Now What Do We Do?

Look Up To Your Lord & Look Ahead

                  The story is told of a young minister who had just graduated from the Seminary.  He’d been installed the previous Sunday, and his first worship service to lead – alone – was going to be on Ascension Day.  Of course, when you’re a young pastor beginning your ministry, it can be hard to prepare sermons the first few years (not that it’s ever all that easy to do!).   Well, this minister searched and he searched through all of his commentaries and seminary notes.   But he was stuck.   He just didn’t think he could find much to preach about….except that Jesus had ascended into heaven as was waiting there for us.   So, in desperation, he called up his former homiletics (preaching/ sermonizing) professor from the Seminary and asked him for help.  “What should I preach about?” he asked.   The wise professor answered: “Preach about God, and preach about twenty minutes.”   So….in a little while you’ll hear an Ascension Day sermon, maybe in twenty minutes – or even a little less than that.  

            Seriously, I promise that I have something prepared which,  I pray, will be both edifying and enlightening for you.    But also, in all seriousness, even for the non-novice pastor (and I have been a pastor nearly forty years…)  it is hard to preach on the topic of Jesus’ ascension, and not say the same things year after year after year.

            William Barclay, the eminent Scottish New Testament commentator once wrote that “There is no incident in the life of Jesus at one and the same time that is so beset with difficulties and yet is so essential for us as His Ascension.”  Another Bible commentator wrote:   “The ascension of Jesus could well be the most  neglected doctrine of the church, even though it is considered one of the most important themes of the New Testament.”

            So, what will we be talking about, singing about, and listening about in this evening’s service?   Something significant about Jesus and His ministry….but something that’s not the easiest Biblical message to contemplate or to preach about.  Why?  In large part (and this is just one preacher’s opinion), it’s probably because none of us has gone into heaven yet…that place to which Christ was returning on the day of the Ascension.   How can you understand His ascension into heaven if (as we do) we know so very little about what heaven is like?

            Tonight, though, in these next few pages of our worship flyer, as well as during our worship service, we can remind ourselves of what we do know from Scripture about Jesus’ ascension.  Let’s spend this time considering what God’s Word has to say on this important topic, in order to find both spiritual encouragement as well as added enlightenment of our Biblical knowledge, and – of course – also for the edification of our faith.

Ascension Facts From Scripture

            According to Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, Acts 1:2, and I Corinthians 15:1-6, Jesus appeared to many of His disciples throughout a period of 40 days that followed His resurrection.   On that 40th day, He appeared to His Apostles and other followers one more time.   On this occasion Jesus  led them out of Jerusalem and up onto the Mount of Olives, near Bethany.   Jesus proceeded to deliver a brief farewell message to the disciples, after which, as He lifted up His nail-scarred hands in blessing, His body began to miraculously rise into the air until a cloud shielded Him from their sight.    Imagine what those disciples of Jesus must have been thinking in that moment!    

                        Jesus’ ascension was an amazing, yet very fitting end (and exclamation point) to His earthly ministry!    Tonight we’re going to celebrate our Lord’s ascension because it assures us that His work of redemption truly is completed.   It also teaches us of our Lord’s triumphant homecoming re-entry into heaven and of His continuing ministry for our benefit as our King of Kings and Lord of Lords, seated at the Father’s right hand.   Finally, it ought to remind us that – as He once came to earth and then left on Ascension Day, Jesus will also return a second time, when He will judge the world.   You and I have no idea – nor does anyone else, including the angels in heaven – when that day will come.   (It could be before this evening’s service concludes!).    And so, forewarned and encouraged by our Savior, we’ll surely want to remain faithful to Him and to be Spiritually prepared, now and at all times, for His return.

The Festival of the Ascension of Our Lord

            ….always falls on a Thursday, since it occurred on the fortieth day following Jesus’ resurrection.   Among the various Eastern Orthodox Churches (Greek, Russian, Ukranian, Serbian, etc.) this occasion was first referred to as analepsis (which is Greek for “the taking up”), and also as the epi sozomene   (Greek for “on account of salvation”).    This latter term expresses the belief that, by ascending into His heavenly glory Christ truly has completed the work of our redemption.   Among Western tradition Churches (such as ours) the terms customarily used for this occasion were  ascensio or ascensa.   Both come from the Latin language and signify that Christ “raised up” Himself into heaven on this day through His own divine power.

