Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Praying in Advent with
Lichfield Cathedral:
3, Tuesday 1 December 2020

‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!’ (Luke 10: 23) … street art in Brick Lane in the East End, London (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

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.

Today has been a busy day, with the General Synod of the Church of Ireland meeting virtually by Zoom today and tomorrow. I am a clerical member of the General Synod for for the Diocese of Limerick. But I am finding some quiet time this evening using the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar prduced by Lichfield Cathedral for prayer, reflection and a short Bible reading.

Advent is the Church’s mindful antidote to some of the diversion and consumerism of a modern Christmas. It prepares us to encounter Christ again in his joy and humility.

In ‘The Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar 2020,’ the Dean and community at Lichfield Cathedral are inviting us to light our Advent candle each day as we read the Bible and join in prayer.

This calendar is for everyone who uses the Cathedral website, for all the Cathedral community, and for people you want to send it to and invite to share in the daily devotional exercise.

This is a simple prayer and bible-reading exercise to help us to mark the Advent Season as a time of preparation for the coming of Christ.

It is designed to take us on a journey, looking back to John the Baptist and Mary the Mother of Jesus; looking out into the world today, into our own hearts and experience; outwards again to Jesus Christ as he encounters us in life today and in his promise to be with us always.

You can download the calendar HERE.

The community at Lichfield Cathedral offers a number of suggestions on how to use this calendar:

● Set aside 5-15 minutes every day.

● Buy or use a special candle to light each day as you read and pray through the suggestions on the calendar.

● Try to ‘eat simply’ – one day each week try going without so many calories or too much rich food, just have enough.

● Try to donate to a charity working with the homeless or the people of Bethlehem.

● Try to pray through what you see and notice going on around you in people, the media and nature.

Tuesday 1 December 2020:

Read Saint Luke 10: 21-24:.

21 At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’

23 Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.’

Reflection:

Jesus rejoices in our faith, loves our prayers and our attempts to follow him. Give thanks for the embrace of his love. Pray for all who need it today.

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s evening 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

December 2020 in the Rathkeale and
Kilnaughtin Group of Parishes

The Nativity depicted in a mosaic in Saint Saviour’s Church, Waterford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

While the present Pandemic restrictions remain, there are no Sunday services in any of the four churches in this group of parishes. However, the Parish Eucharist continues to be celebrated each Sunday in the Rectory.

The Sunday sermon is available online each Sunday, through the Parish Facebook page, through Patrick’s blog, and on YouTube.

The Sunday services continue to be planned. In the event of the pandemic restrictions being lifted at any time in December, these are the planned services, when the psalm and two of these readings (including the Gospel) will be read, and hymns will be heard on CD recordings.

The Covid-19 regulations make it difficult to predict what we can do and what to expect. But Advent is a time of anticipation and expectation and calls on us to be prepared for Christ’s coming – in many unexpected ways.

With this in mind, should the Covid-19 regulations make Advent, Christmas and Epiphany services possible, then the planned services for December and January become possible in appropriate but modified ways.

Sunday 6 December (Advent 2):

9.30 a.m., Askeaton, the Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion 2)
11.30 a.m., Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Morning Prayer.

Readings: Isaiah 40: 1-11; Psalm 85: 1-2, 8-13; II Peter 3: 8-15a; Mark 1: 1-8

Hymns:

126: Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding (CD 8)
136: On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry (CD 8)

Sunday 13 December (Advent 3):

9.30 a.m., Castletown, Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion 2)
11.30 a.m., Rathkeale, Morning Prayer.

Readings: Isaiah 61: 1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126 or the Canticle Magnificat; I Thessalonians 5: 16-24; John 1: 6-8, 19-28

Hymns:

134: Make way, make way, for Christ the king (CD 8)
135: O come, O come, Emmanuel (CD 8)

Sunday 20 December (Advent 4):

No morning service in Askeaton

11.30 a.m., Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion 2).

Readings: II Samuel 7: 1-11, 16; the Canticle Magnificat or Psalm 89: 1-4, 19-26; Romans 16: 25-27; Luke 1: 26-38.

Hymns:

119, Come, thou long–expected Jesus (CD 8)
712, Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord (CD 40)

3 p.m., Askeaton, Carol Service (Nine Lessons and Carols).

