Seventh Sunday of Easter, Ascension of the Lord
LUKE 24:44–53/24:43–52 IV
Open Our Minds to the Scriptures
Acts 1:1–11, Psalm 47, Ephesians 1:15–23, Doctrine and Covenants 85:2–3
Use pictures or objects to illustrate stars, the earth, the moon, plants, fruits, vegetables, and other organic matter to illustrate embodying “all things.”
Today’s theme is “Open Our Minds to the Scriptures.” The writer of Luke concludes his Gospel by describing the final blessing and ascension of Jesus Christ as he commissioned his disciples to become witnesses of the gospel. In Doctrine and Covenants 85:2–3, we read that Jesus is in and through all things—the sun, the moon, stars, even the earth. Let us open our minds to the messages of these scriptures as we worship today.
Doctrine and Covenants 85:2–3
Responsive Call to Worship
Leader: Clap your hands, all you peoples;
People: Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
Leader: For God has ascended with shouts of triumph,
People: And trumpet fanfare!
Leader: Our God is exalted on high,
People: Sovereign over all the nations,
Leader: And Lord of our lives.
People: Let us worship together.
—Based on Psalm 47
“Wind upon the Waters” CCS 49
OR “The Living Word of Scripture” CCS 65
OR “Gather Us In” CCS 72
Prayer for Peace
Light the peace candle.
Song of Peace or Ministry of Music
“My Peace” CCS 149
OR “Dona Nobis Pacem” CCS 155
OR “Peace of Jesus” CCS 318
Prayer for Peace
Today I pray for peace in all things. May my voice
Lord, I pray for peace in your forests, in your oceans, in your towns and villages.
Unfortunately, God, I know the greatest conflict lies within your people, so I pray for peace in their hearts as well. May we be blessed by your peace and seek refuge in your presence.
In the name of Jesus Christ, the one who showed us how to be peacemakers. Amen.
For more ideas: The Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, can be found on the church’s website as Calendar Events at www.CofChrist.org /daily-prayer-for-peace.
Hymn of Joy and Praise
“Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!” CCS 52
OR “Earth and All Stars” CCS 102
Spiritual Practice: Holding the Light
This spiritual practice is a form of communal intercessory prayer adapted from the Quaker movement. It is a way of praying for others using silence and imaging.
1. Gather in a circle.
2. Invite people into intercessory prayer in which specific people and needs are placed in God’s care.
3. Spend a few moments centering on God’s presence and the group’s intention of praying for others.
4. Ask people to share aloud the needs and people for whom the group should pray.
5. Enter a period of silent prayer on behalf of those people or needs named.
6. Encourage the “
7. Continue in silent intercession for several minutes.
8. Offer a brief prayer of thanks to close your prayer experience.
See www.CofChrist.org/spiritual-practice-holding-in-the-light for additional instructions.
Ministry of Music or Congregational Hymn
“Speak, O Lord” CCS 66
OR “We Thank You, O God, for Our Prophets” CCS 180
OR “Clouds of Witnesses Surround Us” CCS 372
Based on Luke 24:44–53/24:43–52 IV
Disciples’ Generous Response
Read the lyrics from “For the Beauty of the Earth,” CCS 130.
Six principles of A Disciples’ Generous Response guide us in managing and sharing our resources: Receive God’s Gifts, Respond Faithfully, Align Heart and Money, Share Generously, Save Wisely, and Spend Responsibly (www.CofChrist.org/disciples -generous-response).
When we consider the ways each principle applies in our lives, we respond faithfully and begin to align our priorities with God’s priorities, align our hearts with God’s heart.
Responsible spending is a commitment to live a healthy, happy life together with God and others. The teachings of Jesus challenge us to make lifestyle choices that are often countercultural.
Questions for Reflection
- What changes could you make to align your spending with God’s priorities?
- Responsible spending is more than treasure. It also includes time, talent, and testimony. Which of these are you spending responsibly and which are you challenged to increase?
