06 March 2019

Praying through Lent with
USPG (1): 6 March 2019

‘Jesus is condemned to death’ … Station I in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Patrick Comerford

Today [6 March 2019] is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Later this evening, at 8 p.m., I am presiding and preaching at the Ash Wednesday Eucharist in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton.

During Lent this year, I am using the USPG Prayer Diary, Pray with the World Church, for my morning prayers and reflections.

USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) 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. It was founded in 1701.

This week (3-9 March), the USPG Prayer Diary is focussing on India.

On Sunday [3 March 2019], the diary published an adapted article by the Right Revd Probal Dutta, who is Deputy Moderator of Church of North India, Bishop of Calcutta and the Moderator’s Commissary to the Diocese of Durgapur.

He writes:

The Hebrew word for prophet is navi and they were thought to be the mouth of God, a spokesperson or persons appointed by God to proclaim His message to the world.

For the church in India to remain a beacon for its people it needs to re-ignite its brilliance in mission in three ways:

The mission to social justice, speaking out against corruption, caste discrimination, violence against women, human trafficking and other injustice.

The mission to preach the word of God in regional languages and dialects, so that all can hear and understand the message.

The mission to witness, in solidarity with the marginalised and oppressed by living with them to witness their pain and their lives. Serving them so they can be liberating.

Prophetic mission is not an easy task, but it is a vocation and a responsibility. As tradition teaches ‘You are not obliged to complete your work, but you are not at liberty to quit it.’ India needs prophetic religious living, to be creative, dynamic and patient with challenges and misunderstandings as we trust in God’s divine plan.

Wednesday 6 March, Ash Wednesday:

Pray for the Church in its mission to stand alongside the powerless, that it is faithful in its witness to our equality before God, remembering we are each but dust and to dust we shall return.

Readings: Joel 2: 1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58: 1-12; Psalm 51: 1-18; II Corinthians 5: 20b to 6: 10; Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-21.

The Lenten Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Post Communion Prayer:

Almighty God,
you have given your only Son to be for us
both a sacrifice for sin and also an example of godly life:
Give us grace
that we may always most thankfully receive
these his inestimable gifts,
and also daily endeavour ourselves
to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Continued tomorrow

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