Online services and readings for 7th Sunday in Easter (Celebration of Ascension)

Giotto – Arena Chapel, Padua

Reflections from our bishops.

Wells Cathedral  Sunday Eucharists and link to this Thursday’s Festal Eucharist for Ascension Day

Weekly online services from the Church of England

Collect

Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ
to have ascended into the heavens,
so we in heart and mind may also ascend
and with him continually dwell;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Psalm 47

1             Clap your hands together, all you peoples;
O sing to God with shouts of joy.

2             For the Lord Most High is to be feared;
he is the great King over all the earth.

3             He subdued the peoples under us
and the nations under our feet.

4             He has chosen our heritage for us,
the pride of Jacob, whom he loves.

5             God has gone up with a merry noise,
the Lord with the sound of the trumpet.

6             O sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.

7             For God is the King of all the earth;
sing praises with all your skill.

8             God reigns over the nations;
God has taken his seat upon his holy throne.

9             The nobles of the peoples are gathered together
with the people of the God of Abraham.

10            For the powers of the earth belong to God
and he is very highly exalted.

 

Acts 1 v 1 – 11

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 over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying 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 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.’

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

 

Luke 24 v 44 – end

Jesus said to the disciples, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

 

Let us pray [at the season of Ascension we watch and wait for Jesus’ return]

Father in heaven, our minds were prepared
for the coming of your kingdom
when you took Christ beyond our sight
so that we might seek him in glory.
May we follow where he has led
and find our hope in his glory,
for he is Lord forever. Amen

O King of Glory,
Lord of Hosts,
Who didst this day ascend in triumph
above all the heavens!
Leave us not orphans,
but send upon us the Spirit of Truth,
promised by the Father!  Alleluia

O Almighty God,
whose blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things:
Mercifully give us faith to perceive that,
according to his promise,
he abides with his Church on earth,
even to the end of the ages;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

 

 

Intercessions by Colin Tincknell

Good Lord in our individual ways we have travelled with you through your birth, your ministry, your crucifixion, your rising on Easter Sunday wondered and celebrated your Glorious Ascension to return to your heavenly home with yours and our Father.   You have not left us without hope as we look forward with the disciples to the coming of the Holy Spirit our advocate and guide.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Good Lord we bring before you the needs of our World at this time of the coronavirus.   We pray for all affected by the pandemic and especially those countries which do not have a National Health Service where suffering is great and hope of recovery low.

We pray for all in our country who are suffering especially those in hospital and those in care homes.   We give thanks for all working in our National Health Service, our doctors and nurses who give tirelessly of the skills, energy, and care for those in need, often to those who are dying.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for all who have lost their employment because of the pandemic, those whose businesses face collapse, and those who do not benefit from Government assistance.

Lord you taught us that we shall always have the poor with us but also that we should not pass by on the other side of the road.  We pray for the poor and disadvantage, those who are forced in ever increasing numbers to rely on food banks.    We sometimes feel sorry for ourselves in not being able to go on holiday or to restaurants forgetting those who have no money for such enjoyment and who wonder where the next meal for the family is going to come from.

We thank you for those members of our congregation who see the opportunity to support food banks, visit and contact those in need.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

This week we think and pray especially for the residents of Silver Street, Ivy Walk & Fern Close and we pray for our Schools, Colleges and Universities.  For all teachers, lecturers, and school staff. We pray especially for primary schools who seek to continue to provide education not only for the children of key workers but those children from disadvantaged families and sometimes dangerous homes where love, education equipment and resources which we take for granted are non-existent.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for the lonely, those who are sick, those on our sick list,

Rachael Macfarlane, Rhoda, David, Evan & Annie Dwyer, Judy Flook, Miranda Cooper, Rose Stenner, Paul & Margaret Knott, Irene Leet,  Faye McDermott,  Anne Hatton, Rob & Glyn Gilliland,  Gerrard Monks, Trevor & Elizabeth Bell,  Fr Roy Boots, Nicholas Hambleton, Mary Hickmott, Helen Plummer & Daniel Plummer, Betty Chiplin and Ethan Horwood and those known to us and all who need our prayers.  We pray often for the elderly who have no one to care for and love them.

