24 May 2020
7th Sunday of Easter
Reflection based on today’s Epistle Reading: Acts of the Apostles 1: 6-14
Last Thursday was Ascension Day, and, to me, it always speaks of hope with a capital ‘H’- hope for the future, and the past, and hope for the present, perhaps especially in the midst of the world’s present situation.
Ascension Day is all part of God’s wonderful plan of salvation for us through his Son- his birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and the sending of the Holy Spirit- it all gives, as some writers say, ‘the complete picture’.
It’s a bit like finding the final missing page of a book we have been reading! The disciples finally realised who Jesus was: the Son of God, King of Kings, and Lord of all. Look again at the question the angels asked in verse 11 and see what you think.
The disciples still had work to do in telling the world about the risen Christ, and we continue that work ourselves.
As the great John Stott once said about this: ‘Their call was to be witnesses, not stargazers- their vision was not upwards in nostalgia, but outwards in compassion to a lost world that really needed Jesus…’
So, pray the passage through, and ask yourself the question: ‘What do I think of the Ascension’?
In these next few days, as we prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we are being asked to set aside just a few minutes at 12 noon each day (if possible) for quiet prayer. Jesus reigns in heaven; he is the risen and ascended Saviour, and sovereign over all- our lives, our hearts, and our future.
A Prayer for today:
Lord, please turn my weakness into strength, and fear into courage as I think about the Ascension.
May there be a new beginning in my life and hope where there might have been despair.
May joy be in my heart each day, and may others see the difference that you have made in me.
Lord, you have raised our human nature to the throne of heaven- may I serve you for the rest of my life. Amen.
Last Sunday, 17 May was Rogation Sunday and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the 3 days before Ascension Day also were designated as Rogation Days.
Rogation comes from the Latin verb rogare to ask.
These days of prayer and procession were instituted in the 5th Century during a period of disaster and pestilence to pray for good weather, good health and pardon for sins. Over the centuries it became the custom to use the procession to beat the bounds (to mark the parish boundaries) whilst blessing the trees, fields and stones of the Parish.
In the twenty-first century it is a time to remind us of our obligation to be good stewards of God’s creation.
Our churches at this time
During the continuing lockdown our churches need to keep paying their regular bills, including the Parish Share even though there are no service collections or money coming in from the many special fund raising events that are usually organised to boost the funds.
If you feel you would like to help with a donation, please do contact your Parish Treasurer or contact me (email@example.com) and I will put you in touch with the Treasurer.
|Pointers for Prayer
As this time of lockdown continues we think of our friends and neighbours who are ill, having treatment or awaiting appointments.
We remember parents with young or teenage children, with the problems of keeping them occupied, exercised and educated. Not easy.
We think of those on furlough, those with reduced income or no income at all.
We think of charities working to help all those in need both here and abroad.
We remember all our ‘front line’ workers and their families.
We remember the work of the local food banks, refuges and hostels.
We say thank you for all those in our villages working to support our communities and raise our spirits in so many ways.
Above all we say thank you for the many blessings we have.
Help us to be vigilant to see those in need around us and reach out with support and friendship. A phone call can mean a lot!