Ascensiontide

Ascensiontide Spiritual Communion

24th May, 2020

Sunday after Ascension Day

 

¶  Preparation: You may wish to find a space for prayer in front of a cross, a candle, or a special place.

     

      God has gone up with a shout,

All: the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.

 

      In the name of the Father,
      and of the Son,
      and of the Holy Spirit.

All: Amen.

 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, for forty days we have been celebrating with joyful hearts the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, his bursting from the tomb and his defeat of the power of sin and death. He appeared to his disciples many times and told them about the kingdom of God.

 

Today we recall how he left this earth and returned to his Father, ascending into heaven to take his throne over all dominions and powers. Trusting in his reign over all creation, and submitting to his kingly yet loving rule, let us hear the story of his parting.

 

 

Hymn

At the name of Jesus

At the name of Jesus
ev’ry knee shall bow,
ev’ry tongue confess him
King of glory now;
‘tis the Father’s pleasure
we should call him Lord,
who, from the beginning,
was the mighty Word.

 

At his voice creation
sprang at once to sight,
all the angels’ faces,
all the hosts of light,
thrones and dominations,
stars upon their way,
all the heav’nly orders
in their great array.

 

Humbled for a season,
to receive a name
from the lips of sinners

unto whom he came,
faithfully he bore it,
spotless to the last,
brought it back victorious
when from death he passed.

 

Bore it up triumphant,
with its human light,
through all ranks of creatures
to the central height,
to the throne of Godhead,
to the Father’s breast,

filled it with the glory
of that perfect rest.

 

All creation, name him,
with love as strong as death;
but with awe and wonder,
and with bated breath.
He is God the Saviour,
he is Christ the Lord,
ever to be worshipped,
trusted and adored.

 

In your hearts enthrone him;
there let him subdue
all that is not holy,
all that is not true;
crown him as your captain
in temptation’s hour;
let his will enfold you
in its light and pow’r.

 

Truly, this Lord Jesus
shall return again,
with his Father’s glory,
with his angel train;
for all wreaths of empire
meet upon his brow,
and our hearts confess him
King of glory now.

 

A minister says:

      Seeing we have a great high priest who has passed through the heaven,
      Jesus the Son of God,
      let us offer him the praise worthy of his name.

 

Gloria in Excelsis

 

All: Glory to God in the highest,      
      and peace to his people on earth.         

      Lord God, heavenly King,
      almighty God and Father,
      we worship you, we give you thanks,
      we praise you for your glory.

      Lord Jesus Christ,
      only Son of the Father,
      Lord God, Lamb of God,
      you take away the sin of the world:
      have mercy on us;
      you are seated at the right hand
      of the Father:
      receive our prayer.

      For you alone are the Holy One,
      you alone are the Lord,
      you alone are the Most High,
      Jesus Christ,
      with the Holy Spirit,
      in the glory of God the Father.
      Amen.

 

The Collect

 

      Let us pray that our risen and ascended Lord will lead us to eternal life.

 

      A period of silent prayer is kept.
 

      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.

 

  

¶  The Liturgy of the Word

 

New Testament Reading

Acts 1:1-11

 

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

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 over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 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.’

 

The Ascension of Jesus

So when they [the disciples] 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.’

 

At the end:

      Alleluia. Christ is risen.

 

All: He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

 

Gradual Hymn

Breathe on me, breath of God

 

Breathe on me, breath of God,
fill me with life anew,
that I may love what thou dost love,
and do what thou wouldst do.

 

Breathe on me, breath of God,
until my heart is pure:
until with thee I have one will
to do and to endure.

 

Breathe on me, breath of God,
till I am wholly thine,
until this earthly part of me
glows with thy fire divine.

 

Breathe on me, breath of God,
so shall I never die,
but live with thee the perfect life
of thine eternity.

 

Gospel Reading

Luke 24:44-end

       Alleluia, alleluia.
       Go, and make disciples of all nations, says the Lord,
       and remember I am with you always to the end of the age.              (Matthew 28: 19,20)

All: Alleluia.

 

       Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

All: Glory to you, O Lord.

 

Then Jesus 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.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. 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.’

 

The Ascension of Jesus

 

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

 

At the end:

       This is the Gospel of the Lord.

All:   Praise to you, O Christ.

 

 

Reflection

Fr Christopher

 

We live in a world where up is better than down. Students want to be at the top of the class. Singers at the top of the charts. We would all rather have an up day than a down day. We work to climb the career ladder not to descend it. There is something deep within our human DNA which drives us to “rise to the top”- to live ascended lives. We all want to break free from the things which hold us down and to rise above it all.

