Call to Worship:
Leader: We have not come here to boast in ourselves. It is God’s love alone that empowers us.
People: Let us boast in the Lord alone. It is God whose love opens our minds, enlightens our hearts, and fills us with hope.
– Prepared by Michael Anthony Howard from Ephesians 1:17-19, 23 and Luke 24:49.
your eternal Christ once dwelt on earth,
confined by time and space.
Let his love be a model for us,
of a life of trust and humility.
Give us faith to discern in every time and place
the presence among us
of the one whose wisdom and power is greater than ours,
of the one who is head over all things and fills all,
even Jesus our ascending Lord. Amen.
-Adapted from “The Ascension” United Methodist Hymnal 323, and 1 Corinthians 1:26-31.
Prayer of Confession:
God of grace,
you have chosen the weak of this world
to be instruments of your power and glory,
so that no one can boast before you.
Yet, we have been an arrogant people.
In seeking our own comfort, we have failed to comfort those in need.
In seeking our own wisdom, we have failed to trust in your truth.
In seeking our own glory, we have turned from you.
Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image, through Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Amen.
-Prepared by Michael Anthony Howard, for Matthew 18:2-4. Parts adapted from PCUSA Book of Common Worship
Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1993; p. 88
Words of Assurance
Leader: Hear the good news: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. This proves God’s love toward us.
People: In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven! Glory to God.
– Prepared by Michael Anthony Howard from Romans 5:8.
Prayer for Illumination
God of love and life and peace,
give us a spirit of wisdom and humility.
Open our eyes to see your power at work among us. Open our ears that we might hear your wisdom calling us. Open our hearts and minds that we might gain understanding. As the scripture is read and your Word proclaimed, let your love remind us that it is your power, not ours, that gives us hope for new life and peace. In Jesus Christ or Lord we pray. Amen.
– Prepared by Michael Anthony Howard, from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53.