Service for Sunday 29th May 2022, conducted by Mr Geoffrey Webber

Servicing the Bald Hills and nearby Communities

Service for Sunday 29th May 2022, conducted by Mr Geoffrey Webber

Welcome: –

Call to Worship  (The Apostles’ Creed): –

For the Catholic and Protestant Churches, Ascension Day was last Thursday.  Orthodox Churches, because they follow a different Liturgical Calendar, will celebrate Ascension Day on 2nd June.  Ascension Day is traditionally celebrated on a Thursday, the 40th day after the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, ( 17th April 2022) , the day of his first appearance to the Disciples and to his other followers, as per Luke’s writing in Acts 1:3.  Ascension Day commemorates Jesus Christ’s ascension into Heaven, and is meaningful to the Church as it signifies the end of his work on Earth and the commencement of his work in Heaven.

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I thought that it would be appropriate, on the Sunday closest to Ascension Day, to say together the Apostles’ Creed as our Call to Worship.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
Creator of Heaven and Earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into Heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.  Amen.

(English Language Liturgical Consultation 1988 revised translation)

“Praying Together” (PDF). English Language Liturgical Consultation. 1988. p. 22]

Acclamation of Praise  

(from Psalm 47: 1 & 2 and 6 to 9, and 93: 1 to 4) 

Clap your hands for joy, all peoples!

Praise God with loud songs!

The LORD is King.

He is clothed with majesty and strength.

You set the Earth firmly in place

And it cannot be moved.

Your throne, O LORD, has been firm from the beginning,

And you existed before Time began.

The ocean depths raise their voice to you, O LORD,

They raise their voice and roar.

But you, O LORD, are more powerful than the waves of the sea.

The LORD rules supreme.

The LORD, the Most High, is to be feared;

He is a great King, ruling over all the World.

God sits on His sacred throne,

The rulers of all the Nations assemble before him.

More powerful than all armies is our God.

The LORD rules supreme.

Sing praise to God,

Sing praise to our King.

God is King over all the World,

Praise Him with songs.

We sing: ‘All that I am, all that is me’  –  Scripture in Song vol 3 number 456

[This song can be sung to the tune Wareham (refer to TiS377).]

These are the words:

Verse 1 of 3

All that I am, all that is me,

All that I’ve ever wanted to be,

All that I’ve said, all that I’ve done.

Lord, I give now, all to your Son.

Verse 2 of 3

All that I say, all that I do,

Lord my desire is to glorify you.

All that you say, your purpose to be,

Lord, might be revealed, through Jesus, in me.

Verse 3 of 3

All that I am, all that is me,

All that I’ve ever wanted to be,

All that I’ve said, all that I’ve done.

Lord, I give now, all to your Son.

Gil Watson and Maurie Hooper

We sing: ‘Give thanks with a grateful heart’  –  Scripture in Song vol 3 number 509

Prayer of Confession   

Almighty God, we come to confess our lack of trust in you.  While we sing of your Lordship over all your

Creation, we too often act as though you are powerless in the face of today’s events and the actions and intents of people and Nations.

Have mercy on us God.

Almighty God, we come to confess our short-sightedness.  While we sing of treasuring your love for us above everything else, we are drawn to worldly comforts and attractions.

Have mercy on us God.

Almighty God, we come to confess our lack of love.  While we talk and pray of the need to care for widows and orphans, we don’t do anything to help those who are left out of Society and are marginalised.

Have mercy on us God.

Almighty God, we come to confess our coldness towards others.  While we sing of your love for all people, we don’t do anything to break down the ‘walls’ that separate us from our neighbours.

Have mercy on us God.

Almighty God, we come to confess that we do not live our lives as Kingdom People.  We are ruled by our schedules and our urge to be in control.  We make kings of the things that we can acquire, and queens of our immediate desires.  Have mercy on us O God.

Forgive us we pray, amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness 

(from 1 Corinthians 1: 23 & 2: 5) 

Paul explained to the believers in Corinth, that we, as the Church, proclaim the crucified and risen Christ, that our salvation does not rest on our abilities but solely on the power of God.  Let us be assured that God has heard our prayers and our acclamation of our faith in His work of salvation for Humanity in and through Jesus Christ.  Let us be assured that God has forgiven us and has cleansed us in His sight.

Thanks be to God.

