Sunday, May 16, 2021 – Ascension Sunday
The assigned scripture readings for this the 7th Sunday of Easter and also Ascension Sunday are Acts 1:1-11, Psalm 47, Ephesians 1:15-23 and Luke 24:44-53.
Luke 24:44-53 The Message
44 Then he said, "Everything I told you while I was with you comes to this: All the things written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms have to be fulfilled."
45 He went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way.
46 He said, "You can see now how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day,
47 and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all nations - starting from here, from Jerusalem!
48 You're the first to hear and see it. You're the witnesses.
49 What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until you're equipped with power from on high."
50 He then led them out of the city over to Bethany. Raising his hands he blessed them,
51 and while blessing them, took his leave, being carried up to heaven.
52 And they were on their knees, worshiping him. They returned to Jerusalem bursting with joy.
53 They spent all their time in the Temple praising God. Yes.
A Prayer of Invocation for Ascension
“We come to celebrate Christ's ascension, our Father. We remember that his physical removal from earth made possible the coming of the Holy Spirit who is our companion at all times and in all places. We glorify God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. One God in three manifestations. Therefore, we thank you, God, that you are ever-present and ever blessing us. In Christ's name. Amen.”
A Prayer of Confession for Ascension
“Almighty God: You accepted our Lord's sacrifice on the cross for our Salvation; by your infinite power you raised him from death on the third day, clothing him again with the flesh in which the disciples had known him, so that they might recognize him; and then you ordered him home, to rule with you in heaven until his final return to earth.
We humbly confess that, while we know the story and even believe it, we do not allow it to make much difference in our lives. We still fail to value each other’s lives. We still dread death as if we did not have his promise of life beyond this life. We still do not know how to respond rightly to the assurance of his ultimate return at the end of our time.
Enable us today, oh God, to reflect more deeply on the sacred story, that our discipleship may be enhanced and that our service to him may become more useful and effective. In the name of the risen and ascended Savior we pray. Amen.”
A Prayer for Ascension Sunday
“The time is now when Jesus departs from our sight, only to return in a new and different glory. Understand our griefs and our fears, O God, and transform them into hope. Let trust be ours - and help us manage to be your people despite our fears. When doubt moves into our room, chasten us. When we feel horribly alone, send us a sign of your presence. And when we compete for seats next to you, or at the table, remind us that, because of you, time has changed. Remind us that there is plenty for all. Amen.”