Sunday, May 21, 2023

The Sunday Lectionary and Prayers for Sunday, May 21, 2023 — Seventh Sunday of Easter — Ascension Sunday


The Sunday Lectionary and Prayers
Sunday, May 21, 2023
Seventh Sunday of Easter
Ascension Sunday
Acts 1:6-14; Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35;
1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11; John 17:1-11
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)

Opening Statement

With the eyes of our hearts enlightened, we put our faith in Jesus Christ, who was raised from the dead, and whose body is the church. Proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in the name of Christ.


Opening Prayer

Gracious Lord, this morning we come to you with so many things on our hearts. Keep our hearts and our minds open to your words of healing and of hope. Give us spirits of courage for all the times ahead. We ask your blessing on all those this day who are afflicted with illness and debilitating diseases, for those who mourn, for those who feel lost and alienated from family and from friends. Be with these dear people. Help them to feel your comforting and restoring presence. Give to us also, Lord, a spirit of peace and joy that we might live your love through our attitudes and actions. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

The Collect
(from the Book of Common Prayers)

O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Call to Confession

Patient God, it hasn’t been easy for us to be disciples or witnesses to your love. We get caught in traps of anger, impatience and fear. Our words and spirits become cynical and jaded. Yet, at all times, you are with us, guiding and guarding us. On this day in which we celebrate the ascension of Jesus into heaven, we are reminded that we are not being left without guidance. The promise of the Spirit is given and in that promise we have hope and courage to become true disciples. Forgive us when we forget that! Forgive us when we act as though you didn’t care about us or about this world. We are called to be those who live the faith of hope and reconciliation, of courage and understanding. Lift us up when we have fallen, guide our hearts when we speak, for it is in the name of our risen Savior Jesus that we ask these things. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Although you have not stood on the mountaintop to see his ascension to God, yet believe in the love and power of Christ who taught you how to be faithful and joyful disciples. Rejoice, and believe in him who came that you may have abundant life.

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
1 Corinthians 1:10
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
Jesus prayed for the unity of His followers before His arrest and crucifixion, and Paul also made frequent appeals so that believers “may be one” (John 17:11, 22). The joyful unity of Christians is a powerful testimony to the world that the gospel of love we preach is real, unique, powerful, and welcoming to whomever will believe in the Lord.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
First Reading
Acts 1:6-14
Jesus’ companions at prayer

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

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.”

Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

A Psalm and A Prayer
Responsive Readings from the Psalms and Prayers
for Public Worship and Private Devotions

Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35
Sing to God
Exsurgat Deus

Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered; *
  let those who hate him flee before him.

Let them vanish like smoke when the wind drives it away; *
  as the wax melts at the fire, so let the wicked perish at
    the presence of God.

But let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; *
  let them also be merry and joyful.

Sing to God, sing praises to his Name;
    exalt him who rides upon the heavens; *
  YAHWEH is his Name, rejoice before him!

Father of orphans, defender of widows, *
  God in his holy habitation!

God gives the solitary a home and brings forth prisoners
    into freedom; *
  but the rebels shall live in dry places.

O God, when you went forth before your people, *
  when you marched through the wilderness,

The earth shook, and the skies poured down rain,
    at the presence of God, the God of Sinai, *
  at the presence of God, the God of Israel.

You sent a gracious rain, O God, upon your inheritance; *
  you refreshed the land when it was weary.

Your people found their home in it; *
  in your goodness, O God, you have made provision
    for the poor.

Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; *
  sing praises to the Lord.

He rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; *
  he sends forth his voice, his mighty voice.

Ascribe power to God; *
  his majesty is over Israel;
    his strength is in the skies.

How wonderful is God in his holy places! *
  the God of Israel giving strength and power to his people!
    Blessed be God!

O God, as You scattered the enemies of Your people in the past, so we ask You to scatter Your enemies today and give victory to Your people. Protect and defend all who trust in You, even as we pray in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Second Reading
From the Epistles

1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
God sustains those who suffer

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel Acclamation
(John 14:18)

Alleluia. [Jesus said] I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Alleluia.

Today’s Gospel Reading
John 17:1-11
Christ’s prayer for his disciples

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.

Here end the Readings

Click HERE to read today’s Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed
  • We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
  • And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end.
  • And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord's Prayer - Our Father Who Art in Heaven
Our Father who 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 trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Holy Communion
Holy Communion
A nondenominational serving of bread and wine
Though no video can truly replace the experience of celebrating together in our places of worship, we know that where two or more are gathered, the Lord is present. This table is open to all who recognize Jesus Christ as healer and redeemer. This table is open to all who work to bring God’s Kingdom here on earth. No one is turned away because of life circumstances. No one is barred from this table. No one seeking God’s abundant grace and mercy is turned aside. We see before us the abundance that a life of faith offers as we respond to God’s everlasting mercy in prayer and deed.


Go forth in hope. Go forth with the knowledge of God’s presence with you. Go to serve God by taking care of each other and God’s world. Go now in peace! Amen.

Our Part After Easter

Now that Easter has passed, our part in the work of Easter begins. Jesus gave us the perfect example of how we are to live our lives. Go into the world, share the good news, and reflect Jesus to those in need.

Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets].

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Responsive Readings from the Common Book of Prayer (1789).

The Daily Lectionary is a three year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year A. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2023, we will be in Year B. The year which ended at Advent 2022 was Year A. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest on what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts.
The Sunday Lectionary and Prayers for Sunday, May 21, 2023
Seventh Sunday of Easter — Ascension Sunday
Acts 1:6-14; Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35; 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11; John 17:1-11
With the eyes of our hearts enlightened, we put our faith in Jesus Christ, who was raised from the dead, and whose body is the church. Proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in the name of Christ.

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