Worship Elements: Ascension Sunday 2019 (Option 2)

April 1st, 2019

Ascension Sunday

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

THEME IDEAS

Christians confess that Jesus fulfilled the promises of God as written in the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms. God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and Jesus Christ ascended to God where he has ultimate authority with God. From this place of authority, Jesus Christ is the head of the church, whose purpose is to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins to the entire earth by the power of the Holy Spirit. In today’s readings, Jesus blesses his followers, telling them to proclaim repentance and forgiveness in his name. But first they must wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit. His followers return to the temple to worship God where one can imagine that they sang Psalm 47, which celebrates God’s ultimate authority over all.

INVITATION AND GATHERING

Call to Worship (Psalm 47)

Clap your hands, all you people!
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our sovereign Lord!
God is sovereign over all the earth!
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Let everything that has breath sing praises.
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

Opening Prayer (Ephesians 1, Acts 1)

God of all glory,
as we come to know your Son
through the living word of scripture,
enlighten our hearts
with the spirit of wisdom and revelation.
Remind us again of Christ’s authority over the church
at all times and in all places.
Renew in us again our purpose as Christ’s followers:
to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins
in the name of Jesus Christ
to all people in all places.
All glory and honor be to you, Christ Jesus. Amen.

PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE

Prayer of Confession (Psalm 47, Ephesians 1)

Our Savior Jesus,
even while we extol you as Divine Sovereign
whose authority is above all earthly power,
we have failed to give you authority
over even the smallest matters of our lives.
We confess our arrogant,
self-centered exercise of power
over matters in our lives (pause),
in our church (pause),
and in our world. (pause)
We desperately cling to our own power,
failing to yield to your divine authority,
wisdom, guidance, and love.
Forgive us, we pray,
for the harm we have done to others
and to ourselves.
In your mercy, save us, Lord. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Luke 24)

Jesus said to his disciples before he ascended to God,
“Repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed
in my name to all nations.”
Repent then, followers of Christ,
and allow Christ to transform your lives.
Receive forgiveness in the name of the risen savior. Amen.

Passing the Peace of Christ (Ephesians 1)

Paul writes to the Christian community at Ephesus, “I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.” Near you now are people whose courageous expressions and acts of selfless love have profoundly influenced your lives. With thankfulness, let us greet one another in the
name of the risen Christ.

Response to the Word (Ephesians 1)

Holy Lord,
the gift of your hope and the power of your Spirit
are given to all who believe,
even to us who worship here today.
Help us grasp the enormity of your gifts,
that we may receive these gifts with open hearts
and celebrate them joyfully
as we serve you in every aspect of our lives. Amen.

THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION

Invitation to the Offering (Acts 1)

If Jesus was giving directions to his disciples today, they might sound something like this: “You will be my witnesses to (your home town), to all of (your county), to (your state), and to the ends of the earth.“One way we become Christ’s witnesses is through our giving today. Some of our gifts will help people in Jesus’ name locally through (mention a local ministry). Some funds will reach into our state through (mention a conference or regional ministry). Some gifts will reach far into our world in the name of Jesus through our support of (mention an international ministry that you support). I invite you to give generously and joyfully as you fulfill Christ’s call to be his witnesses to (your town, your county, your state), and to all the world.

Offering Prayer (Luke 24) 

Bless these gifts, O Lord of all,
that we might worship you with great joy
and serve your people with great love.
In Christ’s name, Amen.

SENDING FORTH

Benediction (Acts 1)

People of God, receive the blessing of Jesus Christ
and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Go now to live in Christian love
and witness to the power of forgiveness
in your homes, in your community,
even to the ends of the earth,
until that day when Christ returns in glory. Amen.

CONTEMPORARY OPTIONS

Gathering Words (Psalm 47)

Everybody here, clap your hands!
God is in the house!
Everybody here, shout your praise to God!
God is in the house!
Everybody here, sing praise to God!
God is in the house!

Praise Sentences (Psalm 47, Ephesians 1)

Jesus Christ is the Ruler of all rulers.
Exalt the name of Jesus!
Jesus Christ is the Lord of all lords.
Exalt the name of Jesus!
Jesus Christ is the Name above all names.
Exalt the name of Jesus!


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

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