you ascended into the heavens

Rabula Gospels / 6th Century Dsmdgold / Wikimedia Commons
 
To complete your seamless robe, 
    and so to complete our faith,
you ascended through the air into the heavens,
    before the very eyes of the apostles.
In this way you showed that you are Lord of all,
    and are the fulfillment of all creation.
Thus from that moment every human and every living creature
    should bow at your name.
And, in the eyes of faith,
    we can see that all creation proclaims your greatness.
 
Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153, French abbot and Cistercian mystic
 
_________________________
 
 
After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him.  As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.  “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

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Let me be free

Photo by Vaishakh pillai on Unsplash

Jesus Christ, the beginning and the end, 
    the resurrection and the life, 
    the perfect man who gave His life for sinners, 
    I worship you, I adore you, I sing aloud your name. 
I am one of those whom you saved, whom you set free, 
    when you died on the cross. 
You redeemed me from the slavery of sin. 
And yet I cannot escape the overpowering sense 
    that I am still a wretched sinner, 
    that my every action is worthless or evil. 
I am like the dry sand of a desert thirsting for water.
I am like a criminal languishing in prison. 
 
Good people try to help me, and I pray that you will reward them; 
    but their goodness does nothing to assuage my sense of wickedness. 
Patient people try to teach me your ways; 
    but I am so stubborn that I cannot learn. 
Humble people seek to serve me; 
    but in my pride I cannot truly appreciate their services. 
Lift the burden of wickedness; break down my stubbornness; root out my pride. 
Let me receive your life-giving love. 
Let me be free.
 
Fulbert of Chartres, c.970-1028, bishop of the Cathedral of Chartres, France
 
__________________________
 
 
And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 
    let us go right into the presence of God 
    with sincere hearts fully trusting him. 
For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, 
    and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

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Risen Lord, we come to you

At the Throne of Grace / Lawrence OP / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 
 
Risen Lord, we come to confess our sins.
Our hearts are full of impatience, frustration,
    and sometimes even bitterness with one another.
We find it hard to be accepting.
 
    Break the seals, Lord, roll away the stone,
    rip open the protective bandages.
    Breathe the breath of life into our cold, dead hearts.
 
Risen Lord, we come to petition you.
Our minds are so often full of doubt
    and we are shy about sharing 
    the good news of your resurrection.
 
    Break the seals, Lord, roll away the stone,
    rip open the protective bandages.
    Breathe the breath of life into our cold, dead hearts.
 
Risen Lord, we come to adore you.
We desire to know you as living Lord
    and to experience your vitality within us.
 
    Break the seals, Lord, roll away the stone,
    rip open the protective bandages.
    Breathe the breath of life into our cold, dead hearts.
 
Risen Lord, we come to worship you.  
The world waits for your coming through us.
We want to be filled with joy
    and to have the freedom to be your true disciples.
 
As we come, we thank you that you do break the seals, Lord,
    you roll away the stone and rip open the protective bandages.
You breathe the breath of life into our cold, dead hearts,
    and by your resurrection we are made new.
 
prayer from New Zealand
 
__________________
 
 
With great power the apostles were giving testimony 
    to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, 
    and great grace was on all of them.
 

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This is Jesus Christ

image / pixabay
 
Born as a Son,
led forth as a Lamb,
sacrificed as a Sheep,
buried as a Man,
He rose from the dead as a God,
for He was by nature God and man.

He is all things:
He judges, and so he is Law;
He teaches, and so he is Wisdom;
He saves, and so he is Grace;
He begets, and so he is Father;
He is begotten, and so he is Son;
He suffers, and so he is Sacrifice;
He is buried, and so he is man;
He rises again, and so he is God.
This is Jesus Christ,
to whom belongs glory for all ages.
 
Melito of Sardis, d. 180, Bishop of Sardis
 
____________________
 
 
The Good News is about his Son.
In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, 
and he was shown to be the Son of God 
when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
He is Jesus Christ our Lord.

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O God, control my temper

Photo by Marina Kazmirova on Unsplash
 
O God, I know that my temper is far too quick.
I know only too well how liable I am to flare up, 
    and to say things for which afterwards am heartily sorry.
I know only too well that sometimes in anger I do things
    which in my calmer moments I would never have done.
I know that my temper upsets things at home;
    that it makes me difficult to work with;
    that far too often it makes me a cause and source of trouble.
O God, help me.  Help me to think before I speak.
When I feel that I am going to blaze out,
    help me to keep quiet just for a moment or two,
    until I get a grip of myself again.
Help me to remember that you are listening to everything I say,
    and seeing everything I do.
O God, control me and my temper too.
This I ask for your love’s sake.
 
