19 March 2017

Praying in Lent 2017 with USPG,
(22) Sunday 19 March 2017

‘We thank you for the faithfulness of your church’ … Bishop Michael Lewis presiding at the installation of the Very Revd Jeremy Robert Crocker as Dean of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Nicosia (Photograph: Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf)

Patrick Comerford

Today is the Third Sunday in Lent, but this weekend seems to be a full weekend break from the disciplines of Lent, with people throughout Ireland enjoying the extended holiday weekend provided by the celebrations of Saint Patrick’s Day on Friday [17 March 2017].

Later this morning, I am leading Morning Prayer in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick, at 9.45 a.m., presiding at the Eucharist in Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin, in Tarbert, Co Kerry, and preaching in both churches.

The readings this morning are: Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5: 1-11; and John 4: 5-42. I intend to discuss the Samaritan Woman at the Well and to ask questions about who we see as the outsiders if we consider ourselves as the insiders in the Church.

The Lent 2017 edition of the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) follows the theme of the USPG Lent study course, ‘Living an Authentic Life.’

I am using this Prayer Diary for my prayers and reflections each morning throughout Lent. Why not join me in these prayers and reflections, for just a few moments each morning?

In the articles and prayers in the prayer diary, USPG invites us to investigate what it means to be a disciple of Christ. The Lent study course, ‘Living an Authentic Life’ (available online or to order at www.uspg.org.uk/lent), explores the idea that discipleship and authenticity are connected.

This week, from today (19 March) until next Saturday (25 March), the USPG Lent Prayer Diary is following the topic ‘Living with Difference.’ The topic is introduced today in an article in the Prayer Diary by the Right Revd Michael Lewis, Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf, who was a speaker at the USPG conference in High Leigh three years ago in June 2014.

In his article this morning, Bishop Michael reflects on being a disciple among communities of diverse backgrounds. He writes:

Our diocese covers multiple countries. Our worshippers are of multiple nationalities. Some are in the land of their ancestors, but most of us are expatriate migrants.

How should we be disciples?

Disciples are called to be attentive to God in Christ through the liturgy, through the fellowship of the church, through the teaching of the tradition, through pondered and exchanged experience, and through prayer. In this way, we’ve tried to respond intelligently and imaginatively within the contexts in which we find ourselves.

In Cyprus, we’ve seen the arrival of refugees fleeing war and misery in Syria and beyond, and have sought to engage practically by visiting, hearing their stories, and advocating for decent conditions and just treatment.

In Oman, we’ve supported the mission of the Al Amana Centre which offers a safe space for Christians and Muslims to study together, share experiences and learn from each other.

In Iraq, we’ve established a solid foundation of joy-filled worship to provide support for the many Internally Displaced Persons who have been attacked in their own lands.

Sunday 19 March 2017:

The First Sunday in Lent

Holy God, thank you for the faithfulness of your church living your gospel in places of diversity and difference. Help us to listen and be attentive to your voice in all places, and bear one another’s burdens in prayer and action. .


Merciful Lord,
Grant your people grace to withstand the temptations
of the world, the flesh and the devil
and with pure hearts and minds to follow you, the only God;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Post Communion Prayer

Lord our God,
you feed us in this life with bread from heaven,
the pledge and foreshadowing of future glory.
Grant that the working of this sacrament within us
may bear fruit in our daily lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s reflection and prayer

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