St.Martin of Tours
Church Road, Chelsfield, BR6 7SN
© 2020 Chelsfield PCC
Charity Number 1131573
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A Communion Service for Ascension - 21 May
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St Martin’s worships and serves a loving God,
reaching out to the community in the name of
Sunday 24 May 2020
The Seventh Sunday of Easter
The news in the last few days few days with regard to COVID-19 have been more encouraging. Falling numbers of new cases, reducing fatalities, easing restrictions, return to work, hopes for a vaccine – all suggest that things are looking up.
This week, we celebrated Ascension Day; the festival marks Jesus’ return to heaven. In Acts 1.10, we read that the disciples ‘were looking up towards heaven’ as Jesus was going. In John 17.1, it says that Jesus ‘looked up to heaven’ and spoke to his father, delivering what was arguably his most extensive and profound prayer.
There are numerous references in the Bible to prophets, priests and kings looking up to the heavens for inspiration, guidance and signs. Indeed, some climbed mountains in the hope of getting closer to the one from whom they sought answers – a case of ‘nearer my God to thee’ perhaps!
Unless you’re a farmer, gardener or meteorologist, the concept of ‘looking up to the heavens’ tends to be more of a metaphorical one. We speak of ‘looking up’ the answer to a question or pondering whether things are ‘looking up’ – showing improvement.
However, in both readings, ‘looking up’ meant focusing on a God who has all the answers. In John 17.1-11, Jesus asks his heavenly father to protect his disciples and all those who seek to follow him.
People often talk about ‘looking up’ someone, which means visiting a person to make sure they are alright. Currently, this is still difficult, despite the easing of the lockdown. Yet, one of the most inspiring developments of this crisis has been the way people have been ‘looking out’ for one another, and showing a hitherto forgotten form of neighbourliness, and building up a community spirit. This has happened not only in big cities like London, but also in our own ‘village’ community in Chelsfield where the local volunteers have proved a real force for good.
So, as we slowly emerge from lockdown as a nation, may we also continue ‘looking up’ to God for the inspiration and ideas as to how we can better look out for those who will be unable to take advantage of the easing of these restrictions.
A personal prayer for looking up:
When we grow tired of looking out on a world of desperation,
may we look up to a God from whom we can seek inspiration,
and to the skies that God created.
May we find hope in what we see above,
whether viewed by day or night.
In those skies we see migrating birds and moving clouds,
which are no respecters of boundaries.
Unlike our world, defined by borders that can exclude some –
though not viruses.
In those skies we now glimpse an occasional airplane,
perhaps carrying returning passengers, stranded overseas,
or those coming to help with the harvest.
In those skies, we consider the joy of a child flying a kite,
watching as it twists and turns on the winds;
appearing as free as a bird, yet shackled by a string.
And in those skies, there are things that we struggle to see,
especially with the naked eye:
rain clouds emerging from the sea,
or tiny ice crystals forming snow.
Much like life, some things are not easy to comprehend.
Yet, in all of this, we thank you Lord, for life
in all its beauty, in all its complexity,
and pray for the strength to cope with all its challenges.
During the current Covid 19 service restrictions, We are required to keep the church and churchyard locked at all times. Rev John will be worshipping in private on your behalf at the following times:
Sunday 10.00am Holy Communion
Monday 9.30am Morning Prayer
Tuesday 11.30am Holy Communion
Wednesday 9.30am Morning Prayer
Thursday 7.00pm Evening Prayer
Friday 11.30am Holy Communion
Saturday 9.30am Morning Prayer
As the Archbishops remind us: ‘This is a defining moment for the Church of England. Are we truly a church for all, or just the church for ourselves? We urge you sisters and brothers to become a different sort of church in these coming months: hopeful and rooted in the offering of prayer and praise and overflowing in service to the world.
We will continue to keep in touch with all the people in our church family using various methods. Please refer regularly to the church website for updates.
If you have any pastoral needs, or are anxious and need prayer please contact Rev John at the Rectory on 01689 825749 or email:email@example.com
Ascension Day to Pentecost: Thy Kingdom Come
Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray from Ascension to Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus.
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. We are praying that the Spirit will inspire and equip us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with our friends and families, our communities and networks.
“In praying 'Thy Kingdom Come' we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities."
―Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
A Prayer Journal and a Novena for use during this period may be downloaded from:
An order for Daily Prayer may be downloaded from: