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The King of Glory Now: A Service Celebrating the Ascension of Christ

Last year three pastors of neighboring churches wanted to help our congregations celebrate Ascension Day as a high point of the Christian year. We decided to hold a combined service the Sunday before Ascension Day (Ascension Day is May 25 in 2006), and publicized it as a coronation service. The service featured lots of participation: 54 kids from our three congregations formed a choir to sing a song (“Love Jive”), 50 instrumentalists participated in a sanctuary band, and over a hundred kids joined a procession and “coronation” joined by elders and pastors. Congregational participation included singing praise choruses and familiar hymns and also responsive and unison Scripture readings. The service ended with over a hundred singers coming forward to lead the congregation in the “Hallelujah Chorus.”

Setting the Stage

The introductory part of the service set the stage for an energetic and enthusiastic celebration. We reminded the congregation of their loud expressiveness at sports events and challenged them to make this too an energetic celebration. As the sanctuary band played “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” the congregation remained seated while the children, wearing beautiful, multicolored holographic crowns (purchased through the web for a quarter each) and waving palm branches and multi-colored streamers, marched up the center aisle and then parted to circle the congregation twice. After the procession the congregation rose to receive the greeting of their King.

Responsive readings, with appropriate transitional words and songs, moved from prophecies about Jesus as King to his exaltation in heaven. This time of praise led up to the reading of Revelation 4:10 and the “coronation.” As the congregation sang “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” over 130 children, elders and pastors came forward and placed their crowns on a raised “throne” in the center of the stage—a pulpit chair draped with gold embroidered cloth, set on a raised platform. (Elders and pastors had received gold crowns before the service; we assured kids that they could come back after the service and take their crown home!). The spotlights shone on all the crowns and made for a blazing spectacle!

With special attention to youth, the sermon, based on Mark 14:61-62 and Acts 1:8-11, emphasized that even though things in life are often difficult and confusing, God is loving and sovereign, and Jesus is on the throne of the universe. From that we derive comfort and strength.

 

Excerpt
The Service

Gathering Hymns

“Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” CH 367, PH 113, PsH 388, SFL 172, TH 277, WR 288<
Sing, Choirs of New Jerusalem” PsH 404, TH 271

Introducing the Service

Children’s processional with band

God’s greeting: Revelation 1:4-5

Songs of Praise

“We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise” CH 213, SNC 12, WR 651
“Hosanna, Loud Hosanna” CH 297, PH 79, PsH 378, WR 267
“Praise the Lord, Sing Hallelujah” PsH 188

Scripture Reading: Psalm 47

Songs

“Clap Your Hands, All You People” PsH 166, SFL 179
“Rejoice, the Lord Is King” (st. 1-2) CH 370, PH 155, PsH 408, SFL 180, TH 310, WR 342
“Our God Is an Awesome God" (chorus only) CH 179, WR 658

Scripture: Psalm 2:2, 4, 6, 9, 11; Revelation
19:11-16; 1 Corinthians 15:24-27

Song: “Rejoice, the Lord Is King (st. 3-4)

Scripture: Revelation 1:13-17; 4:11; 5:12;
Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 4:10

Coronation (“All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” CH 43, PH 142, PsH 471, TH 296, WR 106)

Hymn: “Holy, Holy, Holy” CH 3, PH 138, PsH 249, TH 100, WR 136

Prayer of adoration, thanksgiving, and dedication

Children’s anthem: “Love Jive” (see http://dragon.sleepdeprived.ca/songbook/songs2/s2_7.htm)

Scripture: Mark 14:61-62; Acts 1:8-11

Sermon

Song: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” CH 151, PH 260, PsH 469, TH 92, WR 507

Prayer

Offering

Scripture: Revelation 11:15

Doxology: “Crown Him with Many Crowns” CH 45, PH 151, PsH 410, SFL 181, TH 295, WR 317

Blessing