Friday, 11 May 2018

Launching ‘Thy Kingdom Come’
at the General Synod in Armagh

Archbishop Richard Clarke and Archbishop Eamon Martin launching ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ at the General Synod in Armagh (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

Yesterday was Ascension Day. And at the end of a busy opening day at the General Synod in Armagh yesterday, the two Archbishops of Armagh, Archbishop Richard Clarke and Archbishop Eamon Martin launched ‘Thy Kingdom Come,’ an invitation to pray with Christians around the world during the nine days between Ascension and Pentecost, using art and scripture.

‘Changed Lives → Changing Lives’ is the guiding theme this year as people are invited to pray afresh for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

In doing so, people are joining thousands of others around the world as part of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ – an initiative encouraging people to explore through prayer how they might courageously witness to God’s life-changing work.

As the Apostles prayed together following Christ’s Ascension, waiting for the Holy Spirit to come at Pentecost, we too are invited to wait and pray today. They prayed in obedience, trusting that the way ahead would be revealed. May we, like the disciples, pray anticipating that the Spirit will show us new ways of living and loving. ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ asks that we may we be open to where God leads us, to be the change God wants to see in the world – whatever that might require.

As God is at work in us, he is also at work through us changing the lives of others. Please join with us as we pray together: ‘Come Holy Spirit: thy kingdom come’ and may our waiting and praying this Novena open our hearts afresh to God’s possibilities.

The ‘Pocket Prayers’ for 2018, from today for the next nine days, invite readers each day to:

LOOK at images and meet the characters caught up in life-changing moments, where the future is shaped by their encounter with God. They suggest letting those images reveal new possibilities for God’s Word to transform us and others.

WAIT prayerfully for the Holy Spirit. Pause, creating a space into which God can speak.

READ the Bible text, allow it to enliven your heart, stir your soul and spark your imagination.

LISTEN for insight through idea or image, through recollection or curiosity. Let that Word dwell within you, as you listen for yourself and your community.

RESPOND to the prompting of the Word, with an action that leads to life-giving change. Let the words of the collect gather up and bless these moments of prayerful waiting upon God, so his Kingdom might be seen more fully in you.

The Ascension depicted in the East Window in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Friday 11 May: Praise

LOOK… and be curious.

WAIT … with prayerful expectation.

Come Holy Spirit: Thy Kingdom Come.

READ… the text with an open mind.

As for me, I said in my prosperity, ‘I shall never be moved.’ By your favour, O Lord, you had established me as a strong mountain; you hid your face; I was dismayed. To you, O Lord, I cried, and to the Lord I made supplication: ‘What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!’ You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever. (Psalm 30: 6-12)

LISTEN … for a word with a willing heart.

RESPOND … with prayer and action.

Oh God, maker of mountains, present in our highest heights and lowest depths, as we recognise all that you have saved us from, help us also to see the life you lead us to. Drawn from the pit of despair may we stir up dust to sing and make it our delight to dance in praise of you.

Amen.

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