Sunday, 12 April 2020

Praying in Easter with USPG:
1, Easter Day, 12 April 2020

A sign of hope and new life … a rose on the fence at the concentration camp in Birkenau (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Lent is over and today is Easter Day [12 April 2020]. Later this morning, I should be celebrating and preaching at the Easter Eucharist in Castletown Church, Kilcornan (9.30 a.m.) and Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale, Co Limerick (11.30 a.m.). Like all churches throughout the Diocese of Limerick, the lights in these churches stayed on all night as I sign of hope. For these are not normal times, and on the advice of the Bishop, all services have been cancelled for the past few weeks in these dioceses.

Throughout Lent this year, I was using the USPG Prayer Diary, Pray with the World Church, for my morning prayers and reflections. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the end of the Holocaust, so I was illustrating my reflections each morning with images that emphasise this theme.

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.

In this coming week (12 to 18 April 2020), the USPG Prayer Diary takes as its theme, ‘Living with a World of Difference: Alleluia.’ This theme is introduced this morning by the Revd Canon Richard Bartlett, USPG’s Director of Mission Engagement.

In his introduction, he writes:

‘Alleluia, Christ is risen: he is risen indeed, Alleluia!’ The ancient joyful response which Christians across much of the world cry out today, as we celebrate the joy of the resurrection and the hope that Christ brings to the world. This is the response from churches in many, though not all, parts of the world today: for the Orthodox Easter is not until next Sunday – a reminder that in the wider ecumenical church, we live ‘with a world of difference’: our Orthodox friends today are just embarking on Holy Week.

Many of us, across the world, have been using the USPG course ‘Living with a world of difference’ during Lent. We may have learned, shared and experienced more deeply not only the differences celebrated in the course, but also differences shared between our group members along the way. We are all uniquely created, difference is part of our DNA, we celebrate that God given difference. And we celebrate today that which holds all our differences together: the resurrection of Jesus. Whatever divides us, the resurrection of Christ unites us. Now there’s something to celebrate! Alleluia, Christ is risen: he is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Sunday 12 April 2020 (Easter Day):

Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end,
Alpha and Omega, all time belongs to him, and all ages;
to him be glory and power, through every age and for ever.
Alleluia, Christ is risen: he is risen indeed. Alleluia! Amen.
(From the Easter Liturgy)

The Readings: Acts 10: 34-43; Psalm 118: 1-2, 14-24; Colossians 3: 1-4; John 20: 1-18.

The Collect (Easter Day):

Almighty God,
through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ
you have overcome death
and opened to us the gate of everlasting life:
Grant that, as by your grace going before us
you put into our minds good desires,
so by your continual help we may bring them to good effect;
through Jesus Christ our risen Lord
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post-Communion Prayer:

Living God,
for our redemption you gave your only-begotten Son
to the death of the cross,
and by his glorious resurrection
you have delivered us from the power of our enemy.
Grant us so to die daily unto sin,
that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his risen life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

‘Noli me tangere’ … a Resurrection image in a stained glass window in Saint John’s Church in Wall, near Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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