Week 26: Thursday, The Ascension of the Lord

After rising from the dead as he testified to his apostles (whom he had chosen), Jesus gave them commands by the Holy Spirit, presenting himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs. He appeared to them for forty days after his rising from the dead, and spoke to them regarding the Kingdom of God. He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father, that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit very shortly. In answer to their questions about the timing of the Kingdom, Jesus told them it was not for them to know times or seasons of the Kingdom’s climax, since the Father had fixed that time by his own authority. He did assure them, however, that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

As our Lord had declared these things to them, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. As they gazed into heaven as Jesus ascended, two men stood by them in white robes and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Jesus ascended to God’s right hand, with all power and authority now subject to him. He has been raised to and glorified at the right hand of the Father, installed with honor and glory as sovereign Lord who must reign until all his enemies are under his feet.

Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens, that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that according to his promise he abideth with his Church on earth, even unto the end of the world; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

~ Scottish Prayer Book, in John Wallace Suter, Jr., ed.
The Book of English Collects. New York, NY: Harper, 1940. p. 30.

Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.

Te Deum Laudamus 
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.

Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)

Gloria Patri
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.

Chronological Reading for the Day

An annual reading through the Bible in the order in which the events took place

Thursday: Isa. 1.21-5.30

Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 47
Acts*: Acts 1.1-11
Gospel: Luke 24.44-53
NT: Eph. 1.15-23

* During Eastertide, a reading from Acts is often substituted for the lesson from the Hebrew Bible.

(Click here for all readings)
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling

The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).

Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.

Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.

Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)

Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Benediction 
Be present, O Lord, to our supplications; that as we trust that the Saviour of mankind is seated with Thee in Thy Majesty, so we may feel that, according to His promise, He abideth with us unto the end of the world; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

~ Mozarabic Missal and Breviary, in J. Robert Wright,
Readings for the Daily Office from the Early Church.
New York: The Church Hymnal Corporation, 1991. p. 59.

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Lord Jesus, you have ascended on high and led a host of captives in your train, and given gifts to those who trust in you.

Weekly Reflection on the Priesthood of all Believers
As members of a workplace, we become community insiders of that workplace. It creates opportunity to build trust and open doors. Churches that are chock-full of workplace priests have the greatest opportunity to win their communities, cities, and nations for Jesus. We need to re-conceptualize our self-identity by learning what it means to be a priest, especially at the workplace. The local church needs to be a community for healing, esteeming, encouraging, and equipping workplace priests.

~ Scott Breslin, Embracing Our Priestly Nature at Work:
A Theology and Practice for Ordinary Saints, Electronic Edition.
Eugene OR: Resource Publications, 2017. Loc. 7428.

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
You Will Be My Witnesses, Acts 1.1-11

Book Reading
Breslin, Embracing Our Priestly Nature at Work