After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. Acts 1:9
Today is Ascension Day. My school gave us the morning off if we wanted to go to church on this day so the feast was rather popular but for all the wrong reasons. Going to church on Ascension Day, even for the right reasons, seems to be largely out of fashion now. Maybe we don’t feel like commemorating something which seems like bad news, Jesus leaving his disciples and going back to heaven.
So why is Ascension Day a key date in the church calendar? Surely it is because it is a pivotal moment in the birth of the church. Jesus went up to heaven leaving the responsibility for conveying the Gospel message to a rather odd assortment of human beings. This is how it has continued ever since, those who believe in Jesus, including you and me, have been handed the baton of proclaiming the Gospel in our time. But the disciples were not alone and nor are we. As Jesus promised his disciples (John 14 v 17 and 26) help is at hand in the form of the Holy Spirit.
An ancient tradition at Ascension tide has been to walk round the boundaries of a parish, marking the area and asking for blessing and protection; these are certainly needed now. As part of our responsibility to spread the love of God here and now I suggest we mark the period from Ascension to Pentecost by taking a tour round the parish (either physically - observing social distancing - or virtually) invoking the power of the Holy Spirit as we pray for the people of this parish and beyond. To assist we have produced a parish prayer walk which you can download by clicking here.
Enjoy the tour.
Prayer Heavenly Father we ask for your blessing on and protection for the people who live and work in our parish. Through the power of your Holy Spirit inspire and strengthen us to carry on the work Jesus handed on to the disciples that through our witness more and more people will come to know your Son, Jesus Christ. AMEN
Prayer Request – use the prayer walk to pray for people and places in our parish this week.