Rod Downing is a leader of the Canadian Peace and Justice Committee of Community of Christ. The committee promotes just habits and alerts members and friends to causes. Rod also challenges people to join letter-writing campaigns. His committee maintains a website, drawing attention to various peace, justice, and human-rights matters (www.Cof Christpeacejustice.ca).
Through the website, many have begun to use fair-trade coffee and shop for organic cotton clothing. After a deadly extremist attack in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, the Vancouver Congregation and the committee reached out to a mosque with offers of mutual respect. They developed and shared resources with other congregations to help others reach out for peace and justice in similar ways.
Prayer of Gratitude
Focus on our gratitude for everything God has provided.
As you share financially through Mission Tithes, or if you give regularly through
Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes
For additional ideas, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples -generous-response-tools.
Hymn of Blessing
“O Breath of Life” CCS 486
OR “Go, My Children, with My Blessing” CCS 650
OR “God Be with You Till We Meet Again” CCS 664
Responsive Sending Forth
Leader: In this place, we have gathered for worship.
People: From this place, we now return to the world.
Leader: We leave to share the story of Jesus.
People: We leave to share the message with those around us.
Leader: We share the faith in word and
People: We go out to be living witnesses.
Leader: As we go to testify to God’s active love in the world,
People: We know that God goes with us,
Leader: Sharing the laughter and the hope, the fears and the tears.
Seventh Sunday of Easter, Ascension of the Lord
Exploring the Scripture
Today’s passage is part of the
Specifically, the text encompasses Christ’s appearance in Jerusalem and includes Christ’s blessing and his ascension. Consistent with the author’s purpose, verses 44–53 provide continuity between the past and present, then move toward the future. In verse 44, Jesus refers the disciples to the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms. Jesus stresses this link with the past. God was involved from the beginning. God is faithful and engaged in history.
People in modern cultures tend to discount the past. But it is important to recognize that tradition and history have much to contribute. The Holy Spirit has encountered many who have gone before us. We are not the first to be blessed by God. We would do well to listen to their stories and testimonies about their encounters with the Divine.
In verse 45, Jesus opens their minds. In the following verses disciples witness where God is moving at their particular moment in history. He describes divine events they witnessed. It is a reality for them. They know it as truth. Now, Christ has their attention. He challenges them to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sin to all.
As disciples, we, too, need to be aware of where God is moving today. When we allow God’s grace to enter our lives, transformation occurs. When we worship, pray, study, hear the
Then, in the text, Jesus brings the future into the story. Jesus tells the disciples he is sending what God has promised. He directs them to stay in Jerusalem until they have power from on high. The power they will receive is not theirs. Rather, it is God’s power. It is a gift. This power will come from the Divine. Because they are to wait for it, they have a heightened sense of expectancy and excitement. Something is going to happen. How will the power be revealed?
In verses 50–53, Jesus leads his followers to Bethany and blesses them before he ascends. The Greek word the author uses for bless means “to speak well of.” So, in this
In the text, after being blessed, the disciples worship Jesus. They return to Jerusalem with great joy and continually “speak well of” God (verses 52–53). Our families, congregations, and faith community should also be continually full of joy and praise. Today we speak “well of God” because of our experience that God’s unbounded love and unconditional grace embraces all.
- Jesus came to fulfill everything written about him in the Law of Moses, the prophets, and in the psalms.
- The power we receive is from God. It is a divine gift to be used for God’s purposes. It is not power to use for our own benefit.
- We are called to be witnesses—proclaimers of repentance and forgiveness of sins—to all nations. Christ’s mission is our mission.
Questions to Consider
- How do the traditions of your congregation reflect God’s presence? (past)
- When has your “mind been opened to scripture”? (present)
- Have you ever felt expectant to receive from God? (future)
- What are some ways you and your congregation witness of and proclaim the Risen Christ?
- How would you explain the ascension of Jesus to a new disciple?