06 December 2020

Praying in Advent with USPG:
8, Sunday 6 December 2020

‘A Promise of Hope’ … the theme of USPG’s Christmas project this year

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, and the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar produced at Lichfield Cathedral for my prayers and reflections each evening.

I am one of the contributors to the current USPG Diary, Pray with the World Church, introducing the theme of peace and trust after Christmas.

Today (6 December 2020) is the Second Sunday of Advent, and with an easing of pandemic lockdown restrictions, I am planning later this morning to celebrate the Parish Eucharist in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick (9:30 a.m.) and to lead and preach at Morning Prayer in Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Co Kerry (11:30 a.m.).

Before the day gets busy, 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 (6 to 12 December 2020) is ‘A Promise of Hope,’ which is the theme of USPG’s Christmas project this year.

Introducing this week’s theme, the Prayer Diary says:

‘For thousands of HIV-positive Tanzanian women, the Anglican Church of Tanzania’s Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) programme has been instrumental in enabling them and their families to experience life in all its fulness.

‘The PMTCT programme is based in Mvumi Hospital: a mission hospital situated in Mvumi Village in Dodoma Rural District, Central Tanzania. It works in collaboration with Tanzania’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancy in HIV-positive women, as well as offer care and support for HIV-positive women and their children and families.

The programme saw a drop in numbers attending when the Covid-19 pandemic began, owing to a mistaken belief which circulated, claiming that attending PMTCT’s clinics would put mothers at risk of catching the virus. The PMTCT team did a great job of setting the record straight during their routine outreaches, and now the number of mothers and other clients attending the programme’s clinic at Mvumi Mission Hospital is returning to what it was before the pandemic began.’

Sunday 6 December (Second Sunday of Advent):

Almighty and loving God,
Thank you for your truth that sets us free.
Help us be agents of change and freedom
In this world that you love.

The Collect of the Day (Advent II):

Father in heaven,
who sent your Son to redeem the world
and will send him again to be our judge:
Give us grace so to imitate him
in the humility and purity of his first coming
that when he comes again,
we may be ready to greet him with joyful love and firm faith;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Advent Collect:

Almighty God,
Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Mark 1: 1-8 (NRSVA):.

1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight”,’

4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s morning reflection

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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