01 June 2023

Daily prayers in Ordinary Time
with USPG: (4) 1 June 2023

Evie Hone’s window in Saint Patrick’s Church on the Hill of Tara, Co Meath, has images of Pentecost interspersed with images of Saint Patrick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

The Fifty days of Easter season came to an end on Sunday, the Day of Pentecost (28 May 2023), or Whit Sunday, and Ordinary Time resumed on Monday (29 May 2023).

Today, the Calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship remembers Justin Martyr (ca 165), Martyr in Rome (1 June 2023). Later today I have a meeting of trustees of a local charity in Stony Stratford. But, before this day gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for prayer and reflection.

In this first week in Ordinary Time, between the Day of Pentecost and Trinity Sunday (4 June 2023), I am reflecting each morning in these ways:

1, Looking at an image or stained glass window in a church or cathedral I know depicting Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, or the Feast of the Day;

2, the Gospel reading of the day in the Church of England lectionary;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

Pentecost on the way up to the upper rooms in CITI … Evie Hone’s cartoon for her Pentecost window in Tara (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

On the way up the stairs in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, from the chapel to the Brown Room and where I had my study on the staff corridor, there is a large cartoon on which the acclaimed Irish stained-glass artist Evie Hone (1894-1955) worked out her ideas for her Pentecost window in Tara, commissioned as ‘The descent of the Holy Spirit.’

This East Window brings together images of Pentecost and Saint Patrick on the Hill of Tara. It was commissioned for Saint Patrick’s Church on the Hill of Tara in 1936 to mark the 1,500th anniversary of Saint Patrick’s arrival and his mission to Ireland.

The church is now closed and is used as a tourism information centre. But this remains one of Evie Hone’s best-known works, so there is a treasured and valuable part of that heritage half-way up the stairs to those upper rooms in CITI.

Today, the Church Calendar remembers Justin Martyr, Saint Justin Martyr was born to pagan parents and converted to Christianity ca 130. He taught first at Ephesus and later in Rome. When he refused to offer sacrifices to the emperor, he was beheaded.

In his First Apology and Second Apology, Justin Martyr argued that Christianity was a true philosophy. He developed the concept of the “generative” or “germinative” Word, who had sown the seed of truth in all humanity and had become incarnate as Christ. He used the doctrine of the Logos to explain why Christians, while remaining monotheists, worshipped Jesus Christ, regarding him as the incarnation of the Logos, ‘in second place’ to God.

Saint Justin Martyr … argued that Christianity was a true philosophy

Mark 10: 46-52 (NRSVA):

46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 48 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 49 Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ 50 So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ 52 Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

What can blind Bartimaeus see that 12 have passed by? (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Today’s prayer:

The theme in the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) this week is ‘Pentecost.’ USPG’s Chaplain, the Revd Jessie Anand, introduced this theme on Sunday, reflecting on Pentecost and languages.

The USPG Prayer invites us to pray this morning (Thursday 1 June 2023):

Let us pray for all who communicate through sign language. May those who teach signing and those who learn to sign inspire others to do the same.


God our redeemer,
who through the folly of the cross taught your martyr Justin
the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ:
remove from us every kind of error
that we, like him, may be firmly grounded in the faith,
and make your name known to all peoples;
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 Justin:
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.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

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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