Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Greetings as we prepare for Ascension Day tomorrow when we will commemorate our Lord Jesus Christ returning to heaven 40 days after his resurrection which we celebrated at Easter. Alongside the Bible readings set tomorrow for Morning and Evening Prayer (which are on the pew sheet for this week sent out on Sunday) the main Bible passage for this final event of Jesus earthly life is to be found in Acts 1:1-10. I do hope you will spend at least a few minutes reading this passage, thinking about its meaning and offering prayers.
Jesus had appeared many times and to many people since his resurrection and the Ascension is another defining moment in our salvation story. It is no ordinary cloud that Jesus enters but a cloud that represents the full glory of God (think of the cloud that accompanied Moses and the Israelites and the cloud at the transfiguration). Though Jesus disappears from earthly sight he has not left us completely. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus clearly states his continual presence which is affirmed at the end of Mark’s Gospel as well.
We might like to think of the effect of Jesus Ascension this way…..
In ‘The Trial of Jesus’ by John Masefield, the centurion Longinus reports to Pilate after the crucifixion of Jesus. Procula, Pilate’s wife, asks Longinus, “Do you think he is dead?” Longinus answers, “No, lady, I don’t.” “Then where is he?” asks Procula. Longinus replies, “Let loose in the world, lady, where neither Roman nor Jew can stop his truth.”
Through the ascension we know that Jesus is not limited by time and space as we are but instead is able to be with all people at all times and in all places. Alleluia.
Don’t forget ‘Thy Kingdom come’ 11days of prayer between Ascension Day and Pentecost. You might like to look at and use some of these resources………..
- DOWNLOAD the free Thy Kingdom Come app – packed full with videos, reflections, a daily podcast from N.T. Wright and the daily prayer journal (a great start to any day) from the Apple or Android app stores, simply search for “Thy Kingdom Come Prayer” (most resources available in a range of languages);
- JOIN – We are writing to invite you to a webinar joining a time of intercessory prayer lead by Archbishop Justin Welby, Archbishop Sentamu and Cardinal Vincent Nichols on Thursday 21st May 10:30-11:00. They will be praying for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our world today: that many might come to know the love, peace and joy that is found in Christ. If you would like to join – please register on-line with the TKC Intercessory Prayer.
- This will be followed by a live Q&A from 11-11:30am with a Facebook live led by Archbishop Justin designed for those on the edges of faith where prayer is something new to them. The Archbishop will share his personal experiences of prayer and also take questions.
- Use some of the wide range of free resources available from www.thykingdomcome.global
- For our younger congregation members:
When the Spirit of God came upon those waiting, watching and praying that first Pentecost, the followers of Jesus were not in the temple and they were not on the streets. They were in a home. Church buildings may have been shut but the Church has maybe never been as open, with vibrant, faith fuelled prayer in households up and down our nation and Christians mobilised to do the works of Jesus Christ as we serve and support those in our communities most in need: prayer and care hand in hand.
As Archbishops Justin and Sentamu have said, “We’ll be taking part in what is sure to be a unique Thy Kingdom Come this year. We encourage you to join us in watching, waiting and praying, as the first Christians did, for God’s Spirit to equip and empower us to be a people who reflect the hope of Jesus in a world of need”.
Love & prayers