Sunday, 18 April 2021

Sunday intercessions on
18 April 2021, Easter III

‘They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence (Luke 24: 42-43) … the Ichthus symbol in a stained-glass window in Saint Mary’s Church, Pallaskenry, Co Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Let us pray:

‘The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors’ (Acts 3: 13), we come before you:

Heavenly Father,
we pray for the nations of the world,
for Ireland north and south,
for our President, Michael D Higgns, as he celebrates his 80th birthday,
for nations torn by war, strife and division.

We give thanks for all involved in the creative arts …
for all in the theatre, cinema and television …
for all who make music and write songs, authors of books and poetry …
for all who paint, sculpt and design …
for all who challenge, enliven and delight
our imaginations and our consciences …

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

Jesus … stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’ (Luke 24: 36):

Lord Jesus Christ,
we pray for the Church,
that we may be at peace with one another,
that we may listen to Scripture, Reason and Tradition,
that we may welcome the Risen Christ in word and sacrament.

We pray for our bishop Kenneth, our neighbouring churches and parishes
and people of faith everywhere,
that we may be blessed in their variety and diversity.

In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer,
we pray for the Church of Ireland,
and the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland,
the Most Revd John McDowell.

In the Church of Ireland this month,
we pray for the Diocese of Down and Dromore
and Bishop David McClay.

In the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer this week,
we pray for the Limerick City Parish,
the Dean of Limerick, the Very Revd Niall Sloane,
the Dean’s Vicar, the Revd Bernie Daly,
and the congregations of Saint Mary’s Cathedral,
Saint Michael’s Church, Pery Square,
and Saint John and Saint Ailbe Church, Abington.

We pray for our own parishes and people,
and we pray for ourselves …

Christ have mercy,
Christ have mercy.

‘We will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever’ (Micah 4: 5):

Holy Spirit,
we pray for one another …
we pray those we love and those who love us …
we pray for family, friends and neighbours …
and we pray for those we promised to pray for …

We pray for all in need and those who seek healing …
for all who work for healing …
for all who waiting for healing …
for all being vaccinated and those administering vaccinations …

We pray for those who are sick or isolated,
at home or in hospital …

Ann … Valerie … Daphne … Sylvia … Ajay …
Joey … Ena … George … Louise …

We pray for those we have offered to pray for …
and we pray for those who pray for us …

We pray for all who grieve and mourn at this time …
for Jimmy, Cian, Fiachra and Saedhbh,
Joey, Kenneth, Victor, and their families …
Louie, Trevor, David, and their families …

We remember and give thanks for those who have died …
especially for Una Kerr … Val Tomkins … Linda Smyth … Nora Hawkes …
for those whose anniversaries are at this time …
May their memories be a blessing to us …

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

A prayer from the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) on the Third Sunday of Easter:

Risen Christ,
open our heart to the stranger.
May we recognise that we are all made in your image,
and let us work together to protect the planet we share.

Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Saint John and Saint Ailbe Church, Abington, Co Limerick … named in this morning’s intercessions (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

These intercessions were prepared for use in the Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin Group of Parishes on the Third Sunday of Easter, Sunday 18 April 2021



Are we ‘startled and terrified’
or are we joyful in peace
in the days after Easter?

Marc Chagall’s painting ‘The Fiddler’ (1913) … inspired the title of the film ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ released 50 years ago in 1971

Patrick Comerford

Sunday 18 April 2021

The Third Sunday of Easter (Easter III)


10 a.m.: The Parish Eucharist

The Readings: Acts 3: 12-19, or Micah 4: 1-5; Psalm 4; I John 3: 1-7; Luke 24: 36b-48.

There is a link to the readings HERE.

Christ appearing to his disciples at the table, Duccio, ca 1308-1311

Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

The Covid-19 pandemic lockdown means that in recent months many of us have watched more movies or films on Netflix than we thought it was possible to produce in a year.

Indeed, I am sure that many of us cannot recall or even name half those movies.

On the other hand, many of us remember with affection great movies that we regard as classics, that we saw at key moments in our lives, or that were culturally formative. Why, we can even remember many of the lines, or instantly recall the music or songs in those movies.

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the release of the movie Fiddler on the Roof in 1971, an epic musical comedy-drama from Norman Jewison.

It came out at a key point in my maturing, and for many decades after I thought I could sing all the songs … I have even tried to dance along to the ‘Bottle Dance.’

The film is an adaptation of a 1964 Broadway musical, with music and lyrics by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. The screenplay by Joseph Stein is based on a series of stories by Sholem Aleichem.

The title of Fiddler on the Roof and the set design for the original stage production are based on Marc Chagall’s painting, ‘The Fiddler’ (1913).

The film tells the story of the milkman Tevye (Chaim Topol) and his wife Golde (Norma Crane), the parents of five daughters, and their attempts to maintain their Jewish religious and cultural traditions as outside influences are about to change their family life.

