Christ’s ascension made spreading his message across the world possible. As we remember and celebrate the work of our Saviour let us consider how we may continue to make Jesus known, both near and far.
Risen Christ, you have raised our human nature to the throne of heaven: help us to seek and serve you, that we may join you at the Father’s side, where you reign with the Spirit in glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Jesus instructed his followers to declare repentance and forgiveness to all. We come to acknowledge our own need.
We have failed to proclaim God’s love to others.
Lord, have mercy.
We have failed to turn to Jesus for forgiveness of our own wrongdoing, living with guilt when we need not do so.
Christ, have mercy.
We have failed to listen to Christ’s words and to act on them.
Lord, have mercy.
Bible Reading: Luke 24:44-end
In today’s gospel we hear the story of Jesus’ last hours on earth. Of course, they are not conventional last hours. Jesus, unlike anyone else, had already passed through death and had been resurrected. The disciples must have wondered what was coming next and what their role might be. In Luke’s account the women go to the tomb and discover the extraordinary news, followed by Peter. The story goes on to describe Jesus’ appearance to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Finally, in today’s reading, Jesus appears again and opens their minds to understand the scriptures, telling them to stay in Jerusalem to wait for power from on high. They follow him to Bethany where he ascends to heaven, leaving them to return to Jerusalem to wait. We are told that they rejoice all the way. Such rejoicing must have required tremendous faith, since their beloved friend had gone for ever.
Even before the Holy Spirit comes they are ‘on a high’. Is it because of the wonderful and inspiring knowledge they gained when Jesus opened their minds to understand the scriptures? The significance of this brief verse about opening the scriptures is often passed over in favour of the extraordinary effect of the Holy Spirit, who fills the disciples with power just a few days later.
When Jesus opened the scriptures to the disciples they discovered what their role was to be – to go out and tell the world. This sounds like a difficult task but they do not have to carry it out alone. The Holy Spirit is promised to give them power and guidance. As we follow in the steps of the disciples, we have the same responsibility and the same Holy Spirit to guide us. Our task is to learn from the scriptures we have been given and from our own experience of God. We are then to pass this knowledge and experience on to others.
For our task we have God’s own Spirit to teach us. Can we play our part in proclaiming God’s truth to all the nations?
Let us pray that the good news of God in Christ may shine in the world, wherever there is need.
May the light of Christ transform the places where there is conflict, poverty and distress.
May those who have no hope find it in the worlds of those who proclaim the love of God.
May those who are sick or dying find comfort in the knowledge of Christ’s presence with them.
May those who are timid find a voice to declare the good news as Christ has commanded us.
Lord of salvation, hear our prayers and send your Holy Spirit to help us to bring your words of salvation to others. Amen.
May God give you grace to hear and understand the scriptures, to rejoice in the good news and to share it with all. And the blessing of God almighty Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you and remain with you always. Amen.
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