Easter 7C – Ascension Sunday

May 8, 2016
This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated in many places on the Thursday prior to Easter 7, or alternately in place of the readings and prayers on the Sunday following. Except in the Roman Church, where the Gospel lesson varies with the lectionary year, the readings for Ascension lessons are the same every year (using Luke). Both sets of texts and prayers are offered below.

Scripture (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

For Easter 7:

Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources:

Acts 16:16-34 Psalm 97 Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21  John 17:20-26

For Ascension Sunday:

Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources:

Acts 1:1-11

Psalm 47 or Psalm 93 Ephesians 1:15-23 Luke 24:44-53
Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal
The Oremus Hymnal offers many good choices for the lectionary (although this 2010 version will have incorrect calendar dates). Not all are available in Chalice Hymnal, but some may be helpful in congregations where there is not a Chalice Hymnal available. Visit the Oremus Hymnal.

Any of the Easter hymns are appropriately used (with either set of lessons).

233 Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!
234 Crown Him with many crowns
91/92 All hail the power of Jesus’ name
95 Jesus shall reign
586 Open my eyes

Easter 7:
104 Of the Father’s love begotten
699 Rejoice, the Lord is King
493 We’re united
494 They’ll know we are Christians

Either Set of Texts:
491 As grain on scattered hillsides
397 Come, Risen Lord
393 One Bread, one Body
356 We, your people, God, confessing
495 Weave

More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.

Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:
Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent). A metrical version of the Psalter, for those Psalms not provided in Chalice Hymnal, is being prepared by Rev. David Chafin. Where practical, these may be offered here as well. You may also want to visit http://lectionarypsalms.org/
This week: Psalm 97 (Ascension) is on 749; neither of the Easter 7 Psalms are easily dealt with.

Note: Except where otherwise noted, items are created or adapted by the editor. If you are aware of source notations which are missing, please bring them to his attention. No copyright infringement is intended, but is sure to happen.

Words of Greeting/Call to Prayer
Psalm 96 alt.
L: O Lord, open my lips.
P: And my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
L: The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing.
P: And all the trees of the forest shall clap their hands.
L: Behold, our Sovereign Lord is coming to reign forever.
P: Alleluia!
(from Daily Prayer, Supplement Lit. Resources 5)

Prayer of Approach
L: The Lord be with you.
P: And also with you.
L: Let us pray. We adore you, Christ, as the One who promised to be with us to the end of the age. We now lay claim to that promise, for we are gathered here, like the disciples, in anticipation of your blessing and your commission, and for the promised coming of your Holy Spirit. Come to us, Lord, and may we know you in your coming, for we pray as you have taught us, saying, “Our father…”

God of Sun and Moon, Star and Sky, your wonder is beyond our imagining. We thank you for the gift of this world we share, and for the common bonds that we share as your children.
Bless us God, as we seek to find a way toward the peace you invite us to share. Guide us God as we walk that delicate line between being faithful to our own relationship with you, and yet remain understanding of those whose path is vastly different from our own. Remind us often that being faithful does not require that we close ourselves off from the faith of others.
Open our hearts, minds and spirits to people of every faith and culture. May the Mystery of your ways be the bridge that draws all of your people together in prayer for peace in our time.
We pray for those who are in special need of your grace and healing today. For those who live in fear of violence; for refugees everywhere; for political prisoners and for those who imprison them; God, we ask for peace. For those who are grieving, or hungry, or in despair; for the lonely, and all who are ill or suffering, for any who struggle with addiction, and for all who live with chronic illness.
God, we trust in your power to be present with the suffering. We trust in your Spirit’s power to bring comfort, faith and strength where it is needed. We pray, bring your radical, scandalous peace into our midst, and touch us all with your love, for we ask it in the name of the One who calls us ever forward, Jesus Christ…

Prayers from Common Worship*
For Easter 7:

O God the King of glory,
you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ
with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven:
we beseech you, leave us not comfortless,
but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us
and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

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.

Alternative Collect

Risen, ascended Lord,
as we rejoice at your triumph,
fill your Church on earth with power and compassion,
that all who are estranged by sin
may find forgiveness and know your peace,
to the glory of God the Father.

For Ascension Sunday:

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,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

God our Father,
you have raised our humanity in Christ
and have fed us with the bread of heaven:
mercifully grant that, nourished with such spiritual blessings,
we may set our hearts in the heavenly places;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Alternative 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.

Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)
For Ascension:
Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ
ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things:
Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his
promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end
of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and
reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory
everlasting. Amen.

or this

Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that as we believe your
only begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended
into heaven, so we may also in heart and mind there ascend,
and with him continually dwell; who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For Easter 7
O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son
Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven:
Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to
strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior
Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Collect of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2016, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)
John 17:20-26

Against the frills of our deceptive wiles,
O God, you seek in us the unity of heart
that is your gift, your fullness, your delight.
As we find we’re unknown in commonplace desires,
we come unknowing to be known
in your deep thriving wonder.
In these throes of awe, in all abandon to your bliss,
we come remembering: fulfill us in your gift

Service of Table
Preparation (Invitation to Stewardship)
As we remember Jesus, we are reminded of just how clearly his life demonstrated the truth that giving is the only proper expression of loving. Surely one can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving. So God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son.
But Jesus turned a corner in our understanding of the relationship between loving and giving when he indicated that not only does love result in giving, but giving also results in loving. He reminded us that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be.”
In our stewardship – our conscientious Christian management of resources—we find our concern achieving a wider and wider circle to include all those in our embrace whose needs are alleviated by our giving. In giving, we are able to go where we have never been, to embrace those whom we have never met, and express God’s love to them in languages we have never learned.
Our young ones love to sing “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” And when we follow God’s leadership, demonstrated in the loving ministry of Jesus Christ, we discover that “We’ve got the whole world in our arms,” embraced with more than sentiment, loved in more than words.

Offertory Prayer
We dedicate this money as one evidence of our stewardship, loving God. Our silver and gold have no value except as they are invested according to your purposes. Our lives gain value as we give our time and talents in loving service. Use all that we have and give to build the community you intend, through Christ our Lord.

Invitation to Commune
Beloved in Christ, the gospel tells us that on the first day of the week, Jesus Christ was raised from death, appeared to Mary Magdalene, on that same day sat at the table with two disciples and was made known to them in the breaking of bread. This is the joyful feast of the people of God. Men and women, youth and children, come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and gather about Christ’s table. This table is for all who wish to know the presence of Christ and to share in the community of God’s people. (UCC – adapted from resp. form)

Prayer of Thanksgiving
(The following may be offered as one prayer, or broken between two Elders, if that is the tradition to be followed)
Holy God, creator of heaven and earth, we joyfully thank you and praise your name. You formed the universe in your wisdom, and created all things by your power. You set us in families on the earth to live with you in faith. We praise you for good gifts of bread and wine, and for the table you spread in the world as a sign of your love for all people.
Even having taken up his cross and dying that we might live, our Lord Jesus overcame death and is risen in power. He is still the friend of sinners. We trust him to overcome every power that can hurt or divide us, and believe that when he comes again in glory, we will celebrate victory with him throughout eternity at his heavenly table.
And so, in remembrance of him, we take this bread and cup and give you thanks and praise. Pour out your Spirit upon us, that this bread and cup may be for us the body and blood of Christ, and that we, and all who share this feast, may be one with Christ and he with us. Fill us with eternal life, that with joy we may be his faithful people until we feast with him in glory. Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor are yours, Almighty God, now and forever.

[if not previously offered: “And now with the confidence of your children, we offer the prayer our Savior taught us, ‘Our Father…’”]

Resources from the Jubilee Fund: This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails for each Sunday’s service. Visit http://www.thejubileefund.com/ to learn more.
Rev. Tim Graves offers Liturgy Bits with valuable, culturally sensitive and creatively contemplative works, well worth your time.
You may also want to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.
Intercessions and other helpful planning materials geared to the Lectionary (using Roman Catholic version, but normally quite useful for all traditions) for preaching and worship are supplied for several weeks in advance at The Sunday Website of St. Louis University.

Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2015. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2015 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2015; Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010. The Revised Common Lectionary is copyright © the Consultation on Common Texts 1992. The Daily Eucharistic Lectionary is adapted from the Ordo Lectionum Missae of the Roman Catholic Church reproduced by permission of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. Adaptations and additions to the RCL and the DEL, together with Second and Third Service lectionaries and the Weekday Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer are copyright © the Archbishops’ Council 1997-2010. http://almanac.oremus.org/lectionary

Book of Common Prayer (1979), Public domain.

NOTE: We hope you return to this posting often (and are subscribed to the feed by email, on Facebook or your favorite reader), since the content of each week’s posting may change several times before Sunday. We’d also like to include your content, even after the fact, since everything will roll around again in 3 years, and your contributions may find new life in the great cycle of the lectionary. Send your comments or content here.


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