Prayer of illumination  (from Uniting in Worship Book 1 number 13 & 14 p599) 

  Prepare our hearts, O Lord, to be guided by your Word and the Holy Spirit, that in your light we may perceive your mercy and grace, that in your truth we may find freedom, and that in your will we may discover peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Bible Readings

Psalm 97:

1  The LORD is King!  Let the Earth be glad,

Let the coasts and islands all rejoice!

2  Clouds and mist enfold Him,

He rules with righteousness and justice.

6  The heavens proclaim His righteousness,

And the peoples of all Nations see His glory.

7  Everyone who worships idols is put to shame;

All the gods bow down before the LORD.

8  The people of Zion are glad,

And the cities of Judah rejoice because of your judgements, O LORD.

9  LORD Almighty, you are ruler of all the Earth;

You are much greater than all the gods.

10  The LORD loves those who hate evil;

He protects the lives of His people;

He rescues them from the power of the wicked.

11  Light shines on the righteous,

And gladness on the good.

12  Remember what the holy God has done,

And give thanks to Him.

Isaiah 12, 25 & 26:

1  A day is coming when people will sing:

“I praise you, LORD!  You were angry with me,

But now you comfort me and are angry no longer.

2  God is my Saviour; I will trust Him and not be afraid.

The LORD gives me power and strength; He is my Saviour.

3  As fresh water brings joy to the thirsty,

So God’s people rejoice when He saves them.”

4  A day is coming when people will sing:

“Give thanks to the LORD!  Call for Him to help you!

Tell all the Nations what He has done!  Tell them how great He is!

5  Sing to the LORD because of the great things He has done.

Let the whole World hear the news.

6  Let everyone who lives in Zion shout and sing!

Israel’s holy God is great, and He lives among His people.”

1  LORD, you are my God, I will honour you and praise your name.

You have done amazing things;

You have faithfully carried out the plans you made long ago.

3  You, LORD, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm,

And put their trust in you.

4  Trust in the LORD forever;

He will always protect us.

7  LORD, you make the path smooth for good people;

The road they travel is level.

8  We follow your will and put our hope in you;

You are all that we desire.

Acts 1:

10  The Apostles still had their eyes fixed on the sky as Jesus went away, when two men, dressed in white, suddenly stood beside them,  11 and said, “Galileans, why are you standing there looking up at the sky?  This Jesus, who was taken from you into Heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to Heaven.

12  Then the Apostles went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is about half a mile (0.8 kilometre) away from the City.  13  They entered the City and went up to the room where they were staying: Peter, john, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Patriot, and Judas son of James.  14  They gathered frequently to pray as a group, together with the women and with Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers.

15  A few days later, there was a meeting of the believers, about a hundred and twenty in all, and Peter stood up to speak.  16  “My brothers and sisters,” he said, “the Scripture had to come true in which the Holy Spirit, speaking through David, made the prediction about Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.  17  Judas was a member of our group, for he had been chosen to have a part in our work.  20  For it is written in the Book of Psalms:

‘May his house become empty; may no one live in it.’  (Psalm 69: 25) 

It is also written, ‘May someone else take his place of service.’  (Psalm 109: 8) 

21  So, then, someone must join us as a witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  He must be one of the men who were in our group during the whole time that the Lord Jesus travelled with us,  22  beginning from the time John preached his message of baptism until the day Jesus was taken up from us to Heaven.”

23  So they proposed two men: Joseph, who was from Barsabbas (also known as Justus), and Matthias.  24  Then they prayed, “Lord, you know the thoughts of everyone, so show us which one of these two you have chosen  25  to serve as an Apostle in the place of Judas, who left to go to the place where he belongs.”  26  Then they drew lots to choose between the two men, and the one chosen was Matthias, who was added to the group of eleven Apostles.

[Today’s English Version]

This is the Word of God.

Praise to you Almighty God.

Luke 24:

50  Then Jesus led them out of the City as far as Bethany, where he raised his hands and blessed them.  51  As he was blessing them, he departed from them and was taken up into Heaven.  52  They worshipped him and went back into Jerusalem, filled with great joy,  53  and spent all their time in the Temple giving thanks to God.

[Today’s English Version]

This is the Gospel of our Lord.

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

Passing the Peace  (from Romans 1: 7b) 

We are gathered in this place, and in the homes of friends, to acknowledge the holiness and authority of Almighty God.  Trusting in His grace and mercy, let us lift up our hands and share with each other, with those who are here and with those in their homes: “May the peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be always with you.”

And also with you.

