17 May 2020

Praying in Easter with USPG:
36, Sunday 17 May 2020

‘God the Sender … God the Sent … God the Strengthener …’ … a stained-glass window in a church in Charleville, Co Cork (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Today is the Sixth Sunday of Easter. This morning, I had hoped to be leading Morning Prayer in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick, and presiding at the Parish Eucharist in Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Co Kerry.

Although our churches remain closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, I am continuing to celebrate the Eucharist each Sunday, with all the lectionary readings and a sermon.

I am also continuing to use the USPG Prayer Diary, Pray with the World Church, for my morning prayers and reflections throughout this Season of Easter. 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.

Throughout this week (17 to 23 May 2020), the theme of the USPG Prayer Diary is ‘Ascension Day: Mystery and Infinity.’ The Rev’d Canon Richard Bartlett, Director of Mission Engagement at USPG, introduces this theme in the Prayer Diary this morning. He writes:

Ascension Day, on Thursday, is a feast of mystery and infinity. ‘Ascension’ is our word for what is beyond our understanding: Christ our Risen Lord cannot be contained within the frame of our human perspective.

The ascension of Christ tilts the universe for us; giving us a fresh perspective and meaning for the world. Jesus has taken our humanity to God; just as by his birth he brought divinity into our humanity. Now he has handed over his mission to human beings, a mission which will be empowered by the Holy Spirit. The divisions between divine and human, between heaven and earth, have been blurred and will never be the same again.

During the last 2,000 years, Christ’s mission has taken many forms and has spread, in the power of the Holy Spirit, from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria and ‘the ends of the world’. What a privilege we have in USPG to witness and participate in God’s mission today.

Sunday 17 May 2020: Sixth Sunday of Easter:

God the Sender, send us. God the sent, come with us.
God the Strengthener of those who go, empower us,
That we may go with you and find those who will call you
Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
(a prayer from Wales)

The Readings:

Acts 17: 22-31 or Isaiah 41: 17-20; Psalm 66: 7-18; I Peter 3: 13-22; John 14: 15-21.

The Collect of the Day:

God our redeemer,
you have delivered us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:
Grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life,
so by his continual presence in us he may raise us to eternal joy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Post-Communion Prayer:

God our Father,
whose Son Jesus Christ gives the water of eternal life:
May we also thirst for you,
the spring of life and source of goodness,
through him who is alive and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

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