Resources for Ascension Day

Call to Worship

In the name of our risen and glorified Lord Jesus
Christ,
I welcome all of you to this service of worship.

Christ has arisen from the grave!
He died and rose that we might have eternal life.
Christ has ascended to the Father!
He ascended that we might experience God's
presence and power.

Today, we celebrate the ascension of our Lord.
Let us worship and glorify Christ the King.

Prayer of Confession

While we claim to celebrate the ascension of our Lord, the way we live proclaims our lack of faith in his power to deal with our world. Let us confess the incongruity between our faith and practice. Let us pray.

We come, O Lord, on this day of glory to confess our lack of trust. While we sing of your lordship over all creation, we have too often acted as though you are powerless in the face of today's events. Help us to live with confidence in your presence today, and in hope for life with you forever. Amen.

Readings from the Catechism

What do you mean by saying,
"He ascended to heaven?"

That Christ,
while his disciples watched,
was lifted up from the earth to heaven
and will be there for our good
until he comes again
to judge the living and the dead.

How does Christ's ascension to heaven benefit us?

First, he pleads our cause
in heaven
in the presence of his Father.
Second, we have our own flesh in heaven—
a guarantee that Christ our head
will take us, his members,
to himself in heaven.
Third, he sends his Spirit to us on earth
as a further guarantee.
By the Spirit's power
we make the goal of our lives
not earthly things,
but the things above where Christ is,
sitting on the tight hand of God.
—Heidelberg Catechism Q & A 46, 49

A Contemporary Hymn

Christ is alive! Let Christians sing.
His cross stands empty to the sky.
Let streets and homes with praises ring.
His love in death shall never die.

Christ is alive! No longer bound
to distant years in Palestine,
he comes to claim the here and now
and conquer every place and time.

Not decked with gold, remotely high,
untouched, unmoved by human pains,
but daily, in the midst of life,
our Savior with the Father, reigns.

In every insult, rift, and war
where color, scorn, or wealth divide,
he suffers still, yet loves the more
with healing hands and aching side.

Christ is alive! His Spirit burns
through this and every future age,
till all creation lives and learns
his joy, his justice, love, and praise.

Brian Wren, © 1975 Hope Publishing Co.,Carol Stream, IL 60188. Used by Permission.
(Psalter Hymnal 413)

An Expression of Faith

Jesus ascended in triumph to his heavenly throne.
There he hears our prayers,
pleads our cause before the Father,
and rules the world.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
—Our World Belongs to God 29

Reading the Psalm

God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.
God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy throne.
The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of
the God of Abraham,
for the kings of the earth belong to God;
HE IS GREATLY EXALTED.
—Psalm 47:5-9 (NIV)

Benediction from Ephesians

As you leave the sanctuary today, may you
know the hope to which he has called you,
experience the riches of his glorious
inheritance in the saints,
and trust his incomparably great power for us
who believe. Amen.
—based on Ephesians 1:18—19