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READINGS:
Readings: Acts 1:1-11            Jesus has gone up on high
                Luke 24:44-53       Jesus goes home to heaven
                Psalm 47                Sing praise to God our King
                Ephesians 1:15-23  Open your mind and see his light

HYMNS: RS = Rejoice and Sing   SF = Songs of Fellowship   MP = Mission Praise combined

241 Led like a lamb    322   402
253 God is gone up on high
656
Lo! He comes with clouds descending     347    424
  85 Eternal God
  86
Exalted, you are exalted
134
God is our Father, for he has made us his own
153
Hallelujah, sing to Jesus   207
164
He is exalted    217
289
Jesus is King    366
293
Jesus, Jesus
337
Lift up your heads (O you gates)   418
348
Look and see the glory of the King
385
Man of sorrows     458
500
Sing praises unto God  
532
The King is among us   650 
544
There is a redeemer     673
605
Who is he in yonder stall?     767
123
Eternal God we come to you

OPENING SENTENCES (based on verses from Psalm 47)

God goes up to his  throne.
THERE ARE SHOUTS OF JOY
There is the blast of trumpets,
AS THE LORD GOES UP.
Sing praise to God;
SING PRAISE TO OUR KING!
God is King over all the world
PRAISE HIM WITH SONGS!

PRAYER OF PRAISE

O God, our God, we are so happy to be loved by you!
Our hearts turn towards heaven as flowers reach for the sun.
We clap our hands for joy!
We sing, we shout, we praise your name.
For you are our Lord, the Most high.
We come before you, aware of your awesome power, the way you rule over the world
And over our lives.
Yet we know that you, our King came close to us, lived as one of us.
In Jesus is the victory - over death, over sin, over all that holds us down.
In Jesus is the comfort, the strength, the safety we need.
Now God goes up to His throne
And through the Holy Spirit you dwell with us now.
Your Spirit dwells in our hearts.
Guiding us, teaching us, showing us how much you love us.
And so we sing praise to our God! Praise to our King!

PRAYER OF CONFESSION (leading on from prayer of praise)

But sometimes our lives do not sing out as a prayer of praise.
We do not appreciate and enjoy the good things you provide for our lives. All we see are the bad things that happen, the difficulties we face. We crave for what we do not have, instead of giving thanks for what we do have.
We become blind to the needs of others becoming absorbed in our own wants and needs, not aware of the hurt we can cause, the good we fail to do. And when others hurt us we are all too quick to take offence.
We get caught up in the day to day trivia of life, forgetting to look up and share time with you. We begin to doubt that yours is the power and the glory and trust only in ourselves. Sometimes we deliberately turn our backs on all you offer, all you call us to do. We behave like willful stubborn children, testing you, our parent to the limit.
We do nothing to stop wrong things happening, because we are scared, because we do not want to stand out in a crowd, because we can't be bothered.
We fritter away time by listening to and enjoying spiteful gossip, doing nothing to support those who are being criticised, but reveling in scandal.

Yes, our lives are sometimes not a hymn of praise. These are just some of the things we can be guilty of.
So we come, with heads bowed low in sorrow, asking for your forgiveness and your love. Create in us a new heart O God and help us to sing, to shout, to praise your name in all that we do.

In Jesus is the victory - over death, over sin, over all that holds us down.
In Jesus is the comfort, the strength, the safety we need.
When we turn to him in repentance and faith he says 'Your sins are forgiven' He also says 'Follow me'.
Receive this assurance of pardon, this promise of peace and praise God forever! Amen.

(the words of this prayer are mine but the ideas come from a prayer in 'Prayers for the People' , Marshall Pickering 1992)

THEME INTRODUCTION

Adam had not looked forward to starting at King Street Juniors. He had moved with his family in the middle of term because of Dad's work. Now everything was strange and new. Everyone seemed to have paired up with friends, or were in a gang that had no room for Adam. He felt a real outsider. Unwanted, unloved. And very small.

Until he met Josh. Josh was in the last year at King Street, 2 classes ahead of Adam. But it was Josh who saw Adam skulking in the corner of the playground and invited him to join in a game of football. That night, Josh walked home with Adam 'I don't live far away' he said.

Adam thought Josh was brilliant. Josh had a big gang of kids that went round with him, but Josh always said there was room for more. He made everyone feel they were special and important. The other kids spent a lot of time trying to get Josh's attention, trying to boast that they were his best friend. Josh would have none of it.

'Look' he would say 'I'm everyone's friend. If you want to knock about with me that's great. But you have to obey my rules. 1) Respect each other 2) Be kind to each other 3)Only do to others what you would want them to do to you'. Some of the kids thought this was daft and left Josh's gang. Adam thought it was rather good.

Then an awful day came. Josh gathered his friends together. 'I've got news. I've won a place at a top school. the head is dead chuffed, says it will bring glory to King Street. The only thing is...Its a boarding school so I won't be living round here any more.'
'When are you going?' asked Adam.
'Today's my last day' said Josh
'So we won't see you ever again?'
'I'll keep in touch - I'll send you a present'
And that was that, Josh was gone.

Adam felt like the bottom had dropped out of his world. What would he do without Josh to protect him and look out for him? School would be awful now, just like when he arrived.The gang still played together but it didn't feel the same. Until the day the postcard arrived. It was from Josh! Adam read the message and smiled. He ran to school waving it above his head. He saw all the other kids had a card too. And they all said the same thing
1) Respect each other 2) Be kind to each other 3)Only do to others what you would want them to do to you. I'm thinking of you, Josh.

'He's brilliant isn't he' said one of the big kids.
'I wish he was here with us now' said Adam
'But he is' someone said.
'Where?' they all shouted.
'Well what I mean is, if we look after each other and be kind and respect each other, like Josh said, then it will be like he's still here with us. Its not the same, but we're doing what he taught us'.

And that's how it was for Josh's gang. They kept that name even as they grew bigger and children joined who had never been at the school while Josh was there. It was a great group to be in, because people tried hard to be kind and respect one another - most of the time. And it got to be so good that it didn't really matter that Josh wasn't there any more. Because they knew he was thinking of them, he was with them in spirit.

CLOSING SENTENCES

The Church is Christ's body
YES! WE ARE CHRIST'S BODY
Let us go out to love and serve our risen, ascended Lord
WE GO IN THE NAME OF CHRIST. AMEN!