 

There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is right. Something within us knows that we are more than earthbound creatures. The problem is that we have distorted what ascension and an ascended life mean. We forget, or perhaps deny, that Christ’s ascension seats humanity next to God and so we settle for attempted “self-ascension”.

 

This distortion has infected our theology and understanding of God. In this distorted view God, heaven and holiness are “up there” somewhere while we are stuck down here. So we spend our time a bit like small children thinking that if we jump high enough and hard enough we can touch the moon. This gets lived out in so many unhealthy ways. It almost always involves comparison, competition and judgement of some kind. We compete with each other, believing that for us to ascend the other must descend or at least not jump as high as us. We are forever judging ourselves and one another. We fill our lives with busyness hoping to climb to new heights. But a life of self-ascension will always keep us searching for the next high.

 

Jesus’ ascension reshapes our disfigured understanding of an ascended life. His ascension is the antidote to the fragmentation and separation of “self-ascension”. It is only through Him that we can live truly ascended lives.

 

Jesus’ ascension is not about his absence but about his presence. It is not about his leaving but about his lifting of our humanity to God. The ascension of Jesus completes the resurrection. The resurrection is victory over death. The ascension, however, lifts humanity up to heaven. Jesus’ ascension seats human flesh, your flesh and my flesh, at the right hand of God the Father. Through it we now partake of God’s glory and divinity.

 

So the ascension is more about letting go than it is about reaching and grasping. The question for us is not “How do we ascend?” that has already been accomplished. The question for us is “What pulls us down?” What do we need to let go of? For some it will be fear, fear of not succeeding in their career. For some it will be anger or resentment when cherished plans have failed. For others it will be indifference or apathy. Gravity takes many forms but it always holds us down, keeps us back from fully living and sharing in the ascended life of Jesus.

Our participation in Jesus’ ascension begins not by looking up but by looking within.

 

Fr Christopher

 

 

Affirmation of Faith

 

All:    We believe and trust in God the Father,
         source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist.

 

        We believe and trust in God the Son,
        who took our human nature, died for us and rose again.

 

        We believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit,
        who gives life to the people of God
        and makes Christ known in the world.

 

        This is the faith of the Church.

        This is our faith.

        We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

 

Prayers of Intercession 

 

     

      Let us join our prayers with those of our Saviour Christ,
      seeking the Father’s blessing and the gifts of his 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.

All: 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.

All: 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.

All: 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.

All: 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.

All: 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.

All: Amen.

 

      In your mercy, fill us with your Spirit,

All: hear our prayer,
      and make us one in heart and mind
      to serve you with joy for ever.
      Amen.

 

The Lord’s Prayer

     
Looking for the coming of his kingdom,
let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

 

 

All: Our Father, who art in heaven,
      hallowed be thy name,
      thy kingdom come,
      thy will be done,
      on earth as it is in heaven.
      Give us this day our daily bread.
      And forgive us our trespasses
      as we forgive those who trespass against us.
      And lead us not into temptation;
      but deliver us from evil.
      For thine is the kingdom,
      the power and the glory,
      for ever and ever.
      Amen.

 

Hymn

Christ Triumphant

(text and music in copyright)

Please see hymn book for text.

 

Closing Prayer

      Eternal God, giver of love and power,
      your Son Jesus Christ has sent us into all the world
      to preach the gospel of his kingdom:
      confirm us in this mission,
      and help us to live the good news we proclaim;
      through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All:   Amen.

 

  

‘Dismissal’ Reading

Acts 1:12, 13a, 14)

 

Then the disciples returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying. They were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

 

Virtual Blessing

     
      God the Father,
      who has given to his Son the name above every name,
      strengthen you to proclaim Christ Jesus as Lord.

All: Amen.

 

      God the Son,
      who is our great high priest passed into the heavens,
      plead for you at the right hand of the Father.

All: Amen.

 

      God the Holy Spirit,
      who pours out his abundant gifts upon the Church,
      make you faithful servants of Christ our King.

All: Amen.

 

      And the blessing of God almighty,
      the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
      be among you, and those whom you love, today and always.

All: Amen.

 

      Waiting expectantly for the promised Holy Spirit,
      go in the peace of Christ. Alleluia, alleluia.

All: Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.

 

 Voluntary

Director of Music: James Lilwall


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