May 18, 2023 – Ascension of the Lord

Lectionary Readings   -   Gathering   -  Word  -   Eucharist   -   Sending   -   Music and Art

Lectionary Readings

Acts 1:1–11
Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus ascends into heaven.

Psalm 47
Clap, shout, and sing with joy: the Lord reigns over all the earth.

or Psalm 93
The Lord reigns in majesty, high above the mighty waters.

Ephesians 1:15–23
Christ is seated at God’s right hand, above every earthly power.

Luke 24:44–53
Jesus interprets the Scriptures; then he is carried up into heaven.

— Gathering —

Opening Sentences

Clap your hands, all people!
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For God rules over earth and heaven.
Sing our psalms of praise!
God has gone up with a shout;
let us make a joyful noise to God!

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Thanksgiving For Baptism

At the baptismal font:
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
O Lord our God, we give you thanks
for the new life you raise up in us
through the mystery of our baptism—
the sorrow of the heavy cross,
the surprise of the empty tomb,
the love that death could not destroy.
By the power of your Holy Spirit,
poured out upon us in baptism,
fill us with the joy of resurrection,
so that we may be a living sign
of your new heaven and new earth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Confession and Pardon​

At the baptismal font:
Despite our best attempts to have faith in Christ,
to love our siblings in faith,
and to reflect God’s glory to this world,
we know we have not always lived up to
who we have been called to be.
But we are children of the Most High,
and we are invited to bring these confessions before God,
that we might find peace and forgiveness.

Christ who was and is and is to come,
we stand looking up at the heavens,
looking for you there.
Forgive us for believing that you have left us.
Forgive us for failing to recognize you in the world around us.
Forgive us for waiting idly for your return,
instead of doing the work you have called us to do.
You are above us, around us,
before us, and within us;
help us to embody you in our time and place,
today, tomorrow, and forevermore.

Lifting water from the font:
Hear this astounding truth:
Christ is the one who reigns on high,
Christ is the one with the power to judge us,
and Christ is the one who offers us
eternal love, forgiveness, and mercy.
All praise to Christ who lived, died, and lives again!

— Word —

Prayer for Illumination

At the lectern or pulpit:
God Most High, reigning in glory,
send down your Spirit of wisdom
to shine in your heavenly Word,
so that we may worship you with joy
continually blessing your name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Before the readings:
O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.
Ezekiel 37:4

After the readings:
This is the good news which we have received,
in which we stand, and by which we are saved.
Thanks be to God.
1 Corinthians 15:1–2


Ascription of Praise

After the sermon:
All authority and power and dominion
to the name that is above all names—
Jesus Christ our Lord—
now and in the age to come. Amen.
Ephesians 1:21

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Affirmation of Faith

New life in Christ takes shape in a community
in which people know
that God loves and accepts them
in spite of what they are.
They therefore accept themselves
and love others,
knowing that no one has any ground
on which to stand,
except God’s grace.
Adapted from the Confession of 1967, 9.22

Prayers of Intercession

We offer our prayers through Christ,
who lives and reigns forever,
and prays for us in heaven.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Through Christ, we pray for the church . . .
Bless us and make us a blessing to others.
Keep us faithful in worship and service,
sharing in the joy of the risen Lord.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Through Christ, we pray for the earth . . .
You established the world; let it not be moved.
As you are enthroned upon the mighty waters,
pour out your healing power on all things.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Through Christ, we pray for all nations . . .
As you did in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria,
let your saving power be known to all peoples,
your loving kindness to the ends of the earth.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Through Christ, we pray for this community . . .
Let us be witnesses to the living Lord,
calling all to be baptized with water
in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Through Christ, we pray for loved ones . . .
Lift up those who are falling,
clothe the weak with compassion,
and encourage all who work for good.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of all power and glory, receive these prayers,
and continue your mighty work among us,
through Jesus Christ, our living Lord. Amen.
Ephesians 1:15–23

— Eucharist —

Invitation to Offering

At the communion table:
How does God’s love abide in anyone
who has the world’s goods
yet refuses to help a sister or brother in need?
Remembering God’s great love for the world,
let us offer our lives to the Lord.
1 John 3:16–17

Prayer of Dedication

At the communion table:
Great God, to you we give our thanks;
your steadfast love endures forever.
With gratitude we bring our gifts to you.
Bless us and our gifts,
that our lives and our resources
may be a source of healing and hope,
of joy and justice in our world. Amen.

Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Blessed are you, O Lord our God:
You are robed in majesty and glory, girded in mercy and strength.
You established the world—the heavens, the earth, the seas.
From age to age you reign; from everlasting you are God.

Therefore we praise you, joining the song
of the universal church and the heavenly choir:
A Sanctus (“Holy, holy, holy”) is sung.

Blessed is Jesus Christ, our Savior:
Jesus came to fulfill the law, the prophets, and the psalms.
After he rose from the dead, he ascended to heaven to reign.
With joy we worship him and bless your name.
The words of institution are included here.

Remembering your goodness and grace,
we offer ourselves to you with gratitude
as we share this joyful feast.
A Memorial Acclamation (e.g., “Christ has died”) is sung.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon this bread and cup;
make us one in the body and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Give us your Spirit of wisdom and enlighten the eyes of our hearts
so that we may know the hope to which you have called us
and proclaim the good news of Christ’s coming realm.

