09 December 2018

Praying in Advent with USPG
and Lichfield Cathedral
(9): 9 December 2018

Paulo Ueti, Bible scholar and theologian in the Anglican Church of Brazil … ‘Let’s join together in prayer and support gender justice because when one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers’

Patrick Comerford

This is the Second Sunday of Advent [9 December]. Later this morning, I am presiding at the Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion 2) in Castletown Church, Kilcornan, Co Limerick (9.30 a.m.), leading Morning Prayer in Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale, Co Limerick (11.30 a.m.), and preaching in both churches.

Throughout the season of Advent this year, I am spending a short time of prayer and reflection each morning, using the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency, USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), and the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar for 2018 being used in Lichfield Cathedral.

USPG, founded in 1701, is an Anglican mission agency supporting churches around the world in their mission to bring fullness of life to the communities they serve.

USPG is the Anglican mission agency that partners churches and communities worldwide in God’s mission to enliven faith, strengthen relationships, unlock potential, and champion justice.

Under the title Pray with the World Church, the current USPG prayer diary (7 October 2018 to 16 February 2019), offers prayers and reflections from the Anglican Communion.

We are coming to the end of the middle of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, and the USPG Prayer Diary begins this week with an article by Paulo Ueti, a Bible scholar and theologian in the Anglican Church of Brazil:

Christianity in Brazil might be pervasive, but this has not stopped violence increasing. In particular, women and girls are being abused, raped, beaten and murdered.

According to statistics, the so-called traditional family is the most dangerous place, with women often being attacked by their current or former partners. And this abuse often goes unpunished.

The Episcopal Anglican Church in Brazil is committed to overcoming gender violence. Years ago, the church stated that gender violence is not only a crime but also a sin which our baptism calls us to struggle against every day.

The church has a safe house in northern Brazil, Noeli dos Santos, which runs sensitisation training for all dioceses. In addition, the Anglican Service for Diaconia and Development is partnering with other organisations to advocate for rights and combat violence. Let’s join together in prayer and support gender justice because when one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers.

The USPG Prayer Diary:

Sunday 9 December 2018:

O God, who spoke through the prophets,
telling forth against the evils of society.
Inspire your church today to stand up, speak out
and bring in your kingdom of justice, peace and inclusion.

‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight’ (Luke 3: 4) … a pathway through fields in Comberford, near Lichfield and Tamworth (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Lichfield Cathedral Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar:

Lichfield Cathedral’s Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar for 2018 suggests you light your Advent candle each day as you read the Bible and pray. It suggests setting aside five to 15 minutes each day.

Buy or use a special candle to light each day as you read and pray through the suggestions on the calendar. Each week there is a suggestion to ‘eat simply’ – try going without so many calories or too much rich food, just have enough. There is a suggestion to donate to a charity working with the homeless. There is encouragement to pray through what you see and notice going on around you in people, the media and nature.

The calendar is for not only for those who use the Cathedral website and for the Cathedral community. It is also for anyone who wants to share in the daily devotional exercise. The calendar suggests lighting your Advent candle each day as you read the Bible and pray.

Today’s suggested reading is Luke 3: 1-6, and the calendar suggests: ‘Go to Church.’

The reflection for today suggests:

Pray for all who wake us to what’s true and warn us about what’s really going on. Pray for an instinct for truth.

Readings (Revised Common Lectionary, the Church of Ireland):

Baruch 5: 1-9; the Canticle Benedictus; Philippians 1: 3-11; Luke 3: 1-6.

The Collect:

Father in heaven,
who sent your Son to redeem the world
and will send him again to be our judge:
Give us grace so to imitate him
in the humility and purity of his first coming
that when he comes again,
we may be ready to greet him with joyful love and firm faith;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Post Communion Prayer:

here you have nourished us with the food of life.
Through our sharing in this holy sacrament
teach us to judge wisely earthly things
and to yearn for things heavenly.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yesterday’s reflection.

Continued tomorrow.

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