            In generations past, this festival was regarded by most Christians as being on par with significant church observances such as Christmas, Good Friday, Easter and Pentecost.    However, in our time, very few Christians are even aware that today is “Ascension Day.”  Only a handful of churches still hold services on Ascension, like we’re doing this evening.   And, as you probably already know, most people don’t care about Jesus’ ascension and its significance for them.   What’s more, in those churches where the ascension is observed through a church service, that service is held on the Sunday after ascension.    Why?   Well, a quick look around this chapel gives you and me the answer to that question.   With some exceptions, most people won’t come to church for a Thursday night service.  As I noted earlier, too few regard it anymore as a Spiritual event that is significant enough to stop their day’s activities in order to gather together with other believers and give our Savior-God the time and praise that He is due for Christ’s ascension and what it signifies for those who believe in Him.

            Although no documentary evidence exists prior to the 4th century, according to Augustine of Hippo (one of the early church fathers), the Festival of the Ascension of our Lord was instituted by the Apostles.   John Chrysostom and Gregory of Nyssa, contemporaries of Augustine, refer to it as being one of the Church’s oldest festivals (along with the observance of Good Friday and the celebration of Christ’s resurrection).    According to them, its origin as a special occasion for worship goes back – at least — to the year AD 68.   It could also be that, prior to the fifth century, the Ascension Day facts narrated in the Gospels were commemorated in conjunction either with the Festival of the Resurrection or that of Pentecost.

            Ascension observances in the Early Church typically included processional pilgrimages which would begin outside the walls of a given city, and which would be completed by a special worship service in the local church at the close of the procession.   The processions themselves were intended to recall our Lord’s leading His disciples out of Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives, where He lifted up His hands and blessed them immediately prior to His ascent into heaven.    During the Middle Ages, the processions were enhanced with banners and candles, which were intended to symbolize Christ’s triumphant entry into heaven.  For example, the “Paschal candle,” which was lighted at Easter and had burned for forty days, and which represented the presence of the Lord with His Disciples, was extinguished after the reading of the Gospel Lesson (Luke 24:50-53).   

The “liturgical color” for this special occasion (found on our altar, pulpit and lectern) is the color for the

Easter Season:   white.   It symbolizes the purity and glorification of the risen and now ascended  Savior.   Another element of the Church’s Ascension commemoration, at least up through the Middle Ages, actually began on the evening before the festival.  Then priests and deacons attended a vigil-worship service made up of special prayers and Scripture readings.   On the day of the Festival, the Paschal candle (which was lit on Easter Sunday) was extinguished as the Church proclaimed through its worship that the work of salvation was indeed completed and Christ has been glorified through His return to Heaven.   A seven day period for the Church of special prayers and devotions would follow, which the priests and deacons continued for an additional two days.  This nine day devotional period (traditionally known as a novena…..Latin for “nine”) also served as a period of preparation for the observance of Pentecost, which began the following day.

            Churches around the world observe many distinctive Ascension Day traditions.   For example, in some places special prayers are offered for the blessing of the fruits of the earth;  the reason for their inclusion in the ascension observation remains unclear.    Some churches depict the Ascension of Christ by raising a statue of Jesus above the altar, or even by lifting it through a special door in the roof.   Interestingly, in a few churches, while the figure of Christ is made to ascend, that of the devil is made to descend.    Other churches have outdoor processions with torches and banners.    In an old Ascension Day tradition from England, church members carry a banner bearing the symbol of a lion at the head of the procession, and a second banner bearing the symbol of a dragon at the rear.   This is intended to represent the victory of Christ over the Devil.  

The Significance of Christ’s Ascension For Us

            It remains  a sad reality in the life of the Church today that the major Christian festivals of the Epiphany (January 6) and the Ascension of our Lord (always on a Thursday, 40 days after Easter) generally receive minor consideration on the Church’s calendar, mainly because Ascension certainly and Epiphany usually fall on a weekday, rather than on our customary day of meeting, Sunday.  The festival of the Ascension marks the climax of Christ’s visible ministry on earth and is recognized as the “official completion” of His redemptive work.  As such it provides us with the assurance that our salvation is certain through faith in what He achieved for us.   It can also serve as an important reminder to the Church of our responsibility, before Christ’s return on Judgment Day, to be busy with the work that our Savior has given us to spread the light of the Gospel throughout the world for the salvation of souls everywhere.  

