Holy Communion for Ascension Day


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God has gone up with a shout,

The Lord with the sound of a trumpet.


Song: Crown Him with Many Crowns https://youtu.be/en7pOd9Ix-M


We meet in the name of the Father,

and the Son and the Holy Spirit

Amen


Almighty God,

to whom all hearts are open,

all desires known,

and from whom no secrets are hidden:

cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you,

and worthily magnify your holy name;

through Christ our Lord.

Amen.


Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed

for us.

Let us therefore rejoice by putting

away all malice and evil

and confessing our sins

with a sincere and true heart.


Almighty God, our heavenly Father

we have sinned against you,

through our own fault,

in thought, and word and deed and in what we have left undone.

We are heartily sorry

and repent of our sins.

For your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,

forgive us all that is past;

and grant that we may serve you in newness of life

to the glory of your name.

Amen


May Almighty God

have mercy upon you,

forgive you your sins,

and bring you to everlasting life.

Amen


Song: Freely Freely https://youtu.be/SFV0OVeKdlw


The Collect

Risen Christ,

you have raised our human nature to the throne of heaven:

help us to seek and serve you,

that we may join you at the Father’s side,

where you reign with the Spirit in glory,

now and for ever. Amen.


Psalm 93 The Lord is king.

He is clothed with majesty and strength. The earth is set firmly in place and cannot be moved. 2 Your throne, O Lord, has been firm from the beginning, and you existed before time began.

3 The ocean depths raise their voice, O Lord; they raise their voice and roar. 4 The Lord rules supreme in heaven, greater than the roar of the ocean, more powerful than the waves of the sea.

5 Your laws are eternal, Lord, and your Temple is holy indeed, forever and ever.


Song: Our God https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01Yj7H-eSjM


Ascension Reading: Acts 1:4-11


While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This’, he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’


Alleluia. Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed. Alleluia.


Sermon:



Today we’re looking at the account of Jesus’ ascension. It’s the end of his time on earth in a human body; it’s the final appearance with his first disciples. It’s the turning point of his ministry.

Jesus goes back to his Father in heaven. Now it’s over to us!

And throughout at all the events after Easter, all the stories in the gospels, the first disciples (and us too) ask questions. What does mean? Jesus tells them what they need to know- and they ask more questions.

So today, Jesus gives them some clear instructions:


While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This’, he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’


But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’


So this is the important bit.


First- God sends his Holy Spirit to his followers. For these first people, it meant waiting until Jesus had left earth and then there was the unique one-off event at Pentecost. That’s why they waited.

But for both the disciples after that, and for us- as we follow Jesus, we’re continually asking for and being filled up by the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes, we have a powerful experience when we’re really aware of God’s presence with us; people shake or fall down or are overcome. But we’re not looking for an experience, we’re looking to receive God’s power day by day to follow him in obedience. So for some of us, we don’t ever seem to have a one-off experience. But we can point to the difference over time that the Holy Spirit has made in our lives.

It’s like crossing the Equator. If you’re on a cruise ship and in the daytime, you go across the equator- they have a ceremony, make a big deal.



But if you’re flying over in the equator at night- you still pass from one hemisphere to the other, but you might not notice the exact moment. You could be asleep! But the difference is still there. At one stage you’re in the northern hemisphere; then you’ve gone south.


The ceremony or experience isn’t what counts. It’s where you end up!


Because the point of receiving the Holy Spirit- is to be witnesses. We receive God’s presence , power, love, transformation as we turn our lives over to follow him.

And then, we in turn share that love power and transformation with others.

It’s not for just ourselves- it’s so that we can join in with God’s work in the world.


So the challenge for us as we move from Ascension to Pentecost- is to use that time to focus on our witness. That’s why we have the pray for 5 challenge.

At St Catherine’s we are good at looking out into our community and joining in with events or projects that seek to love our neighbours. And that’s great - Jesus tells us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. And we need to get to know our neighbours, those in our community so we can share what Jesus has done for us.

But part of sharing that love, is telling people about Jesus- so that they can know him for themselves. And we start with prayer. Praying for people that they will know God’s love; there may be then some more steps we’d need to do.

Where can people come to in order to learn?

It might be our church services or GLU, but it might also be in specific courses or events. We might not be able to much right at the moment but what can we think or dream or pray for in the future?


The important thing is that we focus on what God is calling us to do. Wait, be filled pray and then be witnesses.


The disciples, however, get distracted. Is this the time that Jesus is going to sort out their country? They had issues to fix. When would God kick out the invaders, sort out the corrupt politicians or religious leaders? Jesus is clear. It’s not for they to know when God would do something, it’s up to them to get on with their job.

