Ascension Day – Year A, B and C

Here are the resources you need for this Sunday. Please feel free to choose what is suitable for your congregation’s needs. You will notice that the orders of service are available in different formats: choose the “pdf” format if you want something that is ready to print and photocopy, the “doc” or “rtf” format if you wish to change the formatting yourself or the “ppt” format if you use PowerPoint.

Altar colour: White

Bible readings:
FIRST READING: Acts 1:1-11 Jesus’ ascension, promise and commission
PSALM: Psalm 47 OR Years A, B: Psalm 93 OR Year C: Psalm 110
*For musical settings of these Psalms, please see the song suggestions below*
SECOND READING: Ephesians 1:15-23 Christ is the supreme Lord over all things
GOSPEL: Luke 24:44-53 Jesus commissions and blesses the disciples

Notes on the readings:
ACTS 1:1-11: The visible ascension was not necessary for Jesus personally, as his glorification and exaltation was in effect actually from after his death and in his resurrection. It showed the disciples though, and the church, the logical culmination of his ministry which commenced in the humble process of a human birth. Now he concludes his work of salvation and earthly appearances in the supernatural ascension of his human person, thus demonstrating his exaltation and heavenly glorification. The cloud which took him from their sight is strongly reminiscent of the cloud which surrounded visibly the special presence of God among his people during his dealings with Israel. The heavenly messengers appeared consistently at other key points of our Lord’s earthly ministry and will appear with him when he comes.

EPHESIANS 1:15-23: There is a power which God works to make Christians what they are as their faith interweaves with their visible love. God further gives wisdom, revelation, enlightenment and the hope of their inheritance by that power. Again, that same power has exalted Christ in his resurrection and enthronement at the right hand of God. Ascended far above all power and dominion, our sovereign Lord Jesus, both fully divine and fully human, knows our human experiences, problems and needs. He directs his rule of all things for the benefit of his church.

LUKE 24:44-53: In this last teaching session with his disciples, Jesus alludes to the importance of all his redeeming activity in God’s sweeping plan carried out over thousands of years. The revelation of law through Moses and prophecy through especially inspired men all had fulfilment in Jesus’ redemption. Therefore his work needs proclamation in terms of repentance and forgiveness of sin. The church will continue this work. The disciples returned with joy after their Lord’s separation, for they knew that what was taken from them was merely his visible presence. He was, in reality, with them always.

Lay-readers please note: the linked sermons have not been edited for general use. As part of your preparations, keep in mind that they have been written for specific people in a specific context, and for this reason the issues they address or the examples they use may not be entirely suitable for people in your congregation. If you feel this is the case, you may need to make minor adjustments or find another sermon
Based on Ascension readings: Pr Heath Pukallus ; Pr Vince Gerhardy

Opening sentences:
God raised Christ from the dead, Alleluia!
and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places. Alleluia!
(Eph 1:20 NRSV)

When Christ ascended on high,
he made captivity itself a captive.
He ascended higher than the heavens,
in order to fill the whole universe.  (Eph 4:8a,10b composite)

Orders of service
Service of the Word (pdf / rtf / ppt)
Morning Praise (pdf / rtf / ppt)
Service without communion (pdf / doc / ppt)
Service orders with holy communion
Service with communion (page 6) (pdf / doc / ppt )
Alternative form A (page 58) (pdf / doc/ ppt)
Sing the Feast (Chataway) (pdf / doc/ ppt)
Simplified Spoken (pdf / doc/ ppt)
Service with Five Songs of Faith (pdf / rtf/ ppt)

Prayer of the Day (Collect): Choose one of the following

Almighty God,
grant that we who believe
in the ascension of your Son, our Lord,
into heaven
may also there ascend in heart and mind,
and dwell with him forever;
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

OR, modernised traditional
Almighty God,
we believe in your Son, our Lord,
who ascended into heaven.
Lead us also to ascend there in heart and mind,
and take us to live with him forever.
We ask this through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

OR, new (revised alternative)
(Let us pray that Christ will rule over all. [silence])
Thank you, eternal Father,
that your Son Jesus ascended to your right hand,
to rule over all things as Lord.
Keep your church in the unity
that the Spirit gives,
and bring all creation
to submit to Christ as Lord.
For he lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

ALLELUIA VERSE (after the second reading)
(Since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again;
death no longer has any power over him.
(Jesus said:) ‘Go and make disciples of all nations;
and I am with you always, to the end of the age.’
(Matt 28:19,20 NRSV alt)

Prayer after the gospel
This is the gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ (, raised to live forever).
Lord Jesus Christ,
thank you for fulfilling the Scriptures and returning to the Father.
Fill us with the joy of your continual presence.

Offering Prayer
Living God, your Son Jesus Christ
at his ascension gave gifts to his church.
Lead us, as members of his body on earth,
to use the gifts we have received
to do your will.

Prayer of the Church/ General Prayer: Ascension Day Litany

Resources for services with Holy Communion
It is indeed right and good,
Lord God, holy Father,
that we should at all times and in all places
give thanks to you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
After his resurrection he appeared openly to his disciples,
and before their very eyes was taken up into heaven,
so that by your grace we may share in his divine nature.
And so, with angels and archangels,
and with all the company of heaven,
we adore and praise your glorious name:

Jesus says: ‘When I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw everyone to me.’
(Thanks be to God.)
Come, everything is ready.

