Reader 1: Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. (Isa. 46:9)
Reader 2: I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. (Isa. 46:10a)
Reader 1: We remember Christmas—the former time when Jesus, the Son of God, was born in human flesh, emptied of his glory.
Reader 2: Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:13-14)
People: Glory to God in the highest!
Reader 1: We remember Easter—the former time when Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Man, rose victorious from the grave, our Savior and Redeemer.
Reader 2:The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” (Matt. 28:5-6a)
People: Alleluia! Christ has risen!
Reader 1: Today we remember Jesus’ ascension into heaven. While blessing his disciples in the vicinity of Bethany, Jesus, once emptied of his glory, was taken up into heaven, returning as King of kings and Lord of lords. When a cloud had hidden Jesus from the disciples’ sight, they continued to stare intently up into the sky. (Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:10a)
Reader 2: Suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10b-11)
Reader 1: We see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (Heb. 2:9)
People: Crown him with many crowns!
Reader 1: God seated Christ at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that can be invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Eph. 1:20b-23)
Reader 2: Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. . . . Praise the Lord from the earth . . . kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and women, old men and children. (Ps. 148:1-2, 7a, 11-12)
People: Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. (1 Tim. 1:17)
Reader 1: Jesus, King of kings, you are our great high priest who has ascended into heaven. (Heb. 4:14a)
Reader 2: Therefore, we will hold firmly to the faith we profess. (Heb. 4:14b)
Reader 1: You are not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but you were tempted in every way, just as we are—yet did not sin. (Heb. 4:15)
Reader 2: Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Heb. 4:16)
People: We approach your throne with confidence!
Reader 1: Jesus Christ, King of kings and great high priest, you speak to God the father in our defense.
Reader 2: Christ Jesus, you died—more than that, you were raised to life—and are at the right hand of God and also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from your love? (Rom. 8:34-35b)
People: No one! Nothing at all!
Reader 1: We remember the former things and we anticipate the things that are yet to come.
Reader 2: Jesus, pioneer and perfecter of our faith, we will fix our eyes on you. (Heb. 12:2)
People: Our eyes are fixed on you!
Reader 1: Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all peoples on earth will mourn because of him. (Rev. 1:7)
Reader 2: Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Rev. 5:11-12)
People: Amen! So let it be!