Ascension Day Liturgy | May 18

Intended for After-Dinner Devotions

By Pastor Ben Wimmers

The story so far is that Jesus is risen! Following his resurrection, Jesus began to appear to his followers. Luke 24 tells the story of two travelers who encountered Jesus on the road to their home in Emmaus. They invited him to stay the night and shared their evening meal together, at which point Jesus does something simple and yet, wonderful:

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.  Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together  and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”  Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. (Luke 24:30-35)

At the table, both in our homes and at the Lord’s Supper in church, we are the guests of Jesus. He welcomes us, breaks bread with us, and teaches us about himself. The table is a place of community, where Jesus makes himself known to us. It is good to gather and talk about our Saviour!
But when we look around our table, we do not see him!

Take a moment to step outside if you are able. Look up to the sky.

What do you see? On a clear day, how far can you see into the sky? It seems to go on forever.

He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. (Acts 1:9)

I wonder if the disciples at that point thought back to Jesus’ words “It is for your advantage that I go away” (John 16:7 ESV). What could possibly be better about Jesus leaving them and no longer having his physical presence on earth?

We see in the witness of scripture that it is better that he goes because the one who has all authority in heaven and earth is now in charge and interceding on our behalf. It is also as the ascended Lord that Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

While we claim to celebrate the ascension of our Lord and all this means (that God is truly the one in charge), the way we live proclaims our lack of faith in his power to deal with the world. Let us confess the disconnect between our faith and practice.


We come, O Lord, on this day of glory to confess our lack of trust, our struggle with doubt. While we celebrate your lordship over all creation, we have too often acted as through you are powerless in the face of today’s events, partly because we struggle to see you at work in our world, knowing you are ascended into heaven. Help us to live with confidence in your presence today and in hope for life with you forever. Amen (reference 1)

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

We declare with joy: Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. Now he has gone to heaven and is at God’s right hand–with angles, authorities, and powers in submission to him. We have not yet seen him but thank you God for providing us with the faith to believe in what we haven’t seen. (reference 2)

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)


Q. How does Christ’s ascension to heaven benefit us?

A. First, he is our advocate in heaven in the presence of his Father.
Jesus knows my joys.
Jesus knows my pain.
Jesus knows what it means to laugh until you cry.
Jesus knows my heartbreak.
Jesus knows the importance of friendship.
Jesus knows what it means to be forgotten.
Jesus knows everything about being human.

Second, we have our own flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that Christ our head will also take us, his members, up to himself.

Jesus does not leave us without a promise. A promise that we will also be with him forever. We, as the church, are bound together by this promise, trusting his Jesus’ ability alone to fulfill it.

Third, he sends his Spirit to us on earth has a corresponding pledge. By the Spirit’s power we seek not earthly things but the things above, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10–11)

Here we wait.

Waiting for Jesus to come again.

Waiting for him to renew all things.

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! (Revelation 1:4–6)

Come Lord Jesus, Come.


[Reference 1] Based upon Worship Sourcebook, 2nd edition, O.2.2.3

[Reference 2] Based upon Worship Sourcebook, 2nd edition, O.2.4.7