It wasn’t planned that my #walk4andy would coincide with an important time of prayer in the life of the Church I am part of, but it’s one of those ‘God-incidences’ which have been a feature of my life.
I really couldn’t believe it at first when I discovered that Day One of my walk was Ascension Day, the day the Church remembers Jesus returning to heaven, complete with pretty pink toes dangling down through the clouds if some of the paintings and windows are to be taken seriously! In fact, this was a key moment in the life of the disciples. Just imagine the roller coaster they had been on, from their great optimism for Jesus’ victory over their Roman oppressors, through watching him die a criminal’s death on the cross while they all ran away and hid, to seeing him again in his risen body and knowing the assurance that death had been defeated. Now to lose him again must have been hard to bear.
They waited, all gathered together, many of them I’m sure clueless about what they were in fact waiting for. But as they waited, they prayed. And so for generations Christians have observed a special time of prayer between Ascension and Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and gave them a fresh hope and confidence.
Thy Kingdom Come is the title of the prayer campaign that the Archbishops of the Church of England have launched. They are encouraging all Christians to #pledge2pray over these nine days for everyone to know the transforming love of God in Jesus. You can hear the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, talking about his own experience here …
So, at my own church in Evington, there I’ll be some kind of prayer activity every day, lots of them involving walking (details are on our Facebook page here). We’ll be praying for our local schools, the people who live on the streets of our parish, and our local hospital and shops too.
Meanwhile, up on Hadrian’s Wall, I will be praying day by day as I walk, that those I know and love will also experience the amazing and transforming love of Jesus, as Andy himself did. What an amazing legacy that would be!