Making Christ's Love known to All

Evening Prayer for Ascension Day and the beginning of Thy Kingdom Come

21 May 2020

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Music for reflection

 

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A reading from the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1, verses 4-11.

While staying with them, Jesus ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This’, He said, ‘is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’

So when they had come together, they asked Him, ‘Lord, is this the time when You will restore the kingdom to Israel?’  He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’  When He had said this, as they were watching, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.  While He was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them.  They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven?  This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.’

Alleluia.  Christ is risen.
All     He is risen indeed.  Alleluia.

 

 

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A reading from Daniel, chapter 7, verses 9-14.

As I watched,
thrones were set in place,
and an Ancient One took His throne;
His clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of His head like pure wool;
His throne was fiery flames,
and its wheels were burning fire.
A stream of fire issued
and flowed out from His presence.
A thousand thousand served Him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending Him.
The court sat in judgement,
and the books were opened.

I watched then because of the noise of the arrogant words that the horn was speaking.  And as I watched, the beast was put to death, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire.  As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.  As I watched in the night visions,
I saw one like a human being
coming with the clouds of heaven.
And He came to the Ancient One
and was presented before Him.
To Him was given dominion
and glory and kingship,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not pass away,
and His kingship is one
that shall never be destroyed.

This is the word of the Lord.
All     Thanks be to God.

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A reading from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 24, verses 44-53.

Then Jesus said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you – that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’  Then He opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’

Then He led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up His hands, He blessed them.  While He was blessing them, He withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.  And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

This is the word of the Lord.
All     Thanks be to God.

 

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May the words of my mouth and the thoughts and meditations of all our hearts be always acceptable in Your sight, O God our strength and our Redeemer.  Amen.

Today is Ascension Day, another turning point in our church’s year.  Just as from Good Friday to Easter Sunday we mark an absence, so too today we pause for a while.  But the absence we mark at this stage of the Easter season is different – it is more hopeful, for, like the first disciples, we can now rest on a promise both made AND fulfilled.  Jesus did indeed return from the dead and, although the stories of Ascension Day tells us how He departed bodily from the earth, they tell us too that someone else is coming – the promised Holy Spirit, the Advocate, the Comforter.

And on Ascension Day in recent years, we have marked the beginning of 11 days of prayer, called Thy Kingdom Come.  A period when we are invited to join our prayers with those of others throughout the country and the world in seeking a renewal of God’s Kingdom, for more and more people to find the truth and comfort of faith.

This year, of course, we won’t be able to meet physically to pray and to praise.  But we are getting used to that!  And Thy Kingdom Come has always had an emphasis on the importance of our home prayer life.  So I’d like to invite you to join me in prayer over the days until Pentecost.  And here’s how you can do it …

The first invitation is to pray by name for 5 people who you would love to see coming or returning to faith.  This is something that we are called to do each year and you might like to find a way of making this commitment tangible, by using something like the Prayer Journal on our Thy Kingdom Come webpage to record those names for yourself.  Some people find that creative activities like colouring, drawing, doodling or modelling can help to free their minds to dwell on God – and such activities can also be a way of ‘recording’ our prayers.  Or maybe you might try making your daily exercise a prayer walk – you might find some feature of your daily walk that reminds you in some way of each of those you are praying for and use your arrival at that point in your walk as a prompt to pray for that person particularly.  Others find meditation, silence and stillness work best for them.  However you pray this season, whether you try something new or return to your tried and tested forms, focus your prayers particularly on those you have chosen.

As well as the Prayer Journal, you will also find a link to a daily prayer pattern that you can use up to 4 times a day to structure your prayers.  I would particularly like to invite you each to use ‘Prayer During the Day’ on pages 22 – 27 on each day at 12 noon, as I will be doing.  Although we will not be physically together, by praying using the same words at the same time, we will be joining our prayers just as effectively.

However you choose to pray through the next 10 days, we are all invited to light up the world with the light, love and joy of God’s Kingdom – and to illustrate that fact, we are invited too to make our mark on a map of the world.  You’ll find the link to do this on the webpage called Thy Kingdom Come.

My sisters and brothers in Christ, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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Music to finish