May 24, 2020 • Ascension of the Lord (Observed)
Parish or Diocesan Leaders, please read this!


Just Before You Begin


Opening Song


Leader: ┼ In the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.

All: Amen.

Leader: Grace and peace to you from God our Father
and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be God forever.
(The response is: Blessed be God forever.)

All: Blessed be God forever.

Leader: We gather together as a family
to welcome the Holy Spirit into our lives more fully.
One with all of our sisters and brothers throughout the world,
let us now listen to God's Word and join in prayer.

All: Amen.

Sprinkling Rite

Leader: God has given us new birth by water and the Holy Spirit.
May we stay faithful to Jesus for ever and ever.

All: Amen.

Opening Prayer

Leader: Let us pray

Leader: Gracious God,
Look upon us with love and fill our hearts with joy
as we seek you and follow the way of your Son.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

All: Amen.


First Reading

Reader 1: The Gospel of Luke and The Acts of the Apostles are a two-book set written by the same author. This reading comes at the very beginning of the second book and starts where the first book left off. A reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

Reader 1: Theophilus, I first wrote to you about all that Jesus did and taught from the very first until he was taken up to heaven.
But before he was taken up, he gave orders to the apostles he had chosen with the help of the Holy Spirit.
For forty days after Jesus had suffered and died, he proved in many ways that he had been raised from death.
He appeared to his apostles and spoke to them about God’s kingdom. While he was still with them, he said:
Don’t leave Jerusalem yet. Wait here for the Father to give you the Holy Spirit, just as I told you he has promised to do.
John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
While the apostles were still with Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, are you now going to give Israel its own king again?” Jesus said to them, “You don’t need to know the time of those events that only the Father controls.
But the Holy Spirit will come upon you and give you power.
Then you will tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world.”
After Jesus had said this and while they were watching, he was taken up into a cloud.
They could not see him, but as he went up, they kept looking up into the sky.
Suddenly two men dressed in white clothes were standing there beside them.
They said, “Why are you men from Galilee standing here and looking up into the sky?
Jesus has been taken to heaven. But he will come back in the same way that you have seen him go.”

Reader 1: In the first book, Theophilus,
I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
until the day he was taken up,
after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit
to the apostles whom he had chosen.
He presented himself alive to them
by many proofs after he had suffered,
appearing to them during forty days
and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While meeting with them,
he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem,
but to wait for “the promise of the Father
about which you have heard me speak;
for John baptized with water,
but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
When they had gathered together they asked him,
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons
that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, “Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Reader 1: The Word of the Lord.

All: Thanks be to God.



Reader 1: Today we hear the very end of Matthew's Gospel. We now do this action prayer together: May the Lord be on my mind, ┼
on my lips, ┼
and in my heart ┼
as we hear the Gospel today.
A reading from the holy Gospel of Matthew.

Reader 1: Jesus' eleven disciples went to a mountain in Galilee, where Jesus had told them to meet him.
They saw him and worshiped him, but some of them doubted.
Jesus came to them and said: "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth!
Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples.
Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
and teach them to do everything I have told you.
I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.""

Reader 1: The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Reader 1: The Gospel of the Lord.

All: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel Illustration

Reflection on the Readings

  1. A lot of the stories during the Easter season are about Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit to be with us after he leaves. Even though the disciples don’t understand everything that is happening or is going to happen, Jesus promises them that the Holy Spirit will give them confidence, strength, and power to keep doing what he taught them. We don’t always understand what or why things are happening to us or in the world, but the Holy Spirit is still with us. What are some examples you see of people acting in great and loving ways, even during this confusing time?
  2. The Gospel story today tells us that even though Jesus' best friends worshipped him after his resurrection, some of them still doubted. He doesn’t get upset at them for still having doubts. Jesus has patience with them—and with us—because we are human and it’s normal to have doubts sometimes. Do you ever doubt God or Jesus? How so? (Note to parents: try not to criticize or downplay your children’s doubts—or beat yourself up if you have your own doubts! Accept them as normal, and remember that Jesus has more patience with us than we have with ourselves.)
  3. The very last line of Matthew’s Gospel is a promise from Jesus that he will be with us always, until the end of the world. How does that promise make you feel?

General Intercessions

Leader: Now let’s pray together to God for what we need.

Reader 2: For everyone in our family, or communities, and the whole world
who is sick with the coronavirus or anything else,
that they may feel the Holy Spirit inside of them and know that Jesus hasn’t left them alone,
let us pray to the Lord.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader 2: For all the people working to help those with the coronavirus,
from doctors and scientists to government leaders,
that they may be inspired by the Holy Spirit to do what is best for everyone,
let us pray to the Lord.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader 2: For all those whose lives are harder now because of the virus,
especially for those who have lost their jobs,
that we and they may remember that God hasn’t left us like orphans.
let us pray to the Lord.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader 2: For what else and for who else shall we pray?

Lord's Prayer

Leader: Jesus taught us to call God our Father, and so we have the courage to say:

All: 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.

Sign of Peace

Leader: Let us now offer each other a sign of peace.

A Litany for Spiritual Communion

Leader: The response is: Lord, bring us closer to you!

All: Lord, bring us closer to you!

Leader: Lord our God,
we wish we could gather today with our parish community,
but we gather here out of love and concern for others.
You teach us that when two or three are gathered in your name,
you are there.
Together, we pray:

All: Lord, bring us closer to you!

Leader: Christ Jesus, you are present in a special way
when bread and wine are turned into your Body and Blood.
Since we cannot receive you in this way today,
We ask that you enter our hearts
so that we may receive you spiritually.
Together, we pray:

All: Lord, bring us closer to you!

Leader: Lord our God,
watch over your family
and keep us safe in your care,
for all our hope is in you.

All: Lord, bring us closer to you!

Concluding Rite

Blessing & Dismissal

Leader: Christ is risen, alleluia, alleluia!

All: Thanks be to God, alleluia, alleluia!

Closing Song

After the Service

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