            In addition, we want to recognize on this occasion that, along with Christ’s descent into hell and His resurrection, the Ascension is another stage in His “Exaltation” (the progressive re-assuming of His divine power and glory which He partially laid aside when He came to earth as the God-man).   More importantly, it marks the entrance of our Savior, according to His human nature, into a greater and fuller mode of existence beyond the confines of space and time;  an existence of complete power and authority over all things at the “right hand of God the Father Almighty.”  This authority Christ exercises for the benefit of His Church.  In heaven He also serves as our Great High Priest, being the “Mediator” between us and our Heavenly Father.    One final remark is yet in order….Christ’s “sitting on the right hand of God the Father” does not mean that He is confined to a certain place, far from us.   Quite to the contrary, no longer bound by time or space, through His ascension into glory Christ is now able to be present everywhere and at all times for all who are a part of His Church — including you and me.

Tonight’s Scripture Lessons

            This evening’s First Lesson is the Bible’s “expanded account” of Jesus’ ascension, given to us under inspiration by the evangelist Luke in the book of Acts. 

            Tonight’s Epistle Lesson talks about the comfort we gain through Christ’s Ascension, knowing that our Savior is in heaven, continually interceding for us and our needs, and yet he also remains constantly with us, watching over us in His Omnipresence, using His almighty power to benefit and bless us.    

            Our Gospel Lesson for this evening comes from the final chapter of the Gospel of Mark.     We find Jesus first commissioning His Apostles (and, eventually, all the Church….including us) to actively go out into the world and preach His Gospel of salvation to everyone.    Christ also tells them that they will be empowered to perform amazing miracles as a way of attracting attention in order to facilitate the preaching of His Word.   Then Jesus takes them out to a high mountain and visibly ascends into heaven – leaving His followers behind to carry out His commission (and their calling as His disciples) to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world.

            And finally, our Sermon Text comes from Paul’s letter to the Colossians.   It will ask us the question that Jesus’ disciples were probably asking themselves immediately after He ascended:   “What Do We Do Now.”   In these verses Paul encourages all his readers (us too) to show our gratitude and love for our risen and reigning (in heaven) Savior by living the kind of godly lives that avoid evil and cultivate that kind of lifestyle and conduct which pleases and honors the God of our salvation.

Pre-Service Prayer

            In the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. 

            My heavenly Father, I thank You through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, for keeping me through this day from all harm and danger.  Forgive me all my sins, wherever I have done wrong, and graciously keep me through this night.  Into Your hands I commend my body and soul and all things.   Let Your holy angel be with me, so that the devil may have no power over me.  Amen.


Silent Prayer upon entering the sanctuary

Pre-service music                                                                                                                                              


We Praise Our God

the Congregation will rise for the invocation


The Invocation

            Pastor              We begin this service in the name of the Father

                        Congregation  Who gave us our lives through His almighty power.

                        P:                     And in the name of the Son

                        C:                     Who redeemed our lives with His precious blood.


                        P:                     And in the name of the Holy Spirit

                        C:                     Who gave us eternal life through faith in Christ Jesus.

                        P:                     Amen.

The Psalm for Today                                                                                 selected verses of Psalms 27 and 47

P:         Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud;    be gracious to me and answer me.

C:         You have said, “Seek My face.”   My heart says to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”

P:         Clap your hands, all peoples!    Shout to God with loud songs of joy.

C:         For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared +   a great King over all the earth.   +   He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet. +   He chose our heritage for us. 


P:         God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. 

C:         Sing praises to God, sing praises;   +   sing praises to the King, sing praises.


P:         For God is  the King of all the earth;  sing praises with a psalm.

C:         God reigns over the nations;   +   God sits on His holy throne.


P:         I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.           

