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The Celebration of the Ascension of the Lord
Preparation for Worship
Songs: Ask yourself and the people who will be worshipping with you (kids included), “What are some of the songs we sing that talk about God as the Most High God?”
Play them on Spotify, sing them acapella, or create your own instrumental arrangement.
Bible: You will need a Bible to read from the scriptures. You can use this doc or your phone as well, but I’d recommend using an actual Bible.
This week’s liturgy is based on the following texts: Acts 1:1-11, Psalm 47, Luke 24:44-53, Ephesians 1:15-23
You can decide who will lead the different movements of this gathering. It would be great for every person to have a part.
Call to Worship
Leader: The psalmist writes,
Clap your hands, all you people!
Shout joyfully to God with a joyous shout!
Because the Lord Most High is awesome,
He is the great king of the whole world.
All: We will clap our hands and shout joyfully to God!
Leader: God has gone up with a joyous shout—
The Lord with the blast of the ram’s horn.
Sing praises to God! Sing praises!
Sing praises to our king! Sing praises
Because God is king of the whole world!
All: We will clap our hands and shout joyfully to God!
Leader: Sing praises with a song of instruction!
God is king over the nations.
God sits on his holy throne.
The leaders of all people are gathered
With the people of Abraham’s God
Because the earth’s guardians belong to God;
God is exalted beyond all.
All: We will clap our hands and shout joyfully to God! Let us worship God!
Song of Praise
Sing one or two songs that focus on the risen Savior and God’s saving grace. Some suggestions:
New Testament Reading
A reading from Acts.
Theophilus, the first scroll I wrote concerned everything Jesus did and taught from the beginning, right up to the day when he was taken up into heaven. Before he was taken up, working in the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus instructed the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed them that he was alive with many convincing proofs. He appeared to them over a period of forty days, speaking to them about God’s kingdom. While they were eating together, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised. He said, “This is what you heard from me: John baptized with water, but in only a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
As a result, those who had gathered together asked Jesus, “Lord, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now?”
Jesus replied, “It isn’t for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority. Rather, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
After Jesus said these things, as they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going away and as they were staring toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood next to them. They said, “Galileans, why are you standing here, looking toward heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you saw him go into heaven.”
Prayer of Confession
Leader: Let us confess our sins together.
All: Living God,
Too often, we have fallen short of your glory.
we are half-hearted in our service;
we are reluctant to reach out to our neighbors or inconvenience ourselves.
Too often, Lord God,
We live as if we can do everything on our own.
In our own strength, abilities, and with our own resources,
We attempt to face life and its challenges alone.
Too often, Lord God,
we look to the clouds for our inspiration,
in the vain hope of finding you there.
Forgive the vanity of our efforts and the frailty of our faith
and open wide our hearts to the presence
of our Risen, Living and Ascended Lord Jesus Christ.
In his name we pray.
Words of Assurance
Leader: The Lord says,
I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue them and honor them.
I will satisfy them with a long life,
and give them my salvation.
Brothers and sisters, be at peace.
Your sins are forgiven.
(The time of listening is a series of reading the scripture, re-telling the story, and paying attention to where God is stirring your hearts as you listen. Invite everyone to listen to the words of the scriptures and to be ready to re-tell the story.)
A reading from Luke 24.
Jesus said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law from Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. He said to them, “This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. Look, I’m sending to you what my Father promised, but you are to stay in the city until you have been furnished with heavenly power.”
He led them out as far as Bethany, where he lifted his hands and blessed them. As he blessed them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. They worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem overwhelmed with joy. And they were continuously in the temple praising God.
Let’s tell the story that we just heard. How did the story begin? What happened next? (go around the circle and tell the story again)
What word or phrases captured your attention? Why do you think these words/phrases spoke to you?
Look closely at Jesus’ parting words. What stands out to you about what he said?
What do you think was running through the disciples’ minds when this happened?
What will we carry into this week from this text?
What can we pray for this week?
Song of Response
Prayers of the People
Prayer is a conversation with God. We join our hearts and voices to offer our prayers to God.
Jesus Christ, mediator and high priest,
we thank you for becoming human
and for experiencing the joys and sorrows of life,
which assures us that you are able to sympathize and rejoice with us.
We praise you for the many joys of life:
for the beauty of creation,
for your work in this world,
for the growth of your kingdom,
for the greatest source of our happiness:
the gift of eternal life.
As our mediator, you stand before God,
petitioning him on our behalf,
so we boldly bring before you our prayers for
creation and its care,
for the nations of the world,
for our nation and its leaders,
for this community and those in authority,
for the church universal as it works on your behalf,
for this local church in its ministry,
for persons with particular needs.
We pray this in your strong name, O Christ,
our mediator and high priest.
And now we pray together the prayer you taught us to pray saying,
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
Go out into the world.
and in your words and in your lives
bear witness to the Christ who has ascended
to be everywhere present.
And as you come to know him,
may God give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation,
may Christ Jesus lift up his hands and bless you,
and may the Spirit open to you all the riches of Christ’s inheritance.
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
…In the name of Christ. Amen.