Throughout the film, Tevye talks to God and directly to us, the audience, in monologues as he ponders tradition, poverty, anti-Semitism, violence, and family divisions.

Tevye’s internal struggles are no different than the debates that have divided the member churches of the Anglican Communion in recent decades about Scripture, Reason and Tradition: new sexual mores, women’s rights, revolution, interfaith marriage …

Tevye’s three older daughters wish to marry for love – each one’s choice of a husband moves further away from the customs of their faith – and the family also faces a pogrom when an edict from the Tsar orders the eviction of the Jews from the shtetl of Anatevka – ‘underfed, overworked Anatevka.’

It is Ukraine in 1905. But Anatevka could as easily be Yakmyan or one of many similar towns near Kovno in Lithuania from which many Jewish families fled to Cork, Dublin and Limerick at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries escaping similar pogroms.

Tevye leaves, some of his family going to Kraków, a hint perhaps of how anti-Semitism in central Europe would reach its deepest depravity in Auschwitz, about 65 km west of Kraków.

The time between now and the release of the film Fiddler on the Roof 50 years ago is longer than the 40 years or so between Anatevka and Auschwitz. Ryan Tubridy’s interview with Dr Efraim Zuroff on his show last Wednesday (14 April 2021), about his determined pursuit of the last surviving Nazi war criminals in the quest for justice, was a reminder that we are not too distanced at all from the Holocaust.

Fiddler gave us many memorable songs, from ‘Matchmaker, Matchmaker’ and ‘If I Were a Rich Man’ or ‘Miracle of Miracles’ and ‘To Life’ to ‘Sunrise, Sunset,’ and ‘Do You Love Me?’ … as well as the ‘Bottle Dance’ at the wedding reception.

I sometimes hear people saying things like they prefer the ‘Old Testament God’ to the ‘New Testament God.’ It is fundamentally wrong to say something like this. It is a cruel depiction of God that was used by Nazi tormentors in the death camps as they quoted the psalms and dashed children’s heads against rocks (see Psalm 137: 9).

In reply, how many people in the death camps must have pondered the opening verses of this morning’s psalm: ‘Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness; you set me at liberty when I was in trouble; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. How long will you nobles dishonour my glory; how long will you love vain things and seek after falsehood?’ (Psalm 4: 1-2)?

We must reject false and distorted approaches to reading Scripture that have enabled people, from the Middle Ages on, to use Biblical passages, such as verses in this morning’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 3: 12-19), to blame Jews for the Crucifixion.

But, in this reading, Saint Peter reminds the people listening to his sermon in Jerusalem that God who raises Christ from the dead is ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors’ and it is he who ‘has glorified his servant Jesus.’

In our Gospel reading, the Risen Christ greets his disciples, ‘Peace be with you’ (Luke 24: 36) and reminds them of the living truth ‘in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms’ as Scripture (Luke 24: 44)

Racism, hatred, discrimination, violence and division run contrary, in every way, to our Easter faith, and we must constantly challenge them in both prayer and action.

During my prayers and reflections on Friday evening (16 April 2021), I returned to the scene in the movie that includes the ‘Sabbath Prayer.’ This reflects a traditional and peaceful Jewish family custom on Friday evenings. This song invokes several traditional blessings associated with Shabbat evenings.

The first verse asks for God’s protection and defence of his people.

The second verse is a blessing for daughters to be like the matriarchs in the Bible, including Ruth who was meek and Esther … who was anything but meek.

The third verse is a blessing for longevity and the strengthening of families, with a prayer for ‘good wives’ and ‘husbands.’

The last verse appeals for God’s enduring favour and bestowing of happiness:

May the Lord protect and defend you.
May the Lord preserve you from pain.
Favour them, Oh Lord, with happiness and peace.
Oh, hear our Sabbath prayer. Amen.




Luke 24: 36b-48 (NRSVA):

36b Jesus stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ 37 They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38 He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate in their presence.

44 Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you — that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.’

‘They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks’ (Micah 4: 3) … Jesus … stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’ (Luke 24: 36) … ‘Humanity’s Contempt for Humanity’ by Peter Walker in the ‘Consequence of War’ exhibition in Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Liturgical Colour: White.

The Greeting (from Easter Day until Pentecost):

Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Penitential Kyries:

Lord God,
you raised your Son from the dead.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus,
through you we are more than conquerors.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Holy Spirit,
you help us in our weakness.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

The Collect of the Day (Easter III):

Almighty Father,
who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples
with the sight of the risen Lord:
Give us such knowledge of his presence with us,
that we may be strengthened
and sustained by his risen life
and serve you continually in righteousness and truth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Introduction to the Peace:

The Risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said, Peace be with you. Then were they glad when they saw the Lord. (John 20: 19, 20).

