O God of glory,
Your Son Jesus Christ suffered for us and ascended to Your right hand. Unite us with Christ and each other, in suffering and in joy, that all Your children may be drawn into Your bountiful dwelling.
Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35 & Acts 1:6-14
Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35
Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
let those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
as wax melts before the fire,
let the wicked perish before God.
But let the righteous be joyful;
let them exult before God;
let them be jubilant with joy.
Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds—
his name is the Lord—
be exultant before him.
Father of orphans and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
God gives the desolate a home to live in;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious live in a parched land.
O God, when you went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness,
the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain
at the presence of God, the God of Sinai,
at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad;
you restored your heritage when it languished;
your flock found a dwelling in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.
Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth;
sing praises to the Lord,
O rider in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
listen, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
Ascribe power to God,
whose majesty is over Israel;
and whose power is in the skies.
Awesome is God in his sanctuary,
the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people.
Blessed be God!
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set 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, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 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.”
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 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 James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
Spend some time with the folks in your household, or your small group, or someone from church this week and talk about some of these questions:
What does it mean to you that Jesus has ascended to heaven? Why is that important?
What do you think it was like for the disciples to have to give up their idea of what Jesus restoring the Kingdom of God would look like? How do we have to surrender our ideas to God today? What is one thing you've recently had to surrender?
Where is a place you think the Holy Spirit is asking you to redirect your vision? Why? What is one way you think God wants to invite you into His mission of making earth more like heaven this week?
How can we pray for you? What needs do you have, or what do you want us to ask God to accomplish in you and through you?
Good Morning, Church,
Imagination has never been a strong gift of mine, so much so, that I wear almost the same type of grey t-shirt and blue jeans to work every day. On Thursday this past week I wore a hoodie to work and people almost didn’t recognize me as it was so shocking that my imagination had carried me to that decision.
That being said, I am learning to appreciate the imagination of others more and more. I can thank my wife Stacey for bringing about this change with her incredible artistic skill and understanding. I am thankful for the writings of C.S. Lewis and through his imaginative stories I have experienced Jesus in a way I hadn’t before. I wanted to share a small portion of a story with you this morning that I shared with our church leadership in a meeting last week. It is from The Magicians Nephew by C.S. Lewis and is part of the Chronicles of Narnia series. I have been reading these stories to Parker and Anna recently and been struck by very meaningful imagery that I didn’t see or comprehend when I had previously read them.
It’s a bit of a spoiler but I’ll preface this excerpt with a brief explanation. Digory’s mother is sick back home in London and he wishes so much to be able to help her. He is now face to face with Aslan, who has just created the world of Narnia, and is being asked to make amends for his mistakes.
"Son of Adam," said Aslan. "Are you ready to undo the
wrong that you have done to my sweet country of Narnia on the very day of its
"Well, I don't see what I can do," said Digory. "You see, the Queen ran away and - "
"I asked, are you ready?" said the Lion.
"Yes," said Digory. He had had for a second some wild idea of saying "I'll try to help you if you'll promise to help my Mother," but he realized in time that the Lion was not at all the sort of person one could try to make bargains with. But when he had said "Yes," he thought of his Mother, and he thought of the great hopes he had had, and how they were all dying away, and a lump came in his throat and tears in his eyes, and he blurted out:
"But please, please - won't you - can't you give me something that will cure Mother?" Up till then he had been looking at the Lion's great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion's eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory's own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.
As you come to the communion table this morning, I pray that you can experience Jesus in a new way. His love for you is beyond comprehension. As this beautiful image expresses, your sorrow is His sorrow. He is in time of hardship with you. In the same way, your joy is His joy and He shares the times of jubilation with you. Be encouraged that our Lord and Saviour walked this earth and experienced all the love, joy and pain and suffering that we do. He knows and He cares deeply for you.
Blessings on you all.
Use email or social media to invite others to join you
and work through the elders' guide together (see here).
Some of the elders will also be hosting virtual Communion gatherings
at various times on Sunday.
To find out more, contact them here.
Our community has been blessed to be able give generously in so many ways
serving our community and each other.
If you would like to give directly to the budget,
e-transfers can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Benevolence is very important to our Church.
Lord, we thank you for all your blessings and for the joy of
being able to give.
We are mindful that
so many are facing financial hardships and uncertainty and lift them up to You.
We pray for wisdom to use our offerings well, in ways that
bless those in need and further Your kingdom.