24 May 2020

Praying in Easter with USPG:
43, Sunday 24 May 2020

‘Lord, make me an instrument of your peace’ (from the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis) … a mediaeval carved statue of Saint Francis of Assisi in the ruins of the Franciscan Friary in Ennis, Co Clare (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Today is the Seventh Sunday of Easter. This morning, I had hoped to be leading Morning Prayer in Castletown Church, Kilcornan, Co Limerick, and presiding at the Parish Eucharist in Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale, Co Limerick.

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 (24 to 30 May 2020), the theme of the USPG Prayer Diary is ‘Change is Possible.’ Rebecca Boardman, USPG Regional Manager for East Asia, Oceania and Europe, introduces this theme in the Prayer Diary this morning. She writes:

‘As I write, March is drawing to a close. In the past weeks, the exponential spread of COVID-19 across the globe has challenged every aspect of daily life causing rapid, widespread and almost unimaginable change. Businesses and schools have shut, planes are grounded and commuter cars sit dormant.

‘We are finding new ways of being community. Church services are streamed into our living rooms and families are enjoying Sunday lunch connected by video. Many of us here in the UK are now more connected to our neighbours with local groups emerging to support the most vulnerable.

‘We have been told that we are in a crisis and we are responding. The scientific community has repeatedly sounded the alarm on biodiversity breakdown and the climate emergency. What would happen if we addressed the ecological crisis with such urgency?

‘2020 is a critical year for climate action. How can we harness the learnings, level of understanding and urgency with which we are responding to COVID-19 to respond to our ecological crisis? Can we emerge from this better connected to each other and to the planet in a way that will allow for the planetary healing so desperately needed?’

Sunday 24 May 2020 (Seventh Sunday of Easter):

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
(From the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis)

The Readings:

Acts 1: 6-14 or Ezekiel 39: 21-29; Psalm 68: 1-10, 32-35; I Peter 4: 12-14, 5: 6-11; John 17: 1-11.

The Collect of the Day:

O God the King of Glory,
you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ
with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven:
Mercifully give us faith to know
that, as he promised,
he abides with us on earth to the end of time;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post-Communion Prayer:

Eternal Giver of love and power,
your Son Jesus Christ has sent us into all the world
to preach the gospel of his kingdom.
Confirm us in this mission,
and help us to live the good news we proclaim;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

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