27 December 2020

Praying at Christmas with USPG:
3, Sunday 27 December 2020

Saint John the Evangelist in the cave in Patmos … two images on Greek postage stamps (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Throughout Advent and Christmas this year, I am using the Prayer Diary of the Anglican Mission Agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) for my morning reflections each day.

I am one of the contributors to the current USPG Diary, Pray with the World Church, introducing the theme of peace and trust this morning:

After a few busy days, and before this day starts, I am taking a little time this morning for my own personal prayer, reflection and Scripture reading.

The theme of the USPG Prayer Diary this week (27 December 2020 to 2 January 2021) is ‘Introducing the International Year of Peace and Trust’:

The Rev’d Canon Professor Patrick Comerford, USPG trustee and President of the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament:

The UN General Assembly has declared 2021 the International Year of Peace and Trust, in the hope of mobilising international efforts to promote peace and trust among nations on the basis of political dialogue, mutual understanding and co-operation and to build sustainable peace, solidarity and harmony.

As we come to the end of a year that marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the world is still on the brink of catastrophic disaster, with an overwhelming capacity for nuclear ‘overkill,’ increasing tensions between the superpowers, proxy wars in many regions across the globe, and exponential rises in antisemitism, racism and poverty.

The precarious state of our planet is made more hazardous because of the widening gap in trust between world powers, often due to the vanity of misguided leaders. In our comforts, we sometimes forget that the unseen victims of global tensions and violence are people living in parts of the world that are priorities for USPG’s mission programmes.

Peace is not marginal to the mission of the Church. One of the five marks of mission, central to Anglican identity, is ‘to transform all unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation.’

Sunday 27 December (Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist):

Lord, we pray for peace among us:
in our families, in our communities,
in our nation, and throughout the world.

The Collect of the Day:

Merciful Lord,
cast your bright beams of light upon the Church;
that, being enlightened by the teaching
of your blessed apostle and evangelist Saint John,
we may so walk in the light of your truth
that we may at last attain to the light of everlasting life
through Jesus Christ your incarnate Son our Lord.

The Post-Communion Prayer:

Grant, O Lord, we pray,
that the Word made flesh proclaimed by your apostle John
may ever abide and live within us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

John 21: 19b-25 (NRSVA):

19 After this he [Jesus] said to him, ‘Follow me.’

20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ 22 Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’ 23 So the rumour spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’

24 This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. 25 But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s morning reflection

William Mitchell’s geometric relief sculpture of Saint John … one of a series with the symbols of the four evangelists in Liverpool Roman Catholic Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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