Thursday, May 21, 2020: Ascension Day

This Week’s Theme
The Ascension
Acts 1.1-11

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, and as they were looking on, 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, saying, “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.” The risen Lord has ascended to God’s right hand, with all power and authority now subject to him.

The Ascension of Jesus, albeit not mentioned in the worship or sermons of many congregations, highlights an important revelation regarding our Lord’s present ministry today. It speaks to our Lord’s glorification at the right hand of the Father, the installation of Christ as Lord who must reign until all enemies are under his feet. From his throne he would pour down on his people the promised Holy Spirit, and there he serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the armies of God, empowering laborers throughout the world.

Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation

O God, Who, to show forth the wonders of Thy Majesty, didst after Thy Resurrection from the dead ascend this day into heaven, in the presence of Thine Apostles, grant us the aid of Thy loving-kindness; that according to Thy promise thou mayest ever dwell with us on earth, and we with Thee in heaven; where with the Father, through the same Jesus our Lord. Amen.

~ Gelasian Sacramentary (Bright, p. 60)

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)

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.

Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day

Thursday: Amos 7-9; 2 Kings 14.28-29; 15.6-29; 2 Chron. 26.22-23; Isa. 6

Lectionary Readings

Psalm: Ps. 47

Acts 1.1-11

Gospel: Luke 24.44-53

NT: Eph. 1.15-23

(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

Saviour and Lord, Who, ascending into heaven, wast pleased to show Thyself in glory to the eyes of beholders, while Thou didst promise to come as our Judge in like manner as Thou hadst ascended; make us to welcome this feast-day of Thine Ascension with pure and devout hearts; that we may in such wise ascend continually in Thee to a better life, that when Thou comest to the judgement, we may see Thy face and not be confounded: through Thy mercy, O our God, Who art blessed, and dost live, and govern all things, world without end.

~ Mozarabic Missal and Breviary (Wright, p. 61)

Affirmation for the Day
God will soon judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, Jesus the Lord, and verified it by raising him from the dead.

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Blessed be your name, Lord Jesus Christ, for you have risen from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sit at the right hand of God – all authority is yours, in the heavens and on earth.

For Your Weekly Journey

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Gift and the Gifts of the Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12.3b-13

Book Reading
Barrett, None Greater