William Barclay, 1907-1978, minister in the Church of Scotland
 
____________________
 
 
Know this, my beloved brothers: 
    let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 
    for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  
Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness 
    and receive with meekness the implanted word, 
     which is able to save your souls.

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remove anything that separates us

Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash
 
I beg of you, my Lord,
  to remove anything which separates
  me from you, and you from me.
Remove anything that makes me unworthy
  of your sight, your control, your discipline;
  of your speech and conversation,
  of your benevolence and love.
Cast from me every evil
  that stands in the way of my seeing you,
  hearing, tasting, savoring, and touching you;
  fearing and being mindful of you;
  knowing, trusting, loving, and possessing you;
  being conscious of your presence
  and, as far as may be, enjoying you.
This is what I ask for myself
  and earnestly desire from you. Amen.

Peter Faber, 1506-1546, Jesuit Priest and co-founder of the Society of Jesus
Hearts in Fire Praying with Jesuits

_________________________

 
Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.

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Sometimes I choose sin

Photo by Nick Gavrilov on Unsplash
 
Father – the truth about me is that often I choose sin:
    Sometimes I choose hatred.  Sometimes I choose slander.
    Sometimes I choose envy.  Sometimes I choose greed.
    Sometimes I choose pettiness.  Sometimes I choose lust.
    Sometimes I choose gossip.  Sometimes I choose pride.
    Sometimes I choose self-reliance.
    Sometimes I choose self-righteousness.
    Sometimes I choose self-aggrandizement.
    Sometimes I choose dishonesty.
    Sometimes I choose unkind words.
    Sometimes I choose to ignore the obvious needs around me.
    Sometimes I choose to hoard my resources.
    Sometimes I choose to neglect Your command to share the gospel.
The list of things I wrongly choose could go on and on.  And sometimes
I act on these things in ways that are darker than I ever care to state.
Each time I make such a choice, I choose death.
Today, I ask that You breathe life into my soul afresh
    and enable me to choose life – to choose You and Your ways.
 
Kurt Bjorklund, 1968- , American Minister and author or
 
____________________
 
 
For the wages of sin is death, 
    but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

deliver those who have fallen into sin

Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash
 
Deliver, O most merciful God,
  those little ones of thy flock who have fallen into sin.
Remember not their offences,
  but set them free from the snare of the enemy.
Prosper with the help of the Holy Spirit
  the endeavors of all who are seeking to train them for good.
Grant that following after humility
  and being made partakers of thy heavenly wisdom,
  they may be strengthened to the performance of thy will
  and may be restored to the perfect fellowship of thy saints;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Robert Leighton, 1611-1684, Scottish minister and scholar
2000 Years of Prayer

________________________

Hebrews 3:12-13

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart 
    that turns away from the living God.  
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” 
    so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
 

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Praise to you, saving sacrifice

Twelfth Station / Tango7174 / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
Lord Jesus Christ,
I approach your banquet table
    in fear and trembling,
    for I am a sinner,
    and dare not rely on my own worth
    but only on your goodness and mercy. . . .
Praise to you, saving sacrifice,
    offered on the wood of the cross for me and for all mankind.
Praise to the noble and precious blood,
    flowing from the wounds of my crucified Lord Jesus Christ
    and washing away the sins of the whole world.
Remember, Lord, your creature,
    whom you have redeemed with your blood.
 
John of Fecamp, 1028-1078, Benedictine spiritual writer
 
_______________________
 
 
And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, 
    he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 
For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son 
    while we were still his enemies, 
    we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.

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repentance and forgiveness

Photo by Samuel Martins on Unsplash
 
Almighty God of Mercy,
 
I come before You in humble submission,
    repenting for my sins.
Though I sincerely believe in Your forgiveness,
    I seek to right my wrongs 
    through a form of restitution acceptable to You.
I feel that my repentance is simply not enough.
I pray to be able to pay back my great debt to You in some way.
 
Lord, I know that the debt is too great to repay in action alone,
    and it is only through the blood of Jesus 
    that we are washed clean and made pure as gold.
I know forgiveness flows freely to those who sincerely repent.
Please accept my humble repentance
    as I lay prostrate before Your throne of grace.
Lord, please receive my efforts with my heartfelt prayer of gratitude
    for your everlasting love and kindness shown to us 
    through Your gift to the world,
    Your only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ.
In Christ’s name. Amen.
 
Chestina Mitchell Archibald, Pastor serving in Nashville, TN
 
____________________________
 
 
In him we have redemption through his blood, 
    the forgiveness of sins, 
    in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

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