Prayer for today

Luke 24:44-53 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

44 Then he 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.”

45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,

46 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,

47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

48 You are witnesses of these things.

49 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.”


The Ascension of Jesus

50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them.

51 While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.

52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy;

53 and they were continually in the temple blessing God.


This coming Thursday, 21st May, is Ascension Day when the Church remembers the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and celebrates his return to Heaven to prepare the way for the coming of the Holy Spirit.


Jesus had formed a good team of men and women around him during his ministry on Earth. They were just ordinary people with their own strengths and weaknesses but having spent time in Jesus’ company and learning from him they had grown in understanding and had gained the skills that they needed to serve God’s kingdom.


Jesus’ ministry on earth was at an end and it was the turn of his disciples to continue with and take forward what he had begun.


Although they did not know it yet, they no longer needed him in his earthly form. They had seen his death and resurrection, they knew now that God’s love would always conquer death and that that love could not be destroyed by hate. They were ready to take that message to the ends of the earth.


We are the heirs of those first followers of Jesus. We have not known Jesus in the flesh as they did and perhaps sometimes we rather wish that we had. But it’s not an experience that we need. We have been appointed God’s agents in the world and God has equipped us with the necessary skills. The church founded by those first disciples is now our church. Their responsibility is ours.


It’s easy to despair about the state of the world, especially at the moment. We can feel very small and ineffective against all the complex issues around Covid 19 and the effect it is having on the World’s political and economic systems.


When we are tempted to think that there isn’t really anything we can do, we must remember those first disciples; a small group of men and women from rural Palestine, following a travelling Rabbi who was executed by the Romans but who succeeded in spreading throughout the world the surprising message that the God of Israel is the creator and saviour of all the nations.


Jesus came and went to enable that to happen.

Amen


Prayers of Intercession

Let us join our prayers with those of our Saviour Christ,

seeking the Father’s blessing and the gifts of the Spirit. Jesus Christ, great high priest,

living for ever to intercede for us,

pray for the Church, your broken body in the world …

Lord, hear us.

All Lord, graciously hear us.


Jesus Christ, king of righteousness,

enthroned at the right hand of the majesty on high,

pray for the world, and make it subject to your gentle rule …

Lord, hear us.

All Lord, graciously hear us.


Jesus Christ, Son of Man,

drawing humanity into the life of God,

pray for your brothers and sisters in need, distress or sorrow …

Lord, hear us.

All Lord, graciously hear us.


Jesus Christ, pioneer of our salvation,

bringing us to glory through your death and resurrection,

surround with your saints and angels

those who have died trusting your promises …

Lord, hear us.

All Lord, graciously hear us.


Jesus Christ, Lord over all things,

ascended far above the heavens and filling the universe,

pray for us who receive the gifts you give us for work in your service …

Lord, hear us.

All Lord, graciously hear us.


Jesus Christ,

keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit

and in the bond of peace,

and bring the whole created order to worship at your feet;

for you are alive and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

All Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.

Amen.


Act of Contrition

I love you, Jesus, my love above all things, and I repent with my whole heart of having offended you. Never permit me to separate myself from you again, grant that I may love you always, and then do with me what you will.


Act of Spiritual Reception

In union, heavenly Father, with your people throughout the world and across the centuries gathered to make communion, hearing your holy Word and receiving the Precious Body and Blood, I offer you praise and thanksgiving. Even though I am not now able to taste the Bread of Heaven and drink the Cup of Life I pray that you will unite me with all the baptised and with your Son who gave his life for us.


Come Lord Jesus, dwell in me and send your Holy Spirit that I may be filled with your presence.


O Lord and heavenly Father, we your humble servants ask that you mercifully accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly asking you to grant, that by the merits and death of your Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we and all your whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion. Amen.


The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the eternal covenant, make us perfect in every good work to do his will, working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight; and the blessing of God Almighty, be among us and remain with us always. Amen.

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