The third prayer of the day (as listed above) may be used at this point. It may be modified as follows:
Eternal Father,
your Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven,
to rule over all things as Lord.
As we have eaten of the one bread,
and drunk from the one cup,
keep your church in the unity
that the Spirit gives,
and bring all creation
to worship at the feet of Christ.
For he lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

This seasonal blessing is used together with (ie before) the usual blessing in the order of service.

(May) Christ our exalted king
pour on you his abundant gifts
and bring you to reign with him in glory; . . .

Go in peace, to witness in the power of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.  OR  In the name of Christ. Amen.

Visual images for the day: His Word in Pictures

Song/Hymn suggestions: * =  Modernised version available (please click here to go to the Modernised hymns page) ;G3, G4 . . . =  Guitar chords available in the Music Package 3, 4 . . .; GS =  Guitar chords in the Supplement to LH

First reading: Acts 1:1-11

90    Christ the Lord is risen again G8
106-115, esp:
106    Since Christ is gone to heaven, His home* G3
111    Hail the day that sees Him rise G5 (see TIS 369)
112    Hail, Thou once despised Jesus G3 (mod TIS 373)
113    Crown Him with many crowns G5 (see TIS 228)
114    See the Conqueror mounts in triumph G4
115    Rejoice, the Lord is King
285    To Thy most holy supper, Lord * G5
761    Christ is alive! Let Christians sing G3
771    Hallelujah! sing to Jesus G3
782    At the name of Jesus G7 (see TIS 231)
788    Lord, who left the highest heaven G8
843    Saviour, to the Father’s side (holy communion)
26    He is Lord
161    Majesty
162    King of kings and Lord of lords
163    Hymn of glory
166    Clap your hands, all you people
226    All is nearness
252    He is exalted
257    Jesus is living
370    You are glorious
185     Alleluia (v 5)
192    Christ is the world’s redeemer
216    Rejoice, the Lord is King
228    Crown him with many crowns
231    At the name of Jesus
365    Christ the Lord is risen again
369    Hail the day that sees him rise
373    Hail, our once despised Jesus
387    Christ is alive! Let Christians sing
415    Praise the Spirit in creation
517    Hallelujah! sing to Jesus
520    Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendour (holy communion)

Second reading: Ephesians 1:15-23
In addition to those suggested for the first reading:
169    The head that once was crowned with thorns G5 (see TIS 378)
528    Christ, whose glory fills the skies G5 (see TIS 212)

212    Christ, whose glory fills the skies
224    All hail the power of Jesus’ name
237    Hail Redeemer! King divine
371    God is gone up on high
378    The head that once was crowned with thorns
685    Lord, I come to you (The power of your love)

Gospel: Luke 24:44-53
In addition to those suggested for the first reading:
219    Jesus shall reign where’er the sun G3 (see TIS 207)
221    Spread, O spread, thou mighty Word* G5 (mod TIS 450)
103    Send your servant down the road
576    Bless us Lord (benediction)
207    Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
404    Lord God, the Spirit blest
450    Spread, O spread, almighty word

TIS 29, Clap your hands all you nations, is a paraphrase of the psalm. The song ‘Clap your hands’, by Jimmy Owens (ATA 166), is based on Psalm 47:1.
The Iona collection Psalms of Patience, Protest and Praise contains a metrical version of Psalm 47 that could be used on this day (page 24).
Note that the Iona Community is willing to allow a church or worship assembly to reproduce the words only of a song from these publications on a service sheet or overhead transparency that is to be used once only on a non-commercial basis, provided that the title of the song and the name of the copyright holder is clearly shown.
The following metrical version of Psalm 47 by David Schütz may be sung to the tune Aus meines Herzens Grunde (LH 107). If reproducing this version, please put ‘Words (c) David Schütz’ at the beginning or the end of the psalm.

O clap your hands, all peoples
and shout to God with joy.
The Lord Most High is awesome,
the King of all the earth.
He gives us victory,
and puts us over nations.
He chose a good land for us,
for Jacob, whom he loves.

See now, our God ascending
upon his throne with shouts!
See how our Lord arises
to heaven with trumpet blast!
Sing praises to our God.
Sing praises, O sing praises,
to God, the king of nations,
sing praises with a psalm.

Our God rules over nations
upon his holy throne.
The leaders of the peoples,
now gather all around,
with all God’s holy saints
who own the God of Abram.
Their forces are surrendered,
and God is Lord of all.

Music Resources Vol 3 (Psalm settings): Psalm 47 p82, Psalm 47 p83, Psalm 47 p84

For musical settings of Psalm 93, see Music Packages 6 and 8. TIS 51, The Lord is king, is another version of Psalm 93.
Music Resources Vol 3 (Psalm settings): Psalm 93 p154Psalm 93 p155
LHS 843    Saviour, to the Father’s side

AT 103    Send your servant down the road
AT 298    Let’s go out
AT 412    Sent by the Lord am I

While the LCA does not necessarily endorse the content of these websites, you may find them helpful in your worship planning.
Small Church Music: You can download mp3 and midi files of popular hymn tunes from this site.
Together to Celebrate: lectionary based song and hymn suggestions from a variety of sources.
Singing from the Lectionary: has song and hymn suggestions based on the RCL from other hymnals.
Song Select: you can search for more contemporary songs by theme. If your congregation has a paid subscription you can also download sheet music.
Hymns Without Words: mp3 downloads of hymn tunes.
Song and Hymn Index. Contains all the indexes of the LHS and AT books in one Excel file. Download the file (zip file) here.
Metrical Psalms by Dale Schoening : Psalms set to well known hymn tunes.
Keyboard Accompaniments for Together in Song – CDs are available for purchase through ACR. CD 1 & 2 ; CD 3 & 4.

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