We have all sorts of reason to hesitate. We don’t like confronting people; we don’t want to be embarrassing; we just aren’t really quite sure what to do…

Jesus asks us to do what we can. Try and resist the distractions. Focus on that next step in praying, inviting and telling others…


When Jesus leaves, the angels reassure them. Jesus went up into heaven. He’s going to come back. He will sort everything out.

He will be revealed for who he is. That’s why we have the Psalm - it tells us what God is like. Along with the challenge of Ascension, there is also this reassurance. God is King; that means Jesus is King too. He is in charge. When the psalmist proclaims that the earth shall never be moved- he’s reminding us that even when our world is turned upside down; when we feel that everything is in freefall, God is still in charge, and in charge here on earth.

He is powerful, almighty and eternal. The psalmist compares God to the sea- probably the most powerful force he could think of. God is more powerful than a raging ocean storm.


Ascension shows us more of who Jesus is and reminds us of his command to us.


Don’t worry. God will do his bit.

We should do ours.


What we believe


Let us declare our faith

in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Christ died for our sins

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he was buried;

he was raised to life on the third day

in accordance with the Scriptures;

afterwards he appeared to his followers,

and to all the apostles:

this we have received,

and this we believe.

Amen.


Our Prayers

Let us join our prayers with those of our Saviour Christ,

seeking the Father’s blessing and the gifts of the Spirit.


Jesus Christ, great high priest,

living for ever to intercede for us,

pray for the Church, your broken body in the world …

Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.


Jesus Christ, king of righteousness,

enthroned at the right hand of the majesty on high,

pray for the world, and make it subject to your gentle rule …

Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.


Jesus Christ, Son of Man,

drawing humanity into the life of God,

pray for your brothers and sisters in need, distress or sorrow …

Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.


Jesus Christ, pioneer of our salvation,

bringing us to glory through your death and resurrection,

surround with your saints and angels

those who have died trusting your promises …

Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.


Jesus Christ, Lord over all things,

ascended far above the heavens and filling the universe,

pray for us who receive the gifts you give us for work in your service …

Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.


Jesus Christ,

keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit

and in the bond of peace,

and bring the whole created order to worship at your feet;

for you are alive and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen.


The Peace

The Risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said,

Peace be with you.


Then they were glad when they saw the Lord.

Alleluia

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.


Song: My Jesus, My Saviour https://youtu.be/hGmZcTCXjmM



Holy Communion


The Lord is here.

His Spirit is with us.


Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.


Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give thanks and praise.


And now we give you thanks

because, after his most glorious resurrection,

he appeared to his disciples,

and in their sight ascended into heaven to prepare a place for us;

that where he is, thither we might also ascend,

and reign with him in glory.


Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might

Heaven and earth are full of your glory

Hosanna in the highest

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord

Hosanna in the highest


We praise and bless you, loving Father,

through Jesus Christ, our Lord;

and as we obey his command,

send your Holy Spirit,

that broken bread and wine outpoured

may be for us the body and blood of your dear Son.


On the night before he died, he had supper with his friends

and, taking bread, he praised you.

He broke the bread, gave it to them and said:

Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;

do this in remembrance of me.


When supper was ended, he took the cup of wine.

Again he praised you, gave it to them and said: Drink this, all of you;

this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.



So, Father, we remember all that Jesus did,

in him we plead with confidence his sacrifice

made once for all upon the cross.

Bringing before you the bread of life and cup of salvation,

we proclaim his death and resurrection

until he comes in glory.


Dying you destroyed our death,

rising you restored our life:

Lord Jesus, come in glory.

Lord of all life,

help us to work together for that day

when your kingdom comes

and justice and mercy will be seen in all the earth.


Look with favour on your people,

gather us in your loving arms

and bring us with all the saints

to feast at your table in heaven.

Through Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all honour and glory are yours, O loving Father, for ever and ever.

Amen.


Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever.

Amen.


We break this bread

to share in the body of Christ.

Though we are many, we are one body,

because we all share in one bread.


Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us

Alleluia! Let us keep the feast!


Prayer of Spiritual Communion

Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ,

for all the benefits you have given me,

for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.

Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,

I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.

O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,

may I know you more clearly,

love you more dearly,

and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen



Song: O Praise the Name https://youtu.be/yrFtFVZsNLQ


As we wait in silence,

make us ready for your coming Spirit.

As we listen to your word,

make us ready for your coming Spirit.

As we worship you in majesty,

make us ready for your coming Spirit.

As we long for your refreshing,

make us ready for your coming Spirit.

As we long for your renewing,

make us ready for your coming Spirit.

As we long for your equipping,

make us ready for your coming Spirit.

As we long for your empowering,

make us ready for your coming Spirit.


The Blessing

May the Spirit,

who set the Church on fire upon the day of Pentecost,

bring the world alive with the love of the risen Christ.

And the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.

Amen.


Song: This Amazing Grace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPQKj2Zptr0


Dismissal

Waiting expectantly for the promised Holy Spirit,