Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
‘Receive the Holy Spirit, as the Father sent me so I send you…’ Thy Kingdom Come: 10th -20th May 2018
Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world. He brings us hope. Christian disciples are made alive by his saving grace in the power of the Holy Spirit to witness to this living hope. The difference that the love of Jesus brings to individuals and the world is eternally transformative. When Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, he puts the cry, ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ on their lips. When we pray for the coming of the Kingdom we are praying for the difference Jesus makes. In the days between Ascension Day and Pentecost we pray each year for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit throughout the Church. We do this, so that, filled with the life-giving Spirit, we are enabled to proclaim and bear witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ. So that families, friends, neighbours and colleagues discover and experience for themselves the difference Jesus makes.
In July the General Synod of the Church of England clearly expressed the view that we should continue to set these ten days aside to pray, ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. It has been a great joy to see the Church engage in prayer for the coming of God’s Kingdom, and for our proclamation, witness and service in the wider world. In the last two years we have been profoundly moved hearing of the participation of local churches and cathedrals, chaplaincies and colleges, schools and prisons across the traditions, in every denomination, in this great wave of prayer.
The reason we write is twofold:
1. To encourage you to do all you can to enable your community to participate in Thy Kingdom Come 2018. We will be providing help and resources to facilitate a vast variety of events and ways of being involved, across the traditions and practices of the church. These will be available on www.ThyKingdomCome.global
2. To invite you, in response to all that was prayed this year, to consider what you might be called to do. We ask ourselves in faith – how can we allow God to use us in answer to our prayers? Our great hope would be that every church, every chaplaincy team, every fresh expression, every cathedral involves themselves in activity which has as its hope, prayer and expectation that people encounter Jesus Christ and know the difference he brings. We hope that this booklet, based on a model by Bishop Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, will help this process. May we encourage you to share it with your colleagues, PCCs, teams and chapters in order to discern what you might do.
Providentially in 2018, Christian Aid Week falls within the ten days of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. This is a gift to us, as it makes the vital connection between the coming of the Kingdom of God and the prayer ‘Come, Holy Spirit’. Jesus, the Christ, anointed to bring good news to the poor, liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, announces the year of God’s favour. By his incarnation, teaching, works of power, commitment to the poor, passion, death, resurrection and ascension he embodies and inaugurates the coming of the rule of God on earth. We are sent in his name, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to proclaim the King and do the work of the Kingdom.
Therefore let us pray ‘Come Holy Spirit’, trusting that God is more willing to give than we are to receive and that the supreme gift, by which we are renewed daily, is abundantly poured out on us, that we may proclaim faithfully and effectively the living hope Jesus Christ is for all.
Yours in Christ,