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Holy Communion for Ascension Day

Take part in an act of Spiritual Communion as you listen to this service of Holy Communion for Ascension Day, Thursday 21 May 2020.

Take part in an act of Spiritual Communion as you listen to this service of Holy Communion for Ascension Day, Thursday 21 May 2020.

The head that once was crowned with thorns
is crowned with glory now:
a royal diadem adorns
the mighty Victor’s brow.
Thomas Kelly (1769–1855)

The Gathering

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you
and also with you.

Introduction

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, for forty days we have been celebrating with joyful hearts the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, his bursting from the tomb and his defeat of the power of sin and death. He appeared to his disciples many times and told them about the kingdom of God.

Today we recall how he left this earth and returned to his Father, ascending into heaven to take his throne over all dominions and powers. Trusting in his reign over all creation, and submitting to his kingly yet loving rule, let us hear the story of his parting.

The Ascension Reading

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This’, he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’

Acts 1:1–11 (NSRV)

Alleluia. Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Seeing we have a great high priest who has passed through the heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us offer him the praise worthy of his name.

Gloria in Excelsis

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.

For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

The Collect

Let us pray that our risen and ascended Lord will lead us to eternal life.

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.

The Liturgy of the Word

Reading

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Ephesians.

I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.

God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.
And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Ephesians 1:15–end

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Gospel Reading

Alleluia, alleluia.
Go and make disciples of all nations, says the Lord.
Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Alleluia.

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.
Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus said to the disciples, ‘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.

Luke 24:44–end

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

The Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
Amen.

Prayers of Intercession

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you have exalted your Son Christ Jesus to your right hand, and made him the head over all things for his body the Church: hear us as we pray for the Church throughout the world.

Make us and all your people receptive to the gifts he pours upon us, that we may use them to your glory, and the building up of the body of Christ.

Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

Lord God Almighty, the Ancient of Days, you have given your Son all authority in heaven and on earth: hear us as we pray for the world he came to redeem.

Grant that we may know even in this time the things that make for peace, and may strive for the reconciliation of all people in his kingdom of justice and love.

Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

Father of all, whose Son has promised to be with us always, to the end of the age: hear us as we pray for those among whom we live and work.

Grant that we may be so aware of his presence with us, that people may take note of us, that we have been with Jesus.

Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

O God our Redeemer, whose Son ever lives to make intercession for us: hear us as we pray for those in any kind of need.

May he who has borne our infirmities strengthen and heal them, that they may find grace to help in time of need, and rejoice in his salvation.

Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, whose Son has borne our humanity into the heavenly realms, and gone before us to prepare a place for us: hear us as we remember before you those whose earthly sojourn is over, and whose life is now hidden in him with you.

Make us joyful and expectant, that at his coming with all his own we too may go forth to meet him, and share in his eternal joy.

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

The Liturgy of the Sacrament

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.’ Alleluia.

The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you.

Alleluia, sing to Jesus!
His the sceptre, his the throne;
alleluia, his the triumph,
his the victory alone:
hark, the songs of peaceful Sion
thunder like a mighty flood;
Jesus out of every nation
hath redeemed us by his blood.

Alleluia, King eternal,
thee the Lord of lords we own;
alleluia, born of Mary,
earth thy footstool, heaven thy throne:
thou within the veil hast entered,
robed in flesh, our great High Priest;
thou on earth both Priest and Victim
in the eucharistic feast.

William Chatterton Dix (1837–1898)

Preparation of the Table

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation:
through your goodness we have this bread to set before you,
which earth has given and human hands have made.
It will become for us the bread of life.
Blessed be God for ever.

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation:
through your goodness we have this wine to set before you,
fruit of the vine and work of human hands.
It will become for us the cup of salvation.
Blessed be God for ever.

The Eucharistic Prayer

The Lord is here.
His Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is indeed right and good,
our duty and our joy,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Jesus Christ the King of glory.

Born of a woman,
he came to the rescue of our human race.

Dying for us,
he trampled death and conquered sin.

By the glory of his resurrection
he opened the way to life eternal
and by his ascension,
gave us the sure hope
that where he is we may also be.

Therefore the universe resounds with Easter joy
and with choirs of angels we sing for ever to your praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

We praise and bless you, loving Father, through Jesus Christ, our Lord;
and as we obey his command, send your Holy Spirit,
that broken bread and wine outpoured may be for us the body and blood of your dear Son.

On the night before he died he had supper with his friends
and, taking bread, he praised you.
He broke the bread, gave it to them and said:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.

When supper was ended he took the cup of wine.
Again he praised you, gave it to them and said:
Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

So, Father, we remember all that Jesus did, in him we plead with confidence his sacrifice made once for all upon the cross.
Bringing before you the bread of life and cup of salvation, we proclaim his death and resurrection until he comes in glory.

Great is the mystery of faith:
Christ has died;
Christ is risen;
Christ will come again.

Lord of all life, help us to work together for that day
when your kingdom comes
and justice and mercy will be seen in all the earth.

Look with favour on your people, gather us in your loving arms
and bring us with all the saints to feast at your table in heaven.

Through Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all honour and glory are yours, O loving Father,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Looking for the coming of his kingdom,
let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has 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.

Breaking of the Bread

Lord, we died with you on the cross.
Now we are raised to new life.

We were buried in your tomb.
Now we share in your resurrection.

Live in us, that we may live in you.

The Agnus Dei

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
grant us peace.

Giving of Communion

I heard the voice of a great multitude crying, Alleluia.
The Lord our God has entered into his kingdom.
Blessed are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb. Alleluia.

Today communion is received for and on behalf of all who are participating in this service. This is a time when you are invited to make your own Spiritual Communion.

Prayer after Communion

God our Father,
you have raised our humanity in Christ
and have fed us with the bread of heaven:
mercifully grant that, nourished with such spiritual blessings,
we may set our hearts in the heavenly places;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

We thank you, Lord,
that you have fed us in this sacrament,
united us with Christ,
and given us a foretaste of the heavenly banquet
prepared for all peoples.
Amen.

The Blessing and Dismissal

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

Waiting expectantly for the promised Holy Spirit,
go in the peace of Christ. Alleluia, alleluia.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.