Sunday after Ascension May 23rd

Reading, Homily and prayers for the Sunday after Ascension Day

( In a moment of silence ask  for God’s grace and blessing)

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Collect for Sunday after Ascension Day

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.  Amen

St John chapter 17 v 1-11

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life,  that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

‘I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine: and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.’

A reflection on those words

With time on our hands, Eleanor and I have been enjoying a challenge that we usually reserve only for Christmas. I doubt very much if you’ll  have guessed what I’m about to say, yet it’s a challenge that many enjoy. I’m speaking of jigsaws!

At this very moment our dining room table is covered with a completed 1000 piece jigsaw showing a marina crowded with ocean going yachts. It’s a picture of blue skies, masts, decking, spars, sails and rigging. It’s taken hour upon hour of close effort, to fit those 1000 pieces together. There have been many periods when we have despaired  of the task, and have turned away frustrated, only to return later with renewed intension. Rejoicing over a single piece lost then found, a single piece that simply wont fit, only to discover that we had been looking at it from the wrong perspective.  I rub my hands over the completed picture, enjoying it, reliving it, yet conscious that soon it must be broken up, and put away.

‘ Father, I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do.’

Jesus’s prayer to his heavenly Father, reaches out to touch those whose lives have  shared the experiences of these last days and years most intimately with him. They have not only observed, but engaged with him, shaping its story. There is a deep satisfaction true of those who have come through much together. A glory seen in a work faithfully done. But the momentum has not ended, for life, God’s risen life  is not confined to the mystery and wonder of those earthly events. There is a fuller unity still to be celebrated. A heavenly perspective.  While Christ looks to his Father, his prayer is focused on those whose life must be lived out in the world. A world where those who remain need care and protection. ‘ Father protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one.’ A  world where on the surface it is as if nothing has been achieved, yet all is  achieved, in that glory which is eternal. Yes a work is done, but a new work begins, constantly begins, with each dawning day.- On earth as in heaven

As we look to next Sunday’s festival of the Spirit, that dawning, that grace is indeed ours to feel and to welcome.

Fr Brian

Eternal God, giver of love and power, your Son Jesus Christ has sent us into the world to preach the gospel of his kingdom: confirm us in this mission, and help us to live the good news we proclaim; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen




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