none enmity.

Where in the Qu’ran does it say you should love your enemies?

The central teaching of the Qu’ran is peace. It exhorts believers in numerous verses to make peace with one’s enemies.
Kahif Shahzada, Muslim author

The principle of loving one’s enemies is not a call to pacifism, nor does it ask us to conjure up warm feelings of affection for those who mistreat us.

One is not required to like his enemy. The love we are to express toward our enemies consists of acts of loving kindness which accord the enemy common dignity and recognise his basic humanity.

The instruction to love an enemy applies on a personal level of individual interaction. Our Master did not mean that nations and governments should appease aggressors with acts of loving kindness.
(First Fruits of Zion Messianic Jewish)

Everyone’s breath is the same, there is no colour, no caste, no religion … If people can come to peace with themselves and find inner harmony, then that will translate into external harmony … not promoting a particular religious doctrine or philosophy, rather looking to promote the goodness of human nature to find it in unconditional love.
Shayalpa Tenzin Ranpoche, Tibetan Buddhist Monk

Why should we pray for our enemies? Because Jesus did. He prayed for those who opposed Him, for those who devised evil against Him, and ultimately as He hung on the Cross, Jesus prayed for His Father to forgive all those who had a part in His death, because they did not know what they were doing. Jesus modelled unconditional love and how we should pray for our enemies, then commanded us to do the same.

Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ – Christianity

Cover us with the shelter of Your peace. May we have the courage to denounce violence and destructiveness, and may we become partners in building that shelter of peace – Judaism

God of tender mercies, we admit that sometimes we don’t know what to do with ourselves. We anger at the slightest insult and imagine great vengeance upon those who have wronged us. We laze about in the good news of our faith and do not consider the deep commitment of faith. We care for ourselves but not for others. Forgive us, we pray. Forgive us, help us to repent and make us whole. Amen.
Beth Merrill Neel, Presbyterian Minister, USA

>‘Why should we pray for our enemies? … the Reconciliation monument in the ruins of Coventry Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Matthew 22: 15-22 (NRSVA):

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. 16 So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. 20 Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ 21 They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ 22 When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

The Revd Tuomas Mäkipää (left), the Chaplain at Saint Nicholas, Helsinki, who introduces the USPG Prayer Diary this week, with Father Heikki Huttunen of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Today’s Prayers: USPG Prayer Diary:

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 ‘Praying for Peace.’ This theme is introduced today:

As the war continues in Ukraine USPG and the Diocese in Europe support several programmes and initiatives to support refugees who flee the country. The Chaplaincy at Saint Nicholas is one of many chaplaincies that have pooled its resources to help ease the suffering of those refugees having to flee their homes because of the conflict in Ukraine and supports the Vallila Help Centre in its work.

The Revd Tuomas Mäkipää, Chaplain of Saint Nicholas, Helsinki has written the following prayer for those affected by conflict.

Give wisdom to the leaders of the nations,
that they may be a force for good on the earth.
Sustain the anxious and fearful and renew them with courage from on high,
Comfort all worried families whose loved ones are in danger,
surround them with your love protect them from all harm.
Be with the sick and wounded,
Stand by all prisoners and captives,
let your mercy be shown to all and your power to heal and save.
In Christ Jesus your son, our Lord, Amen

The USPG Prayer Diary today (22 October 2023, Trinity XX) invites us to pray in these words:

Oh, God of peace and safety
Pour your peace on us
Oh, God of peace,
Grant peace in our hearts
(from an Arabic hymn).

The Collect:

God, the giver of life,
whose Holy Spirit wells up within your Church:
by the Spirit’s gifts equip us to live the gospel of Christ
and make us eager to do your will,
that we may share with the whole creation
the joys of eternal life;
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:

God our Father,
whose Son, the light unfailing,
has come from heaven to deliver the world
from the darkness of ignorance:
let these holy mysteries open the eyes of our understanding
that we may know the way of life,
and walk in it without stumbling;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yesterday’s Reflection

Continued Tomorrow

The Week of Prayer for World Peace ends today, Sunday 22 October 2023

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

Saint Nicholas’s Chaplaincy supports the work of Vallila Centre through grants from USPG and the Diocese in Europe (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

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