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At God's Right Hand: A festive service celebrating the ascension and reign of Christ

Call to Worship

Many testified falsely against [Jesus], but their statements did not agree— Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, 'Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these [people] are bringing against you?" But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, 'Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" "I am," said Jesus. 'And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." The high priest tore his clothes. "Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked. "You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?"
[Mark 14:56, 60-64]

Silent Prayer, followed by singing "For Your Gift of God the Spirit," st.l

[The accompaniment for the singing begins quietly but builds in power, ending with an Amen.]
[PsH 416, RL 382, TH 3391]

God's Greeting

Jesus greets you,
he who conquered death,
he who ascended to the place of honor at the
right hand of the Most High,
he who is now our heavenly high priest,
he who intercedes for us, Jesus greets you with the Father and with
the Holy Spirit, God Triune and glorious.







Amen.
To each one of us grace has been given
as Christ apportioned it.
This is why it says
"When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train,
and gave gifts to [the people]."





(What does "he ascended" mean
except that he also descended
to the lower, earthly regions?
He who descended is the very one
who ascended
higher than all the heavens,
in order to fill the whole universe.)





[Ephesians 4:7-10]

Hymn: "Crown Him with Many Crowns"

[accompanied by organ, piano, and trumpets]
[PsH 410, PH 151, RL 600, TH 295]


Welcome to All and Mutual Greetings

Creedal Confession

How does Christ's ascension into 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 at God's right hand.





Why the next words: "and is seated at the right hand of God"?

Christ ascended into heaven,
there to show that he is head of his church,
and that the Father rules all things through him.

This service was submitted by Nick Overduin, former pastor of Fellowship Christian Reformed Church, St. Thomas Ontario, who prepared it for the 1 Ascension Day service in St. Thomas. Overduin currently serves as chaplain at Brock University, St. Catherines, Ontario.

How does this glory of Christ our head benefit us?

First through his Holy Spirit,
he pours out his gifts from heaven
upon us his members.

Second, by his power
he defends us and keeps us safe
from all enemies.

[Heidelberg Catechism Q&A'S 49, 50, 51 ]

Hymn: "Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise"
st. 1-2: all
st. 3: women, lines; Men, alleluias
st. 4: men, lines; Women, alleluias
st. 5: all
[PsH 409, RL 331, TH 290]






Prayer
[A prayer of thanks by an elder or other worship partici-pant(s) for all God did through Jesus before Jesus' ascension.]

Hymn: "Hail, O Once-Despised Jesus," st. 1 and 2
[PsH 395, RL 333, TH 176]


Prayer
[A prayer of thanks by an elder or other worship partici-pant(s) for all God did through Jesus after Jesus' ascension.]

Hymn: "Hail, O Once Despised Jesus," st. 3 and 4
[PsH 395, RL 333, TH 176]


Scripture Reading

Sung Prayer for Illumination: "Break Now the Bread of Life," st. 3 and 4
[PSH 282, TH 146]


Sermon

Prayer of Application

Hymn of Response: "Rejoice, the Lord Is King"

[accompanied by trumpets, drums, etc.]
[PsH 408, PH 155, RL 596-597, TH 309-310]


Offering

Offertory Hymn: "The Head That Once Was Crowned with Thorns"
[PsH 411, PH 149, RL 335, TH 298; see RW 30 for descant setting]


Offertory Prayer

Devotional Reading

We believe that we have no access to God
except through the one and only Mediator and Intercessor:
Jesus Christ the Righteous.



He therefore was made man,
uniting together the divine and human natures
so that we human beings might have access to the divine
Majesty.
Otherwise we would have no access.





But this Mediator,
whom the Father has appointed between himself and
us,
ought not to terrify us by his greatness,
so that we have to look for another one,
according to our fancy.
For neither in heaven nor among the creatures on earth is there anyone who loves us
more than Jesus Christ does.
Although he was "in the form of God,"
he nevertheless "emptied himself,"
taking the form of "a man" and "a servant" for us;
and he made himself "completely like his brothers."










Suppose we had to find another intercessor.
Who would love us more than he who gave his life for
us,



even though "we were his enemies"?
And suppose we had to find one who has prestige and
power
Who has as much of these as he who is seated
"at the right hand of the Father,"
and who has all power
"in heaven and on earth"?
And who will be heard more readily
than God's own dearly beloved Son?









[Belgic Confession, Article 26 (partial)]

Benediction

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was,
and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits before his throne,
and from Jesus Christ,
who is the faithful witness,
the firstborn from the dead,
and the ruler of the kings of the earth.







To him who loves us
and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
and has made us to be a kingdom and priests
to serve his God and Father—
to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen!



Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him
and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of
him.


So shall it be! Amen!

I am the Alpha and the Omega,
says the Lord God,
who is, and who was,
and who is to come, the Almighty!


[Revelation 1:4-8]

Doxology: "See, the Conqueror Mounts in Triumph"

[PsH 414, RL 334, TH 291]