Thy Kingdom Come – May Newsletter
“It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. Acts 1:7-9
Every time I write for the Parish news it seems we’ve just been away, and this time is no different. I’m a Vicar I only work a day a week anyway – well actually half a day! Last week during the Easter break we journeyed up to Scotland on a family break including Edinburgh and Oban. We were blessed with good weather and a very restful break. In tropical Oban we caught up with friends and were reminded of the early days of parenthood as they have just had their daughter who was 3 weeks old at the time. Whilst there amongst other things we went on a boat trip to see a seal colony, which to be fair sounds more grand than it was – I’m not sure 7 seals makes a colony, but the boys thoroughly enjoyed it anyway.
On our way back down the weather changed a little and as we were driving back through the mountains towards Glasgow, the clouds were coming down around the foothills. It was very dramatic and we were once again reminded of God’s wonderful creation. As we were driving through Daniel suddenly piped up and asked ‘why the clouds were suspended on the hillside’. I have to say it’s along time since I was at school and I was struggling to recall from my old geography/physics lessons what I had learnt about why clouds form a fog. I’m not even sure if they would have been the classes I would have learnt that in! Anyway I came up with some interesting sounding drivel that seemed to satisfy him at the time. It wasn’t until later that he suddenly asked me, ‘If I walked into those clouds on the hill would I disappear and then reappear again?’ It took me a moment!!
As we journey through this Easter season, we quickly approach, Ascension Day on the 10th May. It’s the day in the church calendar we recall those events in Acts 1 when Jesus left the disciples on a hillside and returned to heaven to dwell alongside his Father. Reading this passage again it’s hard not to think about what the disciples must have been thinking at that precise moment they saw Jesus disappear into the clouds. I wonder if like Daniel they were thinking ‘he’s disappeared, maybe he’ll reappear again soon’. It probably didn’t help that as they were looking up into the clouds two angels appeared and said “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Surely you’d be thinking, ‘well he’ll be back soon!’ And yet we still wait in anticipation today for Jesus to return.
One of the key parts of our faith is that this Jesus, who died, who was raised and who ascended to heaven, will one day return again to take us to be with him where his Father is. We wait with anticipation. We maybe wait with a little worry – will he take me? And we wait sometimes with great impatience. That must have been how the disciples felt, excited, worried, impatient. But wait they did, together, in prayer, in worship and then at Pentecost 10 days later the wonderful gift Jesus promised was given. The Holy Spirit came upon them and their lives were transformed. These fishermen, tax collectors and a bunch of nobodies who we know very little about, were so empowered by the Spirit they rushed out and spread the word of God, so much so that in one day over 3000 people became believers in Christ.
This year, as in the last few years, we are being encouraged as churches to use the 10 days between Ascension and Pentecost as days of prayer. These days of prayer are called ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ and as a church we will be offering times for people to come and prayer together, you may see some of us wandering around praying in our local area and we hope to have some resources for individuals to use at home. I encourage you to join us as we pray for the St Anne’s community and Worksop during this time. My prayer will be that we truly do see God’s Kingdom Come in this area and to our nation and like the disciples we are empowered by the Spirit to see new believers encounter Jesus in their own lives. I hope you have a blessed month and long may the wonderful weather continue.