Thursday, 9 April 2020

Praying through Lent with
USPG (44): 9 April 2020

The ‘Block of Women’ memorial to the women’s uprising of 1943 on the former site of the Old Synagogue on Rosenstraße in Berlin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Today is Maundy Thursday [9 April 2020]. The liturgical colour changes on this day from the Violet of Lent or the Red of Passiontide to White, and the Eucharist or Holy Communion is to be ‘celebrated in every cathedral and in each parish church or in a church within a parochial union or group of parishes.’

It is traditional in dioceses too to have a celebration of the Chrism Eucharist in a cathedral or church in the diocese, when the bishops, priests, deacons and readers renew their vows. This year, however, because of the Corona Virus or Covid-19 pandemic, the Chrism Eucharist is not taking place in the Diocese of Limerick and Killalow.

Later this evening, I should be presiding and preaching at the Maundy Eucharist with foot washing in Castletown Church, Kilcornan, near Pallaskenry, Co Limerick. However, 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. This situation continues to be reviewed and monitored with the bishop and the archdeacons.

Meanwhile, during Lent this year, I am continuing to use 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 am 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.

This week (5 to 11 April 2020) is Holy Week, is the last week in Lent. The USPG Prayer Diary takes as its theme this week, ‘The Right Time,’ which was introduced on Sunday by the Revd Rana Khan, Rector of Crickhowell, Cwmdu and Tretower in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, Wales.

In his introduction, he wrote, ‘Sometimes certain patches of our personal experiences or communal history create fears and concerns and we don’t welcome Christ in our lives and societies. Christ is always looking for the right time but sometimes instead of allowing God to execute his plans, we react according to our human fears. Let us pray … that God gives us a fresh understanding of the restoration and change he wants to bring – both in and through us.’

Thursday 9 April 2020 (Maundy Thursday):

Lord, as Good Friday approaches, let us take time today to ponder what it means to take up our crosses and follow you.

Readings: Exodus 12: 1-4 (5-10, 11-14); Psalm 116: 1, 10-17; I Corinthians 11: 23-26; John 13: 1-17, 31b-35.

The Collect of the Day (Maundy Thursday):

God our Father,
you have invited us to share in the supper
which your Son gave to his Church
to proclaim his death until he comes:
May he nourish us by his presence,
and unite us in his love;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

or

Almighty God,
at the Last Supper your Son Jesus Christ
washed the disciples’ feet
and commanded them to love one another.
Give us humility and obedience to be servants of others
as he was the servant of all;
who gave up his life and died for us,
yet is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

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. Amen.

Post Communion Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ,
in this wonderful sacrament
you have given us a memorial of your passion.
Grant us so to reverence the sacred mysteries
of your body and blood
that we may know within ourselves
the fruits of your redemption,
for you are alive and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

or

O God,
your Son Jesus Christ has left us this meal of bread and wine
in which we share his body and his blood.
May we who celebrate this sign of his great love
show in our lives the fruits of his redemption;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s reflection

The Last Supper … a painting in the Chapel of the Holy Grail in Valencia Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2010)

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