We sing the Hymn: ‘Now is eternal life’  TiS385  AHB305

Verse 1 of 3

Now is eternal life

If risen with Christ we stand,

In him to life reborn,

Held firm within his hand;

No more we fear death’s ancient dread,

In Christ arisen from the dead.

Verse 2 of 3

For God, the living God,

Stooped down to share our state,

By death destroying death

Christ opened wide life’s gate,

He lives, who died; he reigns on high,

Who live in him shall never die.

Verse 3 of 3

Unfathomed love divine,

Come reign within my heart,

From you no depth or height,

Nor life nor death can part.

My life with you in God shall be,

Now and through all eternity.

George Briggs


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Passover Sabbath    Easter Sunday    Ascension Day (Thursday)     Pentecost (Sunday) 

                                    Day 1                   Day 40                                 Day 50

Luke 22: 1, 23: 54    Luke 24: 1           Acts 1: 3                              Leviticus 23: 15, 16 & 21

  Today we will look at the events in and the life of the very early Church over a period of 10 days.  Luke, in Acts 1: 3, records for us that Jesus appeared numerous times to his followers over a period of 40 days; Easter Sunday, the day when the risen Jesus first appeared his followers, being day 1, and Ascension Day, the day when Jesus, in full view of his followers, rose up to Heaven, being day 40.  Ascension Day is accepted by all parts of God’s Church as a Thursday, and you can check this out for yourself later if you wish. 

  Easter Sunday is immediately preceded by Passover Sabbath.  According to a passage in Leviticus 23, a Harvest Festival is to be celebrated on the 50th day after Passover  (Leviticus 23: 15 to 21, Numbers 28: 26 to 31, Deuteronomy 16: 9 to 12)  .  This day, although being a Sunday and not a Sabbath day, is to be a day of worship, when no work is to be done and sacrifices are to be offered in the Temple.  It is no wonder then that there were many devout people in Jerusalem on this day in 33AD, which we, in the Church, call Pentecost Sunday; people from many and varied places north, south, east, and west of Jerusalem, as we read in Luke’s account in Acts 2, which is set down as a reading for next Sunday.

  We read in the latter half of Luke 24: 49, the instruction Jesus gave to the believers, immediately prior to his ascension, to “wait in the City until the power from above comes down upon you.”  Their waiting took place over this period of 10 days, the period from day 40 to day 50.  I asked myself, as I read today’s New Testament passages, “What did the believers do during this period of 10 days of waiting.  Were they in  a state of limbo?  Did they just sit around playing cards or knitting while they waited for something unknown to take happen?”  As it seems, no, they did not.  In the 21 verses in today’s readings from Luke 24 and Acts 1, we will focus in six aspects of the life of these followers of Jesus.

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“They worshipped Jesus.”  Luke 24: 52a

  We read that those who were with Jesus at Bethany and who witnessed the Ascension of Jesus, “worshipped him”  (Luke 24: 52a)  .

  The Greek word used here is proskooneh  (Strong’s NT4352)  , meaning to ‘prostrate oneself in homage, to revere, to worship’; meaning that they readily understood and acknowledged the divinity of Jesus, that he was the Son of God, God’s chosen Messiah.  Gone are the doubts expressed by those gathered in the Upper Room when Jesus had first appeared to them, as we read in Luke 24: 38.  Gone are the doubts expressed by some as they gathered later on the hill in Galilee as Jesus had instructed them to, as we read in Matthew 28: 17.

  They had witnessed, first hand, the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, their “Lord and God”, as Thomas had confessed  (John 21: 28)  .  Jesus reminded them that, because of their experiences, they were to be his witnesses, as we read in Luke 24: 48.

  They had listened as Jesus had “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”, about “what is written” concerning the Messiah, as we read in Luke 24: 45 to 47.

  They had the knowledge, the understanding and the experiences to testify to the truth of what we can read in the Gospel records that we have today, the record of eye-witnesses to God’s work of salvation in the World.  On that basis, we can confidently put our trust in what we read in the New Testament writings, we can confidently have faith in the saving work achieved through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as we in the New Testament writings.  On that basis, we, too, worship the risen and ascended Jesus.

