We come today to worship and praise our God with psalms and hymns:
A Call to Worship
Ascension Day, Year B 2018
“Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise …!”
“…Come, then, all you nations, sing, sing of your LORD’s goodness…”1
We come today to praise and thank our Holy God with psalms and hymns:
“…Sing praises to God…our King... For the LORD Most High is awesome…”
“…Praise him with your singing…melodies of praise and thanks to God. Ring
out the LORD’s glory, praise with your music, worship him and bless his name…”1
We come today to celebrate the grace of our God with psalms and hymns:
“…Sing praises to God…sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God
is the King over all the earth…God reigns above the nations…Praise him…”
“…Come to him and bless his name. Praise him with your singing, praise him
with the trumpet, praise God with the harp;…praise God till the end of days…”1 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.
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
“Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise…!” With voice
Ascension Day, Year B 2018
and with songs we come to worship and thank our Glorious God. In response to the
great goodness of our God, do we sing our praises; we do give thanks and praise
God in our prayers; and do we celebrate the gracious mercy of our forgiving God;
but what else do we really do? Do we recognise and tell others of God’s sovereignty
as Ruler of all things; and act as if we truly believe that? Are our lives a living testimony
of our belief and faith in the Holy and Faithful One, whose gracious love and mercy
extends to all peoples and all of creation? If we fail to do those things, God forgive us!
But now we come to join with our fellow pilgrims in our community of faith as we: “Sing
of the LORD’s goodness. Father of wisdom. Mercy he has shown us, his love is forever,
faithful to the end of days…Come, then, all you nations, sing of your LORD’s goodness…”1
“…Sing praises to God…our King... For the LORD Most High is awesome…” How else
can we describe God as being anything but awesome – because there are no words in
our limited vocabulary that do justice to the Holy Being of God! Today, in reverent awe,
we come before you to praise you, because you rule over creation with love, compassion,
and in gentle support for the most vulnerable and fragile of God’s creatures. We give God
the praise that we have a long history of God’s totally committed involvement with humanity
and creation; and we respect and treasure the lessons we can learn from God’s Word;
from the lives of saints and martyrs; and from so many ‘ordinary’ people – all of whom are
precious to God. “…Praise him with your singing…melodies of praise and thanks to God.
Ring out the LORD’s glory, praise with your music, worship him and bless his name…”1
“…Sing praises to God…sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King over
all the earth…God reigns above the nations…Praise him…” Today, we give thanks for
the way God is honoured by creation; and confess that many human beings fail to honour
God or to respond in worship of God as our LORD and Eternal King. Yet our Loving God
has blessed us with new opportunities of being in a right relationship with God; and with
our neighbours; and this is only because we are “Jacob’s descendants – whom God loves”.
Today, we give thanks for our heritage of faith, hope and love, with which God has blessed
many generations. “…Come to him and bless his name…Praise him with your trumpet,
praise God with the harp;…praise him with the cymbals, praise God till the end of days…”1 Amen.
A Personal Meditation
The Ascension Day psalm is the same every year in the Revised Common Lectionary,
Ascension Day, Year B 2018
and is probably used because of this verse: “…God has ascended with a mighty shout.
The LORD has ascended with trumpets blaring…” Apparently, in Old Testament times,
trumpets were only used in royal processions to announce the pending arrival of the king—
whoever that was. So, were the trumpets blaring their welcoming song to the God of the
universe? According to the resource books I use written by professorial brothers Rolf
and Karl Jacobson and Walter Brueggemann, each of them suggest that this is a liturgy
celebrating God’s reign as the greatest King of all the earth - greater than all the many
other minor gods; which somehow fitted into the people of Israel’s early understanding
of God, before they realised that there was only the One True God of all things. In later
years when Synagogue worship had developed in local communities, this liturgy was also
used there in the worship of God, in a less structured worship amongst the local people.
|Creative pause:||How spontaneous are your celebrations of God’s presence with you?|
Psalm 47 opens with these words: “Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with
joyful praise!..” and later: “Sing praises to God, sing praises. Sing praises to our King, sing
praises…!” The Temple worship of God was a very formal ritual; and well choreographed
with its processions of the priests, choirs and musicians; and it is quite hard to imagine all
those priests becoming excited and unrestrained in their praise of God – although I would
like to think that at least for some of them – that it was genuine worship of God – and not
just a routine, and a bit ‘ho hum!’ for them all. The Temple was such a magnificent building,
that ‘ordinary’ worshippers were often overwhelmed by all the splendour and ceremony.
In contrast, and in my wide experience for both local and more formalised worship, the local
Synagogue worship was entered into with joy-filled enthusiasm; and I can very well imagine
the hand-clapping and the shouting of God’s praises! I grew up with people entering into
worship wholeheartedly, with loud “Amens” and “Hallelujahs” during prayers and readings
from the Bible; and singing with unrestrained joy and with reverent awe of the glory of God!
|Creative pause:||How spontaneous is your response to God’s glory?|
I travel in taxis to attend to my personal needs and when I go to church, and I frequently
meet with drivers of other faiths, who, when driving me to church want to talk about their
own faith. Many of these people are Muslims and Sikhs, and are often pleased to be able
to talk about ‘father Abraham’. In today’s psalm we read: “…The rulers of the world have
gathered together with the people of the God of Abraham…” In the book entitled “Psalms”
its authors Brueggemann and Bellinger write thus: “…The juxtaposition of ‘Abraham’ and
‘peoples’ is pertinent in contemporary religious discussion. It is often agreed and widely
recognised that the legacy of Abraham includes Jews, Muslims and Christians. Thus it is
a matter of calling things by their right name to link ‘princes [rulers] of the people’ to
Abraham…”2 When we reflect on the post-resurrection significance and meaning of Ascension
Day, we are reminded that we regularly pray for God’s coming reign over all things on earth
and beyond. As Jesus taught his followers: “…Pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, may
your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven…’”3
|Creative pause:||‘Our Father in heaven… May your Kingdom come soon…’3|
1 From “Together in Song” #183
“Sing of the LORD’s goodness”
Words and music by Ernest Sands
©1981 Oregon Catholic Press
Used with Permission,
ONE LICENSE, License #A-604543
2 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann
& William H Bellinger Junior from “Psalms”
Psalm 47, page 222
© 2014 Cambridge University Press
3 Matthew 6:9-10 (NLT)
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:
© 2018 Joan Stott –‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year B. Based on verses from Psalm 47.
Used with permission.
Download/view a pdf file of this document here: ascensiondayb_2018.pdf