Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Ascension to Pentecost: Thy Kingdom Come…

“Thy Kingdom Come” is a critical phrase in the Lord’s Prayer. It’s how Jesus teaches us to pray: expectantly and trusting that God will hear our prayer. These words, “Thy Kingdom Come,” have in recent years been used as a name for an initiative by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to encourage us in our lives of prayer and to share our faith more widely. It’s an initiative which asks us to do this particularly in the period between Ascension Day and Pentecost. More and more churches have joined in - and it’s no longer something just for the Church of England. This year we have the opportunity to play our part.

There’s a website which tells you more - just search for it or look on the Church of England’s website. It makes suggestions as to some of the things a church might do. You could, it says:

  • Hold a Messy Church – if you’ve not done this before your first one could be themed around Thy Kingdom Come.
  • Introduce prayer stations at your church. For suggestions see our Bright Ideas for Your church booklet.
  • Hold a 24-7 prayer event in your church.
  • Go on a Prayer Safari.
  • Encourage your home group to run a Thy Kingdom Come session.
  • Go into your local school assembly and talk to the children about prayer.
  • Hold a prayer kite festival or a prayer bear picnic.
  • Have a ‘pray for five friends’ session.

That’s not to say what you should do, but what you could. You’ll probably realise that in fact they include some things we already do - from prayer opportunities in church to Messy Church. And we’ll be doing them and more in the period suggested, from Ascension Day, Thursday 10th May to Pentecost, Sunday 20th May.

We have a ready-made opportunity on Ascension Day. That’s the day we’re hosting our Deanery’s special Eucharist to celebrate the Feast. So instead of our usual Thursday morning service, we’ll have a Sung Eucharist at 7pm. Please come then, and please bring other people with you! We want to be able to give a big welcome to people from other churches in our Deanery - and to celebrate in a big way. Ascension Day recognises the place of Jesus at his Father’s right hand, exalted to the heavens - and it tells us of our hope as Jesus carries our humanity into the heart of God.

As to the other suggestions for joining in the initiative… I’ll expect to be in our schools for assemblies - not as a result of a special effort, but because it’s part of our regular ministry. There’ll be Messy Church too - something we’re already doing and on its regular day. And it will be Christian Aid Week, where we can be glad that people will be going out as part of their Christian discipleship to help the poorest of our world’s people. This is a regular thing too - though we can always use more help (see the separate article).

We’ve mentioned in this month’s Messy Church article that we hope to carry on what we begin in the Tuesday meeting onto the following Sunday - that’s Pentecost, 20th May. The Feast celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. And God calls us to be blessed by the Holy Spirit too. “Thy Kingdom Come,” we should pray. It’s the recognition that we are disciples of Jesus. And at Pentecost the first Disciples are transformed by the coming of the Spirit into Apostles - people who are sent out with a mission. It’s a calling for us all: to learn as disciples - to know ourselves changed by God’s work in us and to share that faith by word and deed.

Martin Jackson

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