Ascended God, we praise you for the mighty power of your royal reign!
A Call to Worship
Ascension Day, Year A 2017
Glorious and Righteous King of all things: we come today to worship you.
Ascending God, we give thanks for your continuing reign of truth and love.
“Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise...!”
LORD Most High God, Creating King of all that was and is, and all that will be:
we sing our praises and offer our thankful prayers for all God’s gifts to us.
Awe-inspiring God, the Alpha and the Omega, we revere your Holy Name,
and yearn for the time when God’s Kingdom of justice and peace is realised. Amen.
For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah.
1 Come, everyone! Clap your hands!
Shout to God with joyful praise!
2 For the LORD Most High is awesome.
He is the great King of all the earth.
3 He subdues the nations before us,
putting our enemies beneath our feet.
4 He chose the Promised Land as our inheritance,
the proud possession of Jacob’s descendants,
whom he loves. Interlude
5 God has ascended with a mighty shout.
The LORD has ascended with trumpets blaring.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises!
7 For God is the King over all the earth.
Praise him with a psalm.
8 God reigns above the nations,
sitting on his holy throne.
9 The rulers of the world have gathered together
with the people of the God of Abraham.
For all the kings of the earth belong to God.
He is highly honoured everywhere.
Prayers of Praise
Ascended God, we praise you for the mighty power of your royal reign of justice
Ascension Day, Year A 2017
and peace; and for the awesome majesty of our God, that calls forth from us an
instinctive response of gladness and joy, that this wonderful God is indeed our
God – the One to whom we offer our awed worship. Unworthy though we are to
raise our minds, hearts, souls and our very beings in the praise of our God, yet we
are God’s own creation, with a divine spark within each one of us that recognises
our Maker and God; and so we humbly offer our reverent praises to the Holy One.
Ascending God, we offer our praises and give thanks for your continuing reign of
truth and love; and that we can celebrate together all that your reign brings to us as
we seek to respond to that ever-abiding truth and love. Glorious and Righteous King
of all things that have been gifted to your people in the past, we praise you for the
blessings we receive each day and night from God’s throne of grace. In anticipation,
we look to the continuation of these gracious gifts of mercy, forgiveness and renewed
trust, hope and faith in the God who reigns triumphant over all that seeks to diminish
us as your witnesses to your ascending glory. “...For the LORD Most High is awesome...”
Creating King and Most High LORD God of all that was and is, and our Awe-inspiring
God who is the Alpha and the Omega forever. We come together to sing our praises
and to celebrate together all the miracles of grace offered by God to each of us. “All our
hope on God is founded; all our trust he will renew, through all change and chance he
guides us, only good and only true. God unknown, he alone…”2 calls and accepts us
as we are, and welcomes us into God’s eternal kingdom of justice, peace and holiness.
We revere your Holy Name, and yearn for the time when God’s Kingdom is fully realised. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
“Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! For the LORD
Ascension Day, Year A 2017
Most High is awesome...” What a “Call to Worship” that is! I believe that such “Calls
to Worship God” are very important in the gathered life of any faith community. I also
believe they are especially important as they gather together all the diverse peoples
of that faith community, with their varied faith stories joined in one voice; or in alternate
responses, as we come together to celebrate, praise and give thanks to God. Yet we
also come to lament, confess or struggle with the challenges of life; and even sometimes
disaster or death. Whilst the “Call to Worship” is principally offered to God, it also tells
the story of that faith community as the members come together to respond to God’s
gracious goodness and loving mercy. The “Call to Worship” for today is numbered 461
of different “Calls to Worship”, since I began writing “The Timeless Psalms” in 2010.
They are always based on the day’s Psalm, as are the prayers and personal meditations.
|Creative pause:||In your opinion, what is the purpose of the “Calls to Worship”?|
On this day of Ascension, when we celebrate Jesus’ return to God and his heavenly glory,
today’s Psalm states: “...God has ascended with a mighty shout. The LORD has ascended
with trumpets blaring....” (NLT) There are over 40 Bible translations listed on my computer,
and two-thirds of them translate the words in verse 5 in the past tense, as in “God has
ascended”, and “God has gone up”; and one-third are in the present tense, as if this is a
continuing act of liturgical celebration. My various text books on the psalms all favour the
latter version of those translations. The ‘experts’ teach that the people of Israel gathered
regularly to celebrate the Kingly and Royal reign of God in a liturgical extravaganza with the
loud ram’s horn trumpet or ‘shofar’, as they acted out God’s powers over all creation. Some
of the Hebrew people continued to believe in their earlier ‘traditional’ ethnic gods, but this
psalm also celebrates God’s victory over all those ethnic gods. So God ascends the throne
as the “LORD Most High”, and forever reigns over all things – things both real and imagined!
|Creative pause:||“...Praise the LORD...God is monarch of all...”1|
Are you able to imagine the joy-filled excitement as the people of Israel celebrated their New
Year and Harvest Thanksgiving liturgies as they sang a “Call to Worship” like this: “Clap your
hands all you nations, Amen. Hallelujah! Shout for joy all you people; Amen. Hallelujah! Holy
is the Most High; Amen. Hallelujah! Mighty over the earth. Amen. Hallelujah!... To the shouting
in triumph, to the blasting of trumpets, God has gone up, God ascends over all…. Clap your
hands…” and the refrain continued!1 Have we become too staid in our liturgies and have we
lost that sense of joy-filled excitement as we worship God on this Ascension Day, giving thanks
for all that God in Jesus has been and done for us throughout our living as individuals and as
a community of faith? Let us all: “…Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King...”
|Creative pause:||Has our worship of God and our liturgies lost all their zest?|
1 From “Together in Song” #29
“Clap your hands all you nations”,
Words by John L Bell
Used with Permission. ONE LICENSE, License #A-604543
2 From “Together in Song” #560
“All my hope on God is founded”
Tr by Robert Bridges 1844-1930 (alt)
Words in the Public Domain
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation,
copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
*Revised Indexing Scheme from 'Consultation on Church Union' (COCU).
I acknowledge and give heartfelt thanks for the theological help and inspiration so frequently available from the writings of Professor Walter Brueggemann and Professorial brothers Rolf and Karl Jacobson; and the resources from "The Text this Week" (Textweek).
If the Prayers and/or Meditation are used in shared worship, please provide this acknowledgement:
© 2017 Joan Stott –‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year A. Based on verses from Psalm 47.
Used with permission.
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