Thoughts from the Vicarage 24th May.
Readings: Acts 1.6-14; 1 Peter 4.12-14; 5.6-11; John 17.1-11; Psalm 68.1-10
Last Sunday, 17 May, was the first date when vicars were allowed to go back into churches to say prayers and lead a service (on their own!). I planned to do this but the weather was so lovely I decided to sit on the bench in front of St Mary’s and enjoy open air worship. I read Sue’s Reflections out loud and solo sang “King of Kings Majesty” both printed on Newsletter. Not sure who heard me. There have been escaped peacocks around the gardens this week so maybe they were listening in!
As “lock down” is gradually eased it feels as if we can spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting can be good for reflecting but it can also test our patience. Maybe you have heard the old saying “Lord give me patience – and give it me now!” The writer of Acts (probably Luke) quotes Jesus words about this in the first reading for today. The message is – don’t get worked up about times and dates. The promise is – you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes, you will be my witnesses, in your neighbourhood, in the nation and throughout the world. Then Jesus leaves them. This is not about “rocket science” but it is about post-resurrection reassurance and the promise that Jesus will be returning. Back in Jerusalem the disciples come together as a new community and focus on prayer as they prepare for what God will do next.
Some of us find prayer comes naturally or perhaps we should say “supernaturally”. Christians have the amazing privilege of a direct line to the Creator. Our creator, in the person of Jesus, gave his disciples what we now call the “Lord’s Prayer”. This prayer is not just a mantra to repeat, but a life giving channel to bring our joys and sorrows to God.
Last weekend Sue mentioned the “Thy Kingdom Come” resources that are available on-line to use from Ascension Day to Pentecost. There are a number of versions from the church around the world. My starting place will be with those promoted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Rob has put information about these on the St Mary’s website.
Let’s pray that we and many others will come closer to God in the coming days.
Revd Jonathan Watkins
O God the King of glory,
you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ
with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven:
we beseech you, leave us not comfortless,
but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us
and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ
is gone before,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.