As we move from Easter to Pentecost, let us pause for a while at the feast of the Ascension. It is at the Ascension that Jesus hands over to his Apostles, and to us, his mission to bring all people closer to God the Father, through knowing and following His Son. Jesus commands us, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations!’ We are to bring God’s Kingdom into the lives of all we meet so that they too may share in the new life of the Resurrection.
And we are not alone. Following the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven, the Apostles returned to Jerusalem, to the upper room where they were staying and prayed constantly for the coming of the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and stepping out into the world, they carried on the mission of Jesus. Through prayer we too are able to call on the Holy Spirit to fill us with courage as we take on this mission of evangelisation, of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.
In the call to mission, Westminster Diocese is supporting the global prayer movement for evangelisation ‘Thy Kingdom Come’which takes place from Ascension to Pentecost.
‘Thy Kingdom Come’ invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ. What started out as an invitation from the Archbishop of Canterbury and York in 2016 to the Church of England has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer. In his role as Joint President of the Council of Churches for England, Cardinal Vincent Nichols says:
‘To have a week of prayer for Christian mission is just a wonderful thing. Please do join in before Pentecost, this drive to pray together for the gift of God’s spirit for our mission. We know how rich Pentecost is in the life of the Church from its very beginning. That richness can be ours too - if we ask God for it.’
Parishes will have received posters to advertise the event, a guide giving ideas on the parish community can be involved in the event, and prayer leaflets for individuals and families to pray during the event. All materials are also available to download from the Diocesan Website: http://rcdow.org.uk/faith/thy-kingdom-come-2017/ Further information and resources are also available from the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ website: https://www.thykingdomcome.global/ The website provides ideas and a range of resources for parishes, families and individuals to help everyone be involved in praying for evangelisation during this period.
A key aspect of the event is for individuals, families and parishes to ‘Pledge to Pray’. This is done by logging on to the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ website, and each pledge lights up a dot on world-wide map. Please do consider making a pledge to pray for evangelisation during this period.
Parish or Community Evangelisation Teams will be key to encouraging as many parishioners as possible to become involved in ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ and, through the workings of the Holy Spirit, take forward the work of evangelisation in Westminster Diocese.
Deacon Adrian Cullen