12th May Home Worship

ASCENSION SUNDAY

Opening Prayers

God is everywhere, In this space and all spaces, in this time and all times, God is waiting to meet you and is ready to welcome you, just as it has been for all eternity.
So be still.
Pause 
Through words on the page, through sounds around you, through familiar and unfamiliar smells, through all that you see when you look up from what you are reading,
Through the touch of your hands as you hold them together to pray.
So be still. Pause 

Get ready to notice the spirit working:

If you feel able speak aloud the following words:

God of all time and space, I notice you here. I am ready. Amen.

You may now wish to say the Lord’s Prayer in a version or translation with which you are familiar.

Reading: Luke 24:44-53

44 He said to them, “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.” 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 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.” 50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Responding to the reading

Today is Ascension Sunday – the day of the Easter-season when Christians celebrate and mark Jesus’ ascension into heaven – we’ve just read Luke’s account of this story. 

You are offered four reflection or discussion questions based on some of the themes that emerge from today’s gospel reading. Take some time, reflect on your own, make some notes, and then see if you can find someone you trust to talk about all this with. If other people you know are using this resource, why not arrange to meet up or speak on the phone this week about the questions, your responses, and pray for each other as you explore what the ascension might mean for you.

Understanding and Openness:

In what ways can I foster a deeper understanding of my faith and how my faith relates to some of the big issues in the world today? How open am I to new interpretations of the Bible and new ways of thinking about the challenges of our time?

Mission and Inclusivity:

Jesus’ directive to preach repentance and forgiveness to all nations suggests a call to inclusivity. How can the church or community I am part of better reflect this call, ensuring that we are welcoming and accessible to all, especially those who have felt marginalised or excluded?

Transformation and Hope:

The ascension of Jesus marks a moment of transformation and the promise of the Holy Spirit. In what ways am I called to play a part in the transformation of my community? How can I be an embodiment of hope?

Practical Application:

Reflecting on the directive to be witnesses to all nations, what are some practical ways I can live out this mission in my local context? How can I make use of all the resources, skills and passions I have, or am aware of in my community, to help address the needs of those around us and beyond?

Hymn: Singing the Faith 615

Let love be real, in giving and receiving,
Without the need to manage and to own;
A haven free from posing and pretending,
Where every weakness may be safely known.
Give me your hand, along the desert pathway,
Give me your love wherever we may go.

As God loves us, so let us love each other:
With no demands,
just open hands and space to grow.

Let love be real, not grasping or confining,
That strange embrace that holds yet sets us free;
That helps us face the risk of truly living,
And makes us brave to be what we might be.
Give me your strength when all my words are weakness;
Give me your love in spite of all you know.

As God loves us…

Let love be real, with no manipulation,
No secret wish to harness or control;
Let us accept each other’s incompleteness,
And share the joy of learning to be whole.
Give me your hope through dreams and disappointments;
Give me your trust when all my failings show.

As God loves us…

Michael Forster (b. 1946)

Blessing:

Let love be real, with no manipulation, no secret wish to harness or control.

Let the love of Christ take root in you, grow deep and bloom in you, and burst out of you to touch all that you meet.

May you know that you are truly loved, and offer love, real love, to those around you and around the world, In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Prayers and Prayer Pointers for the Week Ahead

Monday 13th May:

Think about how God is at work in the lives of everyone. You can see God shining out from all people. Remember this with the next person you speak to, and give thanks for the glimpses of God you see in them.

Tuesday 14th May :

Make a cup of tea or coffee, or something else to drink. As you drink it, imagine all the places and people that are responsible for making it, from source to your lips.

Thank God for them, the source of all life.  

Wednesday 15th May:

Today is the UN’s International Day of Families, as designated by the UN.  

God my Father and God my Mother, I pray today for my own family, and the families known to me.  I give thanks for all that is life giving, and hold before you all that is painful, when I think about family.  Show me how to be a force for love in my own family and in the families in the community around me. Amen.  

Thursday 16th May:

Creator God, great shepherd of the sheep, fill me with your hope as I pray. Holy Spirit, give me the strength and courage for this day, fill me with the peace I need, and the joy of being surrounded by your love. Help me to notice where your love is at work in the world, and to get involved where I can. 

Lord of love, show me what is mine to do today. Amen.

Friday 17th May :

Draw around the shape of your hand. Write on it the things that you’re carrying that feel like burdens. Offer them to God in prayer, remembering that God carries your burdens with you.  

Saturday 18th May:

God of all grace, thank you that you accept me, just as I am.  Help me to use my own skills and knowledge to help make the world a better place, to pass on the grace I have received.  Show me what is mine to do, O God. Amen.