Sunday, 9 May 2021

Sunday intercessions on
9 May 2021, Easter VI

‘Almighty God, whose will it is that the earth and the sea should bear fruit in due season’ (the Rogation Collect) … summer fruit on a stall in Corfu (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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

Let us pray:

‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love’ (John 15: 9):

Heavenly Father,
we pray for the nations of the world,
and for our own country Ireland, north and south.

We give thanks for all who are involved in responding to the present pandemic crisis …
for all in vaccination centres, in health centres and in medical practices …
for all volunteers, medical professionals and administrators …
for all who make decisions and seek to influence public opinion for the good …
for all who hold out hope and promise for our future as the country begins to open up tomorrow …
and we pray too for the people of India in their suffering …

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’ (John 15: 12):

Lord Jesus Christ,
we pray for the Church,
that we may love one another
as you love us.

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

In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer,
we pray for the Anglican Church of Kenya,
and Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit.

We pray for all involved in Christian Aid Week this week (10 to 16 May).

In the Church of Ireland this month,
we pray for the Diocese of Conor
and Bishop George Davison.

In the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer this week,
we pray for the Skreen Union of parishes in the Diocese of Killala,
their priest, Canon Noel Regan,
and the people of Christ Church, Dromard,
Saint Mary’s, Kilmacshalgan, and Skreen Church.

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

Christ have mercy,
Christ have mercy.

‘No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’ (John 15: 13):

Holy Spirit,
we pray for one another …
we pray for 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 those who feel rejected and discouraged …
we pray for all in need and those who seek healing …
for all who work for healing …
for all waiting for healing …
for all who have taken part in Darkness into Light this weekend (8 May) …

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

Ann … Valerie … Daphne … Sylvia … Ajay …
Joey … Ena … George … Louise … Patrick ‘Pa’ Quilligan …

We pray for all who grieve and mourn at this time …
for Ruby and the Shorten family … the O’Raw family … Des and Maureen Reid …
John and Anne Keane … Mary Downes and family …

We remember and give thanks for those who have died …
especially for Larry O’Raw … Ruth Reid … Ernest Gardiner …
Kathleen Marley … John Keane …
May their memories be a blessing …

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

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

‘No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’.
Beloved God,
May we treat one another as true equals.
Let us love each other as your Son taught us to.

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

‘If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love’ (John 15: 10) … ‘Love is the Answer’, a decoration in a shop window in Skerries, Co Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

These intercessions were prepared for use in the Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin Group of Parishes on the Sixth Sunday of Easter, Sunday 9 May 2021



‘This is my commandment,
that you love one another
as I have loved you’

A carved relief of Nike, the goddess of victory, on a paved street in Ephesus … but the author of I John writes to the Church in Ephesus about more important signs of victory (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Sunday, 9 May 2021,

The Sixth Sunday of Easter (Easter VI), Rogation Sunday.

10 a.m.: The Parish Eucharist

The Readings: Acts 10: 44-48 or Isaiah 45: 11-13, 18-19; Psalm 98; I John 4: 7-10; John 15: 9-17.

There is a direct link to the readings HERE.

‘You are my friends if you do what I command you’ (John 15: 14) … detail on a sculpture in Knightstown on Valentia Island, Co Kerry (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

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

We live in the age of globalisation.

In a recent visual challenge online, people were more likely to recognise seven brand logos than they were to recognise the Seven Wonders of the World, or the seven symbols of the major world faiths.

What symbols or logos do you easily recognise?

Which logos or symbols have you allowed to brand you?

And – what symbols in your life mark you out, make you visible as a Christian?

One of the best-known symbols of globalisation must be the Nike Swoosh logo. We find it on tracksuits, sweatshirts, trainers, sneakers, and T-shirts all over the world. There must be few people who do not recognise the Nike logo. It has been sported by the likes of Michael Jordan, Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova and Venus and Serena Williams.

The company takes its name from Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, and the ‘Swoosh’ was designed in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University. She met Phil Knight while he was teaching accounting classes and she started doing some freelance work for his company, Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS).

Have you ever heard of BRS? Well, BRS needed a new brand for a new line of athletic footwear it was preparing to introduce in 1972. Knight approached Davidson for some design ideas, and she agreed to provide them – at $2 an hour.

Carolyn Davidson presented Knight and BRS with a number of designs, and they finally selected the mark we now know as the Nike Swoosh – an abstract outline of an angel’s wing that some people think looks more like a checkmark or the tick used on school essays.

The company first used the logo as its brand in 1971, when the word ‘Nike’ was printed in orange over it. The logo is now so well-recognised all over the world, even by small children, that the company name itself is, perhaps, superfluous.

Carolyn Davidson’s bill for her work came to $35. Mind you, 12 years later, in 1983, Knight gave Davidson a gold Swoosh ring and an envelope filled with Nike stock to express his gratitude. It is surprising, then, to realise that her design was not registered as a trademark until 1995.

A logo representing victory is an appropriate and meaningful symbol for a company that manufactures and sells running shoes. A small symbol has brought victorious success to a once-small company.

It is said one of the earliest inspirations for the Nike tick sign is a carved relief of Nike, the goddess of victory, on a paved street in Ephesus.

But when Saint John was writing to the Church in Ephesus in our Epistle reading this morning (I John 5: 1-16), he expressed very different ideas about victory to his company of little children as he discussed love.

