Today is Ascension Day, and Christians everywhere will be hearing about the event that Luke wrote about twice, first at the end of his Gospel and again at the beginning of Acts – of Jesus being taken up into heaven. The Acts account is fuller, as Luke is setting out to tell the story of the growth of the early church, and he includes the words of Christ immediately before he ascends into heaven: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) In the sermon that’s linked to this post, Phil Magee explores the thought that the transition that takes place at the Ascension is a launching pad for future witness.
But, while they were waiting in anticipation for the power that would enable them to carry out Christ’s commission, what were the disciples doing? They were meeting together to pray! Their example has been followed by Christians through the centuries who have gathered at that time to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ initiative picks up this tradition, and over the past three years more and more worshipping communities have dedicated the days between Ascension and Pentecost to pray – this year churches from over 65 different denominations in 114 countries around the world are inviting Christians to pray for more people to come to know Jesus.
Archbishop Justin Welby put his invitation this way: “Jesus prayed at the Last Supper that we, those who follow him, might ‘be one, that the world might believe’. We are invited to make a lasting difference in our nations and in our world, by responding to his call to find a deep unity of purpose in prayer.”
It’s not complicated – the invitation is simply for Christians to commit to pray – as a church, individually, or as a family – in whatever way they want, and wherever they can, so that others might know Jesus Christ. Many of the resources are web-based, and we encourage you to explore what’s available and to register at https://www.thykingdomcome.global. For example, you can download the official ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ App which has free daily Bible readings, video reflections and podcasts from world-renowned theologian, Tom Wright.
Specifically Methodist on-line resources, which include a Methodist ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ service, are also available at www.methodist.org.uk/thykingdomcome.