Church of England Diocese of Gloucester Newnham

Together in Prayer on Sunday 24th May: the 7th Sunday of Easter

Many of us in Newnham are reading this version of Morning Prayer at 10am on Sunday so that we can be together in prayer. But use it in whatever way is helpful to you. Go from start to finish, or pick and choose the prayers, readings or thought for the week. We hope that this will help strengthen our community as we journey through a season where gathered services are suspended. Begin by being still. You might like to light a candle to help you focus….

O Lord, awaken us to your glory, awaken us to your glory, O Lord. Dispel the darkness of night, overcome our heaviness of heart, cure the blindness of our sight, heal the deafness of our ears, open the mouth that is dumb, restore a gentleness of touch, encourage in us a sense of adventure, give us an awareness of you. O Lord, awaken us to your glory, awaken us to your glory, O Lord. The night has passed, and the day lies open before us; let us pray with one heart and mind.

Silence is kept.

As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; now and for ever. Amen.

Prayers of Penitence

What God has prepared for those who love him, he has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything: therefore, let us open our hearts to the Lord, who has prepared food for those who love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

From the Prayer Diary for Thy Kingdom Come: Loving God, I am sorry for times when I have not loved others as You love. Thank you that, before I thought of confessing You had forgiven me. I confess all that is not right in my life today and ask for the forgiveness You so lovingly give. May this love transform my friends lives also. Amen

May the God of love and power forgive us and free us from our sins, heal and strengthen us by his Spirit, and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect for the Seventh Sunday of Easter

O God the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Reading: Luke 24-44-53

'Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you— that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” 50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53 and they were continually in the temple blessing God.'

Thought for the Week: Revd Fred Long

Near Llandudno in North Wales is Ormes Head. Many people, often visitors, decide to go to the top walking or by tram. The road winds its way up the peninsula until it finally reaches a cemetery. At the times I made my first visit, one was faced with a notice, “No Road beyond the Cemetery”. Many people turn back but those who know or who are adventurous or who have faith to explore beyond, find that there is a path which leads through the cemetery leading to the summit where you can view the splendour of Snowdonia and the Irish Sea. To the characters on the first Good Friday the thought, No Road beyond the cemetery, must have been very real. The journey through the graveyard was then as it still is for many today surrounded by fear and disbelieve. Yet on Easter Sunday and the following days the disciples are to explore and witness to a new and powerful understanding, Christ is alive, Christ lives. The gospel accounts of the meetings with Our Lord is dominated not be his words but by his presence.

Easter celebrates that by a mighty intervention God has given us a visible assurance of his fellowship with us, which has an eternal dimension. And so we come to the Ascension. The incident is told in the simplest of languages, but the drama is dramatic. Jesus leads his followers to Bethany and raising his hands blesses them and during that act is parted from them.

Many questions can be raised but St Luke records that those gathered reacted not with terror, not even confusion, but that they “returned to Jerusalem with great joy.” Why? Because they knew that they had a saviour from whom nothing - nothing at all – could separate them any more. St Paul put it thus “I am persuaded, that nothing (he means life or death) can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.” For the disciples the Ascension becomes a sign that the victory of Christ is complete, his glory, becomes our glory.

As a Christian we enter through our Baptism into the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Each of us are invited to look beyond our immediate situation and see and experience the love of Christ which we receive through the Holy Spirit. To all, may the Joy of the Lord Jesus be with you and all those you love. Amen.

Prayers and Intercessions

Risen and Ascended Lord, You have promised to be with us always; teach us to be aware of your presence, and to abide in your love, that we may walk in the way that leads to glory where you live and reign with the Father and Holy Spirit, May your kingdom come, On earth as in heaven. Amen

Lord Jesus, you came down to lift us up, We pray that your kingdom would come, with all that reveals your presence and kingly rule, we pray for peace where there is conflict, we pray for healing, protection and comfort for all affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, we pray for guidance and wisdom for leaders, we pray for love among our neighbours, we pray for friendship for the lonely, we pray for reconciliation in our relationships, our communities, and all creation. May your kingdom come, on earth as in heaven. Amen

Eternal God, giver of love and power, your Son Jesus Christ has sent us into all the world to preach the gospel of his kingdom; confirm us in this mission, and help us to live the good news we proclaim, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Enjoy a time of open prayer. Play some music, enjoy God’s presence and peace.

Rejoicing in God’s new creation, as our Saviour taught us, so we pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

Lord, set your blessing on us as we begin this day together. Confirm in us the truth by which we rightly live; confront us with the truth from which we wrongly turn. We ask not for what we want but for what you know we need, as we offer this day and ourselves for you and to you through Jesus Christ, our Saviour, Amen

Rejoice this day, for Christ has ascended into heaven, He has opened the gate of glory, He ever prays for us at the right hand of the Father, And he is with us by his Spirit. Thanks be to God. Alleluia!