On Mars Hill in Athens, Paul preached one of his most famous sermons concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, identifying his God and Father as the “Unknown God” the Atheneans had been worshiping unaware. In his address Paul reviews for his audience God’s true works in the past, who acted as creator of the universe, the maker of the nations, and source of human life, his offspring. He declared his works of the present, i.e., his desire to save all people, reaching out to humankind, calling all to repent and to turn from their idols to serve the living and true God. And finally, he announced God’s work for the future, where one day he will judge the world through the One whom he has chosen, Jesus of Nazareth, whom he raised up from the dead.
In the sovereign plan of God, the Father has determined a day when he will weigh the actions of the world through his Son, the very one whom he elected as King and Judge, who is alive forevermore.
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Eternal God, the Father Almighty, who as Creator and Maker is the source of life for all things and humankind, thank you for the testimony of the apostles regarding your true works in history, in the world, and the age to come. Grant us the wisdom to see and believe in your great works: you have made us, are willing to forgive us, and have called us to repent and believe in your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. We open our hearts to him this day, knowing that he is the One who will judge the world in righteousness. 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.
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.
Chronological Reading for the Day
An annual reading through the Bible in the order in which the events took place
Sunday: 1 Kings 17.8-20.22
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 66.8-20
OT (Acts during Eastertide): Acts 17.22-31
Gospel: John 14.15-21
NT: 1 Pet. 3.13-22
(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.
In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, our Lord and King, we worship you, O God, the One whom the Atheneans of old called the “Unknown God.” We know you to be the one, true God, the Creator of all things, and great Father who sent his Son to earth to redeem for yourself a remnant people destined to live with you forever in a new heaven and earth. We acknowledge you as our God and King. We love you. Abba, Father! In Jesus’s name we pray, amen.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Thank you, holy Father, for appointing Jesus your Son, Judge and Savior of the world.
“In her book God’s Story, Anne Graham Lotz uses the word eyewitness while explaining how God made the world: “Who was the eyewitness of Creation?” she wrote. “The simple yet astounding answer is God Himself!” God was the one writing, telling, and acting out the drama. He Himself developed the plot, prose, characters, and dramatic tension of a script placed in His heart long before the dawn of creation. And as the ultimate Storyteller, He alone is responsible for the pacing and continuity of the storyline. He’s also the only one with authority to edit the manuscript.”
~ Vernon Whaley, Called to Worship: The Biblical Foundations of Our Response to God’s Call. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2009. p. 3.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Spirit Is Here, Acts 2.1-21
Whaley, Called to Worship
Special Church Year Service
The Ascension of the Lord: Thursday, May 18, 2023