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“They went back to Jerusalem filled with joy.”  Luke 24: 52b

  We read that those who had gathered at Bethany and who had witnessed the ascension of Jesus, “went back to Jerusalem filled with great joy”  (Luke 24: 52b)  .  We recall their sadness when Jesus had departed from their presence at the time of his death and burial, for did not Jesus comment on the sad faces of Cleopas and his companion when he met them as they walked to Emmaus.  (Luke 24: 17)  Here, surely, we have the same circumstances, Jesus is departing from their physical presence for the rest of their Earthly life.  Jesus had said that he would return at some future time, “with great power and glory”  (Luke 21: 25 to 28)  , but he would not guarantee that this would take place in their lifetime.  Why, then, were they “filled with great joy” after seeing Jesus departing from their presence,ascending to Heaven.

  It was at this point that “Jesus’ glorified status” was revealed to them  (Joel Green in The Gospel of Luke p861)  .  Jesus was “taken up” as we read in Luke 24: 51b, and the only place that he would be going up to would be to Heaven, the abode of God, therefore, to sit “at the right hand side of God”, as foretold by David  (Psalm 110: 1 and Luke 20: 42)  ,  as Jesus had said when he stood at trial before the Council  (Luke 22: 69)  ,  as recorded by Mark  ( Mark 16: 19)  , as testified by Peter  (Acts 2: 33)  ,and, later, as proclaimed by Stephen before the Council  (Acts 7:56)  .

  Thus, those who witnessed the ascension were rejoicing at the assurance that God had accomplished all “the plans (that He) made long ago”  (Isaiah 25: 1b)  .

  When Jesus “blessed them”, this wasn’t just a passing comment wishing them ‘good luck and all the best for the future’.  Jesus was assuring them of God’s “divine favour upon them” from that point onwards  (Joel Green in The Gospel of Luke p861)  .  What a joy, to know that, come what may, God’s favour was upon them, not just as faithful servants  (Luke 12: 35 & 36)  , but as loved members of God’s family  (Luke 12: 8) 

  We, too, are to be “filled with great joy”, for the same reasons, for we too can witness to the fulfillment of God’s plans; we, too, experience God’s “divine favour” upon us as faithful servants and, also, as loved members of God’s family  (John 3: 16)  .

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“They spent their time in the Temple giving thanks to God.”  Luke 24: 53

  Luke ends his Gospel, saying, the believers, “spent all their time in the Temple giving thanks to God”  (Luke 24: 53)  .

  Coleman Luck, in his Commentary on Luke’s Gospel, suggests that the believers didn’t spend 24 hours of every day in the Temple, but that Luke is informing us that they were “continually at the Temple”, “daily and frequently, worshipping in the House of God.”  (Coleman Luck in Luke  The Gospel of the Son of Man p125) 

  The writer of Psalm 97 offered their worship of God because:

He was the King of Earth  (verses 1 & 9),

The Heavens proclaim His righteousness  (verse 6a),

All the Nations can see His glory (verse 6b),

He loves those who hate evil (verse 10a)

He protects the lives of His people (verse 10b),

He rescues people from the power of the wicked (verse 10c),

His light shines on the righteous (verse 11), and for all that God has done (verse 12).

  Isaiah offered his worship of God because:

We can trust God and not be afraid of the present nor the future (12: 2a),

God gives us power and strength (12: 2b),

God is our Saviour (12: 2c),

God has done amazing things (25:1b),

God has faithfully carried out the plans He made long ago (25: 1c),

God gives perfect peace to those who put their trust in Him (26: 3a),

We can trust in the LORD forever (26: 4a),

God will always protect us (26: 4b),

God will make the path smooth for good people (26: 7a),

We put our hope in God (26: 8a), and

God is all that we desire (26: 8b).

  The Apostles and the other followers of Jesus were all too aware that the understanding at the heart of the Jewish faith was that the Temple was “the place where God meets Humanity”, the place where God and people “could come together”  (Michael Wilcock in The Message of Luke p215)  .  Therefore, it only to be expected that they would gather in the Temple and offer their thanks to God for all of the things stated by the Psalmist and Isaiah.

  Yet, there was more to their thanks, for they had lived in the very presence of God, in the person of Jesus Christ.  Their worship of God, and ours, must be based on thanks and praise for God becoming ‘man’, living in Human form, suffering, dying and being risen again, in order that “by the free gift of God’s grace all are put right with Him through Jesus Christ.”  (Romans 3: 24)  It was by this that God “has shown us how much He loves us.”  (Romans 5: 8) 

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“They gathered frequently to pray as a group.”  Acts 1: 14

  Luke writes that, during these 10 days, the believers “gathered frequently to pray as a group, together with the women”  (Acts 1: 14) 

  The writers of the Interpreter’s Bible suggest that these times of prayer took place “probably in the Temple”  (The Interpreter’s Bible volume 9 p32)  However, the passage gives the understanding that they prayed as a group, women and men together in the same place.  As there were separated places of worship in the Temple complex for men and women, it is unlikely that they would have gathered together as a group in the Temple.  It is more likely that they gathered together in the Upper Room, where, Luke records, the believers continued to gather during this period  (Acts 1: 13)  . 