C:         Wait for the LORD;   +  be strong and let your heart take courage +  wait for the LORD.


after which the Congregation will be seated for


The Opening Hymn                                                                      Hymn 171 “A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing”


1 A hymn of glory let us sing!

 New songs throughout the world shall ring:

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Christ, by a road before untrod,

 Ascends unto the throne of God.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

2 The holy apostolic band    Upon the Mount of Olives stand,

Alleluia! Alleluia!

And with his followers they see

   Their Lord ascend in majesty.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

3 To them the shining angels cry,

   “Why stand and gaze upon the sky?”

Alleluia! Alleluia!

“This is the Savior,” thus they say.

  “This is his glorious triumph day.”

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

(The Congregation will rise for the singing of verse 4.)

4 “You see him now, ascending high

   Up to the portals of the sky.”

Alleluia! Alleluia!

“Hereafter Jesus you shall see   Returning in great majesty.”

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!       Amen


We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God

Pastor  God, our Heavenly Father, invites us to come into His presence and to worship Him with humble and penitent hearts.  Therefore, let us now turn to Him, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His forgiveness for all our sins.

Congregation  Holy and merciful Father,   I confess that I am by nature sinful   and that I have disobeyed You in my

thoughts, words, and actions;    I have done what is evil in Your sight   and have failed to do what is good.    For this I know that I deserve Your punishment, both now and for eternity.     But I am truly sorry for all my sins and,   trusting in the perfect life and innocent death of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I plead:   God have mercy on me, a sinner.


Pastor  Our gracious Lord and Master has shown us His mercy:   He has given His one and only Son to save us from all our sins.    And now, carrying out my office as a called servant of Christ,  and according to His command

and authority,   I forgive you all your sins   in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  May the peace of God rest upon all of you.    Amen.

The Prayer for Today

O Almighty God, the King of glory,   +   You have exalted Your only Son Jesus Christ    +  with great triumph into Your heavenly Kingdom;   +   Do not, we pray, leave us without  comfort in this world.   +   Please grant us Spiritual wisdom and strength    +   through the working of Your Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds.   +   Guide us through the Your Word,   +   and protect us as members of the Holy Christian Church on earth,  +   through the abiding presence and abundant power of our LORD Jesus Christ.   +   We ask all this in the name of Your Son, our Savior,   +   Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit,   +   as the One true God, now and forever.   +   Amen



after which the Congregation will be seated

We Hear God’s Word

The First Lesson                                                                                                                               Acts 1:1-11


In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day He was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen.   After His suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive.  He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 

            On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command:  “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about.   For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.    So when they met together, they asked Him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom of 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.”

The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                               Ephesians 1:16-23


15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might 20 that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet and gave Him as Head over all things to the Church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all.

after which the Congregation will rise out of respect  for the words of our Savior as we give our attention to


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                     Mark 16:14-20


14 Later, He appeared to the Eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table. He rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after he had risen.   15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.   17 “These signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons. They will speak in new languages. 18 They will pick up snakes. And if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them. They will lay their hands on the sick, and they will get well.”   19 Then the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.   20 Those who went out preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed His word by the signs that accompanied it.

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.  +  And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;   +   Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost;   +   Born of the Virgin Mary;   +   Suffered under Pontius Pilate;   +   Was crucified, dead and buried;   +   He descended into hell;   +   The third day He rose again from the dead;   +   He ascended into heaven   +   And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;   +   From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.   +   I believe in the Holy Ghost;   +   The Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints;  +   The forgiveness of sins;   +   The resurrection of the body;   +   And the life everlasting.  Amen.


After which the Congregation may be seated



The Sermon Hymn                                                                  Hymn 175 “Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise”


1 Hail the day that sees him rise To his throne above the skies!

Christ, the Lamb for sinners giv’n,  Reascends his native heav’n.

2 There the glorious triumph waits: Lift your heads, eternal gates.

He has conquered death and sin;   Take the King of glory in!

3 See, the heav’n its Lord receives,  Yet he loves the earth he leaves;

Though returning to his throne,  Still he calls mankind his own.

4 Still for us he intercedes;    His prevailing death he pleads.

He, the first of all our race,  Near himself prepares a place.     Amen



The Pre-Sermon Salutation


Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, our Lord!  Amen.

