This Week’s Theme
The Right Hand of God
Stephen’s brilliant and Spirit-anointed message to the religious authorities of their rejection, persecution, and murder of God’s prophets resulted in fury and violence. Stephen, however, was full of the Holy Spirit, and saw the glory of God and the Lord Jesus standing at God’s right hand. When he told the authorities what he saw, they cried out with loud voices, stopping their ears, rushed together and brought him outside the city and stoned him. Those who witnessed this laid their garments down at the feet of a young man named Saul, who would eventually become an apostle of Jesus as well. As they were stoning Stephen, Stephen called out to Jesus to receive his spirit. Falling to his knees, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them,” and saying this, he died.
Stephen’s vision of Jesus standing in glory at the Father’s right hand climaxes both his remarkable message and the truth of our Lord’s passion. Jesus is Lord, he is alive, exalted at the Father’s right hand, and is the “Son of Man,” a term signifying Jesus’s divinity and kingship, who is to rule and reign over God’s Kingdom forevermore (cf. Dan. 7.13-14; Ps. 110.1). Jesus is the Messiah, the exalted ruler of all, and resides in a position of glory and honor at the Father’s right hand.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Holy Father, thank you, that Jesus our Lord is exalted to a position of glory, authority, and power at your right hand. Having died for us on the Cross, and risen from the grave on the third day, he is now at your right hand, the glorified Messiah to come. Thank you for his exalted position; reveal to us his glory that we may worthily serve and represent him here as citizens of his Kingdom to come. In his name we pray, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.
Praising Our God
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)
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.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Thursday: 2 Kings 2; 2 Kings 4
Psalm: Ps. 31.1-5, 15-16
Acts*: Acts 7.55-60
Gospel: John 14.1-14
NT: 1 Pet. 2.2-10
(Click here for all readings)
*During Eastertide, a reading from Acts is often substituted for the lesson from the Hebrew Bible.
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
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.
Departing to Serve
Lord Jesus, you are exalted at the Father’s right hand, a place of authority, glory, and honor reserved for you alone. You have conquered death and the grave, and have risen to the Father’s right hand. Now, come and reign in us that your glory may be seen in your people, here in this place where we live and work. Glorify your name, for you sake, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
Christ is the mediator and savior of the world, the Messiah of God and Lord of all.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
You are exalted, Lord Jesus, reigning in glory at the Father’s right hand. Be honored in me today.
For Your Weekly Journey
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Gift and the Gifts of the Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12.3b-13
Barrett, None Greater