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               St Clement Church Community Ascension Day Service

 

On Thursday this week we commemorate Ascension Day.

We are holding a Eucharist at 6pm in St Clement Church, this service is sent if you’d like to join in with our worship, but are unable to be with us in person.

Much love and prayers and may Christ’s love sustain you always. 

Rev Di and family xx

 

Let us pray:

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.

 

Our prayers of Penitence

As we bow our heads we remember that the ascended Christ, our great High Priest in heaven, prays for us. May we receive his mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

 

When we have surrendered to the temptations of the world….

 Lord, have mercy.

 

When we have treated others with prejudice, hatred or unconcern….

Christ, have mercy.

 

When we have served our own selfish interests, rather than serve our ascended King….

Lord, have mercy.

 

May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                           

Let us pray our 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, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 

Readings:

Acts 1. 1-11

Ephesians 1. 15-end

 

Gospel: Luke 24. 44-end

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. 

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’

 

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.’

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.

 

 

This is the Gospel of the Lord.    Praise to you, O Christ.

Reflection

Who do we look up to?

That’s the question I’d like for us to think about today.

Yes, I know it’s not good English to end with a preposition, but, hey, this is St Clement. If I were to ask, “To whom do we look up?” you’d think I was crazy, well, crazier than usual. So, let’s bend the rules, and ask: Who do we look up to?

It’s a fair question, because the essence of what we believe and value, is personified in those we look up to and admire, they portray what we’d like to be. So, who do we look up to?

Of course, part of the problem in looking up to others is that, invariably, they fall short of our expectations. We set them up on a pedestal, but they keep falling off.  Sooner or later, those we look up to prove to not to be saints, but just as painfully human as the rest of us.

So, who can we look up to? The Christian Faith has an answer: Jesus Christ. Jesus is more than an admired hero; he’s the Son of God, who died for our sins and rose from the dead that we might have the promise of eternal life.  And that’s what we celebrate today:

This same Jesus who lived among us, and died on the Cross, ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, to reign over all creation as King of kings, and Lord of lords.

And the Good News of the gospel is that Jesus is the one person in all of life we can look up to, who will never forsake us, will never disappoint us, or let us down.

He is the One who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

But, something I think needs addressing is, let’s admit it, what do we think actually happened at the ascension?

I’ve told you before the story of one Easter, when I was in ministry training, and my year group watched a Passion play put on by a local theatre company. 

All was going fine until it got to the part about the ascension, where they hoisted Jesus up to the top of the theatre by a system of ropes and pulleys, leaving his legs and feet waving around, still in sight of the audience, it looked like he was trying to ride a bike in mid-air!

Well, I howled with laughter, until I realised I was the only person who found it funny!  Give me a break I thought, as I tried to explain myself to the college principal afterwards.

 

 

On reflection though, I’ve no idea how I would’ve portrayed that part of the story.  Because it’s enough for me to imagine that Jesus went up on the Mount of Olives with his disciples, then simply faded from their sight.

Liz did a fantastic job of the Ascension story the year before last at our Archbishop School Assembly, with a helium balloon as a visual aid.  The children looked up totally entranced, didn’t they Liz, as the balloon ascended to ceiling of the hall.   Mind you, it stayed up there for months, I thought we were going to have to shoot it down by Christmas!

But, however we describe it, what’s critical about the ascension is that it marked the point where Jesus’ days on earth came to an end. 

And if the disciples were to see Jesus again in this earthly life, it would have to be in the faces of others. And this is where the story of the ascension speaks to me, for once we learn to look up to Jesus, we’re able to see him in the faces of those around us.

In the faces of those folk who reflect the message from the Gospel of Matthew:

 “I was hungry, and you gave me food,
I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink.
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you
hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink?’
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you,
inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of my family,
you did it to me.’’

To look up to Jesus is to see him in every person we meet; not just the heroes, but the least, the last and the lost.

Amen.

 

We close this reflection with our words of hope:

Because he lives we can face tomorrow, because he lives all fear is gone.

Because we know he holds the future, and life is worth the living,

just because he lives.  Amen.

 

Affirmation of our faith

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 and afterwards he appeared to his followers and to all the apostles: this we have received, and this we believe. This is the faith of the Church. This is our faith.

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

Our Intercessions are written by Liz Davies

Dear Lord, you are free. Your ascension has set you free: free from the constraints of human existence, outside the limitations of time and space, free to be here with us now, in our worship and fellowship; and free to be with us always; for in your freedom you have bound yourself to us with a promise:

‘Lo! I am with you always even to the very end of time.’   

                                                         

We pray, Lord, for those who need to feel you close, who need the assurance of your love, the encouragement of your Spirit.                            

We pray for those who are persecuted, who are discriminated against, who are mocked because of their faith, race or colour.

We pray for those who are imprisoned, who are tortured, who are exiled, because they have fought, struggled and spoken out for the rights of their people.

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                        Lord, graciously hear us

 

We pray for those who are destitute, who are hungry, who are refugees, because of the selfishness and apathy of the world.

We pray for those who are filled with guilt, who are broken – hearted, who are perplexed, because a relationship has gone wrong.

We pray for those who are fed up, who are in discomfort, who are afraid, because they are ill in body, mind or spirit.

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                        Lord, graciously hear us

 

We pray for those who are numbed, who are angry, who are desolate, because they have been bereaved.

We pray for those caught up in war, and violence, and hatred; especially the innocent victims of these evils.

We pray at this time of financial turmoil, for those who have lost their jobs, those who struggle to pay bills, and those who have the power to affect positive change.

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                        Lord, graciously hear us

 

 

 

Be with us all, Lord: in our daily struggles as we seek to follow you.                                               Be with us all, Lord: in our periods of doubt and despair;

and in our times of happiness, health and loving.                                                                                                                    Be with us all, Lord: until the time when in your Kingdom of Love and joy.

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

 

 

Gathering our prayers and praises into one,

let us pray with confidence as our risen Lord taught us;

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.

 

The Peace

Jesus says; ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.

If you love me, rejoice because I am going to the Father.

May the peace of the Lord be always with us.           

 

 

Blessing

May Christ our ascended King pour upon us the abundance of his gifts and bring us to reign with him in glory; and may the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us, those whom we love, and remain with us always. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Page last updated: 12th May 2021 5:03 PM