It was lovely to see so many people celebrating Easter with us. The good news is that we can continue to celebrate – Easter isn’t yet finished – it continues on for another 40 days when it will be just 214 days to Christmas!! Forty Days after Easter is Ascension Day (Thursday 25th May), the day we remember that Jesus, following his post resurrection appearances, ‘ascends’ back to His Father in heaven.
It’s a day that probably passes much of the world by, but Ascension Day was once celebrated universally and dramatically. Some churches had a special hole in their roof that was used on Ascension Day, with a likeness of the risen Lord hauled up from the floor of the nave through the roof and out of sight as the people worshipped below. The same hole was used ten days later on the Day of Pentecost when roses were showered down from above to symbolize the tongues of fire that rested on each one of the disciples on the first Pentecost.
The Ascension opened the way for God to send his Holy Spirit on all who believe, so that they might experience his presence with them in a new, most wonderful way from now until he returns again.
As the early disciples accompanied Jesus on that last journey, they were told to STOP, to WAIT for the Holy Spirit and then to GO into all the world to tell of God’s love and forgiveness.
So let’s take the opportunity to STOP for a few minutes each day, to WAIT on God and on the Holy Spirit and to seek his guidance on how and where we are to spread the message of the good news of Jesus far and wide.
Ascension Day also marks the day when the Archbishop of Canterbury encourages all Christians to pray. Have a look at www.thykingdomcome.global for some really good articles and suggestions of how you might pray. A survey a number of years ago found that people who prayed were generally happier and lived longer than those who didn’t! For Christians prayer is a lifeline – it has even been described as our ‘oxygen’. Of course we pray when we meet together as a church but we can all pray in the privacy of our own homes or when going about our daily work or when we’re out walking the dog. Prayer is simply a conversation with God – in which we both listen and speak to God.
In response to the Archbishop’s request to pray I will be ‘prayer walking’ around our villages (hopefully with some friends from the churches). This will involve simply walking around our community and stopping from time to time to pray for God’s peace, love and protection. It would be great to have as many people as possible join me:
Thursday 25th May 7.30pm Ascension Day Service in Long Marston Church
Saturday 27th May 6.30pm Pray for Meon Vale (meet at the Village Hall)
Tuesday 30th May 6pm Pray for Weston (meet at church) followed at 6.30pm Pray for Welford (meet at church)
Wednesday 31st May 6.30pm Pray for Quinton (meet at church)
Thursday 1st June 6.30pm Pray for Long Marston (meet at church)
Prayer can be difficult and if you would like someone to pray with then do get in touch with me.
Ros (Rector of Long Marston, Quinton, Welford and Weston)