Ascension Day Service

A Service for Ascension Day

May 21st 2020

Opening Words

For forty days we have been celebrating with joyful hearts the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, his bursting from the tomb and his defeat of the power of sin and death. He appeared to his disciples many times and told them about the kingdom of God.

Today we recall how he left this earth and returned to his Father, ascending into heaven to take his throne over all dominions and powers. Trusting in his reign over all creation, and submitting to his kingly yet loving rule, let us hear the story of his parting.

 

Reading: Acts 1:1-11

 

Hymn: Crown Him with many Crowns

 

Let us pray that our risen and ascended Lord will lead us to eternal life.

Silence is kept.

Collect

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.

All   Amen.

 

Gospel Reading: Luke 24:44-end

 

Reflection – Rev Colin Hudspith

 

Affirmation of faith - From Philippians 2.6-11

 

Though he was divine,

he did not cling to equality with God,

but made himself nothing.

Taking the form of a slave,

he was born in human likeness.

He humbled himself, and was obedient to death,

even the death of the cross.

Therefore, God has raised him on high,

and given him the name above every name:

that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow,

and every voice proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

 

Hymn: He is Exalted

 

Intercessions – Andy Odell

Let us pray.  Father God, we stand in awe at the fact that you are always with us, showing your constant love in these difficult and distressing times when so many people have suffered and died, even those known to us, amongst our families and friends.  We look to you our God, trusting you to shine your light on us, in our grief and hardship.  We trust you to guide us at this time and to bring healing to those who are sick and comfort to those who mourn. 

Lord in your Mercy, Hear our Prayer.

We also pray that as we reach out to others to comfort and support them, whether with them physically or apart, that you will bring comfort to us, and uphold us.  Let your light shine through the turmoil of our confusion and anxiety and bring us the love and hope we can share with the world, that is so in need of your hope right now.  Thank you that in our difficulties we can turn to you and know you.  And thank you too that you give us the task to bless your world, with support and compassion.

Lord in your Mercy, Hear our Prayer.

Almighty and merciful father you show your great love for all you that have created in your world.  We pray now for your swift help and for your sovereign power to overcome the spread of the coronavirus causing so much sickness and death to your world.  We pray for that world and all who are affected in so many different ways. Bring healing to those who suffer, bring life to the dying, and comfort those who have been bereaved.  We pray for all who are working to find solutions to the pandemic, that they will soon be successful, and we ask that you strengthen and uphold our government, scientists, and health authorities in their fight. Empower them with your wisdom, your strength and your grace to overcome. 

Lord in your Mercy, Hear our Prayer.

We pray for the vulnerable whether they be old or young, those who are isolated, and those who have mental health issues.  Many live in worry, anxiety and confusion because of their situation.  We think of those who continue to help and support communities, going to work with the fear that they may catch the virus, or pass it on to someone else.  We pray for volunteers and key workers, who support our community working together to keep us safe and secure.  We pray for the outpouring of your grace, your comfort, your strength, and your wisdom as we work together to beat back the effects of the virus. 

Lord in your Mercy, Hear our Prayer.

We give thanks that so far in North Devon we have been spared the worst of the pandemic.  As we move towards an easing of the lockdown, we pray that those in authority will act with caution and get the right balance between greater freedom and protecting the vulnerable and elderly. 

Lord in your Mercy, Hear our Prayer.

We pray for your worldwide church, for all who minister in your name.  We pray for strength and guidance for Steve, Caroline, Colin, Margaret, Mike and David as they care for your flock in these unprecedented times. 

Lord in Your Mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for our families, friends, work colleagues and neighbours especially for those that we are currently unable to physically see or touch due to circumstances beyond our control.  May we be given peace of mind in the knowledge that you are always with us. 

Lord in Your Mercy, Hear our prayer.

Mighty God, through the ministry of your son Jesus Christ you have freed us from the grip of the tomb.  We pray for those who have departed this life and ask you, through your loving kindness, to have mercy on their souls.  We pray too for those bereaved by their passing. 

Lord in your Mercy, Hear our Prayer.

Lord God, we have heard about your son Jesus Christ ascending into heaven.  We give thanks that through his death we can also live in the knowledge that if we follow your teaching and obey your commandments we can also, when our time comes, be with you in heaven. 

Lord in your Mercy, Hear our Prayer.

Looking for the coming of his kingdom,

as our Saviour taught us, so we pray

 

Our Father in heaven, hallowed by Your name

Your kingdom come, Your will be done

On Earth as in Heaven

Give us today our daily bread

Forgive us our sins

As we forgive those who sin against us

Lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil

For the Kingdom the power and the glory are Yours

Now and forever

Amen

 

The Peace

 

Jesus says: ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. If you love me, rejoice because I am going to the Father’. Alleluia. John 14.27,28

 

In silence receive the peace of Christ and bring to mind those with whom we worship. Ask Jesus to give them His peace also.

 

Blessed be God,

by whose grace creation is renewed,

by whose love heaven is opened,

by whose mercy we offer our sacrifice of praise.

Blessed be God for ever.

 

In silence give thanks for the saving death and resurrection of Jesus and ask him to be with you now.

Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits you have given me, for all the pains and insults you have borne for me. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I ask you to come spiritually into my heart. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen (after the Prayer of St Richard of Chichester)

Lord, in these days of mercy, make us quiet and prayerful; in these days of challenge, make us stronger in you; in these days of emptiness, take possession of us; in these days of waiting, open our hearts to the mystery of your cross. Amen (Angela Ashwin)

 

Hymn: Before the Throne of God Above

 

Then the disciples returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying. They were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

Acts of the Apostles (1.12,13a,14)

 

Closing Prayer

As we wait in silence,

As we listen to your word,

As we worship you in majesty,

As we long for your refreshing,

As we long for your renewing,

As we long for your equipping,

As we long for your empowering,

Make us ready for your coming Spirit.

 

Liturgy © The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England, 2000-2005


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