Ascension Day Service, Thursday 13 May 2021

Ascension of the Lord

Welcome

We see Jesus, who for a short while was made subordinate to the angels, crowned now with glory and honour. Hebrews 2: 9

All-age time

How many words of 3 letters or more can you make using the letters in the word ‘Ascension’? (no plurals, proper names or foreign words)

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ,

you have ascended beyond horizons which our eyes can see,

and further than the limits

which our minds can reach.

No longer restricted to one place,

you are seated on the throne of heaven,

and present in all places.

We praise you,

our glorious Lord and Saviour,

and are forever glad

that now there is in heaven

one who understands and intercedes for us.

Hallowed be your name!

hallowed on earth as now in heaven

Almighty God,

your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ

ascended far above all heavens

that he might fill all things.

Grant that your Church on earth

may be filled with his presence

and that he may remain with us always,

to the end of the world;

through the same Jesus Christ our Lord,

who is alive and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.

Reading

Acts 1: 1-11

Reflection

(what Peter might have said after the Ascension)

He’s gone. He said we won’t see him again. In my head I believe it, because he never lies. He always keeps his word. You can absolutely trust him. But in my heart I find it hard to accept that I won’t see him again face-to-face, won’t sit down at a meal with him, laugh, joke, hear his voice.

When I was young, and was getting up to something I shouldn’t (who me? Surely not!) my mother would just appear unnoticed, unannounced, give me a clip in the ear, tell me off, and ground me. It was scary when she appeared: heart started racing, there was a cold, clammy feeling. But it wasn’t like that when Jesus appeared unannounced.

That first Sunday evening, after the devastating trauma of his death on the Friday afternoon and the business of the empty tomb that morning, was deeply disturbing. Jaws dropped, hairs on the back of the head stood on end, there was that same sense of heart racing and a cold, clammy feeling. But after that we got used to him just turning up. It almost seemed normal and natural. It was good to see him, to listen, to talk with him, ears suddenly tuned in to hearing what he was actually saying and understanding what it meant.

Then he said he was leaving. We were to take over his task of teaching and healing, of building the Kingdom. Who? Us? !!! He’s been with us long enough to know that we couldn’t organise the proverbial..

But that’s what he said: “I trust you. I know you can do it – even though you don’t realise your own abilities yet. You will not be able to see me, to touch me, to hear my voice with your ears – but I will always be with you. I will pour out the Spirit upon you, and you will do things that you never imagined you could do, you will go to places you never dreamt of visiting. The Spirit will drive you. The Spirit will empower you.

“It will happen when the time is right – of God’s choosing not yours. You must wait, pray, prepare, and in my good time I will cause dramatic change to happen.”

And now he’s gone. We miss him so much. But we are not bereaved, nor bereft. We know that, unseen, he is with us. Waiting is hard, but it is time for making preparations. It is exciting waiting time. We know we can trust him. We know that he will keep his word. The future will be not be easy, at times it may be very difficult, but we are not afraid, because we go into the future with him.

Prayer

Blessing and honour and glory and power!

Our words echo the praise of heaven

as you, Jesus Christ,

rise above the limitations of earth,

to sit for ever on the right hand side of God.

Though now we cannot ascend

to where you are,

still raise our hopes and hearts,

that our discipleship in this world

may be touched with the glory of heaven,

and our lives be signs and promises

of the fullness of the life to come

We pray for healing and wholeness

peace and justice in your world

in a time of quietness we bring to you

our prayers for people and situations of concern to us

and we sum up our prayers in the words that Jesus taught us

Blessing

Christ our King make you faithful and strong

to do his will,

and bring you to reign with him in glory.

The Blessing of God Almighty

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

rest and remain with you,

today and every day and for ever. Amen

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