13 December 2022

Praying in Advent with Lichfield Cathedral
and USPG: Tuesday 13 December 2022

A statue of Samuel Johnson on the south-east wall of the Lady Chapel, Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

The Calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship today (13 December 2022) remembers Saint Lucy, Martyr at Syracuse, 304, with a Lesser Festival, and Samuel Johnson, Moralist, 1784, with a Commemoration.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was born in Lichfield and is best known as a writer of dictionaries and a literary editor. Yet in his lifetime he was renowned for his religious beliefs and as a firm supporter of the practice and order of the Church of England. He had been converted to Christianity as a young man after reading William Law’s A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, and his support of the High Church party was unstinting. Amongst his other writings, his essays entitled The Rambler, which appeared twice-weekly between 1750 and 1752, earned him the nickname ‘The Great Moralist’, then a term of affection and honour. He died on this day, 13 December 1784.

I am back in Stony Stratford this morning after yesterday’s day visit to Dublin. Before today 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.’

John Myatt’s mural of Samuel Johnson on a corner wall in Bird Street, Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Luke 11: 33-36 (NRSVA):

[Jesus said:] 33 ‘No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar, but on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light; but if it is not healthy, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.’

The bust commemorating Samuel Johnson in the south transept, Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar:

Lucy was put to death for her faith in 304. Her name in Latin means ‘light’. She is therefore associated with Jesus, the light of the world, the light that banishes the darkness and lets the eyes of all see the Truth of Christ incarnate. Pray for the people of Scandinavia who have special customs to celebrate Saint Lucy (young women dress in white and wear headdresses with candles). As we prepare for Christmas, pray that all who encounter the church may glimpse Christ’s light.


God our redeemer,
who gave light to the world that was in darkness
by the healing power of the Saviour’s cross:
shed that light on us, we pray,
that with your martyr Lucy
we may, by the purity of our lives,
reflect the light of Christ
and, by the merits of his passion,
come to the light of everlasting life;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion:

God our redeemer,
whose Church was strengthened by the blood of your martyr Lucy:
so bind us, in life and death, to Christ’s sacrifice
that our lives, broken and offered with his,
may carry his death and proclaim his resurrection in the world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Eternal God,
who gave us this holy meal in which we have celebrated the glory of the cross
and the victory of your martyr Lucy:
by our communion with Christ
in his saving death and resurrection,
give us with all your saints the courage to conquer evil
and so to share the fruit of the tree of life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

USPG Prayer Diary:

The theme in the USPG Prayer Diary this week is ‘Walking Together.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday by the Right Revd Maria Grace Tazu Sasamori, who became Bishop of Hokkaido in Japan in April 2022. She shared her reflections on this year’s Lambeth Conference with Archbishop Justin Welby.

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

Let us pray for the worldwide Church, for different Churches and denominations. May we be open to receive the riches from each other’s traditions.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

The body of Saint Lucy is preserved in the Chiesa di S. Geremia e Lucia in Venice (Photograph: Charlotte Hunter, 2022)

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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