Dear Friends,

It was a pleasant surprise today to open my Post Office Box and see in there two magazines that in normal times I should be getting regularly, one from a church group to which I subscribe and another from a school society with which I am connected. The fact that they were posted with the intention of my receiving them last February does not dim my pleasure. There have been several other posted (mailed) things (posted from before these would have been) that I have not yet received, and it is good to know that it is still possible that we will receive them one day. Although our “lockdown” here is very minimal compared with elsewhere, there has still been a very significant loss of connection with many people and organisations. The electronic means of connection that we do have is a Godsend, but I think that for us the rather poor functioning of the postal service internationally is a very significant loss in our lives, and I pray that this may be restored, God willing. Meanwhile, perhaps we have grown to appreciate some of the things that now only occasionally come in, and accord them with more interest than we were formerly accustomed, with their greater abundance, to giving them before! 

The weariness with which we might contemplate the extended period of whatever restrictions we suffer forms a contrast with the renewing spirit of the Christian Calendar, which follows the pattern of the  divine renewal of the spirit of man woven by the account of the divine drama - the drama of the entry of God in Christ Jesus into His creation. On Ascension Day (tomorrow as I write) we contemplate in the Ascension of Jesus the remarkable and almost unthinkable truth not only that the Son of God is seated on the throne at the right hand of the Father but that because He had taken upon Himself our humanity (the “incarnation”), the "Resurrection of the body” and the elevation of our bodily humanity to the throne of God has indeed also begun. Our lives henceforth are to be a filling in of the pattern of the “ensample” that has been divinely provided.

For the Ascension Day Collect of the Prayer Book please see last week’s letter.

The Collect for the week of the Sunday after Ascension Day runs as follows:

O God the King of glory, who hast exalted thine only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph unto thy kingdom in heaven: We beseech thee, leave us not comfortless; but send to us thine Holy Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us unto the same place whither our Saviour Christ is gone before, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

We may be confident in the will of the King of glory, who in the triumphant Ascension of Jesus exalted Him “with great triumph” to His kingdom in heaven, to respond to the expressed desire of His people to be “exalted … unto the same place” to which our Saviour Christ has gone before us, by the comforting (strengthening) agency of the Holy Ghost sent to His people. 

For directions about the services this Sunday the 16th May, the Sunday after Ascension Day, please see the website  .

In the mighty power of the Lord Jesus to fulfil all the will of His Father we pray to remain,

Bishop Nicholas