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Ascension day - Thursday 21st May 2020

Croeso and welcome to our worship this Ascension day. I am delighted that Rev Catherine from The Gathering Place (the Methodist Church,) is leading our reflection today. Thank you Catherine.

+ In the name of the Father,

and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit AMEN

Alleluia! Christ is risen,

He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Our opening hymn today is: Hail the day that sees Him rise, Alleluia!

Heavenly Father, all hearts are open to you.

No secrets are hidden from you.

Purify us with the love of your Holy Spirit

That we may love and worship you faithfully,

through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen

Lord, have mercy Lord, have Mercy

Christ, have mercy Christ, have mercy

Lord, have mercy Lord, have mercy

Heavenly Father,

we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and have failed to do

what we ought to have done.

We are sorry and truly repent.

For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ

who died for us, forgive us all that is past,

and lead us in his way

to walk as children of light. AMEN

The Gloria:

The Collect for Ascension Day.

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens, so we in heart and mind may also ascend and with him continually dwell; who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Readings: Acts 1 1-11 Luke 24:44-53 (NRSV)

Acts 1:1-11

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying[a] 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[b] 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. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward 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.”

Luke 24v 44-53

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah[a] is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses[b] of these things. 49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.[c] 52 And they worshiped him, and[d] returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53 and they were continually in the temple blessing God.[e]

Reflection: We welcome Rev Catherine again.

The Ascension of Jesus

Acts 1:1-11

Luke 24:44-53

Luke writes of the ascension of Jesus twice: at the end of his gospel and then at the beginning of Acts. Jesus had left the disciples first by dying and now he leaves them by ascending to heaven. For this reason, the ascension of Jesus has been described as a moment of separation and loss: the period of Jesus’ appearances to his followers has ended; Jesus has entered his glory, is now exalted and seated at God’s right hand. And yet, for all their sense of separation and loss, the disciples are not (according to Luke) dejected and sad at Jesus’ departure, nor do they look wistfully back to life as it had been. Instead, having been blessed by Jesus, they return joyfully to Jerusalem, there to wait (as Jesus had promised them) for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The ascension of Jesus signals a new beginning for his disciples: rather than being a moment of sadness and regret it is instead one of expectation and possibility. Now they are to become the ‘body’ of Jesus, his witnesses to the ends of the earth: doers of the word, not simply hearers. The strength and courage to do all that Jesus asks of them will be given through the Holy Spirit, whose coming they therefore look forward to with hope. As one writer put it, ‘God is at work and something marvellous is about to happen.’ No wonder the disciples are joyful!

(For reference: Luke, Fred B Craddock; John Knox Press: Louisville, 1990

and, Glorious Christianity, Cally Hammond; SPCK: London, 2012)


Having bought back our freedom with the giving of his life, Jesus enters into the full glory to which he is entitled.

As we celebrate together, let us pray together.

God of love, as we celebrate this festival of Jesus’ entry into heaven as Saviour and Lord, we pray for unity in the Church and reconciliation and renewed vision.

Both heaven and earth: are full of God’s glory.

As we recall the shouts of praise in heaven as the Lamb of God appears, we pray for all who are hailed as "great" and given honour on earth;

for all who worship God.

Both heaven and earth: are full of God’s glory

We pray for all farewells and homecomings as we remain distanced from our families and our communities. For all who have lost touch with loved ones for whatever reason and long for reunion.

Both heaven and earth: are full of God’s glory

Father we pray for those who are full of tears, and cannot imagine being happy again; we pray for the hardened and callous, whose inner hurts have never yet been healed. We pray for wholeness, comfort and new life and remember all those who suffer from mental health issues in this week of awareness. Remembering in the quietness, those who we know this day, who are suffering in body, mind or spirit.

Both heaven and earth: are full of God’s glory

We commend to your eternal love, those we remember who have died, or who are dying and we pray for those who miss their physical presence or who struggle with the process of terminal care.

Both heaven and earth: are full of God’s glory

Merciful Father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Lord's Prayer

Hymn: Immortal Invisible God only wise

Christ our exalted King pour on us his abundant gifts that we may serve him and reign with him in glory.

The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all now and ever more. AMEN

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, . Alleluia! Alleluia!

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