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A SERVICE OF WORD  AND SACRAMENT

Ascension Day, Year A
South Sydney Uniting Church
June 5, 2011

The Gathering of the People of God

CALL TO WORSHIP

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

HYMN 369: ‘Hail the day that sees his rise’

GREETING

Acknowledgement of Indigenous custodians; welcome to visitors.

CONFESSION

Today we rejoice in the Ascension of Christ our Saviour.
It is the sign that his work is completed
and that Abba God is well pleased.
Now Jesus invites us to carry on his mission
and to be his presence where we live and work.

Jesus, you sit at the right hand of Abba God:
Ky-ri-e e-le-i-son.

Jesus, you are above every authority and power:
Christ-e e-le-i-son.

Jesus, you are with us always.... to the end of time:
Ky-ri-e e-le-i-son.

FORGIVENESS

As Jesus Christ instructed his followers,
the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name
from the holy city to the ends of the earth.
Jesus says, Your sins are forgiven.
Thanks be to God.

COLLECT

God of majesty,
yours is the power that raised Christ from death,
yours is the glory that exalted him to your right hand.
Clothe us with power from on high
that we may proclaim the good news to the whole world,
confirming our message by the sign of our love for one another.
Grant this through Jesus Christ,
the first-born from the dead,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Word

FIRST READING Acts 1:1-11

EPISTLE Ephesians 1:15-23

May your word live in us, O God.
And bear much fruit to your glory.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION

We stand.

 Alleluia, Alleluia,
 Praise the Word of truth and life!

GOSPEL Matthew 28:16-20

The Wisdom of God.
God’s word made new.

HOMILY

SILENCE

RESPONSE

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

With joy and hope in our hearts because of the victory of Christ,
let us pray in the power of the name of One who sits in glory at the right hand of God. With confidence we pray: O God, draw us close to you.

That we may not keep looking towards heaven for the answers to today’s problems but commit ourselves to the common task of making this world a better, safer place for all.

... God, we ask that you listen to our prayers.
We pray that, at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bend and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Sovereign to the glory of God. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

OFFERING

God of all,
here in these signs of bread and wine
your Child Jesus keeps the promise
to be with us always, even to the end of time.
May Christ live and grow in us
so that, by the power of the Holy Spirit,
we can help to make disciples of all nations.
All you have made is good.
Your love endures for ever.

THE PEACE

Jesus, you said to your apostles:
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.”
Let us not stand looking at the heavens;
rather, let us be his witnesses to people on earth,
and grant us the peace of your kindom
where you live for ever and ever. Amen.

Let us acknowledge God’s power in our midst
by offering each other a sign of Christ’s peace.

The peace of the risen Christ be with you all.
And also with you.

INVITATION

On this morning, Christ invites you to this table,
so you may experience wholeness
while seeking peace with one another.
So come, not because you must,
but because you may.
Come to this table not because you are strong,
but because you seek God’s strength.
Come to this table with all your broken pieces,
seeking wholeness, trusting in Jesus.
Come and enjoy the feast
that God has prepared for you today.

GREAT PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

God is here.
God’s Spirit is with us.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to God.
Let us give thanks to the God of love.
It is right to offer thanks and praise.

It is indeed right to give you our thanks and praise, O God,
for you have called us to a rich hope
and a glorious inheritance among the saints.

L: You fixed the world in place
 and rule over all from your sacred throne.
 You formed a people for yourself
 and through Moses and the prophets you spoke to them
 of the Christ who fills all in all.

R: As it was written, he suffered and was killed,
 but you raised him from the dead
 and he walked again with his chosen ones,
 speaking to them of your glorious kindom.

You carried him into heaven on the clouds
and made him head over all things for the church,
seating him at your right hand
far above all rule and authority, power and dominion,
and above every name that is named,
not only in this age but also in the age to come.

Therefore we sing (761):
Holy, Holy, Holy God, wisdom, strength and hope,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of our God.
Hosanna in the highest.

On the night before he died for us ...

Now gathered at your table, God of all creation,
and remembering Christ crucified and risen,
who was and is and is to come,
we offer to you our gifts of bread and wine,
and ourselves, a living sacrifice.

Pour out your Spirit upon these gifts
that they may be the body and blood of Christ.
Breathe your Spirit over the whole earth
and make us your new creation,
the body of Christ given for the world you have made.

In the fullness of time bring us, with all your saints,
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
to feast at the banquet prepared from the foundation of the world.

Through Christ and with Christ and in Christ,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
to you be honour, glory, and praise,
for ever and ever.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

O God our Mother
and our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your dominion 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.
Save us from the time of trial
 
and deliver us from evil.

BREAKING OF THE BREAD

In breaking this bread
we meet Christ our Saviour.
In Christ, peoples of all nations will sit down at table
as sisters and brothers, as friends in the kindom of God.
May this cup, shared in his memory,
be a sign of God’s reign coming to our lives.

LAMB OF GOD

COMMUNION

This is Jesus who said:
“Know that I am with you always
until the end of time.”
Blessed are we who are called to receive Christ
at this altar-table.

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Abba God,
you have entrusted to us the mission you gave to Jesus;
we are to be his presence in the world,
his witnesses to the ends of the earth.

Christ has no body on earth but ours.
He has no hands but ours to raise up the fallen,
no feet but ours to seek out the lost.
He has no eyes but ours to see the silent tears of the suffering:
no ears but ours to listen to the lonely.
He has no tongue but ours to speak a word of comfort to the sad:
no heart but ours to love the unloved.

God, send us the Holy Spirit
so that we can be the body of Christ our Sovereign. Amen.

The Sending Forth of the People of God

Notices.

BLESSING

May almighty God bless you on this day
when his only Begotten ascended into heaven
to prepare a place for you. Amen.

After his resurrection, Christ was seen by his disciples.
When he appears as judge
may you be pleasing in his sight. Amen.

You believe that Jesus has taken his seat in majesty
at the right hand of God.
May you have the joy of experiencing
that he is also with you to the end of time. Amen.

And may our loving God bless you ...

DISMISSAL

Let us go to announce to neighbours and friends
that we have met with God in Christ.
Amen. We go in the Spirit of Christ.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

EASTER is not just “Easter Day,” it is the fifty days from Easter Day until the Day of Pentecost. Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost do not form three seasons. The Easter season celebrates the three dimensions of the resurrection, ascension, and the sending of the Spirit.

These fifty days, a seventh of the year, form our great “Sunday” of the year. “Alleluia! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!” forms the greeting in every service during Eastertide. Similarly “Alleluia! Alleluia!” is added to the Dismissal and the people’s response. These help to give these celebrations a distinctive festal feel.

Acknowledgements:
Based on a liturgy in UIW2;
prayers from Liturgy Alive for Sundays (www.bible.claret.org);
and Laughing Bird liturgies (www.laughingbird.net);
Image: Ascension, Albert Tucker, 1962 (www.spiritualite2000.com).