  Thomas Lindsay perceived that, as the group waited for the fulfillment of the promise of “power from above”  (Luke 24: 49 and Acts 1: 4)  , “they spent their time in prayer to hasten its

coming”, that, though “they felt their weakness and the absence of their Master, praying brought them near to him”  (Thomas Lindsay in Acts of the Apostles volume 1 p43)  .

  This highlights for us the importance of regularly spending time in prayer with our Lord and Saviour.

  Alan Catchpoole writes, saying that “because Jesus has returned to the Father, we are able to ‘ask in his name’ and be sure of God’s response  (John 14: 12 to 14)  .  Even in our sinful failures, Christ’s advocacy in Heaven on our behalf is sufficient for us.  Christ, as our High Priest is praying for us in the very presence of God  (Romans 8: 34, Hebrews 7: 25 & 1 John 2: 1)  .  We have a representative in Heaven who always has our best interests in mind and constantly presents our case before Almighty God.  When we realise the inadequacies of our prayers we rest with confidence in Christ’s advocacy on our behalf.  (Alan Catchpoole in The Wisdom that founded the Earth p161 & 201) 

  Charles Hunter argues that, as God seeks to be in a close and personal relationship with us, it makes sense that He seeks for us to be in “communion with Him”.  He warns that “prayer is nowhere represented as a miraculous charm”, but, rather, “a linking ourselves up with God.”  “Hence”, he continues, “the conditions of prayer are earnestness, faith, obedience to God, and submission to His Will, for it is only by these means that we can link ourselves to God.”  (Charles Hunter in What a Christian Believes and Why p42) 

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“They drew lots and chose Matthias to replace Judas.”  Acts 1: 26

  Luke records an occasion when Peter stood up before a meeting of “about 120 believers” stating that another Apostle needed to be selected as a successor to Judas Iscariot, so as to fill in the gap in the number of Apostles that had been left following the death od Judas.  (Acts 1: 15)  After some deliberations and the ‘casting of lots’, Matthias “was chosen … and added to the group of eleven Apostles”  (Acts 1: 26) 

  Edward Blaiklock writes, “we hear no more of the good Matthias save for the legend of Ethiopian martyrdom, and it is commonly assumed that Peter ran ahead of God’s purpose in seeking this appointment.  Paul was destined for the vacant place.  The casting of lots was a provision of the Law  (Leviticus 16: 8)  , and as such is a practice of immaturity.  The Spirit of Truth made such actions obsolete.”  (Edward Blaiklock in The Acts of the Apostles p53) 

  Thomas Lindsay, however, notes that, although it was Peter who suggested this move, it was the whole community of believers who ultimately approved the choice of Matthias.  (Thomas Lindsay in Acts of the Apostles volume 1 p45) 

  Luke carefully notes that Matthias met the conditions set out by the Peter and agreed to by the group regarding “Someone (who) must join us as a witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus”  (Acts 1: 21)  :

“one of the men who were in our group during the whole time that the Lord Jesus travelled about with us,

beginning from the time John preached his message of baptism,

until the day Jesus was taken up to Heaven.”  (Acts 1: 22) 

  We learn two things from this passage.

  Firstly, if someone other than the eleven Apostles were to be a witness to the ascension of Jesus, then, therefore, there must have been others present with Jesus at that time at Bethany, in addition to the then eleven Apostles, who are listed for us in Acts 1: 13.  How many of the 120 followers of Jesus to whom Peter was talking, besides Matthias and Barsabbas, were also there?  How many of the 72 that Jesus sent out to preach in the towns of Galilee, as we read in Luke 10: 1 to 20, were there?  Did the women who accompanied Jesus to Jerusalem also accompany those who went to Bethany?  Did Mary, the mother of Jesus and his brothers also go?  Who can tell, for sadly, neither Luke’s accounts nor early Christian accounts of the time record any such detail. 