We pray for those who we remember in our years mind Robert Heaney,  Charlotte Miles (M) Philip Dark (T) Nessie Down, Stephen Spooner, Peter Cobb (Pr)  (W) Jeremy Bendle, Rosie Shears (F) Christine Collins (S) Dennis Perry, Beryl Tales., those nearing the end of their life and those who have recently died.

May all know the blessing and comfort of your love and compassion.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for all in Parliament and those who have the authority to make change.   We pray for compassion, justice, and fairness with each being aware of the consequences of their actions. We give thanks for the Prime Minister and his recovery from the virus and pray for his return to full heath.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for the Church, for the Archbishop of Canterbury, for our Bishops, for all clergy and especially those ministers who must deal with mental health problems.  We pray for the work of the Church Army their Evangelists who have made it their vocation to follow you and in doing so to tell the world about you.

We pray for our Church of St John’s.   For all involved in our vacancy and those who bring our weekly readings and thoughts especially Father’s Jim and Tony and Maureen and Beth.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for all who need Christ’s love and for us to carry on what Jesus began – whatever our inadequacies to know and love one another.

Merciful Father accept our prayers for the sake of our Lord, Jesus Christ, our Saviour.  Amen.

 

Thought for the Day by Father Tony

We all begin to look forward to the gradual end of the ‘Lockdown’, but perhaps with mixed feelings.  Will we be able to ‘get back to normal’?  Many are saying that things will be different in future but in what ways?  For better, or for worse?  So do we look forward with excitement, with foreboding, with determination, or a mixture of these and perhaps other emotions?

The Ascension of our Lord comes within the Easter season, but marks an important change. It is difficult to tell what exactly happened. Matthew and Luke do not even agree where it took place: in Matthew’s gospel it is in Galilee; in Luke’s it is at Bethany, just outside Jerusalem.  Of course, these Gospel accounts were written years after the event, after a long period during which the gospel was passed on by word of mouth by people who often were unaware of the geography of the Holy Land.  And for those who were witnesses to the Ascension, this must have been a mind-blowing moment. They had, over a period of forty days, begun to get their heads around the resurrection as a reality – though without really understanding it.  They had no doubt lived in a state of wonder and excitement, perhaps waking each morning with the thought: ‘Will we hear tell that he has appeared to some of our friends today – or may I even have an encounter with him?’  Normal life was suspended.  Peter and 5 other disciples, St John’s Gospel tells us, sought to get back to normal.  They returned to Galilee and Peter decided to go fishing.  But there on the beach, they found the risen Lord (you can read this in John chapter 21).  So in effect life was ‘on hold’ for Jesus’ followers.

Now came he next, decisive moment.  They were gathered and again he came amongst them.  For the last time they asked the question which had often been on their minds during his earthly ministry: “Will you restore the (earthly) fortunes of Israel?” Jesus answer makes it plain that the Kingdom of God is not a territory or a political entity, but the rule of God over human hearts, and by their lives and witness they are to be its ambassadors. He will be with them always and everywhere, not by appearing now and again as over these past 40 days, but by the ‘indwelling’ (constant presence) of the Holy Spirit.  He is removed from their sight, but they are no longer in a state of confusion.  Their minds are settled; they return to Jerusalem ‘in great joy’, and wait for the promised  empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  They have no idea how the world – and their lives – will be different in the future but He will be with them, and they know that his promise is sure.

What will our world be like once we emerge from the present situation?  We don’t know, but by God’s grace we may, like the disciples, wait prayerfully, mindful of our Lord’s prayer, recounted in today’s Gospel reading, which is indeed a prayer for us: “I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one”.

 

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