24th May Pew Sheet - Wyre Forest West Group of Parishes


24th May Pew Sheet


Dear Friends,

After Jesus was resurrected on Easter Day, he spent the next 40 days with his disciples, teaching them how they should live and be in community. This extra time with Jesus was such a gift and we mark the end of this time with Ascension Day which was last Thursday. In today’s reading from Acts, we hear about the events of Ascension Day and the last conversation that the disciples had with Jesus where they asked him a question that had been pressing on their hearts: “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ They were looking forward to a time when they would be free from leaders who made decisions and laws that harmed them and kept them poor.


Jesus tells them that while they won’t understand God’s timing, what matters now is they will receive the Holy Spirit, and that they will be his witnesses of God’s powerful love and compassion. Just after he tells them, “you’ll be my witnesses,” Jesus ascends (was taken up) into the heavens to be with God.


Jesus’ disciples were left to carry on his work by following his example by loving God and their neighbours, even though he wasn’t physically with them anymore. They were witnesses to Jesus’ life on earth and continued to be witnesses when they carried on Jesus’ work and God’s love for the world. They were, in what they were doing, bringing his kingdom into being here on earth as in heaven – just as we pray this each time we say The Lord’s Prayer.


The ten-day period which runs from Ascension Day to Pentecost (Sunday 31st May in 2020) is now kept as days of prayer throughout the world and is known as ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. These words from the Lord’s Prayer look forward with hope to God’s kingdom of love, compassion, justice and freedom – values which we hope will shape all of our lives.


Most of us are currently living with a great sense of hope for a different future and are longing to hear of the changes which will make our lives easier, safer and brighter. If you would like to join in with these ‘special’ days of prayer why not visit the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ website (www.thykingdomcome.global ) which contains lots of useful resources including hymns, prayers and reflections.


The more that we can come together with other Christians from around the world, by being witnesses of Jesus through loving God and loving our neighbours, by praying for the needs of the world, the sooner that his Kingdom will fully be on earth, as in heaven.


All these years later, we still remember Jesus and continue his work and the work of those first followers. We celebrate how we are called to live as Jesus taught us. Like the disciples, we, too, are his witnesses. We are seeing so many examples of individuals and communities coming together, supporting, and caring for each other during very troubling times – wonderful examples of God’s kingdom breaking through the darkness.


And so we join in Jesus final prayer as he ascended into heaven ‘Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.’ John 17 v 11
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.


The Spirit of truth lead us into all truth, give us grace to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and strengthen us to proclaim the word and works of God; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always. Amen


With All my Blessings Rev Sallie.

 

Bible Readings for this Sunday – 7th Sunday of Easter


Acts 1.6-14, Psalm 68.1-10,32-35, 1 Peter 4.12-14, 5.6-11, John 17.1-11


Collect for this week


Risen, ascended Lord, as we rejoice at your triumph, fill your Church on earth
with power and compassion, that all who are estranged by sin may find
forgiveness and know your peace, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Requests for Prayer


Please continue to pray for all those who are ill, especially Annie Round, Paul
Mills, Freddie Kemp, Sylvia Jenkins, Susan Godwin, Edna Mills, Jill Cockerton,
Mary McGrath, Lucy Fischer, Pearl Green, Margaret Wright, Polly, Maureen
Boswell, Sylvia Perkins, Dennis Judd and Joan Abrahall. We also pray for all
those suffering with, and affected by, Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Pray for the family and friends of all those who have recently died – George
Hingley, and for all those who continue to mourn.

 

In addition to an article from Peter Stanley I have also included a colouring
page and wordsearch which may be of interest for children or adults.
Some thoughts from Peter Stanley on the Ascension which we celebrated last
Thursday.
What did the Ascension mean for the gospel writers?
Jesus had transformed their lives and they wanted to pass on to
others what his life, his teaching and his death meant to them.
They wanted everyone to know that his death was not the end of
the story. In the Ascension story, they wanted everyone to know
that Jesus was now with God and he was no longer here as a
flesh and blood reality. He was and is with God, but since God is
everywhere, Jesus is everywhere. He is no longer limited to a
particular place at a particular time. He is everywhere and can be
known by everyone. He is not just a figure from the past, but is
present today as well.
They were also answering the question “Who is Lord? Is it the
powers and authorities of this World - or is it God?” The
“Kingdoms of this World” have too often shown and show
themselves in domination, injustice, oppression and violence. The
powers of the “The Kingdom of Heaven” that Jesus taught has
very different and humane values – of compassion, justice, love
and peace.
The Ascension may present difficulties for some people, partly
because our modern understanding of the world and the universe
is very different from the three-tier picture of ancient times.
(Heaven, Earth and the Underworld.)
There are two, or perhaps three different accounts of the events.
In the church’s calendar, the Ascension is celebrated 40 days
after Easter, following Luke’s account in Acts 1, 1-11. But in his
gospel (ch 24,v 51), Luke places the Ascension on the evening of
Easter Day.
According to Matthew’s gospel, however, Jesus appeared to the
disciples for the last time not in Bethany, near Jerusalem, where
Luke states it happened, but in Galilee, about 100 miles to the
north, and although ascension is not mentioned, it is perhaps
implied.
Do these differences really matter? Factual accuracy is surely
much less important than message and meaning. Maybe we can
relate the meaning to our present circumstances, when,
presented with a major crisis, love and compassion have been so
obvious.
Jesus often turned accepted values on their head. “You have
been told…. But I say…….”. He identified with those at the bottom
of the social pile. So today we are finding that jobs referred to as
low skilled and unglamorous are being widely and publicly
applauded for helping to keep our society going.
Finally, there is the reassuring message “Remember, I am with
you always” – a message that looks forward to Pentecost, which
we will celebrate next week.