Luke testifies to Theophilus that his “first book” (i.e., the Gospel of Luke) dealt with all the things Jesus began to do and teach until the day he ascended to heaven, after he had told his disciples through the Holy Spirit what to do. Jesus gave the apostles two commands before he returned to the Father’s side: they were to remain in Jerusalem until the power of the Holy Spirit fell upon them, and afterwards, they were to testify as his witnesses to the entire world, starting with Jerusalem.
For forty days our risen Lord “presented himself alive” to the apostles with many convincing proofs, and appeared to them speaking concerning the things of God’s Kingdom. He told them to wait for the promise of the Father, for they would be baptized with the Spirit soon. When they asked if that were the time the Kingdom would be restored to Israel, Jesus assured them that God’s timeline has been fixed by his own authority. Still, they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they would be his witnesses starting in Jerusalem, through all Judea and Samaria, and even to the very ends of the earth. On saying this, our Lord was lifted up, while they were looking, and cloud took Jesus out of their sight. While they gazed at our Lord’s ascension, two men in white robes said,“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1.11).
With the ascension of our Lord to the right hand of God, the promise of the Father could come. With his ascension, our Lord returned to the Father’s side with glory and honor, and he is ever present there to intercede for us. He did not leave us alone, for now we have the Holy Spirit, ever present with and among us to guide and to lead us in God’s will.
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Almighty and Everlasting God, who hast glorified thy Holy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, and raised him up, to set him at thy right hand, above all principality, power, might and dominion: be present to the prayers of thy people, and grant us to come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need; through him who ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ the Righteous. Amen.
~ Ferguson, p. 185-186
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father, And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, Is now, and ever shall be, World without end. Amen, amen.
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 47 Acts*: Acts 1.1-11 Gospel: Luke 24.44-53
Acts*: Acts 1.1-11 Gospel: Luke 24.44-53
Gospel: Luke 24.44-53
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord's Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
--Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
~ Evangelical Lutheran Worship (Conference of Bishops, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, p. 132)
Affirmation from the Psalms
The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.  You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there.  Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah  Our God is a God of salvation, and to GOD, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.
~ Psalm 68.17-20
Pray without Ceasing - Flash Prayer for the Day
Lord Jesus, you have ascended on high and led a host of captives in your train, and given gifts to those who trust in you.