Liturgy by TLW



A Festival Eucharist on
The Ascension of Our Lord

by The Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


I have always thought Ascension Day was a wonderful time to have a Eucharist with one of the ELCA's full communion partners.  The following is a liturgy that I wrote for such an occasion in 1997 with our sisters and brothers in the Episcopal Church.  It contains portions of the Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) and the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), in addition to original material in the Dialog for the day, the Litany, and the Solemn Blessings.  A larger portion of the ELW is used since on this particular occasion, my church was the host church.  The original material contained herein could just as easily be transferred to a liturgy that is mostly taken from the service book of the partner church and hosted there.  At the same time, it should be obvious that it may be used for your own congregation's celebration of the day.


By the way, as a musician before becoming a pastor, I often drew church choirs together on this occasion to make glorious music together on this special day of praise.










Entrance Hymn  "A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing"


Dialog for Ascension Day:

A. Alleluia! God has gone up with a shout!

C. The Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Alleluia!


A. Sing praises to God, since praises!

C. Sing praises to our King, sing praises!


A. The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand."

C. The Lord is high above all nations; his glory above the heavens!


A. He came forth from the Father, and has come into the world.

C. Again he leaves the world and goes to the Father.


A. Alleluia! He ascends to the Father, to my God and your God.

C. He will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!


Hymn of Praise  "Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven"


Prayer of the Day: (sung)

P. The Lord be with you.

C. And also with you.


P. Let us pray. Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things:  Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. (BCP, p.226)

C. Amen





First Lesson: Acts 1:1-11

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. "This," he said, "is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" He replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."

     The word of the Lord.

C. Thanks be to God.


Psalm 47 (sung to an appropriate psalm tone)

The minister sings the first verse, then all sing.

Clap your hands, 'all you peoples; *

    shout to God with a 'cry of joy.

For the LORD Most High is 'to be feared;*

    he is the great king over 'all the earth.

He subdues the 'peoples under us,*

    and the nations un 'der our feet.

He chooses our inheri 'tance for us,*

    the pride of Jacob 'whom he loves.

God has gone up 'with a shout,*

    the LORD with the sound 'of the trumpet.

Sing praises to 'God, sing praises;*

    sing praises to our 'King, sing praises.

For God is king of 'all the earth;*

    sing praises with 'all your skill.

God reigns o 'ver the nations;*

    God sits on his 'holy throne.

The nobles of the peoples have gath 'ered together*

    with the people of the 'God of Abraham.

For rulers of the earth be 'long to God;*

    he is high 'ly exalted.


Second Lesson: Ephesians 1:15-23

I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

     The word of the Lord.

C. Thanks be to God.




Sequence Hymn  "Christ Is Alive!"


Gospel: St. Luke 24:44-53

P. The Holy Gospel according to St. Luke, the twenty-fourth chapter.

C. Glory to you, O Lord!

Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you--that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

P. The Gospel of the Lord!

C. Praise to you, O Christ!



Hymn of the Day  "Alleluia! Sing to Jesus"


Litany for the Ascension of Our Lord:

A. Let us pray to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, who at his ascension, seated him at the right hand of power and glory in the heavens. (Pause) O God, Creator of the world, who blesses us in every way and provides for our daily need:

C. Have mercy and hear us.


A. O God, Redeemer of the world, who raised our Lord Jesus from the dead to sit at your right hand in glory so that we might have an advocate in heaven:

C. Have mercy and hear us.


A. O God, Sanctifier of the world, who sends the Holy Spirit that we might be made holy in faith and through the remembrance of all that our ascended Lord has taught us:

C. Have mercy and hear us.


A. Holy Trinity, One God:

C. Give ear to our prayers and supplications.


A. For your only Son, who lived and died that we might have eternal life with you:

C. We give you thanks, O Lord.


A. For his glorious resurrection and the proclamation of the gospel of his holy name:

C. We give you thanks, O Lord.


A. For his ascension into heaven where you have placed all things in heaven and on earth under his dominion:

C. We give you thanks, O Lord.


A. For his promise that he has gone to prepare a place for us:

C. We give you thanks, O Lord.


A. For the promise of the angels that he will return in the same way that we saw him go into heaven:

C. We give you thanks, O Lord.


A. Baptized into his name, we are your humble servants, O God.

C. Hearken to the words of our petitions:


A. That we who are raised with Christ may set our hearts on things above, not on things below.

C. Conform us to Christ.


A. That we might be filled with the promised Holy Spirit and inspired to proclaim Christ's resurrection and ascension in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

C. Conform us to Christ.


A. That, keeping his commandments, we might abide in him and he in us.

C. Conform us to Christ.


A. That we might be found faithful and blameless through repentance and the forgiveness of sins when he returns in glory.

C. Conform us to Christ.


A. That, at the last, we may stand around his heavenly throne and sing his eternal praises with all the angelic host;

C. Conform us to Christ.


A. Let all your angels worship him, O God.

C. Bend every knee in heaven and on earth at the sound of his holy name.


A. He is our high priest and intercessor in the heavens.

C. He has opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.


P. Almighty God, all your works are glorious. But none is more glorious than the work of your Son, our ascended Lord, Jesus Christ. As you raised him from the dead and seated him at your right hand in power, so keep us ever close to his resurrection and ascension, that we too might be raised and seated with him in your heavenly kingdom; through the same Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C. Amen


P. The peace of the Lord be with you always.

C. And also with you.

All share a sign of peace, then are seated.




Anthem or Special Music


Offertory: All stand to sing the Doxology:

     Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

     Praise Him, all creatures here below.

     Praise Him above, ye heav'nly host.

     Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


Offertory Prayer:

A. Let us pray. God of all creation, all you have made is good, and your love endures forever.  You bring forth bread from the earth and fruit from the vine.  Nourish us with these gifts, that we might be for the world signs of your gracious presence in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  (ELW)

C. Amen


Great Thanksgiving: (sing)

Preface for Ascension

Holy, Holy, Holy


Eucharist Prayer for Easter (ELW VII or BCP D)


At the Breaking of Bread:

P. When we eat this bread we share the body of Christ. When we drink this cup we share the blood of Christ.

C. Reveal yourself to us, O Lord, in the breaking of bread, as once you revealed yourself to your disciples.  (ELW)



During Distribution:

     Hymn  "Crown Him with Many Crowns"


After Communion:

A. Let us pray. Lord Jesus, in a wonderful sacrament you strengthen us with the saving power of your suffering, death, and resurrection. May this Sacrament of your body and blood so work in us that the way we live that the fruits of your redemption will show forth in the way we live, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  (ELW 387)

C. Amen




Solemn Blessings for Ascension Day:

Silence is kept before the blessing.

P. May almighty God bless you with the knowledge that his only Son has ascended into heaven to prepare a place for you.

C. Amen.


P. May you be lifted up and guided by Christ's intercession at God's right hand.

C. Amen


P. At Christ's promised return, may you be found blameless and welcomed into the joys of God's eternal kingdom.

C. Amen


P. (sung) And may almighty God, Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever.

C. (sung on one tone) Amen


A. Go in peace. Serve the Lord!

C. Thanks be to God!


Closing Hymn:   "Hail Thee, Festival Day"