Today is the feast of The Ascension – the occasion on which the risen Christ is taken into heaven after appearing to his followers for forty days (Acts 1:1-11, Mk 16:19). The Ascension marks the conclusion of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances. It is the final elevation of his human nature to divine glory and the near presence of God.
I marked the Ascension Day last year by enjoining the parish where I was serving at the time to the global prayer movement, Thy Kingdom Come – a movement that invites Christians around the world to pray for more people to come to know Jesus. Here’s the story of its origins:
As stated on the homepage of Thy Kingdom Come:
After the very first Ascension Day the disciples gathered with Mary, constantly devoting themselves to prayer while they waited for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Like them, our reliance on the gift of the Holy Spirit is total – on our own we can do nothing.
Through the centuries Christians have gathered at that time to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ picks up this tradition. Over the past three years more and more worshipping communities have dedicated the days between Ascension and Pentecost to pray ‘Come Holy Spirit’.
We are praying that the Spirit would inspire and equip us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with our friends and families, our communities and networks. It has been amazing how many varied ways there have been in which people from every tradition have taken up this challenge. The effects have been remarkable.
It is our prayer that those who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus Christ and his love for the world will hear it for themselves, and respond and follow Him. Specifically, we again invite each and every Christian across the country to pray that God’s Spirit might work in the lives of 5 friends who have not responded with their ‘Yes’ to God’s call.
Whether you have joined in ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ before or not, we invite you to take part this year – along with churches from over 65 different denominations in 114 countries around the world.
Acts 1, 2 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses …to the ends of the earth. When he had said this…he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight…Then they returned to Jerusalem … and were constantly devoting themselves to prayer… When the day of Pentecost had come they were all together in one place… All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit… and that day about three thousand persons were added.”
In praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities.
During the 11 days of Thy Kingdom Come, the people of my parish and I participated by creating a knotted prayer bracelet to touch and hold while we prayed for five people, with the aim that we individually and corporately as God’s church in Sonoma, we would
- Deepen our relationships with Jesus Christ
- Pray for God’s spirit to work in the lives of those we know
- Come to realize that every aspect of our life is the stuff of prayer
I’ve pulled out the bracelet I made and wore last year and have begun, today, anew my prayers that the Holy Spirit continues to animate my life in ways that make known to my five loved ones especially, the good news of the kingdom come.
I’ve joined Thy Kingdom Come as an individual this year and am praying that you, too, might sign up to Pledge2Pray that the Holy Spirit might work in the lives of five people on your heart,
…to encounter Jesus in all His grace, challenge, and love, that they might say with St Paul, ‘For me to live is Christ’.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
 The Ascension is affirmed by the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds. The Ascension is celebrated on Ascension Day, the Thursday that is the fortieth day of the Easter season. It is a principal feast of the church year in the Episcopal Church. https://www.episcopalchurch.org/library/glossary/ascension-christ-or-ascension-day