  Secondly, it must be remembered that we hear no more of the majority of the Apostles in the New Testament writings, but that did not negate their position as an Apostle.  Why should that of Matthias be any different.  In Acts 2: 14, we gather that Matthias was one of the other eleven who stood with Peter as he addressed the crowd on the day of Pentecost, so there is the understanding that he, along with the other eleven, and to the same degree as the other eleven, were equipped by God for the task of being an Apostle.  Early Christian traditions state that Matthias witnessed to Jesus Christ in Cappadocia, in present day central eastern Turkey, and further to the north east, “near the Caspian Sea”  (David Farmer in The Oxford Dictionary of Saints p294)  . 

  You can search for more information on Matthias via the links below:

  Frederick Bruce writes that “deliberate selection and prayer played their parts in (the appointment of Matthias), as well as the casting of lots, which was “a sacred institution in ancient Israel and was a well-established means for ascertaining the divine will”  (Proverbs 16: 33)  .  It was only after Pentecost that “guidance from God would be mediated through the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the lives of believers  (Acts 13: 2 & Romans 8: 14)  (notes in NIV Study Bible p1679)  He continues by saying that “the idea that Paul was divinely intended to be the twelfth Apostle, and that the Apostles wrongly anticipated God’s plan, betrays a misunderstanding of the unique character of Paul’s Apostleship.”  (Frederick Bruce in Acts in The New Bible Commentary p974) 

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They saw it as their priority to bear witness to “the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.”  Acts 1: 21

  Lastly, we note that the group gathered in the Upper room saw it as their priority to bear witness to “the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.”  (Acts 1: 21) 

  Edward Blaiklock points out that there is an emphasis in this passage from Act 1 that the believers acted as a group, “with one accord” as some translations state, which “stresses a prerequisite of effectiveness too often forgotten in our divided Christendom.  (Edward Blaiklock in The Acts of the Apostles p53)  We must seriously ask ourselves whether our acceptance of division in the wider Church of God hinders our being effective witnesses “to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus”  (Acts 1: 21) 

  William Barclay notes that this passage contains two “important truths”.  First, it tells us the function of an Apostle, that is, “to be a witness to the Resurrection.  The real mark of a Christian is not that they know about Jesus, but that they know Jesus.  The Christian is a person whose whole life is a witness to the fact that they know and have met the risen Lord.”  Second, it tells us the qualification of an Apostle, that is, that they accompanied Jesus.  The real Christian is the person who lives day by day with Jesus, who lives their whole life with Jesus, not as someone who is far away but as someone who is real and who is near.”  (William Barclay in The Acts of the Apostles p10 & 11) 

  Harold Lindsell writes that “the central element of the Apostolic message was the resurrection of Jesus Christ, not simply as the resurrection of one who had been dead, but as the proof and evidence of the fact that God had exalted Jesus to Messiah and Lord, our Leader and Saviour.  (Harold Lindwell in notes in RSV Harper Study Bible p1627) 

  May we be always willing to witness to the fact that we know and have met the risen Lord.  May we too live our whole life with Jesus, not as someone who is far away but as someone who is real to us and who is near to us.

  I would like to finish with this poem:

“Let us serve the Lord with gladness

And enthusiastic praise,

Telling all who do not know Him

Of His great and wondrous ways.”

  (from 23 May 2000 in Our Daily Bread March April May 2002) 

We sing the hymn ‘Filled with the Spirit’s power, with one accord’  –  TiS 411

John Peacey


Offering Prayer    

“For the life that you have given”  TiS774 


For the life that you have given,

For the love in Christ made known,

With these fruits of time and labour,

With these gifts that are your own:

Here we offer, Lord, our praises;

Heart and mind and strength we bring;

Give us grace to love and serve you,

Living what we pray and sing.

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Prayers for Others

As we wait and watch for the coming of the Lord once again we turn to God in prayer:

We pray for the Church, that the Lord will grant wisdom and insight to all who lead and guide us in our faith.

We pray for our world, that those in authority may work to create a just and fairer society for all.

We pray for our country and for the family of nations, that God may reign in the hearts of all and so bring peace, justice and truth to the ends of the earth.

We pray for all who are sick, suffering, housebound, elderly or infirm: that they will be comforted by the healing touch of Christ.

We pray for all those who have died, that the Lord will raise them up and grant them everlasting joy.

God our Father, we ask you to hear and answer our prayers so that in the time between Jesus’ ascension and his return in majesty, we may bear witness to your great love for us.

You are free, Lord,

your Ascension has set you free:

free from the constraints of human existence,

outside the limitations of time and space;

free to be here with us now,

in our worship and fellowship;

and free to be with us always;

for in your freedom

you have bound yourself to us with a promise:

“Lo! I am with you always

even to the very end of time.”