Preface:

Above all we praise you
for the glorious resurrection of your Son
Jesus Christ our Lord,
the true paschal lamb who was sacrificed for us;
by dying he destroyed our death;
by rising he restored our life:

Post Communion Prayer:

Living God,
your Son made himself known to his disciples
in the breaking of bread.
Open the eyes of our faith,
that we may see him in all his redeeming work;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Blessing:

God the Father,
by whose glory Christ was raised from the dead,
raise you up to walk with him in the newness of his risen life:

Dismissal: (from Easter Day to Pentecost):

Go in the peace of the Risen Christ. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thanks be to God. Alleluia! Alleluia!

A monument to Jewish victims of the Holocaust outside the Jewish cemetery in Mitte, Berlin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Hymns:

323, The God of Abhraham praise (CD 19)
338, Jesus, stand among us (CD 20)

Painted eggs in an Easter decoration in Platanias near Rethymnon in Crete (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

Material from the Book of Common Prayer is copyright © 2004, Representative Body of the Church of Ireland.



Praying in Lent and Easter 2021:
61, Terenure Synagogue, Dublin

Terenure Synagogue on Rathfarnham Road dates from a meeting in 1936 and first opened in 1953 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During the Season of Easter this year, I am continuing my theme from Lent, taking some time each morning to reflect in these ways:

1, photographs of a church or place of worship that has been significant in my spiritual life;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).

Today is the Third Sunday of Easter (Easter III, Sunday 18 April 2021). This week, I am offering photographs of synagogues that have welcomed me over the years and offered a place of prayer and reflection.

This morning’s photographs are from the synagogue of the Dublin Hebrew Congregation at 32a Rathfarnham Road, Terenure, Dublin.

I was born in a house on Rathfarnham Road, opposite the then Classic Cinema and between the old Terenure Laundry and the new site for Terenure Synagogue.

The synagogue dates back to a meeting in 1936 to set up a synagogue in the Rathmines, Rathgar or Terenure area to cater for the young families now living in these suburbs and who found it was too far to walk on Saturdays and Festivals to the synagogues on Adelaide Road and at Greenville Hall on the South Circular Road.

The congregation moved from Rathmines to a Nissen hut in the grounds of ‘Leoville’ on Rathfarnham Road on Rosh Hashanah, 4 October 1948. Building work on the new synagogue began in August 1952, and it was completed and dedicated on 30 August 1953.

The synagogue was designed by the architect Wilfrid Cantwell (1921-2000). He worked with Michael Scott, alongside Kevin Roche, Kevin Fox and Robin Walker, and worked on Bus Arús, Dublin, and later worked with JN Kidney before setting up his own practice (1947-1975). He attained distinction in the area of church architecture, particularly in years immediately after Vatican II. From 1976 until he retired in 1993, he specialised as a consultant in church design.

Cantwell said his new synagogue in Terenure met the committee’s specifications for a building that would ‘cost less than half the normal place, look as if it cost the full amount and be an example of good modern design.’ It was praised for its ‘original, modern, commanding and attractive design.’

The ‘master builder’ of the synagogue was the Dublin timber merchant Sam Noyek, who built the synagogue with a capacity for 600 people.

The shul was set on fire on Wednesday 9 February 1966. Several Siffrei Torah were destroyed, and the shul itself was very badly damaged. The Nissen hut that had been turned into a function hall was quickly converted back into a shul, and no Shabbat services were missed.

The newly refurbished synagogue was rededicated on Sunday 26 May 1968. Its features include the striking stained-glass windows on the north and south walls by Stanley Tomlin, who began his career in the Harry Clarke Studios in 1932.

At extraordinary meetings of the Terenure and Adelaide Road congregations in January 1999, the two congregations agreed to merge. It was agreed that the Adelaide Road Synagogue would be sold, and that some of the proceeds of the sale would be used to build a new synagogue complex, including a new mikveh and a community centre, on the grounds at Rathfarnham Road.

From then, the Terenure Synagogue hosted the members of the former synagogue on Adelaide Road. This arrangement continued until 15 December 2004, when both congregations held simultaneous extraordinary general meetings and agreed to merge as the new Dublin Hebrew Congregation.

The agreed new synagogue was never built, and Terenure Synagogue is the only major Orthodox synagogue in the Republic of Ireland.

Stars of David in Terenure Synagogue face onto Rathfarnham Road (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Luke 24: 36b-48 (NRSVA):

36b Jesus stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ 37 They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38 He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate in their presence.

44 Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you — that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.’

A stained glass window in the synagogue on Rathfarnham Road

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (18 April 2021, Easter III) invites us to pray:

Risen Christ,
open our heart to the stranger.
May we recognise that we are all made in your image,
and let us work together to protect the planet we share.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Rabbi Zalman Lent with the Aron haKodesh and Torah scrolls in Terenure Synagogue

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

A Church of Ireland Interfaith Conference visiting Terenure Synagogue on Rathfarnham Road, Dublin