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Ascension Day Service Thursday 21 May 2020

Dear Friends,

You may wish to make use of this short service for Ascension Day.

The day itself has always been very important in the Christian calendar, especially on the Continent, where it is sometimes a public holiday.

For us spiritually, it is a vital event in the whole progress of events in our salvation history – the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, followed by his ascension and reign in heaven – all culminating in the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. May God bless you through this service.

 

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with us.

Christ is risen. He is risen indeed – Alleluia!

Christ is ascended on high. He reigns forever – Alleluia!

Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord – Alleluia!

Almighty God, your Son has opened for us a new and living way into your presence. Give us new hearts and constant wills to worship you in spirit and in truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Hymn: Immortal, Invisible, God only wise

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, thy great Name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above
Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.
To all life thou givest—to both great and small;
In all life thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish—but nought changeth thee.

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
All laud we would render: O help us to see
’Tis only the splendour of light hideth thee.

 

We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, and we come boldly to the throne of grace today

Let us declare our faith in God

We believe in God the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son, who lives in our hearts through faith, and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit, who strengthens us with power from on high.

We believe in one God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Reading: Acts 1:1-11

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.

After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father.

‘This’, he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’

He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven?

This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’

Reflection:

We read the very first words of Acts 1- the account from Luke of the day that Christ ascended.

Please read the passage over again, slowly, and then spend a moment in quiet, praying it through – what do you think of the Ascension, and what does it mean to you personally?

In these next few days, as we prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, let’s set aside a few minutes at 12 noon each day (if possible) for quiet prayer for our suffering world, for healing and for restoration.

Jesus reigns in heaven – he is the risen and ascended Saviour of the world, sovereign over all: our lives, our hearts, and our future.

Nothing will be able to take that away.

 

Collect for Ascension Day:

Risen Christ, you have raised our human nature to the throne of heaven:

help us to seek and serve you, that we may join you at the Father’s side,

where you reign with the Spirit in glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Prayers: 

Jesus, our exalted Lord, has been given all authority; let us seek his intercession that our own prayers may be perfected by his prayer.

Jesus Christ, great high priest, living for ever to intercede for us, we pray for the Church in the world, and locally………….

Jesus Christ, Son of Man, drawing humanity into the life of God, we pray for our brothers and sisters in need, distress or sorrow today – especially in this time of particular need…………….

Jesus Christ, keep your Church in the unity of the Spirit, and in the bond of peace, and bring the whole created order to worship at your feet; for you are alive and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power and the glory,

for ever and ever. Amen.

Hymn: Crown him with many Crowns

Crown him with many crowns,
the Lamb upon his throne.
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns
all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing of him
who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless King
through all eternity.
Crown him the virgin’s Son,
the God incarnate born,
whose arm those crimson trophies won
which now His brow adorn;
fruit of the mystic rose,
as of that rose the stem;
the root whence mercy ever flows,
the Babe of Bethlehem.

Crown him the Lord of love,
behold his hands and side,
those wounds, yet visible above,
in beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky
can fully bear that sight,
but downward bends his burning eye
at mysteries so bright.

Crown him the Lord of peace,
whose power a sceptre sways
from pole to pole, that wars may cease,
and all be prayer and praise.
his reign shall know no end,
and round his piercèd feet
fair flowers of paradise extend
their fragrance ever sweet.

Crown him the Lord of lords,
who over all doth reign,
who once on earth, the incarnate Word,
for ransomed sinners slain,
now lives in realms of light,
where saints with angels sing
their songs before him day and night,
their God, Redeemer, King.

 

Crown him the Lord of years,
the Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres,
ineffably sublime.
all hail, Redeemer, hail!
For thou has died for me;
thy praise and glory shall not fail
throughout eternity.

 

Final Prayer and Blessing:

Lord Jesus, we thank you for the truth at the heart of this day – equip us now, we pray, to live to your glory, until that time when we kneel in your presence and join in the worship of heaven. Amen.

Christ our King make us faithful and strong to do your will, that we may reign with him in glory.

And may the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, rest upon us this day, and upon all those we love and pray for – now, and for ever more. Amen.

 

 

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