We pray, Lord, for those

who need to feel you close,

who need the assurance of your love,

the encouragement of your Spirit.

We pray for those who are persecuted,

who are discriminated against,

who are mocked because of their faith or race or colour.

We pray for those who are imprisoned,

who are tortured,

who are exiled,

because they have fought, struggled and spoken out

for the rights of their people.

We pray for those who are destitute,

who are hungry,

who are refugees,

because of the selfishness and apathy of the world.

We pray for those who are filled with guilt,

who are broken-hearted,

who are perplexed,

because a relationship has gone wrong.

We pray for those who are feeling fed up,

who are in discomfort,

who are afraid, 

because they are ill in body, mind or spirit.

We pray for those who are numbed,

who are angry,

who are desolate,

because they have been bereaved.

We pray for those caught up in war,

and violence,

and hatred;

especially the innocent victims of these evils.

We pray at this time of financial turmoil,

for those who have lost jobs,

those who struggle to pay bills,

and those who have the power to affect positive change.

Be with us all, Lord:

in all our daily struggles as we seek to follow you.

Be with us all, Lord:

in our periods of doubt and despair;

and in our times of happiness, health and loving.

Be with us all, Lord:

until that time

when in your in your Kingdom of Love

our joy will know no end.

—printed on Starters for Sunday, on the Church of Scotland website. 

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you have exalted your Son Christ Jesus to your right hand, and made him the head over all things for his body the Church: hear us as we pray for the Church throughout the world.

Make us and all your people receptive to the gifts he pours upon us, that we may use them to your glory, and the building up of the body of Christ. Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Lord God Almighty, you have given your Son all authority in Heaven and on Earth, hear us as we pray for the World he came to redeem.  Grant that we may know even in this time the things that make for peace, and may strive for the reconciliation of all people in his Kingdom of justice and love.

Father of all, whose Son has promised to be with us always, to the end of the age, hear us as we pray for those among whom we live and work . Grant that we may be so aware of his presence with us, that people may take note of us, that we have been with Jesus.

O God our Redeemer, whose Son ever lives to make intercession for us: hear us as we pray for those in any kind of need.  May he who has borne our infirmities strengthen and heal them, that they may find grace to help in time of need, and rejoice in his salvation.

Heavenly Father, whose Son has borne our humanity into the heavenly realms, and gone before us to prepare a place for us, make us joyful and expectant, that at his coming with all his own we too may go forth to meet him, and share in his eternal joy.

Almighty God, we pray for the Church, that we may continue the mission of Jesus and bring forth your reign of God through our worship, our work, and our relationships each day.

We pray for a renewed spirit of evangelization, that the Holy Spirit will guide us in witnessing to Jesus and all that you have done in showing compassion and forgiveness to all the World.

We pray for the coming of Christ’s reign, that we may strive with great dedication to bring hatred, injustice, and all the evils of our society under the saving and redeeming love of Christ.

We pray for the Christian community, that through our celebration of worship and participating in fellowship at this Easter season, we may be renewed in spirit to live for you each day and place our talents and energies in your service.

We pray for wisdom, that you will inspire us in recognizing and using our gifts to enrich the faith community and cooperate with you in bringing forth the your reign in our time and place.

We pray for all who spread the Good News, particularly missionaries, preachers, and writers, that you will inspire them to announce your saving love and healing presence boldly and dynamically.

We pray for the healing of racism, that all nations and peoples may recognize the value and dignity that you have given each person and work together to bring forth your reign in the World.

We pray for Government leaders, that you will inspire them with courage and new understanding as they work to develop new policies.

We pray for all victims of violence, that you will heal their pain, ease their fear, and give them the courage to engage with life fully.

We pray for an end to drug trafficking, that you will turn the hearts of those involved with illegal drugs and empower those with addictions to seek help.

We pray for all youth, that you will guide their path, help them to recognize the blessings which they have received, and inspire them with new solutions for the challenges of society.

We pray for peace in our cities and neighbourhoods, that you will break the patterns of violence, open new ways to resolve disputes, and give courage to all working to be peacemakers.

We pray for peace, that you will bring an end to armed conflicts, protect the vulnerable for

harm, and open new pathways to peace and understanding.

Copyright © 2022. Joe Milner. All rights reserved.<br> Permission is hereby granted to reproduce for personal or parish use.