In this reading, we are reminded of the connection between faith and love, the two great themes of this epistle, and to victorious faith leading to eternal life. This letter (I John) talks about a very different type of victory than the victories associated with commercial branding, globalisation and the financial glory associated with brand names and over-commercialised sport.

Instead, the writer emphasises the victories associated with faith and love … faith in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the love of God and love of one another that should be the victorious tick sign of Christians.

As we come to the end of a cycle of reading Saint John’s first letter, we are reminded that everyone who believes in Jesus as Christ and the Son of God is a child of God too. And so, if we believe in God and in Christ as his Son, we should love God and love his children, and this is the imperative for Christians to love one another.

The author of this letter refers to love, the Baptism, the death and resurrection of Christ, and the Eucharist as the enduring symbols of Christian life.

The Gospel reading (John 15: 9-17) reminds us that love is the enduring symbol of life in Christ, the one symbol that truly marks out a Christian in this world.

Christ tells us that he loves us as the Father loves him. We are to continue to love him, and to love one another to the point that this is all that matters in life.

He tells us this deep and lasting commitment to Christ is best expressed and found in the way that we love one another (verse 17).

And that love is the only branding, the only logo, the only label, that others should look for to know that we are Christians.

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

‘I do not call you servants any longer … but I have called you friends’ (John 15: 15) (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

John 15: 9-17 (NRSVA):

[Jesus said:] 9 ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

12 ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.’

‘I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last’ (John 15: 16) … fruit on a market stall in Rome (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 VI):

God our redeemer,
you have delivered us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:
Grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life,
so by his continual presence in us he may raise us to eternal joy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Collect on Rogation Days:

Almighty God,
whose will it is that the earth and the sea
should bear fruit in due season:
Bless the labours of those who work on land and sea,
grant us a good harvest
and the grace always to rejoice in your fatherly care;
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:

The Post-Communion Prayer (Easter VI):

God our Father,
whose Son Jesus Christ gives the water of eternal life:
May we also thirst for you,
the spring of life and source of goodness,
through him who is alive and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post-Communion Prayer (Rogation Days):

God our creator,
you give seed for us to sow and bread for us to eat.
As you have blessed the fruit of our labour in this Eucharist,
so we ask you to give all your children their daily bread,
that the world may praise you for your goodness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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!

‘As you have blessed the fruit of our labour in this Eucharist, so we ask you to give all your children their daily bread’ (the Post-Communion Prayer, Rogation Days) … fruit ripening on lemon trees in Platanias near Rethymnon in Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Hymns:

515, ‘A new commandment I give unto you’
231, My song is love unknown

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:
82, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London

Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London … rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire (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 Sixth Sunday of Easter and later this week we celebrate Ascension Day. My photographs this week are selected from seven cathedrals throughout England. Earlier in these reflections, during Lent, I used images from Lichfield Cathedral (15 March 2021) and Coventry Cathedral (19 March). But these cathedrals, which I have visited in recent years, have been selected randomly.

This morning (9 May 2021), my photographs are from Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London.

For many years, I have strolled through London, from Liverpool Street Station to the USPG offices on my way to meetings of trustees. These walks have offered opportunities for early morning or late afternoon visits to Wren churches, the sites of former Wren churches, churches designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, or guild and city churches. They have given me views of buildings such as Saint Paul’s Cathedral, the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange, the Mansion House, the Globe Theatre and the Tate Modern, and allowed me to enjoy the caf├ęs, buskers and bookshops, with new opportunities on each walk to discover parts of London I had not known before.

Now we are all in lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic, I am missing these self-guided explorations of the churches of London, and I am going to miss them even more when my six-year term as a trustee of USPG comes to an end this summer.

After the Great Fire of London in 1666, Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723) restored 51 churches in the city, concluding with Saint Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, which he rebuilt in 1695.

Saint Paul’s Cathedral, the cathedral of the Diocese of London, sits on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City. Its dedication to Saint Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on the site, founded in the year 604.

The present cathedral, dating from the late 17th century, was designed in the English Baroque style by Wren; it was built in 1669-1711 and was completed in Wren’s own lifetime.

The earlier Gothic cathedral, Old Saint Paul’s Cathedral, largely destroyed in the Great Fire, was a central focus for mediaeval and early modern London, including Paul’s Walk and Saint Paul’s Churchyard being the site of Saint Paul’s Cross.

The dome of Saint Paul’s, framed by the spires of Wren’s City churches, has dominated London’s skyline for over 300 years. At a height of 111 metres (365 ft), it was the tallest building in London from 1710 until 1963. The dome remains among the highest in the world, and Saint Paul’s is the second-largest church building in area in the United Kingdom after Liverpool Cathedral.

The vista from the south side of the Millennium Bridge across to Saint Paul’s Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

John 15: 9-17 (NRSVA):

[Jesus said:] 9 ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

12 ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.’

The West Front of Saint Paul’s Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (9 May 2021, Sixth Sunday of Easter) invites us to pray:

‘No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’.
Beloved God,
May we treat one another as true equals.
Let us love each other as your Son taught us to.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

John Donne (1572-1631), ‘poet and divine’ … Dean of Saint Paul’s in 1621-1631 (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

The site of Saint Paul’s Cross … once a preaching cross and open-air pulpit in the grounds of Old Saint Paul’s Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)