Worship Elements: Ascension Sunday 2021 (Option 1)

Ascension Sunday

COLOR: White
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53


Power is a dominant theme in today’s readings: the power of the risen Christ who is glorified and the promised power of the Holy Spirit. These texts invite us to reflect upon how these two powers work together in our life of faith. They also anticipate the conclusion of the Easter season next Sunday on Pentecost. Today we celebrate the power of Jesus Christ, while also yearning for the gift of power in the Holy Spirit.


Call to Worship (Luke 24)

Come gather ’round; Jesus is here.
We wait for the coming Spirit.
Come gather ’round; see the power of Christ before you.
With joy, we praise God.

Opening Prayer (Ephesians 1)

Almighty God,
through Jesus Christ,
you revealed to us a power
that has no parallel.
May the eyes of our heart
be enlightened to this power
and all it has done in our lives.
Pour out your Spirit of power upon us,
that we may proclaim your glory
and your grace. Amen.


Prayer of Confession

Lord Jesus Christ, in you we see awesome power.
You triumph over death and bring forth new life.
You stand over all earthly powers.
You are the head of the church.
Yet, we often fail to acknowledge this power in our lives.
We see violence in the world.
We see injustice in our communities.
We see hunger and need among our neighbors.
We see longing for something more.
We see failures and faults in our lives.
In all these things, we feel powerless.
Forgive our hesitance to call upon you.
Forgive our propensity to rely upon ourselves.
Forgive our reluctance to acknowledge your power.
Speak your words of power again.
May your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Words of Assurance (Ephesians 1)

May God give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation,
that the power of Jesus Christ may be visible in your life.
By the grace of Jesus Christ we are forgiven
and empowered to serve.

Passing the Peace of Christ

God’s power is a glorious inheritance among the saints.
It is a power manifested in love, forgiveness, and peace.
May the power of peace be with you today.
And also with you.
Let us pass the peace of Christ.

Response to the Word (Ephesians 1, Luke 24)

In these words, we hear of the power of Christ
and the promise of a Spirit of power.
We hear the ancient story come alive in our lives.
We seek a spirit of wisdom and revelation in Christ.
We await a spirit of power from God.
Come, Lord Jesus. Come, Holy Spirit.
Come into our lives.


Invitation to the Offering or Invitation to Communion

Come to the table of peace.
Come to the table of love.
Come to the table of joy.
Come to the table of power.
Come to the table of Christ.

Great Thanksgiving

(The following prayer may replace the preface and conclusion
of the Great Thanksgiving, or it may be used by itself at an appropriate
time in the service.)

You are worthy of all our praise, O God,
for you are the source of all good power.
By your power,
heaven and earth were formed.
By your power,
you created us and gave us life.
By your power,
we are guided and protected.
By your power,
Jesus Christ triumphed over the grave.
By your power,
the Holy Spirit comes to sustain and care for us.
And so, in praise and gratitude, we join the generations
of the faithful in singing your praise.
(If desired, continue with the traditional Great Thanksgiving,
beginning with the Sanctus)

When Jesus ascended into heaven, he promised
his followers a baptism with the Holy Spirit,
a power from on high. Clothe us in this Spirit,
that we might share a common ministry
of service to the world.
By your power,
fill our voices with stories of your grace.
By your power,
strengthen our hands for the work of your mercy.
By your power,
transform us into your representatives of your love.
In great joy and anticipation, empowered by your Spirit,
we await the return of Christ, as we offer praise to you,
Almighty God, in whom we live and move
and have our being.



In the presence of Christ, we have gathered.
In the grace of Christ, we depart.
May God clothe you with power on high.
May God put this power to work in each of us.


Contemporary Gathering Words

Power on high is given to you.
Power that enlightens.
Power that sustains.
Power to give praise to God.

Praise Sentences (Psalm 47)

Clap your hands.
Shout for joy.
Sing out praise.
Exalt the God of power!

From “The Abingdon Worship Annual,” edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © Abingdon Press.

About the Author

Bryan Schneider-Thomas

Bryan Schneider-Thomas is a pastor in The United Methodist Church, and serves churches as a consultant in art and read more…
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