God of all creation, as we journey together with others in this Great Southern Land, we pray for healing, forgiveness and unity, a creating of a path of good will, with a focus on justice and compassion for all.

Jesus, through the power of your love, give us the courage, wisdom and strength to share our gifts and talents in working to alleviate the suffering of those in need.  In peace and understanding we seek to be reconciled with each other, especially those whom we have hurt in the past.

Creator Spirit, we come together in prayer and thanksgiving for the many blessings we have received.  Wash over us and give us strength to walk together into the future as one.

(written by a small group of Aboriginal Elder women and Reconciliation Church staff members in 2014)

Journeying together – a Prayer for Reconciliation — Catholic Religious Australia

  Lord God, bring us together as one, reconciled with you and reconciled with each other.  You made us in your likeness, you gave us your Son, Jesus Christ, who has given us forgiveness from sin.  Lord God, bring us together as one.

  Throughout Australia, we are different in lifestyle and culture, but we are given new life in Jesus Christ, together as your body, your Church, your people.  Lord God, bring us together as one, reconciled of our differences, healed of our hurts, forgiven for our wrongs, sharing you with others as you have called us to do.  In Jesus Christ, let us be together as one. 
(By Bishop Arthur Malcolm in A Prayer Book for Australia p.203)

Week of Prayer for Reconciliation and National Reconciliation Week (

  As we gather, Loving God, as your people in this Nation, we reflect upon our History.  We celebrate the good of our Past, of those who sought to work together to make things better, of those who were striving for a better Australia for all peoples.

  We lament the bad of our past, the policies and practices towards groups of people that produced suffering, oppression, trauma, hatred, and discrimination.  We confess the lack of compassion and the prejudices still prevalent in many people’s actions and reactions towards peoples of a different colour, race, culture or creed.

  We ask that you Spirit will inspire us to work together for reconciliation between peoples.  We ask that your Spirt will inspire all people to work together for the common good and to participate in your work of love.  May we walk together as your Church and follow you as Lord and Saviour, so that all may see the works of our hands and therefore seek to know of your grace and peace. 

(adapted from a prayer by Rev Jon Humphris)

Uniting Church Synod of South Australia (

    We pray for Kylie Conomos and her work as Chaplain at Bald Hills State School, that she is receiving the necessary support from the School and the volunteers helping her, that she is finding that what she is doing is making a difference in the lives of children and families with whom she is coming into contact.  We pray for continued financial and prayer support for her from local Churches.

  We pray for the family of the young man who was recently died from cancer.  We pray that in this time of loss and sorrow that his wife, his children, and the wider family are receiving the love and consolation that they need.  We pray for the financial security of the family in the years ahead.

  We thank you for those who have dedicated their time to the leading of RI classes at Bald Hills State School.  We thank you for their answering the call to share the Gospel in this way, and pray that you will bless their efforts and that the Holy Spirit will reach out and touch the hearts of the children who attend the classes.

We thank you for the success of the recent afternoon tea between members of our congregation and of the Deception Bay Congregation.  We ask for your guidance and insight into our continuing deliberation concerning submitting a joint call for a fulltime Minister of the Word who will serve both congregations.

We pray for encouragement for Jillian as she continues her work with the Church Council and the people of the Congregation to clarify our vision and mission goals as your people in the Bald Hills area.

  We pray for those whom we have not seen for some time.  We pray for your continuing care for them, and thank you that we can still maintain contact via email or telephone call.  May they be assured of our continuing concern for their well-being.

We ask this in the name of him who has ascended to your right hand, there to celebrate life with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil,

For the Kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,

Now and forever.  Amen.

We sing the Hymn ‘Jesus Saves’  –  Alexander’s Hymns No. 3 number 409

Priscilla Owens


We are sent out in the power of the Holy Spirit, to be God’s witnesses; to proclaim the Good News to everyone we meet, to share the love that God has lavished on us in Jesus Christ.  So, let us go from here in the power and strength of God, to bear witness to all you have seen and experienced.


And may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, rest upon you and remain with you always.  Amen.

Benediction Song

“Now to him who loved us, gave us”  TiS771

[This song is sung to the tune Triumph – there is no introduction.]

[This YouTube clip has music only, and is for a different song – only the one verse is needed.]

Verse 1 of 1

Now to him who loved us, gave us

Every pledge that love could give,

Freely shed his blood to save us,

Gave his life that we might live,

Be the Kingdom

And dominion

And the glory evermore.

Samuel Waring