Worthy is the Lamb: An Ascension service with dramatic readings from Revelation 1,4, and 5

In preparing this service, I chose passages that could be read dramatically and directly from the book of Revelation, a rich resource for reflections on the ascension and reign of Jesus Christ. These readings are taken from the first, fourth, and fifth chapters.

The voice John heard was read by someone using a mike, who was unseen by the congregation. The other readers stood at the front of the church. You may also wish to place in the front of the church seven large candles representing the seven churches addressed in chapters 2 and 3 as well as the seven-fold Spirit (Rev. 1:20; 4:5).

GATHERING FOR WORSHIP

Prelude

John: 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. Unto Christ who loves us and 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 dominion for ever and ever! Amen.

All: Amen!

Hymn: “Rejoice, the Lord Is King” PsH 408, PH 155, RL 596, SFL 180, TH 309, TWC 262

PROCLAMING THE WORD

John: On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said:

Voice: Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches.

John: I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. I saw someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe with a golden sash. His head and hair were white like wool, and his eyes were like blazing fire. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said,

Voice: Don’t be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One. I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades!

Hymn: “Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns” PsH 539, TH 369

John: After this I looked and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. A voice said:

Voice: Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.

John: At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder.

Surrounding the throne were twenty-four elders. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center around the throne were four living creatures who never stopped saying:

Creatures: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.

Hymn: “Holy, Holy, Holy!” PsH 249, PH 138, RL 611, TH 100, TWC 2

[Alternate song: “Holy, Holy, Holy” by Nolene Prince (see RW 49, p. 28; also found in the Maranatha! Music Praise Chorus Books)]

John: Whenever the creatures give glory to him who sits on the throne, the twenty-four elders worship him. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

Elders: You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.

Hymn: “Hail, O Once-Despised Jesus!” PsH 395, RL 333, TH 176

[Alternate suggestion: In place of the above reading and song, you may wish to sing “You Are Worthy” PsH 232]

John: Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice,

Angel: Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?

John: But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or look inside it. Then one of the elders said to me,

Elder: Don’t weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.

John: Then I saw the Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. When he took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne, they fell down before him and sang a new song:

Elders and Creatures: You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slain and with your blood you purchased saints for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on earth.

Hymn: “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!” PsH 406, PH 144, RL 346, TWC 263

John: Then I heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures. In a loud voice they sang:

All: Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.”

Hymn: “Crown Him with Many Crowns” PsH 410, PH 151, RL 600, SFL 181, TH 295, TWC 92

John: Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them singing:

All: To him who sits on the throne and the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever.

Hymn: “By the Sea of Crystal” PsH 620, TH 549

Sermon

REPONDING IN PRAYER AND THANKSGIVING

Prayer

Hymn:“See, the Conqueror Mounts in Triumph”
PsH 414, RL 334, TH 291

Prayers of Intercession

Offering

DEPARTING TO SERVE

Parting Blessing: (Rev.22:20-21):

Leader: He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

People: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Leader: The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people.

People: Amen.

Hymn of Praise: “Hail the Day That Sees Him Rise” PsH 409, RL 331, TH 290, TWC 258

Postlude

Thomas J. Vos (wellsburgcrc@juno.com) is pastor of First Christian Reformed Church, Wellsburg, Iowa.