Preacher: Niek Wit Bible Passage: Acts 1:6-11
Welcome to the Ascension Day Service
This service is designed to give you an opportunity to listen, reflect and participate more than our online services. I hope we can have a few meaningful moments together.
Ascension Day is the crowning event of the ministry of our Lord. On the fortieth day after Easter, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives with his disciples and ascended to heaven before their eyes (Acts 1:1-12).
The ascension of Christ is filled with significance. Jesus Christ’s ascension means that in heaven there is one who, knowing first-hand the experience of suffering and temptation, prays for us and perfects our prayers. His ascension is a witness and guarantee of our own bodily resurrection, as well as an invitation for us to set our hearts and minds “on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1-2) to rule over all things in heaven and throughout the universe (Eph. 1:10, 20-23). Finally, the ascension of Jesus serves as the prelude to Pentecost, when the power of the risen Christ came upon all believers through the Holy Spirit.
Commencement of Worship
(In a prayerful attitude you may listen or sing with the songs.)
All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name (Click on title to go to the song)
Prayer of Approach
Lord we gather in our homes, some of us by ourselves, some of us together. Some empty, some filled, some whole, some broken: yearning for the Holy Spirit to fill us. We come, with these ordinary disciples of Jesus who have shown us the way: trusting that God will continue to illumine our hearts and lead us in his ways.
Today, Lord, it’s again not about numbers nor about the place where we meet. It is about you. You’re God and you’re worthy. So, here we are to worship, to bow down before you.
Be known to us in this time, we pray in Jesus name. Amen
Indescribable (Click on title to go to the song)
Thanksgiving and Prayer of Confession
(Where appropriate you may consider alternate praying)
Exalted God, you are the constant lover who never forsakes us; you are like a mother who cradles her children, you are the teacher patiently repeating your words for us. We worship you.
Jesus Christ, in you we are convinced that God loves us; through you, we are formed into your people; with you, we serve those the world has forgotten. We follow you
Holy Spirit, you are the power that gives us peace; you are the wisdom that reveals the broken in our midst; you are the spokesperson to whom we are deaf. We welcome you.
God in Community, Holy in One, we lift our prayers to you.
We also come, O Lord, on this day of glory to confess our lack of trust. While we sing of your lordship over all creation, we have too often acted as though you are powerless in the face of today’s events.
Help us to live with renewed confidence in your presence today and in hope for life with you forever.
(Pause for a few moments)
We heed once more the assurance of God’s forgiveness that he offers to us:
“ My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2.
(Susan Boyle will lead us in singing the Lord’s Prayer)
The Lord’s Prayer (Click on title to go to the song)
Acts 1:6-11 (TPT)
6 Every time they were gathered together, they asked Jesus, “Lord, is it the time now for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
7 He answered, “The Father is the one who sets the fixed dates and the times of their fulfilment. You are not permitted to know the timing of all that he has prepared by his own authority. 8 But I promise you this—the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be filled with power. And you will be my messengers to Jerusalem, throughout Judea, the distant provinces—even to the remotest places on earth!”
9 Right after he spoke those words, the disciples saw Jesus lifted into the sky and disappear into a cloud! 10 As they stared into the sky, watching Jesus ascend, two men in white robes suddenly appeared beside them. 11 They told the startled disciples, “Galileans, why are you staring up into the sky? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but he will come back the same way that you saw him ascend.”
This reading was written for an Ascension Day Service , by Sam Hargreaves and It tries to dramatise the action of Jesus’ Ascension from the point of view of one of the disciples.
Be Enthroned (Click on title to go to the song)
(Where appropriate you may consider alternate praying)
Dear Jesus, Today we marvel anew at who you are. We thank you that you came in human form and lived on earth just as we live, yet you didn’t sin and you always did what your Heavenly Father desired. We have celebrated Easter and your resurrection from the dead and the time you spent on earth appearing to your disciples afterwards.
Today we contemplate the fearful and wonderful event of your ascension into heaven when you left the earth by being taken up into a cloud while the disciples watched. As human beings, we feel some sorrow that you departed the earth and no longer walk and talk with us in human form.
Sometimes we yearn and ache to actually touch you, or to ask you a question and hear an answer with our ears or to see your face with our eyes. Yet we are also eternally grateful that you are in heaven, seated on the throne, holding together everything here on earth and continually interceding with the Father on our behalf and fulfilling your promises to us.
Your ascension brings to mind many things we have yet to understand.
We want to know the times and dates of when you will come back and when things will happen in our lives. And yet you told us as you were about to leave that these sorts of things are not for us to know, but are all up to God who has a perfect plan. Help us to put our timetables of life into your hands, knowing that you will bring them to completion when the time is right.
We want to know why loved ones departed this earth before any of us felt ready. We want to know why you have left your great work on earth up to people like us who often fail and who are prone to inaction, doubt and fear.
We wish we knew when you would return to the earth and when sin and death and decay and evil will finally be defeated to end the suffering we see all around us.
Today on Ascension Day, help us to follow the example of the disciples in Acts 1:14 who, after seeing Jesus leave this earth, returned to Jerusalem and “joined together constantly in prayer.” Today may we all voice our prayers to you about the need of your presence in our lives and in our world and our great need for your direction, strength and help. May we receive the empowering promise of your Holy Spirit so we may be your witnesses in our own families and communities and all over the earth. We pray in the name of Jesus, our Ascended Lord. Amen. (Written by Karen Barber)
People of God, we are sent out in the power of the Holy Spirit, to be God’s witnesses; to proclaim the Good News to everyone we meet, to share the love that God has lavished on us in Jesus Christ. So go from here in the power and strength of God, to bear witness to all you have seen and experienced. Amen
King of Kings (Click on title to go to the song)