A service for Ascension Day

St Margaret’s Lowestoft

At home for Ascension Day

 

Our acclamation:

Alleluia. Jesus lives

He has ascended into Heaven. Alleluia

 

We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens. Jesus, the Son of God. You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honour and praise.

God raised him from the dead and has seated him at his right hand in his heavenly kingdom. You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honour and praise.

Therefore God has exalted him to the highest place and given him the name above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess him, king of glory now. You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honour and praise.

 

Our opening hymn: number 87 Or you can listen to it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjofDCZlyRY

 

Our reading today is from St Luke’s gospel (Chapter 24 verses 44-53)

Then Jesus said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’ Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

 

Reflection:

Today we celebrate Jesus finally getting what he deserves; he returns to his home to experience the glory that belongs to him. It is cause for the wildest of celebrations. Our worship today is a faint echo of the welcome Jesus receives in heaven on his return. On Ascension Day our focus should not be on our needs and wants, but on Jesus. It's his day!

We shouldn’t get stuck on worrying about 'what actually happened'. This is an important story for Luke – he uses it as a pivot , both to close his Gospel and to begin the story of Acts. He wants us to be clear that the work of the bodily, tangible Jesus is complete and the work of the Church is just beginning. It closes the resurrection appearances and sets the scene for the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost and the birth of the Church.

Jesus commissions the disciples to be his witnesses, beginning from where they are and moving out 'to the ends of the earth'. That commission is ours, too, and just as it was for those first disciples, so it is a privilege for us too.

 

Our prayers:

Reflectively, please pray for:

  • Revd. Mandy Bishop (Rector of Kessingland) who was licensed as Joint Rural Dean, with Michael, on Wednesday
  • Those who are heroes in our society: for the Carers, the NHS staff, those on the front line in the fight against Covid 19
  • For those who have lost loved ones in these difficult times
  • For those who are estranged, by distance or by relationships, from their families and their friends

Conclude with:

We praise and bless you, God of our making for the way you draw us deeper into the meaning of life. Amen

 

Please pray the Lord’s Prayer in the way you are most comfortable.

 

Our concluding hymn is: Lord enthroned in heavenly splendour (number 263)

Or you can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV9wUIZJFAA

 




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