17 May 2023
Morning prayers in Easter
with USPG: (39) 17 May 2023
This is the Sixth Week of Easter, and Eastertide continues throughout this week and next week, until the Day of Pentecost.
Before this day gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for prayer and reflection. As tomorrow (18 May 2023) is Ascension Day, I am reflecting each morning this week in these ways:
1, Looking at a depiction of the Ascension in images or stained glass windows in a church or cathedral I know;
2, the Gospel reading of the day in the Church of England lectionary;
3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.
The Ascension Windows, Saint Thomas the Apostle Church, Heptonstall:
The Ascension is the theme in the East Window and a window in the North Wall in Saint Thomas the Apostle Church in Heptonstall, above Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, which I was writing about on Monday evening (15 May 2023).
Two churches share the same ground and churchyard in Heptonstall: the mediaeval Church of Saint Thomas a’ Becket, founded in the mid-13th century, and the Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle, built in the 1850s to replace the earlier church.
The East Window in Heptonstall is a five-light window. The lower panels depict the Crucifixion in the three centre panels, with the two thieves on either side. The panel to the left depicts the Nativity, and the panel to the right depicts Christ being buried in the tomb.
Above the Crucifixion scene, the upper panels in the East Window depict the Ascension of Christ in the three centre panels, with the disciples show on either side. The panel to the left depicts the Resurrection, with Christ appearing to Saint Mary Magdalene, while the panel to the right is also a Resurrection scene, depicting Christ at the supper in Emmaus.
The Ascension is also depicted in a window in the north wall of the church.
John 16: 12-15 (NRSVA):
[Jesus said:] 12 ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.’
The theme this week in the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) is ‘The Ascension.’ USPG’s Global Theologian, the Revd Dr Peniel Rajkumar, reflected on the Ascension in the prayer diary on Sunday.
The USPG Prayer invites us to pray this morning (Wednesday 17 May 2023):
Let us pray for those who have lost loved ones. May they know the support of friends and the comfort of God’s presence.
God our redeemer,
you have delivered us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:
grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life,
so by his continual presence in us he may raise us
to eternal joy;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
God our Father,
whose Son Jesus Christ gives the water of eternal life:
may we thirst for you,
the spring of life and source of goodness,
through him who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org
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