Through the Lord Jesus Christ,
in the unity of the Spirit,
we bless you, God of glory,
now and forever.
An Amen is sung.

Lord’s Prayer


Breaking the Bread


Communion of the People


Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song


Prayer after Communion

God Most High, we have lifted our hearts to you
in this joyful meal with our risen Lord.
Continue to surround and sustain us
so that we may feast with you in glory
at the wedding of heaven and earth;
through Christ, who lives and reigns forever. Amen.

— Sending —

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song


Blessing and Charge

At the doors of the church:
May the love of the holy triune God—
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—
abide with you forever. Alleluia!
1 John 4:13–16

Now go forth in Jesus’ name,
remembering his new commandment
to love one another, just as he has loved us. Amen.
1 John 3:23


Joanna Vaughn, 2007

Additional Materials

Congregational Song


  • All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name! (AEG) CORONATION, DIADEM GTG 263; PH 142, 143
  • Hail Thee, Festival Day! (AEG) SALVA FESTA DIES GTG 277, PH 120
  • I Believe in God the Father (E) GENEVAN 42 GTG 481
  • Pueblos todos / All You Peoples (AG) by Samuel Ruiz, trans. and arr. Greg Scheer, SSS 446


  • We Fall Down (E) WE FALL DOWN GTG 368
  • Open the Eyes of My Heart (G) OPEN THE EYES GTG 452
  • Listen, God Is Calling (G) NENO LAKE MUNGU GTG 456
  • A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing (AEG) DEO GRACIAS PH 141


  • Alleluia! Sing to Jesus (AG) HYFRYDOL GTG 260, PH 144
  • Break Thou the Bread of Life (G) BREAD OF LIFE GTG 460, PH 329
  • Here, O Our Lord, We See You (AEG) MORECAMBE GTG 517, PH 520
  • With Thy Spirit Fill Me (AEG) arr. Valeria A. Foster, AAHH 322


  • Heaven Is Singing for Joy / El cielo canta alegría (EG) ALEGRÍA GTG 382
  • Joy to the World (E) RICHMOND GTG 266
  • Go in Grace and Make Disciples (G) AR HYD Y NOS GTG 296
  • Love Lifted Me (AEG) SAFETY SON 453

Psalms and Canticles

Psalm 47

  • Peoples, Clap Your Hands! [GENEVAN 47]; GTG 261, PH 194
  • Nations, Clap Your Hands [GENEVAN 47]; PAS 47E, LUYH 216
  • Clap Your Hands, O Faithful People [NETTLETON]; PAS 47A
  • Clap Your Hands, All You Nations [Yoruba]; PAS 47D
  • God Has Gone Up; PAS 47B
  • Clap Your Hands All You Nations; PAS 47F
  • God Goes Up with Trumpet Blast (God Mounts His Throne); PND 18

Psalm 93

  • God, You Rule with Royal Bearing (God, Our Lord, a King Remaining) [BRYN CALFARIA, YISRAEL V’ORAITA]; GTG 272, PH 213, PP 170 (with refrain)
  • The Lord Almighty Reigns [ST. BRIDE]; GTG 271
  • Robed in Majesty [SALZBURG]; PAS 93A, LUYH 546
  • The Lord Our God Rules Over All [CMD]; SGP 135
  • The Lord Is King; PSA 87
  • Ever Since the World Began; PAS 93B

Organ Music

  • “A Song of Rejoicing,” Pedals and Pipes for Preludes and Praise, John M. Rasley, LOR (E)
  • “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” CORONATION, Hymn of Glory, David Cherwien, SAC (E)
  • “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” CORONATION, Pedals and Pipes for Postludes and Praise, Edward Broughton, LOR (E)
  • “On Christ’s Ascension I Now Build,” op. 67, Chorale—Preludes of the Church Year, Max Reger, CF (M)

Anthems for Adult Choirs

  • “Canticle of Praise,” Victor Cohen Johnson, LOR, SATB, pno (ME)
  • “Clap Praise,” Diana Clayton White, HAL, SATB, solo, speaker, pno, body perc (M)
  • “Come Away to the Skies,” Richard Erickson, AF, SATB, fl, fc (ME)
  • “I Will Not Leave You Comfortless,” William Byrd, ECS, SSATB, acap (MA)
  • “Beautiful Savior,” Robert Farrell, MSM, 2 pt mx, keybd (E)
  • “Up Through Endless Ranks of Angels,” Henry Gerike, arr. Michael Burkhardt, MSM, SATB, org, opt brass qrt, cong (M)

Handbell Music

  • “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” Cynthia Dobrinski, 3–6 oct, HOPE, 2511, Level 3
  • “Open the Eyes of My Heart,” Linda R. Lamb, 3–5 oct, opt 3 oct hc, LOR, 20/1751L, Level 3
  • “Break Thou the Bread of Life,” Karen Thompson, 3–5 oct, opt 3–5 oct hc, LOR, 20/1978L, Level 2+


  • Ascension II, Jan Richardson (JR)
  • Complete Joy, Lauren Wright Pittman (VDL)
  • Ascension, Joanna Vaughan, Photograph (VDL)
  • Ascension of Christ, Denmark (VDL)