20 September 2023

Daily prayers in Ordinary Time
with USPG: (115) 20 September 2023

‘We pray for the hope and resolve that an economy of peace can be built here on Earth, instead of an economy based on conflict’ (USPG Prayer Diary) … street art in Noel Street, London (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Patrick Comerford

We are in Ordinary Time in the Church Calendar, and the week began with the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity (Trinity XV, 17 September 2023). We are also in the Season of Creation.

The Calendar of the Church of England today recalls the life and witness of John Coleridge Patteson (1871), First Bishop of Melanesia, and his Companions, Martyrs. Before today begins (20 September 2023), I am taking some time this morning for prayer and reflection.

This week, I am reflecting each morning in these ways:

1, Reflecting on a theme in this Season of Creation, the annual Christian celebration to pray and respond together to the cry of Creation;

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

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

The theme of the Season of Creation this year is ‘Let Justice and Peace Flow’

A letter to ‘The Guardian’:

The Season of Creation is the annual Christian celebration to pray and respond together to the cry of Creation: the ecumenical family around the world unites to listen and care for our common home, the Oikos of God.

The Season of Creation began on 1 September, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and it ends on 4 October, the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology beloved by many Christian denominations.

Each year, the Season of Creation Ecumenical Steering Committee proposes a theme for the Season of Creation. This year, the theme is ‘Let Justice and Peace Flow,’ and the symbol is ‘A Mighty River’.

With the theme of today’s prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary, I think it appropriate to reproduce a letter signed by leading peace campaigners published in the Guardian last week (15 September 2023):

Arms firms should be shunned by Labour

This year’s Labour party conference will include fringe events sponsored by a spyware firm and arms manufacturers heavily involved in nuclear weapons production, not to mention fossil fuel firms, private healthcare companies and banks. In a sad sign of the times, many of these fringe events will be hosted by New Statesman Media Group – a far cry from earlier times; the meeting in 1957 which led directly to the founding of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament was held at the flat of the New Statesman editor Kingsley Martin.

Is there to be no clear distinction between the government of the past 13 years and the values of any future Labour government? By welcoming in the arms industries, the Labour party is letting the British public know that it will continue this Conservative government's vision of a belligerent United Kingdom, rooted in increased militarisation rather than disarmament and peace.

This is the wrong priority.

In the biggest cost of living crisis for decades, with inflation at a 40-year high, when millions of people are struggling with hunger, fuel poverty and lack of housing, billions of pounds will be spent on weapons instead of wages, welfare, and meeting the needs of our communities.

The Labour party needs a new set of priorities that focus on improving living standards for the whole population and protecting the planet and its peoples from the climate disaster into which we are hurtling. Increased militarisation has no part in this. Arms companies, which contribute to the escalation of wars with their terrible human loss and suffering, the displacement of people and the ruination of our environments, should keep their bloodstained hands out of politics.

Kate Hudson General secretary, CND,
Lindsey German Stop the War Coalition,
Richard Norton-Taylor Former Guardian security editor,
Andrew Feinstein Author, The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade,
Victoria Brittain Journalist,
Kirsten Bayes Campaign Against Arms Trade,
Canon Paul Oestreicher Vice-president, CND,
Prof Barbara Einhorn Professor emerita, University of Sussex

Find out more about the Season of Creation HERE.

A letter signed by leading peace campaigners published in the Guardian last week

Luke 7: 31-35 (NRSVA):

[Jesus said:] 31 ‘To what then will I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the market-place and calling to one another,

“We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not weep.”

33 ‘For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, “He has a demon”; 34 the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” 35 Nevertheless, wisdom is vindicated by all her children.’

Today’s Prayer:

The theme this week in ‘Pray With the World Church,’ the Prayer Diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), is ‘Let Justice and Peace Flow.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday.

The USPG Prayer Diary today (20 September 2023) invites us to reflect in these words:

We pray for the hope and resolve that an economy of peace can be built here on Earth, instead of an economy based on conflict.

The Collect:

God of all tribes and peoples and tongues,
who called your servant John Coleridge Patteson
to witness in life and death to the gospel of Christ
amongst the peoples of Melanesia:
grant us to hear your call to service
and to respond trustfully and joyfully
to Jesus Christ our redeemer,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post Communion Prayer:

God our redeemer,
whose Church was strengthened by the blood of your martyr John Coleridge Patteson:
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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