This pattern of reflection is designed to encourage us to deepen our understanding of what it means to be an Easter people.

The reflection was used as part of our Morning Prayer for the Seventh Sunday of Easter which you can view on our Facebook page or on this YouTube video.

From Ascension Day to Pentecost we will also be using a different pattern of readings and psalms each day which can be found here or in a version to print as a booklet here.

Children flying kites on a darkening landscape

Opening Question

  • What does it feel like having to wait?

Reading Scripture

  • Read this week’s passage.
  • Keep a few moments of silence
  • Read the passage through a second time
  • What word or phrase strikes you or stands out for you?
  • Read the passage a third time
  • Think about what that phrase might mean to you and what questions it raises.

John 17: 1-11

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, 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. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 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.


For parents there are four words uttered by a child, one question asked again and again, which sends a shiver of hopelessness down the spine: “are we there yet?” Such a simple and innocent question but, when asked fifteen minutes into a six-hour car journey it can lead to a spiral of hopelessness and frustration which would challenge the patience of Job.
In the great journey of life, in the grand story of God’s love for the world, with the promises of a new heaven and new earth that we hear of in our reading this morning from Isaiah, we too could be forgiven for asking, in our heart of hearts: “are we there yet?”.
Through the life of the Church, from those first days after the Ascension, Christians have asked when the final consummation of this story will happen; they have asked “are we there yet?”. Many of the practices of the first churches which seem out of place to us – such as not to marry or to sell all our belongings – can be read in the light of believers expecting the imminent end of this story. So, they thought, what was the point of marriage or possessions if the second coming was just around the corner?
The reality of our faith is that since the day of Ascension followers of Jesus Christ have lived with this question. Having experienced the vividness of the resurrection and the future possibility of God’s new creation, the disciples are asked to wait for that time when, in God’s love this will all be made new. And so, they waited, as we do still, and ask “are we there yet?”.
Well the answer is no, but also yes.
We look at the world around us and we recognise that we still live in a fallen and fallible world. We don’t need to be living through a global pandemic to recognise that the world we live in, and the role we play in it, could be so much more than it is. But we live with the faith and hope that it could and will be better. Inspired by our experience of God in Jesus we strive to make the world a better place. We seek, as we pray, to bring about the just and gentle rule of God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. So, we are not there yet, but we know the way, and we have hope and excitement for what that might be.
This in-between experience of faith has been described as “now, but not yet”. In Jesus, and filled with the Holy Spirit, we know the “now” of God’s love for us and for the world. But we also know that this could and should be more, that what we have now is “not yet” the culmination of this hope. At a very basic level the life of faith is then one of waiting for the “not yet” of the kingdom which we hope for in the “now” of our faith and life.
Waiting to find out if we are there yet is then somehow hard-wired into our experience of faith. This could turn us into frustrated children sitting in the long car journey of faith complaining again and again that this taking a very long time. But it doesn’t. If we examine the life of faith we find that it is often the times when we know we are waiting that become the most powerful and creative. Advent is, for me and many others, the richest of seasons because in the waiting for Christmas we join with the yearning and hope and possibility of the Church through the ages waiting for the coming of God’s just and gentle rule.
In these days between Ascension and Pentecost we know we are waiting. We are waiting for the day of Pentecost, and this year we know we are living through a parallel time of waiting. As we enter a third month of lock-down and restrictions, with complex and confused messages about what the future looks like, many of us find ourselves in the place of the child in the back seat of the car and asking; are we there yet? There are no aspects of our lives which are not being touched by this crisis, no parts of our lives where we want to know whether we are there yet. In the coming weeks and months, it will be possible for us to worship in our churches again. As we begin to make preparations for this we could simply seek to return back to what we knew before. But we have travelled a great distance in a very short time and there might be aspects of the “now” of this time that we want to hold on to and maintain as we look forward to the “not yet” of the future.
So, in this time when we know that we are waiting we have the opportunity to be creative and imaginative in this waiting. Picking up on the theme of my reflection from Ascension Day, we might like to think about what this time has “revealed” to you about your faith and the life of the church in these last few months.
To help this a little I would like to ask all of us to reflect on some questions:
  • What have we lost in the past two months which must remain lost?
  • What has been lost that we must regain?
  • What has been gained that must be retained or developed?
  • What has been satisfactory for this season but must be laid down when we return? 
You are welcome to simply reflect on these questions in private. But if you would like to feedback answers to me you are very welcome to do this either by posting or emailing them to me or, for those who can, by using the online survey we will distribute. All the answers will be kept anonymised, and as we continue to wait together for the future we will ask these questions again to get a full sense of who and where God is calling us to be through this crisis.
One of the few benefits of this present crisis is that weary parents might be spared a summer of car journeys and their accompanying complaints. But that does not mean that that nagging question – “are we there yet?” – will go away. If anything, this question carries more power and challenge than ever before. So as we continue on this strange journey in this strange time, as we long for journey’s end, we might know what it is to live with the hope and confidence that comes when we are guided by the Holy Spirit our ascended Lord invites us to wait for.


  • What have we lost in the past two months that must remain lost?
  • What has been lost that we must regain?
  • What has been gained that must be retained or developed?
  • What has been satisfactory for this season but must be laid down when we return?

If you would like to feedback answers to these questions directly you can do so using this form.


  • You might like to gather this time of personal or collective reflection in prayer by saying the prayer for the Parishes by the Wall or your own prayers.
  • We finish by saying the Lord’s Prayer