May 16, 2021

May 16, 2021

Worship Resources for 
the Center for Faith and Giving

Ascension Sunday

Acts 1:1-11

Psalm 47 

 Ephesians 1:15-23

Luke 24:44-53

Call to Worship  (from Psalm 47)

One:  Clap your hands, all you peoples;
Many: we’ll shout to God with loud songs of joy!
One:  The Lord, the Most High, is awesome!
Many: God goes up with the sound of a trumpet.
             (if you have a trumpeter, play a short melody here!)
One:  Today we gather as people of God.
Many: With joy, we come to worship the Lord our God!

Opening Prayer  

Awesome God, we shout to you with songs of praise!  Hallelujah!
You bring life out of death and hope out of despair.
You raised up Jesus, through whom we receive the gift of your Holy Spirit.
So raise us up in this hour, that we might gain power to share Good News
     with all we encounter today.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  

Recently the Indianapolis Colts picked defensive end Kwity Paye in the first round of the NFL draft.

Today?  He has physical power, a place on the Colts’ roster, and soon will be making enough money to provide abundantly for his Mom and sibs.

What if each of us decided today we would accept the power promised to us by the resurrected Jesus, and witness to God’s abundance through our offering?  How would your life, and mine, change if we focused on becoming witnesses with our time, our talents and our treasure?

An outstanding player at Michigan, he not only brings physical power, but witnesses every day to his life-passion: caring for his family.  Refugees from Liberia, escaping from a civil war in which his grandfather was brutally murdered, living in the US with a single mom and several younger siblings, Kwity focused on education and football as his ladders out of poverty.  
Know this:  as an 8th grader, Kwity pleaded with his Mom to send him to a high school where he could become both a top student and a top football player.  Although it meant she worked two or three jobs to keep the family afloat, Kwity rose to the top of his team and kept a 3.97 GPA.  

We rejoice when we see stories of people who live out their power and make a witness to LIFE. How much more will we rejoice when it is YOU, and me, who let the words of our mouths and the actions of our hearts and hands proclaim God’s love to a burdened and broken world?

Prayer of Thanksgiving

With joy, let’s share our morning offering.
Giving God,

You pour out gifts in abundance!  
We celebrate, opening our eyes and our hands to receive and now sharing what you’ve provided.  Use us now to witness to your abundant love through these gifts and through the ways we use our time this week, even as we join disciples of the resurrected Jesus thru’ time and space.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion  

The book of Acts begins with the story of the resurrected Jesus’ ascension into the clouds.  While his disciples remembered gathering with Jesus on the night before he was crucified, they surely also remembered the ways Jesus appeared for 40 days following his resurrection.

So this table becomes for us a time of remembrance – especially the Upper Room, but also breakfast on the seashore.  

And, it becomes a time of anticipation – for Easter-tide turns to Pentecost next Sunday.  We’ll step into the power of Jesus providing the gift of the Spirit, and recognize our discipleship journey continues with the wind/Spirit blowing where it will.

So, today we have one foot in Jerusalem and one in our own community.  Stretching across this span, we proclaim “all are welcome at this table!”  Here we find bread and juice as emblems of love from the last supper and signs of all that is yet to come by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. 

Just remember:  come, eat, but don’t linger here for long.  Instead, hear the echo of those two men who spoke to the disciples:  “why do you stand looking up toward heaven?  This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go.”

And until that time comes, we’ll be nourished at this feast in order to step up in power, witnesses to God’s love made known in Jesus Christ.  Surely THAT is worth a hand-clap of praise. 

If you have a way to play and/or sing “Trees of the Fields”, it’s a joyful way to wrap up worship. Here’s one recording:

Song of Thanksgiving as prayer after communion (with thanks to Psalm 47)