Today is Pentecost Sunday, the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. Accordingly, one of the ways we did that in our worship service was through a prayer of invocation for Pentecost Sunday, written by Hughes Oliphant Old (Leading in Prayer, 54). I share it for your use today and beyond, as we ask God to renew us by his Spirit.
Father, Lord of Heaven,
who sent forth your Spirit
to brood on the face of the waters,
who poured out your Spirit
upon the Apostles in the Upper Room,
flashing forth in flames of fire
that the church might come alive
in spirit and truth.
Pour out upon this congregation,
gathered in the name of Christ,
that same Spirit,
that we might come alive in holiness,
that we might become brilliant in purity,
that we might catch the fire of righteousness.
To you be all glory, Eternal God,
One God, from the very beginning,
and as long as time shall last.
On May 14 some Christians celebrated the Ascension of our Lord. I say some because I don’t see too many Followers of Christ celebrating Ascension Day in North America, at least not in my community. But perhaps I’m wrong. Nevertheless, I like to remember the Ascension, as it’s an important part of the biblical story. In Acts 1 we read that Jesus was taken up into heaven, after announcing to the disciples that they would soon receive the Holy Spirit, and become his witnesses all over the world. As Jesus ascended into heaven, two men dressed in white appeared and announced that just as he ascended to heaven, so he would come back in the same way. Not a long story, but an important one. Why? Because Ascension Day reminds us of Jesus’ resurrection. According to the Apostles’ Creed, “[Jesus] ascended to heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.” So because Jesus is now alive and well, and ruling in heaven with God the Father, we are instructed to “set our hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1 NIV) And as we look up, we imagine King Jesus seated on his throne. “There he hears our prayers and pleads our cause before the Father. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (Our World Belongs to God, stanza 27) Happy Ascension Day!