Tonight’s Sermon Text                                                                                                         Colossians 3:1-11


Therefore, because you were raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, Who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

5 So put to death whatever is worldly in you: sexual immorality, uncleanness, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. 6 It is because of these things that the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience.   7 You too once walked in these things, when you were living in them.   8 But now, you too are to rid yourselves of all of these: wrath, anger, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to each other since you have put off the old self with its practices, 10 and put on the new self, which is continually being renewed in knowledge, according to the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcision or uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but rather Christ is all and is in all.

Now What Do We Do?

after the Sermon, the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for the post-sermon blessing


The Post-Sermon Blessing


May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, Who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.  Amen.

We Offer Our Gifts to the Lord

Our Offerings of Love to our Lord


We will be passing an offering plate through our chapel at this point.   For those unable to worship with us in person, if you would like to participate in this offering, we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:

1) You can send a check (no cash) in the mail to Grace Lutheran Church (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) Or, go online to our website ( and use the giving option there.

at the Pastor’s invitation the Congregation will rise for

The Prayers for the Church


P                      Confident of our Lord’s return, let us approach our Father’s throne of mercy on behalf of the Church and of all people……….

            Lord Jesus Christ, as You ascended up through endless ranks of angels to Your home in heaven You did not leave us or forsake us. By Your Word and Sacraments, and by the sending of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, You continue to abide with us, to teach us, to enlighten us, and to strengthen us in the one true faith.


C:         As we look forward to Your Second Coming,   +    keep us faithful in proclaiming the Law and Gospel +   which is to be preached in Your name to all nations +   to bring people to repentance over their sins   +   and to assure them of Your limitless forgiveness..  


P          Lord Jesus Christ, continue to bring before Your glorious Father our plea that You would continue to send upon us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that we may better know You and Your will.  As the Father has placed all things under Your feet and appointed You head over everything for the Church, instill peace, unity and a commitment to faithfully living and proclaiming the whole counsel of Your Word  throughout all of Christendom and especially in our Synod.


C:         Grant us faith to take to heart the reality of Your promised return +    and so to be urgently about the task of baptizing and teaching   +   both in our community and to the ends of the earth.


P          Lord Jesus Christ, from Your place at the right hand of the Father You continually intercede for us. Favorably hear the cries for mercy from those who are ill and those in pain – granting them wholeness and healing.  We especially pray for all those persons in our immediate church family who are dealing (and in some cases struggling) with various health and other personal problems ranging from financial issues, to relationship challenges, to living alone.   Grant them the assurance of your continued presence and power which is at work – always – to bless them and enrich their lives.


P:                     nd now, please hear us, Lord, as we take a few moments to off Your our silent, personal petitions and praises.


Silent Prayer


P:         Finally, as the disciples lifted their eyes to watch Your ascension, so lift our eyes daily to look for Your coming again in glory.


C:         Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen.


Our Father,  Who art in heaven    +    Hallowed be Thy name.    +    Thy Kingdom come.  +    Thy will be done,  on earth as it is in heaven.   +    Give us this day our daily bread.  +  And forgive us our trespasses     +    as we forgive those who 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    +   Forever and ever.   Amen.



We Celebrate the Lord’s Supper


The Words of Institution – Spoken by the Pastor


Our Self-Examination Before Receiving The Lord’s Supper


Pastor            Let us now examine ourselves in preparation for receiving this Sacrament of our Lord, as the inspired

Apostle Paul so instructs us in I Corinthians 11, where he writes, “…whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.  A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.  For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgement upon himself.”


Pastor           Accordingly, are you sincerely sorry for your sins and determined, with God’s help, to change your sinful ways?


Congregation  Yes, I am sorry for my sins and desire to serve Jesus and not a sinful lifestyle.


Pastor            Do you believe that here in the Lord’s Supper you will receive, along with the bread and wine, the true body and blood of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?                   


Congregation Yes, I believe that I will be receiving the true body and blood of my Lord and Savior, which was given into death for my sins.


Pastor            Are you coming to the Lord’s table as one in the faith with this Christian congregation, as the Scriptures teach?


Congregation  Yes I have studied the teachings of this congregation concerning God’s Word;  I agree with them;  And am one in faith with them, as the Scriptures command me to be before I come to the Lord’s table with anyone.


