27 November 2022

Praying in Advent with Lichfield Cathedral
and USPG: Sunday 27 November 2022

‘Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness’ (Advent Collect) … the West Front of Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

This is the First Sunday of Advent. Later today, I hope to be present at the Parish Eucharist in Saint Mary and Saint Giles Church, Stony Stratford, and at the Advent Carol Service there later this evening.

But, before this day gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for reading, prayer and reflection.

During Advent, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, The reading suggested in the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar produced by Lichfield Cathedral this year;

2, praying with the Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary, ‘Pray with the World Church.’

‘If the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake’ (Matthew 24: 43) … sleeping at the unexpected hour in Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Matthew 24: 36-44 (NRSVA):

[Jesus said:] 36 ‘But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39 and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42 Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.’

‘But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father’ (Matthew 24: 36) … ‘The Congregation of All Angels with Christ,’ an icon by a nun from the Monastery of Saint Irene near Rethymnon in Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar:

Ask for grace to keep Advent well – alertness to what’s going on around us, ready to see signs of God’s kingdom in people, events, in the readiness to cooperate with his will.


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,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion:

O Lord our God,
make us watchful and keep us faithful
as we await the coming of your Son our Lord;
that, when he shall appear,
he may not find us sleeping in sin
but active in his service
and joyful in his praise;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Collect:

Almighty God,
as your kingdom dawns,
turn us from the darkness of sin
to the light of holiness,
that we may be ready to meet you
in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

USPG Prayer at Lighting the Advent wreath, Candle 1 (Purple):

Lord God,
as we remember the Patriarchs and Matriarchs at the beginning of Advent,
we recall their journeys in faith.
Guard and protect all who make journeys into the unknown,
Lighten their paths,
fill them with faith and hope, and help us to respond to their needs. Amen.

USPG Prayer Diary:

The theme in the USPG Prayer Diary this week is ‘World Aids Day.’ This theme is introduced this morning with a report from the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe:

‘The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe joined in World Aids Day 2021 with its theme ‘End Pandemic, End Inequality, End AIDS’, and continues to confront the inequalities brought about by HIV-related stigma and discrimination, by empowering those living with HIV/PLHIV to improve their household incomes and nutrition, thereby boosting adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) it further challenges the inequalities that drive the HIV and AIDS epidemic.

‘Preaching the Gospel of love and inclusivity, the Church took the opportunity at the World AIDS Day commemoration to share with the public, government officials and stakeholders its efforts to address inequalities brought about by stigma and discrimination. It continues to play a significant role in the response to HIV and the Covid-19 pandemic which disrupted gains made through its HIV programme.

‘Despite the challenges, the programme has seen positive results. More people in the Church are opening up about their HIV status, the income generating projects are empowering those with HIV as well as improving their nutrition, and the dedication of Church leaders is significantly contributing to the HIV response. With a recent upsurge of young people abusing drugs in the country and being more at risk of HIV infection, the Church is being sought to lead and give direction.’

The USPG Prayer Diary invites us to pray today in these words:

O come thou Dayspring, come and cheer, our spirits by thine advent here; disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight. (based on the ancient Advent Antiphons).

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

‘Almighty God, Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness’ (The Advent Collect) … darkness falls on the streets of Athens (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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