Worship Connection: May 21, 2023

April 1st, 2021

Ascension Sunday

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


Call to Worship #1:
L: Shout to God with songs of great joy!
P: Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised!
L: God has made us whole.
P: God has called us to a ministry of hope and love.
L: Come, let us celebrate the love of God!
P: Let us praise God’s name and serve God joyfully. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2:
L: We await God’s instructions for our lives.
P: We eagerly look forward to learning more about ways to serve God.
L: The time is coming when our service will be needed here.
P: Let God’s love flood through our service to others
L: Wait! Listen! The time is near!
P: Open our hearts and spirits, O Lord, to hear your word for us today. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2115, “Christ Has Risen,” offer the following call to worship as directed.]
L: Our hearts are filled with Jesus’ love. He teaches us so much.
P: Yet we have so much to learn to prepare us for mission in this world.
L: Christ has risen! Even though we thought love and hope had died!
P: God is here with us right now, lifting and healing our lives.

Choir: singing verse 1 of “Christ Has Risen”

L: Now let us rejoice and boldly proclaim our love for God.
P: Hallelujah!

Congregation and Choir: singing verse 4 of “Christ Has Risen”

Call to Worship #4:
L: What a glorious vision!
P: Jesus gave the glorious promise of an Advocate!
L: Then he ascended to God!
P: What joy there must have been in the hearts of the disciples.
L: May God find such joy in our hearts and spirits!
P: Prepare us, Lord, for the mighty works you place before us. AMEN.


Opening Prayer
Lord of amazing visions, prepare our hearts and our spirits this day to receive your glad tidings of an Advocate. Help make us ready to be your disciples in all that we do, say, and think. For we ask this in the name of our beloved Savior Jesus Christ. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession
We have to confess, O Lord, that we are people who want to have everything proven for us. We hear the message in the scripture of Jesus’ ascension, and we smile smugly, not truly believing the vision. Forgive us for our arrogant doubts and attitudes of smugness. Help us remember that everything Jesus taught us was to prepare us to help build God’s realm here on earth. We are called to be people of faith, not of absolute proof, as we understand it. Let us place our trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Let us look with eyes of faith as he ascends to the Father. We pray in his Name, AMEN.

Words of Assurance
Although you have not stood on the mountaintop to see his ascension to God, yet believe in the love and power of Christ who taught you how to be faithful and joyful disciples. Rejoice, and believe in him who came that you may have abundant life. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer
Go back to Jerusalem and wait, Jesus said to his disciples. Lord, we are not good at waiting for anything. We want to know what to do right now, right here. We want the plan all laid out for us so that we can project the end results. We have some real control issues to overcome, Lord. Take our spirits and release the need for control for them. Help us place our total trust in your abiding love and presence. Give us patience and persistence in our ministries and mission. As we bring to you the names of dear ones whose lives are in need of your healing mercy and comfort, remind us that we also stand in need of those same mercies. Give us courage to accept your love and strength to witness to your love in all that we do. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.

[This reading may be made specific to your local situation. The person identified as the Apostle Paul may be seated at a desk and appear to be writing. The readers may be slightly “offstage” but visible to the congregation. Think of the many ways in which your church has faithfully witnessed to others in the name of Jesus Christ. Some of the things I have identified here might also apply to your specific congregation. The material for the Apostle Paul are direct quotes from Ephesians 1:15-23, NRSV.]

Reader 1:
We are so grateful, O Lord, for the ways in which you have encouraged us in our ministries in this church. You have strengthened us to serve in this community, to help others in need, to be in constant prayer for our faith family and all others whose names come before us.

Apostle Paul:
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. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints.

Reader 2:
Each time we hear the words of Jesus to his disciples, it gives us courage to work for him in this world. [Our food pantry, our thrift shop, the ministry to children and youth, work with our senior citizens, the work with the homeless in the soup kitchen,] have been sources of great joy to each one of us. God has empowered us to serve and has given us strength to do what must be done with great joy.

Apostle Paul:
God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Reader 3:
We do not boast in our own accomplishments. All these things that we do are done in the name and spirit of Jesus Christ to the glory of God. It is our joy to be of service. It is our inheritance to reach out in love as we ourselves have truly been loved by God.

Lord of love and light, you have called us to this place and have fed us with your loving spirit. You have feasted us on bread and wine, the symbols of our covenant with you. Now send us on our way in joyful service and peace in your world. AMEN.


The traditional Color for today is: WHITE

[Note: There are several ways to approach this setting. One is to elevate a large picture of Jesus above the worship center, placing several layers of netting or tulle over the picture, so that it is slightly obscured--a vision of the ascension.]

Place a 12” riser on the main worship center.

Cover the entire worship center in white fabric so that it puddles on the floor in front of the worship center. With a frame of PVC pipe around the picture of Jesus, place about 3 to 4 layers of tulle over the picture so that these layers puddle on the floor in front of the worship center.

You may place an altar/worship center candle in a holder on either side of the painting, or you may use two 10” white pillar candles on either side of the picture.

No plants are suggested for this setting.

ROCKS/WOOD: No rocks and wood are suggested for this setting.

Find a large picture of Jesus so that it can be easily identified from the back of the sanctuary. Place it on an easel or in a PVC frame, so that it appears to be suspended. This will be covered with layers of tulle to create an ethereal effect. You may place a brass altar cross on the floor in front of the worship center, if you choose.

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