May 18 (or 21), 2023

Clap your hands, O people; shout to God with loud songs of joy.
Sing praises to God, sing praises. 
God has gone up with a shout.
The Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
For the Lord Most High is awesome, a great King over all the earth.
Sing praises to our King, sing praises.
—from Ps. 47

Glorious Risen Christ, you have ascended into heaven!
There, acclaimed by angels, you have taken your seat. 
Closer to God than our best imagining, you reign, celestial and supreme. 
In vain we seek to imagine your holy throne, higher than high, further than our most perceptive thoughts. 
Yet here on earth, your footprints are still seen, your words are still heard. 
Hallowed be your Name in heaven, and followed be your way on earth. Amen.
Common Order, Church of Scotland (adapted)

O God, eternal in the heavens, 
we thank you that you fill us and our world 
and even the vastness of space 
with your creative power, 
and that you maintain it with your boundless goodness. 

We pray this morning for all Christians of every church: 
May our belief that you are the Governor of all things 
give us courage. 
Help us to speak liberating words, 
and to act in ways that reach out and lift up.  

Our world seems so fragile and torn right now:
Help us to act justly 
on behalf of those who are threatened most, 
and may our lives not only reflect respect for your creation, 
but also acknowledge that you have given humanity
stewardship over the part of your world that we share with other creatures. 
Guide with your love 
all who work in science and technology,
business and politics and education. 
Grant assurance to those who work for peace and justice 
that their labors are not in vain.  

We pray especially today 
for those who think that, for them, the heavens are closed, 
that their prayers are not answered, 
and that their lives are empty. 
Help those who are bowed down to walk upright. 
Take away the fear of the narrow-minded. 
Let those who look to the past 
find hope in the future. 
And help those who are in conflict 
to speak the first word of reconciliation.  

Thank you, O God, for sustaining your world, 
for freeing us to be your children, 
and for bringing about wholeness in your creation, 
through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit, 
lives and reigns, God forevermore. Amen.
—German Reformed (adapted)

In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul said that our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And so, no matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, this table has been set for you. All who seek the Lord may find him here. And all who find him are family in the One who instituted this feast.

God of glory, we thank you for sending us your Son, and we are overwhelmed by his sacrifice on the cross. We praise you for the resurrection, as today we remember his ascension into heaven. 
And now, as we await your power from on high, send your Holy Spirit to settle on these gifts of bread and wine, that we might taste and see your goodness. May these gifts strengthen us to share your love in deed, and may your grace enable us to minister to one another in the church, and to the world around us. This we pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.