Crown Him with Many Crowns: An ecumenical service for Ascension Day

We have begun annual ecumenical Ascension Day services in the city of Georgetown, Ontario. So often Ascension Day is either ignored or moved to the following Sunday because it is so difficult to get people to come out for a midweek service. We have found that making it into an ecumenical service has revitalized our Ascension Day service. The Roman Catholics were amazed by the singing. The Christian Reformed people were impressed by the Roman Catholic choir and church building! All together approximately 325 attended. Scripture readings followed the Revised Common Lectionary; Psalm 47 was read and sung responsorially.

Chorale Prelude

"Laudate Dominum"
"I Will Sing, I Will Sing"

Words of Welcome: Introduction

Greeting

Hymn: "Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise" PsH 409, RL 331, TH 290, TWC 258

We Remember the Birth of Our Lord

God remembered his promise to reconcile the world to himself; he has come among us in Jesus Christ, the eternal Word made flesh. He is the long-awaited Savior, fully human and fully divine, conceived by the Spirit of God and born of the virgin Mary.

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.

Hymn: "Of the Father's Love Begotten" PsH 342, PH 309, RL 190, TH 162, TWC 145

We Remember the Passion of Our Lord

In the events of his earthly life—his temptations and sufferings, his teaching and miracles, his battle with demons and talks with sinners—Jesus made present in deed and in word the coming rule of God. As our substitute he suffered all his years on earth, especially in the horrible torture of the cross. He carried God's judgment on our sin; his sacrifice removes our guilt.

This painting of the ascension is one of sixty scenes from the gospels prepared as teaching aids for those bringing the gospel to different African countries. Each scene was enacted by village Christians among the Mafa people in North Cameroon and photographed while the artist made sketches of the very smallest details in the actors' motions and gestures. Reprints are available in various sizes, including posters, note cards, post cards, and slides, from Jan Boer, 2208 Goodwin SE, Grand Rapids, Ml 49510; (616) 241-1449; boerjanh@aol.com.

Used by permission from Vie de Jesus Mafa, 24, rue du Marechal-Joiffre, 78000 Versailles, France

He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell.

Hymn: "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" PsH 384, PH 100, 101, RL 292, 293. TH 252, TWC 213

We Remember the Resurrection of Our Lord

He walked out of the grave, the Lord of life! He conquered sin and death. We are set right with God, we are given new life, and called to walk with him in freedom from sin's dominion.

The third day he rose again from the dead.

Hymn: "Sing, Choirs of New Jerusalem" PsH 404, TH 271

We Remember the Ascension of Our Lord

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.

He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

Hymn: "Rejoice, the Lord Is King" PsH 408, PH 155, RL 496, 597, TH 309, 310, TWC 262

We Hear the Word of the Lord

Prayer for Illumination

Scripture Readings

Acts 1:1-11
Psalm 47

Refrain

Ephesians 1:15-23
Luke 24:46-53

Sermon

We Respond to the Word of the Lord

Hymn: "He Is Lord" SFL 178, TWC 97

Directives for Living: Ephesians 4:1-16

Prayers

Offering: Choral anthem "Come to Me"Joncas

We Conclude the Worship of Our Ascended Lord

Benediction

Hymn: "Crown Him with Many Crowns" PsH 410, PH 151, RL 600, TH 295, TWC 92 36

The service uses Our World Belongs to God, the Contemporary Testimony of the Christian Reformed Church, and the Apostles' Creed to sketch the life of Christ from his birth to his ascension.

Winston Robinson is a lay pastoral assistant of the Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, Georgetown, Ontario.

 

Mark Verbruggen is pastor of First Christian Reformed Church, Sioux Center, Iowa.