11 July 2024

Daily prayer in Ordinary Time 2024:
63, Thursday 11 July 2024, Saint Benedict

An icon of Saint Benedict (right) and Saint Francis (left) in Saint Bene’t’s Church, Cambridge … Saint Benedict is remembered in the Church Calendar today (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

We are continuing in Ordinary Time in the Church Calendar and this week began with the Sixth Sunday after Trinity (Trinity VI). Today, the Church remembers Saint Benedict of Nursia (ca 550), Abbot of Monte Cassino and Father of Western Monasticism.

I have been staying this week at the High Leigh Conference Centre at Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire, where the annual conference of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) began on Tuesday (9 July). The conference continues until lunchtime today (11 July). I hope to visit Cambridge again later this afternoon before catching a bus through Beford and Milton Keynes back to Stony Stratford later this evening.

But, before today begins, I am taking some quiet time this morning to give thanks, for reflection, prayer and reading in these ways:

1, today’s Gospel reading;

2, a reflection in connection with this week’s USPG conference;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary;

4, the Collects and Post-Communion prayer of the day.

‘Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts’ (Matthew 10: 9) …old coins in an antique shop in Rethymnon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Matthew 10: 7-15 (NRSVUE):

[Jesus said:] 7 “As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Cure the sick; raise the dead; cleanse those with a skin disease; cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. 9 Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff, for labourers deserve their food. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13 If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”

Some of the resources and materials at the USPG conference this week (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2024)

This morning’s reflection:

The USPG conference in High Leigh continues until lunchtime today. We begin this morning with Morning Worship led by George Hesketh from Liverpool, a member of the Tsedaqah Community (Triangle of Hope), a missional community based at Liverpool Cathedral and made up of young people living together in community for a year. The Triangle of Hope links the Diocese of Kumasi in Ghana, the Diocese of Liverpool in the Church of England and the Diocese of Virginia in the US.

Tsedaqah is a Hebrew word that means ‘righteousness' or ‘to do justice', the very reason that the community was formed. The instruction in Micah 6: 8 inspires its mission as a community. Community members seek to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God, values echoed in the words of the Tsedaqah Prayer.

After breakfast, the Bible study is led once again by Bishop Dalcy Badeli Dlamini of Eswatini, who is leading the Bible studies throughout the week.

Later this morning there is a panel discussion that asks ‘What’s Next?’, followed by our ‘Sending Eucharist’, when I have been invited to take part in leading the intercessions.

Some of the resources and materials distributed at this week’s conference and that we have been invited to take back to our dioceses and parishes include United Beyond Borders: Migration And Movement, a new five-week study course for churches, clergy, study days or small groups. It explores migration and the global movement of people, with stories from the world church, including Filipino migrants in London, internally displaced people in Maynmar, human trafficking in Brazil, regugees making the journey from Calais, and life on the margins for people displaced by natural disaster in Malawi.

Revive was formerly known as Koinonia and has been named to capture the spirit and energy of life at USPG, with stories about people from around the global church who inspire USPG with God-centred action. The latest Spring edition includes features on the Revd Thandu Noketshe, his wife Bulewa, and their family’s exchange from South Africa to the Caribbean, an international and ecumenical conference in Freiburg on racial justice, and a consultation in Tanzania on human trafficking.

Resources being produced for later this year include the 2024 Harvest Appeal inviting parishes or dioceses to provide essential support to improve food security and economic resilience in Zululand. It is built around the story of ‘Grace’ who collects runner beans from a farm in the Diocese of Zululand.

Evening lights at the High Leigh Conference Centre … the venue for this week’s USPG conference (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2024)

Today’s Prayers (Thursday 11 July 2024):

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 ‘United Beyond Borders.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday with reflections on this week’s USPG conference by Rachael Anderson, Senior Communications and Engagement Manager, USPG.

The USPG Prayer Diary today (Thursday 11 July 2024) invites us to pray:

We give thanks for the time and fellowship at the USPG conference. May partnerships and friendships new and old develop and flourish.

The Collect:

Eternal God,
who made Benedict a wise master
in the school of your service
and a guide to many called into community
to follow the rule of Christ:
grant that we may put your love before all else
and seek with joy the way of your commandments;
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.

Post Communion Prayer:

Merciful God,
who gave such grace to your servant Benedict
that he served you with singleness of heart
and loved you above all things:
help us, whose communion with you
has been renewed in this sacrament,
to forsake all that holds us back from following Christ
and to grow into his likeness from glory to glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Inside the Chapel Barn at the High Leigh Conference Centre (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2024)

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version, Updated Edition copyright © 2021, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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