Ascension Worship Service

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May 9, 2024

Theme of the Day

Conventional wisdom would say if Christ has ascended into heaven, he is further away from his followers than when he was visibly on earth. The resurrection reality is that it is the other way around. Now that Christ has ascended, he is closer than ever. The living and ascended Savior has reassumed full use of all his divine power. So if you need Christ’s help, you don’t need to hunt for him in Galilee. You call to him in prayer, wherever you are, whenever you want, and he hears and acts. You want to hear Jesus speak? You don’t need to chase him down. Open his Word and listen to his powerful, life-giving voice. The Festival of the Ascension is one of the oldest and most joyful celebrations in the Christian Church. It will be observed by Christians until Christ returns to take us to be with him.


Pastor Westendorf’s Welcome

Reading – Mark 16:19-20

  After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Reading from Psalm 47

We worship our victorious and ascended Savior Jesus in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets.

Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth; sing to Him a psalm of praise.

Hail Thee, Festival Day – CW 961

Refrain
Hail thee, festival day!
Blest day to be hallowed forever,
day when our risen Lord
rose in the heavens to reign.

1 He who was nailed to the cross
is ruler and Lord of all people.
All things created on earth
sing to the glory of God:  Refrain

2 Daily the loveliness grows,
adorned with the glory of blossom;
heaven her gateway unbars,
flinging her increase of light:  Refrain

3 God the Almighty, the Lord,
the ruler of earth and the heavens,
guard us from harm without;
cleanse us from evil within:  Refrain

4 Jesus, the health of the world,
enlighten our minds, great Redeemer,
Son of the Father supreme,
only begotten of God:  Refrain

5 Spirit of life and of pow’r,
now flow in us, fount of our being,
light that enlightens us all,
life that in all may abide:  Refrain

6 Praise to the giver of good!
O Lover and Author of concord,
pour out your balm on our days;
order our ways in your peace:  Refrain

Prayer

Ascended Lord, seated at the right hand of the Father, we rejoice in your rule. On this festival day, we join the angels in rejoicing that you completed the work of salvation and returned to your glory. With those who gazed up toward heaven, lift up our hearts as we await your return. Come quickly and redeem our bodies as you have redeemed our souls. We praise and bless you, our victorious Savior. 
Amen.

Handchime Choir – Joyful, Joyful

Reading from Acts 1

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.
After his suffering, on one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: 

“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Reading from Isaiah 12

In that day you will say: “I will praise You, O LORD. Although You were angry with me, Your anger has turned away and You have comforted me.
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.”

Grades 3-5 – On That Day

A Reading from John 14 

[Jesus said,] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 
  “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

A Reading from Isaiah 12

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say, “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His Name; make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His Name is exalted.
Sing to the LORD, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.

Grades K-8 – Do Not Be Afraid 

A Reading from Luke 24

  He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
  Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
  When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

A Reading from Isaiah 12

“Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

Grades K-8 – Lift High the Name of Jesus 

Lift high the name of Jesus,
Of Jesus our King.
Make known the power of his grace,
The beauty of his peace.
Remember how his mercy reached
And we cried out to him.
He lifted us to solid ground,
To freedom from our sin.

Chorus
Oh sing my soul
And tell all he’s done
Till the earth and heavens 
  are filled with his glory!

Lift high the name of Jesus,
Of Jesus our Lord.
His power in us is greater than –
Is greater than this world.
To share the rеason for our hope,
To serve with lovе and grace,
That all who see him shine through us
Might bring the Father praise.

Chorus (Congregation joins)
Oh sing my soul
And tell all he’s done
Till the earth and heavens 

  are filled with his glory!

Lift high the name of Jesus,
Of Jesus our Light.
No other name on earth can save,
Can raise a soul to life.
He opens up our eyes to see
The harvest he has grown.
We labor in his fields of grace,
As he leads sinners home.

Chorus, sung twice
Oh sing my soul
And tell all he’s done
Till the earth and heavens 

  are filled with his glory!

Pastor Frick’s Message

The Ascended Savior Fills the Whole Universe

Reading – Ephesians 4:7-16

  But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Confession

Let us make confession of our sins before God and be assured of His forgiveness through our victorious and ascended Savior Jesus.
Lord of life, I confess that I am by nature dead in sin.
      For faithless worrying and selfish pride,
      For sins of habit and sins of choice,
      For the evil I have done and the good I have failed to do,
    You should cast me away from Your presence forever.
    O Lord, I am sorry for my sins. Forgive me, for Jesus’ sake.

Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. In His great mercy, God made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in our sins. Hear the Word of Christ through His called servant:

I forgive you all your sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 
Amen.

Prayer

O Lord, our God most high, you have ascended amid shouts of joy.

You, Lord, are awesome. 
You are the great king over all the earth.

You have ascended on high, and have given gifts to your people. Equip us for service to one another, that we may build up your body with strength and numbers, and proclaim your truth in love. 

Join your church together as one body, grow it and built it up in love. Send us forth as the members of your body to do your work on earth.

Open our minds so that we can understand the Scriptures. Open our lips to proclaim repentance and forgiveness in your name to people near and far.

You are our living Lord, sitting at the right hand of your Father, governing all things for the good of your church. You have not left us as orphans, but have given us your Word and your Spirit. Restore joy to your people with the Word of your resurrection and ascension.

Almighty God and Father, grant that we may set our minds on heavenly things, and that we may be heavenly minded, since we believe that your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ has ascended into heaven, and that when he comes again, he will take us to himself in heaven; through our dear Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one true God, forever and ever.
Amen.

Offering

Grades K-2 – Here He Comes

Prayer

Lord Jesus, King of glory, on this day you ascended far above the heavens, and at God’s right hand you rule the nations. Leave us not alone, we pray, but grant us the Spirit of truth that, at your command and by your power, we may be your witnesses in all the world; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name,
    your kingdom come,
    your will be done
        on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
    as we forgive those
    who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
    and the glory are yours
    now and forever. Amen.

Confession of Faith

The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. It is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord.

He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.

All this He did that I should be His own, and live under Him in His Kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He has risen from death and lives and rules eternally.

This is most certainly true.Luther’s Explanation to the 2nd Article of the Apostles’ Creed

Closing Words

May the God of all peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. 
Amen.

A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing – CW 472

1 A hymn of glory let us sing!
New songs throughout the world shall ring:
    Alleluia, alleluia!
Christ, by a road before untrod,
ascends unto the throne of God.
    Alleluia, alleluia!
    Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

4 “You see him now, ascending high
up to the portals of the sky.”
    Alleluia, alleluia!
“Hereafter Jesus you shall see
returning in great majesty.”
    Alleluia, alleluia!
    Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

5 Be now our joy on earth, O Lord,
and be our future great reward.
    Alleluia, alleluia!
Then, throned with you forever, we
shall praise your name eternally.
    Alleluia, alleluia!
    Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

6 O risen Christ, ascended Lord,
all praise to you let earth accord.
    Alleluia, alleluia!
You are, while endless ages run,
with Father and with Spirit one.
    Alleluia, alleluia!
    Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

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