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Croeso i addoli Dydd Sul - Sunday Worship - 24th May 2020

I am delighted to welcome today the Venerable Michael Komor the Archdeacon of Margam. Mike kindly accepted an invitation to share in today's blog service and as an "old boy" from the parish it is lovely to welcome him.

+ In the name of the Father,

and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit AMEN

Alleluia! Christ is risen,

He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Our opening hymn is: At the name of Jesus

Heavenly Father, all hearts are open to you.

No secrets are hidden from you.

Purify us with the love of your Holy Spirit

That we may love and worship you faithfully,

through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen

Lord, have mercy Lord, have Mercy

Christ, have mercy Christ, have mercy

Lord, have mercy Lord, have mercy

Heavenly Father,

we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and have failed to do

what we ought to have done.

We are sorry and truly repent.

For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ

who died for us, forgive us all that is past,

and lead us in his way

to walk as children of light. AMEN

May God our Father,

who by the Lord Jesus Christ

has reconciled the world to himself

and forgives the sins of all who truly repent,

pardon and deliver us from all our sins,

and grant us the grace and power of the Holy Spirit. AMEN

The Gloria.

The collect for the seventh Sunday of Easter.

O God the King of glory,

you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ

with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven:

we beseech you, leave us not comfortless,

but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us

and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before,

who is alive and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Reading : John 17:1-11 (NRSV)

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people,[a] to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

Reflection - shared by Venerable Michael Komor, who is the Archdeacon of Margam and our Archdeacon.

The early 1960s was a period when the surge in pressure on primary education places from the arrival of baby-boomers meant that quite often children from the same family would have to attend different schools. This was the case for our family – my older brother and sister attended the Church School in our village, but by the time I started in education there were insufficient places and I was sent to a Local Authority school about two miles away.

I was generally happy there, but there were times when I would become acutely envious of my older siblings, especially on those days in the year when they would get an extra day off because it was a religious festival. One such occasion was Ascension Day, the commemoration of when, forty days after his resurrection, Jesus returned to heaven. His work on Earth was completed, and it was time for him to be with his Father again.

This year Ascension Day was last Thursday, and while it’s long since ceased to be the custom for Church Schools to have the day off, but for the lockdown churches up and down the land would have had special services to celebrate the occasion.

Ascension Day marks the triumphant conclusion of Christ’s time on Earth. Having accomplished all he came to do he goes to be with his Father again – but before he leaves them he gives his followers a special task; they are to continue the work that Jesus began of teaching people that the Kingdom of God was among them, and to help that Kingdom to grow: “… repentance and forgiveness of sons is to be proclaimed … to all nations” (Luke 24.47)

One wonders how the disciples (those who had followed Jesus and learned from him) must have felt as now they became apostles – those sent to bear witness to the risen Christ and teach about his love, but without his physical presence to support and encourage them. Their anxiety about their own ability to carry out Jesus’ will must have been very strong, and of course coupled with concerns about their safety; their Master had been crucified, and who was to say that a similar fate might not befall those who were known to be his followers?

But Jesus had been preparing them for the task that he was calling them to fulfil, though they hadn’t realised it at the time. In our Gospel reading today we learn of an occasion, just before his final arrest, when Jesus prays for his disciples, asking God that they might be given the strength, gifts and protection they would need in order to carry out their mission. ‘The words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them… Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.’

The disciples later came to understand that this was a way of Jesus showing that his care for them wasn’t limited to the time when he was physically present with them, but rather would remain strong and certain even when he was no longer with them.

Christians believe that what was true for the close followers of Jesus is also true for us – Jesus’ love and compassion are unlimited, and not in any way conditional upon his physical presence. It is a truth that brings comfort and hope to many of us during these difficult and anxious times.

But as he prayed for them Jesus also knew that his small group of close followers wouldn’t be able to carry out the work given to them without their receiving additional help, help beyond the power of any human to offer; they would need the power of God. That’s why, in his final words to them as recorded by St Luke, he tells them to ‘stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high’ (Luke 24.49) – it’s an instruction that they are not simply to launch themselves into their new work, but rather to be patient until the next great act of God took place, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon them on the day known to us as Pentecost. It’s the major festival of the Church calendar that we celebrate next Sunday.

And so today, as we mark the period that falls between the two great festivals of Ascension Day and Pentecost, we may feel it’s appropriate for us to take a moment to thank Jesus for his unending love and care, and in the power of the Spirit to commit ourselves to working for the growth of his Kingdom of love here on Earth.

Prayers of intercession

Almighty God, may our prayers ascend to you just as Jesus Christ, your son, was taken up to heaven. As we celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus let it inspire in us feelings of joy and hope rather than fear and separation as we await the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

We pray for our world, so troubled at present, for its leaders and its people. For all who suffer from war, hostility, lack of water and food.

Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer

We pray for your people. remembering so many are frightened, worried for their families and their future. For a world where there seems to be no "normal" days or behaviour. We lift before you to the places in our communities which serve all our needs.

Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer

For all those who are ill at this time, we bring before you, Lord. We pray for all who because of the present situation are suffering with mental health issues, physical problems or spiritual matters. We name those people we know and name them quietly.

Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

We pray to you generous and gracious God for all those who are dying

for those who have died and those who are grieving the death of someone. We name them before you. May they rest in peace and rise in glory and may those who mourn, know peace, love and support from you.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Faithful God, as we go out into the coming week make us mindful that we should constantly pray for your world and your people just as Jesus, your son, prayed for his disciple before returning to you.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your son Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy Name, 

thy kingdom come, 

thy will be done, 

on earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread. 

And forgive us our trespasses, 

as we forgive those

who trespass against us. 

And lead us not into temptation, 

but deliver us from evil. 

For thine is the kingdom, 

and the power, and the glory, 

for ever and ever. Amen.

Our closing hymn: The God of Abraham praise

The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all now and ever more. AMEN

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Alelluia! Alelluia!

Ewch mewn tangnefedd i garu a gwasanaethu'r Arglwydd. Alelwia! Alelwia!

If you would like to donate £5 to the overall work of the 12 churches in the parish, please carefully text: GIVE5 to 70970. Thank you, diolch.

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