Church without a building

While we are currently without the use of our building for Sunday services we are praying a short version of Morning Prayer together every Sunday morning at 10.30. This is being live streamed and is available to watch again on our Facebook page. These short services are being produced by the Vicar and Reader Terry Hawes and you will find the words of the latest one below.

Pastoral Worker Marney Hearn will be sharing a favourite prayer or a thought and you will find that at the bottom of this page.

Sunday Prayers May 24th 2020 (the Sunday after Ascension day)

Ascension Day was on Thursday so this morning’s service will celebrate Jesus’ ascension into heaven

Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia

Christ has ascended! Our high King – He shall reign for ever. Alleluia.

In love of the King of Life we shall celebrate. Alleluia.

God of our days and years,

we set this time apart for you.

Form us in the likeness of Christ

so that our lives may glorify you. Amen.

Hymn: Hallelujah! Sing to Jesus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2WYJbBQ41U

Confession

Jesus is our high priest, tempted like us, yet without sin.

He lives for ever in heaven to intercede for us.

Through him we approach the throne of grace

with confidence, and confess our sins.

O King enthroned on high,

filling the earth with your glory:

holy is your name,

Lord God almighty.

In your sinfulness we cry to you

to take our guilt away,

and to cleanse our lips to speak your word,

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

Amen.

May the God of love and power

forgive us and free us from our sins,

heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,

and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reading: Acts 1:1-11 (The Promise of the Holy Spirit and the Ascension of Jesus)

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying[a] with them, he 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[b] 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. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward 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.”

 

REFLECTION

 

The ascension is the final scene in Jesus’ earthly existence. It might seem like a strange thing, an enigma. Jesus had risen, wasn’t that enough? Over 40 days he was seen; experienced; present with people – people who had thought him dead and lost to them.

The appearances couldn’t have continued though. Jesus was in between worlds if you like. Those 40 days of resurrection appearances were indeed a unique and precious time, and those who saw Jesus were doubly blessed. They spoke with him about the kingdom of God and they received his command to stay in Jerusalem in order to wait for the gift he told them about – the Holy Spirit in fact – but it couldn’t go on.

In our reading we are witnesses to Jesus’ last meeting with his disciples at which he gives them some final teaching. The disciples ask whether Jesus is going to restore the kingdom to Israel, but Jesus will not answer. Instead he promises that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them, a power to equip them to be Jesus’ witnesses, passing the baton of faith to the ends of the earth.

And then Jesus disappears from their sight. We only have a few words to capture something that is beyond our powers of description. Jesus is taken up, a cloud hides him from sight, and while the disciples are gazing heavenwards two men in white (surely angels) tell them that he has been taken up into heaven – and from heaven he will return someday.

The disciples thought the earth was flat and heaven was beyond the sky. We know now that this is not true (although we still might imagine that heaven is ‘up’), but what’s important in this little scene, set before us so briefly, is that Jesus had (without any doubt) returned to his glory.

The ascension is not about God leaving us or about saying goodbye to God. It’s about Jesus returning to God where he belongs, returning to his glory. He is the Name above all Names, the Name we honour above all others – because of who he is and what he came to do. The ascension marks clearly that Jesus’ work on earth is done and that he is gone. Something is ended; something is finished. The disciples won’t see Jesus again, but yet this is not about loss or bereavement. The disciples return to Jerusalem with great joy (as we read in Luke’s gospel account) because for them – actually – something is beginning. They have finally understood that Jesus will be with them always.

As Jesus disappears into the clouds we are reminded that Jesus will be with us wherever we are, whatever we do; that he has plans for us. It also reminds us that God has plans for the world. The world is not moving through an apparently random series of events, great and small; good and bad which are heading nowhere. The world is moving rather towards some divine far-off event when Christ will come again; and when that final fulfilment comes then he will be Judge and Lord of all. We need to make ourselves ready for that day by remaining ‘in him’ (in Jesus) as a vine remains connected to its branch – abiding in him through prayer and worship, and by obeying his command to love – as he has loved us.

We haven’t seen Jesus as the disciples did, yet Jesus says that those who believe even without seeing are blessed. Find a quiet moment sometime today to picture Jesus gazing at you from out of the depth of the love he has for you. Remember that he was prepared to die for you, and remember that in his gaze we are in the presence of perfect love.

We take a final moment to look at the disciples as they gaze into the clouds with wonder, gratitude and awe before returning to Jerusalem with great joy. Jesus wasn’t dead, but alive and with them always. He is with us too as we journey through the days we have been given as we follow in Jesus’ footsteps striving to live and love as he did.

Let us affirm our faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God.

All: Though he was divine,

he did not cling to equality with God,

but made himself nothing.

Taking the form of a slave,

He was born in human likeness.

He humbled himself

and was obedient to death,

even the death of the cross.

Therefore God has raised him on high,

And given him the name above every name:

That at the name of Jesus

Every knee should bow,

And every voice proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord,

To the glory of God the Father. Amen

 

Intercessions

Sovereign of the Universe,

a cloud hid you from sight

yet your mortal humanity has been raised to life in God

and with the whole Church we rejoice in the Ascension.

 

We pray for those whose life is clouded: raise them to life in you.

For those whose lives are clouded by fear, worry or loneliness: raise them to life in you.

For those whose lives are clouded by poverty, violence or war: raise them to life in you.

For those whose lives are clouded by broken homes, broken relationships or broken hearts: raise them to life in you.

 

We pray for recent events in the Church and the World and for those we know who need our prayers…..

 

Risen Christ,

you have raised our human nature to the throne of heaven:

help us to seek and serve you,

that we may join you at the Father’s side,

where you reign with the Spirit in glory,

now and for ever.

 

Our Father……

Hymn: Lord enthroned in heavenly splendour (MP 431) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gq29FeQbKY

Final prayer

Be with us Lord,

as we go out into the world.

May the lips that have sung your

praises always speak the truth;

may the ears that have heard your

Word listen only to what is good;

and may our lives as well as

our worship be always pleasing to you,

for the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Blessing

Christ our ascended King

pour upon you the abundance of his gifts

and bring you to reign with him in glory;

and the blessing of God…..

 

Pastoral worker Marney Hearn would like to share this on Tuesday 22nd April 2020:

Prayer
How do we pray? I think of it as a conversation with God. When I was studying to be a pastoral worker, I read a lot of books around prayer. Here is a suggestion on how to pray by Peter Grieg; it resonated with me with my love of acronyms. His suggestion towards prayer is (P.R.A.Y.).

‘P’ – PAUSING to be still;

‘R’ – REJOICING with a Psalm and REFLECTING on a Scripture;

‘A’ – ASKING God to help us and others;

‘Y’ – YIELDING to His will in our lives, come what may

It is a simple way help put your prayer life together. I love reading psalms or a passage of scripture  spending time reflecting on what I have read, leads naturally towards my conversations, (asking & yileding) with God.

I hope P.R.A.Y will be useful to you In your daily worship.

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