St. Mary's Church

Seventh Sunday of Easter

Seventh Sunday of Easter

23 May 2020 • General news

Acts 1:6-14

The Ascension of Jesus

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of[a] James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

1 Peter 4:12-14; 5. 6-11

Suffering as a Christian

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory,[a] which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.[b]

6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. 8 Discipline yourselves, keep alert.[d] Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters[e] in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. 10 And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.

John 17:1-11

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

17 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, 2 since you have given him authority over all people,[a] to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5 So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

6 “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. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8 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. 9 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. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 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.

Thought for Sunday 24th May 2020 by Malcolm Tyler

‘When will all of this end?’ I guess that is a question that many of us are asking at the moment .After seven or eight weeks of lockdown, the novelty has well and truly worn off. We would like to get back to some sense of normality, though what that will look like remains to be seen. In today’s reading from the Acts, Jesus disciples were wanting to know what was likely to happen and when but Jesus tells them that it is not for them to know. He goes on to tell them that they will receive the Holy Spirit to help them but then leaves them by ascending into heaven. Everything that they had known and trusted gone almost in an instant. Does that sound familiar?

I think all of us are trying to come to terms with this new normal. There are some real benefits for some us though. At the Vicarage, our evening meals have tended to extend with a good level of family chat, there being few evening meetings. We have too ‘zoomed’ a couple of times as a family. It isn’t the same as being with someone in person but it is better than nothing.

It is always tempting to look to the things we have lost in any new situation rather than to see the things we have gained. So we miss church (well certainly I do!) but I have had the chance to see how others do things on a Sunday morning. Needless to say, I think some are better than others! I have had a chance to speak to people a bit more than in a few grabbed moments after the service. You may too have found new ways to be family or community.

But in today’s reading from the Acts we are reminded that God himself doesn’t leave us. His presence may be different. For the disciples it meant not having the person of Jesus but rather the Holy Spirit. For us it means at the moment not having church services in the place we have come to love and cherish but rather pieces of paper and online services, if we can or want to access them. But God is still there and we can recognise him in new ways rather than lament our loss of the old ways.

I have found for myself that I have had to be really intentional in looking for God. The first couple of weeks were really difficult and I have had to spend more time in my prayers and bible reading to develop new patterns. And lo and behold, it can work. This is not to say that it is easy every day. Some days each of us at the Vicarage have found it really difficult to be motivated to do what we should be doing, but I am encouraged that we are getting through it. God hasn’t left us, just as he didn’t leave the disciples at the Ascension. We, like the disciples, are needing to find new ways to see him. Take courage, try a few new things and rely on the help God gives through his Holy Spirit.

Intercessions for 24.5.20 by Malcolm Tyler

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

seeking the Father’s blessing and the gifts of the Spirit.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you have exalted your Son Christ Jesus to your right hand,

and made him the head over all things for his body the Church:

hear us as we pray for the Church throughout the world. Especially we

pray for churches throughout the world as they continue to spread

your Word whilst unable to meet and for all people missing the

comfort of meeting together.

Make us and all your people receptive to the gifts he pours upon us,

that we may use them to your glory,

and the building up of the body of Christ.

Lord, in your mercy:

hear our prayer.

Lord God Almighty, the Ancient of Days,

you have given your Son all authority in heaven and on earth:

hear us as we pray for the world he came to redeem. We especially

pray for leaders at all levels called to make difficult decisions for the

good of all people.

Grant that we may know even in this time of lockdown the things that

bring us together, and make for the reconciliation of all people

in his kingdom of justice and love.

Lord, in your mercy:

hear our prayer.

Father of all, whose Son has promised to be with us always,

to the end of the age:

hear us as we pray for those among whom we live and work even when

we do not share the same physical space with them.

Grant that we may be so aware of his presence with us,

that people may take note of us, that we have been with Jesus.

We pray at this time for all involved with schools as they plan for the

re-opening of schools in the near future. May there be a real sense of

safety for all who return either as staff or pupil.

Lord, in your mercy:

hear our prayer.

O God our Redeemer, whose Son ever lives to make intercession for us:

hear us as we pray for those in any kind of need. Especially we

remember before you Audrey Curtis and Linda Hodgkiss,

but also others known to us.

May he who has borne our infirmities strengthen and heal them,

that they may find grace to help in time of need,

and rejoice in his salvation.

Lord, in your mercy:

hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, whose Son has borne our humanity into the heavenly realms,

and gone before us to prepare a place for us:

hear us as we remember before you those, especially Owen Vigeon, whose earthly sojourn is over,

and whose life is now hidden in him with you.

Make us joyful and expectant, that at his coming with all his own

we too may go forth to meet him, and share in his eternal joy.

Merciful Father,

accept these prayers

or the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ.




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