Pastor            Finally, do you recognize your need for forgiveness and do you believe that you will receive through the Lord’s Supper the full and free forgiveness of all your sins?


Congregation  Yes, I have examined my life, see the need for God’s forgiveness and believe that I will receive complete forgiveness for all my sins, as my Savior has promised.


Pastor            Having examined yourselves and confessed your sins, come now with confidence and joy to your Lord’s table and receive here, through His body and blood, the guarantee that your sins are all forgiven, and that eternal life and salvation are surely yours.




                                                                                   (Please read the following if you have not spoken with

                                                                                            our Pastor about taking communion.  Thank you.)




     We ask that only “Confirmed, Communicant” members of this congregation, or of one of our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod congregations come forward to receive the Lord’s Supper at this time. To us the Lord’s Supper is both an expression of our common faith in Christ (which we share with all our fellow Christian worshipers this evening), and also a public expression of our complete doctrinal agreement as a congregation and church body (as I Corinthians 1:10 and 10:17, as well as Romans 16:17 and I John 4:1 require of us).  


     Accordingly if you are not a communicant member of Grace Lutheran Church or our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, we are not, in any way, judging your Christian faith by respectfully asking you not to join us in the Lord’s Supper this evening. Rather, we pray that our Scripture-based practice of “Close Communion” will encourage all those Christians who are not presently in full fellowship with us to seriously examine the teachings and practices of their church in order to determine if those teachings and practices are really in full agreement with God’s Word. It is our earnest desire that you might become familiar with the doctrines of our congregation, so that you might one day join with us at the Lord’s altar in this public expression of full unity of doctrine and practice. Until then, please know that we are most grateful for your participation as a fellow Christian in this worship service, and that we appreciate your patience and understanding of our Communion practice.   Finally, if you do have any questions or concerns about our “Close Communion”  practice, please speak with our Pastor following this evening’s worship service, or at your convenience.





The Distribution of the Elements 


We Conclude Tonight’s Worship Service


The Closing Prayer   


Almighty God, to Whom all hearts are open,   +    all desires known,   +    and from Whom no secrets are hid,   +      cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the power of Your Holy Spirit,   +     that we may love You more completely,   +     praise You more joyously,   +     and serve You more faithfully.   +     These requests we make   +     in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, +    Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit,   +     as the one true, God –  now and forever.   +    Amen.                                                                              


The Closing Blessing        


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,

 and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.   Amen



The Closing Hymn                                                              Hymn 173 “On Christ’s Ascension I Now Build”


1 On Christ’s ascension I now build   The hope of mine ascension;

This hope alone has always stilled    All doubt and apprehension;

For where the head is, there as well    I know his members are to dwell

When Christ shall come and call them.


2 Oh, grant, dear Lord, this grace to me,   Recalling your ascension,

That I may serve you faithfully,   Adorning your redemption;

And then, when all my days will cease,  Let me depart in joy and peace

In answer to my pleading.     Amen.


Silent Prayer

Announcements, Post-service music







Rummage Sale BEGINS TOMORROW….. Starting tomorrow and going through Saturday (May 19-20)  our women’s group will be holding their annual rummage sale.   While most of the set up work has already been done, we can still use help from anyone (female or male) who is willing to work on either of the rummage sale days.


Daily Devotions for Your Smart Phone, Computer or Tablet – “What About Jesus” ( is a web site operated by our Synod.  It provides short,  morning devotions sent straight to our smart phones each day via an email address.  Each devotion is Biblically faithful and takes about a minute to read.  They arrive around 4 a.m, so you can start your day with it.   Just go to the web address, and click “Subscriptions” on the top line.   Simply follow the directions from there.   After providing some information to identify you, you’ll be sent an email with directions to complete the sign up process.   It takes a few minutes to sign up, but you’ll be blessed each day by these devotions.


Fellowship Volunteers Needed    Would you be willing to volunteer to prepare after-worship coffee, drinks, and light snacks?   A sign-up poster is on the gymnasium/fellowship hall bulletin board.  We are still in need of additional volunteers to manage our morning fellowship over the next few months.  Reimbursement of $25 per week for expenses is available to help defray costs.  (It comes through our “donation jar.”)