7 Easter: “Christ-Opened Minds” • Luke 24:44-53 • Ascension Day (observed) Worship/Devotional

Ascension” detail from an illuminated manuscript; source unknown

worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

Worship Note

As the Living God guides us through these pandemic-impacted times, as social justice reforms arise, we freely offer this worship content for you to adapt for your needs.

Time with Children of All Ages

Out of the Bag: “Taught to Hate?” Jesus offers a way forward when we have enemies

Worship Service

We Gather

Invocation

Beloved Community, let us look to the Resurrected Christ for comfort and assurance of things holy and eternal.

May we find our minds opened to understand scripture and the Holy Spirit’s on-going wisdom.

May our worship of the Resurrected Christ generate many blessings and much joy. Amen.

Light the Christ Candle

*Song: “Open the Eyes of My Heart” Written by Paul Baloche ©1997 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (IMI)) All Rights Reserved International Copyright Secured. Used by Permission. CCLI# 2298355 Video Footage Provided by: Zach Fields, Josh Ross & Chris Pitoyo

We Rest in God’s Grace

Silent Prayer

Shift into simply being with God, silently. A helpful way to enter sacred silence is to offer this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10:

Be still and know that I am God. (pause)

Be still and know that I am. (pause)

Be still and know. (pause)

Be still. (pause)

Be. (pause)

Rest in God’s loving presence for as long as you wish. When you’re ready to move on, take a deep breath, let it out, thank God, and say, “Amen.”

God’s Grace 

Sometimes we take on more than is ours to do. We forget that God is waiting for us to stop and ask for holy help. What burdens weigh upon your shoulders? What feels like “too much” to do or be, accept or adapt? Maybe, this is not your’s to do? Maybe, Christ is eager to open your mind to new ways forward if you but ask? If these questions resonate, gentle yourself into a state of openness. God’s grace may be right around the corner.

We Listen

Scripture: Luke 24:44-53 (NRSV)

Luke’s gospel ends with this passage – the last encounter the Resurrected Jesus has with his disciples. Jesus’ departure by ascention into heaven is not unique within the Hebrew tradition. The prophet Elijah, while preparing his successor Elisha, is separated by a chariot of fire and then ascends into heaven by divine whirlwind. (This ancient story from 2 Kings 9-12 is the basis for the beloved spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”)

Then Jesus 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 Jesus 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 Jesus 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 worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.

Sermon: “Christ Opened Minds” Speaking to his young followers who had just witnessed the powerful violence of conflict, Jesus assures them God offers what they need to go forward.

Special Music: “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” African-American Spiritual. Sung by Robert Robinson. First Covenant Church, Minneapolis. Published July 5, 2013. (Chalice #643)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer

Eternal God, we apologize for thinking too highly of ourselves. We ask forgiveness for the times when we turned away from You to take on tasks much too large for any person or group of human beings. We ask, today, that we might be drawn to look to Christ. We offer our hearts and minds for holy illumination. Grant to Your humbled people the blessing of insight and guidance. May our turning to You bring You glory, bless our neighbors, and uplift our own souls. Amen.

Prayers of the People, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give Thanks

Offering

Please support our Global Ministry partners responding to the Covid-19 crisis in India. Offer prayers of support for all responding with medical and spiritual care. Thank you. https://donate.globalministries.org/onlinegiving?donateTarget=Medical%20work%20of%20partners%20in%20India%20responding%20to%20COVID-19

We Continue in Hope

*Song: “Open My Eyes, That I May See” Written by Clara H. Scott, 1895. Public Domain. Performed by CFC Songs & Hymns, an Indian Christian community. Jan 18, 2021. (Chalice #586)

Benediction

May Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the Law of Moses, the Prophets, the Psalms, continue to open our minds to righteous understanding.

May we prepare ourselves for Pentecost next Sunday, open to the Holy Spirit’s renewal, clothing us with sacred power from on high.

May we stay put in this span of hopeful mystery, blessed by the rising Jesus Christ, that we might be lead forward with wondrous joy. Amen.

(the service is concluded)

Worship Resources:

(NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.

2/11/2021 UPDATED COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws changed earlier this year. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Image: “Ascension” detail from an illuminated manuscript; source unknown.

Online Publishing Date: May 12, 2021.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

Donation for Use of Content: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. If you’d like to support the congregation I serve as pastor – Berkeley Chinese Community Church – we’d be most grateful for your support. Please send checks to: BCCC UCC, 2117 Acton Street, Berkeley, CA 94702, Attn: Diane Huie, Treasurer. Thank you!

Living Liturgies: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber”

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