Order of Service for Ascension Sunday, May 24, 2020

Order of Service for Ascension Sunday, May 24, 2020

Order of Service for Ascension Sunday, May 24, 2020,  Old First UCC / Philadelphia 



Rev. Michael Caine; pastor; Holly Phares, director of music; William Lowden, organist 





Prelude          Mannheim (God of Grace and Glory) 

                          Andrew Fletcher


Consider your sense of the presence and absence of Christ in your life. 

Are there ways the absence of the physical presence of Christ challenges you in the living of your faith? 

What qualities of Christ do you feel called to internalize and then reveal to the world in living your life? 

What ways do you share Christ? 

What ways could you share Christ? .


Silence –    birdsong in honor of the Swedish tradition of Ascension 


Words of Gathering —       adapted from John de Laar / Sacredise

The Kingdom of God is at hand – You proclaimed it, Jesus; But, it often feels like it’s a million miles away. You demonstrated its grace and showed its power, but the signs often appear faded or absent in our world.

May Your Kingdom come to us now. 

We need Your Kingdom to come, O God, in all its fullness, in all its glory; This waiting, this “now and not yet” experience of Your reign is hard and frustrating. We pray for Your Kingdom to be revealed in our lives, turning our sickness and sin, our brokenness and fear into friendship and compassion, wholeness and joy.

May Your Kingdom come to us now.

We pray for Your Kingdom to be revealed in our neighborhoods, turning our division, fear and suspicion, our judgement and our competition into fellowship and care, compassion and service.

May Your Kingdom come to us now.

We pray for Your Kingdom to be revealed in our world, turning our war and our disparities, our consumption and our self-interest into peace and collaboration, stewardship and reverence.

May Your Kingdom come to us now.

Your Kingdom is here, and it is coming, O God. Make us faithful, creative heralds of its message and tireless practitioners of its ways. For Jesus sake. For the world’s sake. For our sake. 

May Your Kingdom come to us now. 



God of glory: we’re so busy watching the skies 

for signs of your presence 

that we forget to look around us 

to see those whose needs we can serve.  

We get so caught up on finding just the right way 

to tell someone off, 

that we forget the ways of reconciliation 

you have taught us.  

We are so convinced we can

figure out your timing and schedule 

that we forget to open ourselves to the presence of your Spirit

within us.


Mighty source of our lives, 

forgive us for all that we have done and left undone..  

Fill us with the wisdom to resist evil in our lives;

strengthen us in that faith given to us through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.


Silence for personal confession 




Passing of the Peace —     Do you have a promise-sentence about God’s peace to share…

A Time with the Children  —      Jesus Left Us a “To Do” List 

Scripture                     Acts 1:1-11  


Alleluia! Gracious Jesus!

       Singers: Max Gutierrez, Holly Phares, Adam Sherr, Sarah Sherr, Julie Steiner

       Tuba: Adam Sherr; Violin: Sarah Sherr; Flute: Julie Steiner 


Allelujah! Gracious Jesus! Yours the scepter, yours the throne!

Allelujah! Yours the triumph, yours the victory alone!

Hark the songs of peaceful Zion thunder like a mighty flood;

Jesus, out of every nation you’ve redeemed us by your blood.


Allelujah! Bread of Angels, you on earth our food, our stay.

Allelujah! Here the sinful flee to you from day to day.

Intercessor, friend of sinners, earth’s redeemer, plead for me,

And the songs that sound in heaven will repeat your gracious plea.


Allelujah! Christ eternal, nothing can disrupt your reign;

Allelujah! Born of Mary, heaven and earth are your domain.

Human life you fully entered, tending those we count the least, 

Serving both as Priest and Victim in the Eucharistic feast.


The Sermon      This Season’s Choreography: 

(A lot of movement to get everyone in the right places, And doing the right step for what God means to be a long dance.) 

                    Sermon 1: We See God When We Look to Jesus

                    Sermon 2: The God In You

                    Sermon 3: When We Miss What’s Around Us Because                          

                                           We Are Waiting on Heaven 

Affirmation of Faith                                      A Visual Meditation on Maya Angelou’s “I Rise”


We believe in Jesus the Christ as the incarnation of God…

We believe in the life and teachings and healings of Jesus…

We believe that Jesus was betrayed and denied; that he suffered on the cross and died…

We believe in the Resurrection…

We believe that Jesus ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God…

We believe that the Holy Spirit comes to be with us and stay with us, until Jesus returns….



             A Stewardship Witness          Esther Bernard

             Offertory                                        Fairest Lord Jesus

                                                                       (In setting of J. S. Bach’s Prelude No. 1 in C)



Prayers of the People

         Pastoral Prayer: Where the voiceless and the powerless are ignored or exploited by the powerful and the connected, we pray for a new vision of power. Where the weak and the vulnerable are taken advantage of by the strong and the violent, we pray for a new vision of power. Where the uncertain and the seeking are judged by the religious and the sure, we pray for a new vision of power. Where ever power is used as a weapon, protected as a limited resource, or employed for self-aggrandisement, we pray, Jesus, for a new vision of power, and for the courage to share it wherever we may


Community Life



Postlude                            Improvisation on Hyfrodol

                                                 Paul Manz, arr. Diane Bish