Ascension Matters: a Service Based on the Heidelberg Catechism

For this service I simply took the teachings of the Heidelberg Catechism on the ascension of Christ and coordinated them with Scripture readings and songs (see Lord’s Days 18 and 19, pp. 879-881 in the worship edition of the Psalter Hymnal.) Members of the congregation read the Scripture passages. The worship leader introduced each Scripture reading and song with a heading, which was also printed in the bulletin. We placed the sermon early in the service; but you could insert a sermon at any point in the service where it matches a particular theme. We printed all the words of the songs in the bulletin so that we could flow smoothly from Scripture to song.

He Ascended into Heaven
and Sits at the Right Hand of God the Father Almighty

Christ has ascended to heaven for our good.

Scripture: John 16:5-15

Song: “There Is a Redeemer” Renew! 232, RW 58, p. 28

Christ Jesus is not absent from us for a moment.

Scripture: Matthew 28:16-20

Song: “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus” PsH 406, PH 144, RL 346, TWC 263
stanzas 1, 2

Christ pleads our cause in the presence of his Father.

Scripture: Romans 8:31-34

Song: “Hail, Thou Once Despised Jesus!” PsH 395, RL 333, TH 176
stanzas 1, 3

Christ is our humanity in heaven, a guarantee that he will take us to himself.

Scripture: John 14:1-6

Song: “See, the Conqueror Mounts in Triumph” PsH 414, RL 334, TH 291
stanzas 1, 3

Christ sends his Holy Spirit to keep us devoted to him.

Scripture: Colossians 3:1-17

Song: “At the Name of Jesus” PsH 467, PH 148, RL 336, TH 163, TWC 266
stanzas 1, 3

By his Holy Spirit Christ Jesus pours out his gifts into our lives.

Scripture: Ephesians 4:7-16

Song: “Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns” PsH 539, TH 369
stanzas 1, 4, 5

Jesus Christ rules over all things.

Scripture: Psalm 24

Song: “Majesty” TWC 98

From his throne Christ keeps us safe.

Scripture: Revelation 19:11-16

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

The Lord Jesus reigns on high until he comes again to judge the living and the dead.

Scripture: Acts 1:6-11

Song: “Rejoice, the Lord Is King” PsH 408, PH 155, RL 596-97, SFL 180, RL 309-10, TWC 262

Excerpt
A Prayer of Thanksgiving

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Great and mighty God,
we praise you that Christ has ascended
to rule at your right hand.
We rejoice before the throne of his power
and peace,
for he has put down tyrannies that would
destroy us
and unmasked idols claiming our allegiance.
We thank you that he alone is Lord of
our lives.
By your Spirit
give us freedom to love with his love
and to embrace the world with his compassion.
Accept the offering of our lives,
that we may obey your commands to serve
in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ
our Lord.
Amen.

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