Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Blessings to you this Ember Friday as we mark the Lord’s faithfulness to us and pray for the season ahead. Whitsuntide is on the cusp of ordinary time – the long green season, the twenty-six Sundays after Trinity this year. Of course we attend to all of life all the time but the seasons of our Calendar bring needed emphases.
As we have commemorated God’s righteousness in fulfilling His covenant with us (Nativity to Pentecost) we begin again our Pentecostal journey, our focus now being fruitful labor, stewardship of relationships, resources, gifts and creation, and daily being filled with the Spirit as a redeemed community. We are an outpost of heaven, a city set on a hill, a light placed where all can see. We humbly seek to embody the life of our Risen Saviour. We witness faithfully of His mighty saving deeds which He accomplished with His mighty and outstretched arm. Our Whitsun Ember prayers especially ask for all those serving in ordained ministry, and that the Lord would incline the hearts of many to dedicate themselves to the sacred ministry of the Church. As royal priests and a holy nation, as God’s peculiar people may we each and altogether abide in Christ and His love that we might bear fruit, and fruit that remains.
A reminder that the Ember Days are fasting days and strongly encourage us to observe them in one of the following ways (variations of intention allowed):
1. Eat nothing for a twenty-four hour period. Drink only water or clear liquids of some sort.
2. Have only one main meal. If you eat any of the other two, make them meager and meatless.
3. Abstain from all meats (including animal products) and sweets.
These are the general rules the Church provides for our fasts.
Here are the devotions (Collect and Readings) for Ember Friday in Whitsun Week:
Grant, we beseech thee, o Merciful God: that Thy Church being knit together in the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, may not fear the assaults of any adversary. Thought Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord: Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the same Holy Ghost, ever on God, world without end. Amen.
The Epistle. Joel 23-27
23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.
26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.
27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.
The Gospel. Luke 5:17-26
17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. 18 And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. 19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.
20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.”
21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?
22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, “What reason ye in your hearts?” 23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? 24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.”
25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. 26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.