Materials for Worship at Home on 29th May 2022

Nerys writes: Today is the Sunday that comes between the celebration of the Ascension and Pentecost, between the time when the risen Christ left us to be with God and when the he sent the Holy Spirit to be with us for ever. Before he left, according to the Gospel for Ascension Day, Luke 24.44-53, Jesus had instructed his disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait – not an easy thing to do especially when they had no idea how long the wait would last or even exactly what they were waiting for. As he was leaving them, however, Jesus prayed a blessing over them. They responded by worshiping him and used the days that followed for prayer and thanksgiving.

I wonder what words Jesus used to bless these ordinary people who, filled with the Holy Spirit, were to become his apostles, witnessing to him to the ends of the earth?

In today’s Gospel, John 17.20-26, we hear how, towards the end of the Last Supper, after praying for his disciples, Jesus prays for those who would become believers because of their witness. It is worth listening carefully to these words, holding in our hearts the knowledge that we are hearing Jesus pray for each one of us and for our church – that we may all be one with each other and with God through Christ so that others may come to trust and love God.

This is Jesus’s great desire for us and he died on the cross and rose again to make it possible. Through what Jesus did, we now share the very life and love of God and through prayer we are able to draw others into that life-giving, loving relationship.

It’s hard not to be stirred by Jesus’ words. The challenge is: do we trust them enough to live by them? Will we, choose to love today in a way that allows God’s love in us to overflow to others? Will we accept the responsibility to be God’s loving presence in our little corner of the world? Will we put time aside this coming week to pray for those known to us to come to know God?

One day, God’s kingdom of love will be fully here on earth as today’s reading from Revelation 22.12-14, 16-17, 20-21 assures us. Until then we are in the uncomfortable in-between time, but we are not alone. God is already with us through his Spirit as Jesus promised he would be, calling us to come to him to break our thirst with the water of everlasting life.

As you spend time in prayer this morning, I invite you to think of all those who are living with uncertainty:

  • those known to you waiting for treatment or test results,
  • those whose lives continue to be limited by Covid 19,
  • all those in this country descending into poverty,
  • the people of Ukraine, Yemen and other countries where there is armed conflict,
  • those struggling to survive in areas affected by Climate Change.

You may wish to finish with the following affirmation of your faith:

Lord of life,
I do not know the face of the future,
any more than your disciples did.
Like them, I have many questions:
how to live
how to bear witness.
Like them, I thirst for the spring waters of the Spirit
to inspire me in my living
to give me a heart language in my testimony.

You have been raised in glory
that we might rise with dignity
You live in power that we might live in peace
You are present everywhere
that we might be fully present in our own lives
This I believe
This I step out on.