Week 24: The Ascension of the Lord

For forty days our risen Lord “presented himself alive” to the apostles with many convincing proofs and spoke to them about God’s Kingdom. He told them to wait for the promise of the Father. They would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. The disciples watched as our Lord was lifted up and a cloud took Jesus out of their sight. With his ascension, our Lord returned to the Father’s side with glory and honor.

Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
O LORD Jesus Christ, Who on this day didst ascend into the heavens, grant that we may rise with Thee above all wicked thoughts and evil desires. Lift up our hearts to the throne of Thy holiness, and make us dwell with Thee, now and hereafter. Who livest and reignest, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

~ Rev. H. W. Turner, Twentieth Century (Fox, p. 47)

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
The Ascension of the Lord: 2 Kings 2; 2 Kings 4

Lectionary Readings
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 
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who after Thy Resurrection from the dead didst gloriously ascend into heaven, 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 and the Holy Ghost, Thou livest and reignest one God for ever and ever. Amen.

~ Gelasian Sacramentary, A.D. 494 (Fox, p. 230)

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 are seated at the right hand of God – all authority is yours, in the heavens and on earth.

Weekly Reflection on the Sovereign Love of God
First, that he is our advocate in the presence of his Father in heaven; secondly, that we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that he, as the head, will also take up to himself, us, his members; thirdly, that he sends us his Spirit as an earnest, by whose power we “seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, and not things on earth.”

~ Heidelberg Catechism.
Question 49 (from Historic Creeds and Confessions, electronic ed.)
Oak Harbor: Lexham Press, 1997.

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Spirit Is Here, Acts 2.1-21

Book Reading
Webber, Common Roots