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
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
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)
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.
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!