Christmas Eve, Thursday 24 December:

6 p.m., Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Christmas Eucharist (Holy Communion 2) (please note revised time).

8 p.m., Castletown, Christmas Eucharist (Holy Communion 2) (please note revised time).

Readings: Isaiah 9: 2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2: 11-14; Luke 2: 1-14 (15-20)

Hymns:

174, O little town of Bethlehem (CD 11)
160, Hark! the herald angels sing (CD 9)
182, Silent night, holy night (CD 11)

Christmas Day, Friday 25 December:

9.30 a.m., Askeaton, Christmas Eucharist (Holy Communion 2)

11 a.m., Rathkeale, Christmas Eucharist (Holy Communion 2).

Readings: Isaiah 52: 7-10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1: 1-4 (5-12); John 1: 1-14

Hymns:

177, Once in royal David’s city (CD 11)
184, Unto us is born a Son (CD 11)
172, O come, all ye faithful (CD 10)

Sunday 27 December (Christmas 1, Saint John the Evangelist):

11 a.m., United Parish Service, Rathkeale (Morning Prayer with Siobhán Wheeler, Parish Reader)

Readings: Isaiah 61: 10 to 62: 3; Psalm 148; Galatians 4: 4-7; Luke 2: 15-21

Hymns:

119, Come, thou long expected Jesus (CD 8)
170, Love came down (CD 10)

Sunday 3 January 2021 (Christmas 2):

9.30 a.m., Askeaton, the Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion 2)

Readings: Jeremiah 31: 7-14 or Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 24: 1-12; Psalm 147: 12-20, or Wisdom 10: 15-21; Ephesians 1: 3-14; John 1: (1-9) 10-18

Hymns:

652, Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us (CD 37)
166, Joy to the world, the Lord is come! (CD 166)
425, Jesu thou joy of loving hearts (CD 25)

11.30 a.m., Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), the Epiphany Eucharist (Holy Communion 2).

Readings: Isaiah 60: 1-6; Psalm 72: 1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3: 1-12; Matthew 2: 1-12

Hymns:

202, What child is this, who laid to rest (CD 13)
201, We three kings of Orient are (CD 13)
189, As with gladness men of old (CD 12)

Wednesday 6 January 2021 (The Epiphany):

11 a.m., Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton: the Epiphany Eucharist (Holy Communion 2).

Readings: Isaiah 60: 1-6; Psalm 72: 1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3: 1-12; Matthew 2: 1-12

Hymns:

202, What child is this, who laid to rest (CD 13)
201, We three kings of Orient are (CD 13)
189, As with gladness men of old (CD 12)

Saints’ Days in December:

26 December, Saint Stephen
27 December, Saint John the Evangelist
28 December, The Holy Innocents

On-line sermons:

The Sunday sermons and the Sunday intercessions go online, with access through the Parish Facebook page, Patrick’s blog, and on YouTube.

The Epiphany in a stained glass window in the Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Kilmallock, Co Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Praying in Advent with USPG:
3, Tuesday 1 December 2020

The HIV stigma reduction programme was launched by Anglican churches in Zimbabwe as a means of tackling the stigma surrounding HIV, and USPG started supporting this programme in 2016 when it began (Photograph © USPG)

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 later this month.

The theme of the USPG Prayer Diary this week (29 November 2020 to 5 December 2020) is ‘There is the Lamb of God.’ This week’s theme was introduced by the Most Revd Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Today I expect to be involved for most of the day as a clerical member for the Diocese of Limerick at the General Synod of the Church of Ireland, which begins at 11 a.m. this mornig and continues tomorrow.

General Synod was due to take place in Croke Park last May, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. The postponed synod is taking place by Zoom this week, and begins later this morning.

But I am pausing this morning for a moment as I pray and reflect using the USPG Prayer Diary, the Collect of the Day, and this morning’s Gospel reading in the Lectionary of the Church of Ireland.

Tuesday 1 December 2020 (World Aids Day):

Let us pray for programmes such as the Anglican Church of Zimbabwe’s HIV stigma eradication programme, enabling people with HIV to live full lives.

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.

Luke 10: 21-24 (NRSVA):

21 At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’

23 Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.’

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