United Benefice of Altham and Clayton-le-Moors

Holy Communion on Ascension Day


“Therefore God has exalted him to the highest place and given him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”   (St Paul)

The Gathering 

Alleluia, Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, for forty days we have been celebrating with joyful hearts the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, his bursting from the tomb and his defeat of the power of sin and death. He appeared to his disciples many times and told them about the kingdom of God.
Today we recall how he left this earth and returned to his Father, ascending into heaven to take his throne over all dominions and powers. Trusting in his reign over all creation, and submitting to his kingly yet loving rule, let us sing his praises.


Hail the day that sees him rise, alleluia!
Glorious to his native skies; alleluia!
Christ, awhile to mortals giv’n, alleluia!
Enters now the highest heav’n! Alleluia!

There the glorious triumph waits; alleluia!
Lift your heads, eternal gates! Alleluia!
Christ hast vanquished death and sin; alleluia!
Take the King of glory in. Alleluia!

There we shall with thee remain, alleluia!
Partners of thine endless reign; alleluia!
There thy face unclouded see, alleluia!
Find our heav’n of heav’ns in thee. Alleulia!


Prayers of penitence
Christ has gone up on high, leading captivity captive
and bringing gifts for men.
As we prepare ourselves to meet him here in the courts of heaven
let us call to mind our many failures and sins.
Lord Jesus, you suffered a cruel death on the cross for
our redemption,
yet we have forgotten your pain
and stayed in the realm of the evil you defeated.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you were raised from death to bring us new life,
yet we have preferred the comfort of the familiar,
and the empty promises of a sinful world.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you have ascended to your Father and our Father,
your God and our God;
plead there at the right hand of God
for our forgiveness and entry into the fullness of his presence.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.


Words of absolution

We pray
Risen Christ,
you have raised our human nature to the throne of heaven:
help us to seek and serve you,
that we may join you at the Father’s side,
where you reign with the Spirit in glory,
now and for ever.

All: Amen

First Reading – 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 presented himself to them 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 baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’
Then they gathered round 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.’

This is the word of the Lord:

Thanks be to God.

Second Reading – Ephesians 1:15-end
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

This is the word of the Lord
All: Thanks be to God

Majesty, worship his majesty,
Unto Jesus be all glory, power and praise.
Majesty, kingdom authority flow from his throne,
Unto his own, his anthem raise.

So exalt lift up on high the name of Jesus.
Magnify, come glorify Christ Jesus the King.
Majesty, worship his majesty,
Jesus who died, now glorified,
King of all kings.

Gospel Reading – Luke 24:44-end

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Luke
Glory to you, O Lord.

He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: the Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

This is the gospel of the Lord:
Praise to you, O Christ.



Profession of Faith

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended to heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

We pray
Let us join our prayers with those of our Saviour Christ,
seeking the Father’s blessing and the gifts of the Spirit.
Jesus Christ, great high priest,
living for ever to intercede for us,
pray for the Church, your broken body in the world …
Lord, hear us.
All: Lord, graciously hear us.

Jesus Christ, king of righteousness,
enthroned at the right hand of the majesty on high,
pray for the world, and make it subject to your gentle rule …
Lord, hear us.
All: Lord, graciously hear us.

Jesus Christ, Son of Man,
drawing humanity into the life of God,
pray for your brothers and sisters in need, distress or sorrow …
Lord, hear us.
All: Lord, graciously hear us.

Jesus Christ, pioneer of our salvation,
bringing us to glory through your death and resurrection,
surround with your saints and angels
those who have died trusting your promises …
Lord, hear us.
All: Lord, graciously hear us.

Jesus Christ, Lord over all things,
ascended far above the heavens and filling the universe,
pray for us who receive the gifts you give us for work in your service …
Lord, hear us.
All: Lord, graciously hear us.

Jesus Christ,
keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit
and in the bond of peace,
and bring the whole created order to worship at your feet;
for you are alive and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
All: Amen.


The Lord’s Supper
We share the peace
Jesus says: ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
If you love me, rejoice because I am going to the Father’. Alleluia.
The peace of the Lord be always with you.
All: And also with you.

Alleluia, sing to Jesus
His the sceptre, His the throne
Alleluia, his the triumph
His the victory alone:
Hark the songs of peaceful Sion
Thunder like a mighty flood:
Jesus, out of every nation
Hath redeemed us by His blood.

Alleluia, not as orphans
Are we left in sorrow now;
Alleluia he is near us,
Faith believes, nor questions how;
Though the cloud from sight received Him
When the forty days were o’er,
Shall our hearts forget His promise,
I am with you evermore?

Alleluia, bread of angels,
Thou on earth our food our stay;
Alleluia, here the sinful
Come to you from day to day,
Intercessor, friend of sinners
Earth’s Redeemer plead for me,
Where the songs of all the sinless
Sweep across the crystal sea.

Alleluia, king eternal,
Thee the Lord of lords we own;
Alleluia, born of Mary,
Earth thy footstool, heaven thy throne;
Thou within the veil hast entered,
Robed in flesh our great High Priest;
Thou on earth both priest and victim
In the eucharistic feast.

We offer the great prayer of thanksgiving
The Lord is here.
His Spirit is with us.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Great is the mystery of faith:
Christ has died: Christ is risen: Christ will come again….

Blessing and honour and glory and power be yours for ever and ever. Amen.

Lord’s Prayer
Rejoicing in God’s new creation, let us pray with confidence
as our Saviour has taught us:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name;
your kingdom come; your will be done;
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

We break the bread
Jesus, Lamb of God, have mercy on us;
Jesus, bearer of our sins, have mercy on us;
Jesus, redeemer of the world, grant us peace.

Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.
Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleliuia!

The Book of Common Prayer instructs us that if (when we cannot receive Communion because of some just impediment), we offer ourselves in penitence and faith, giving thanks for the redemption won by Christ crucified, we may truly ‘eat and drink the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ’, although we cannot receive the sacrament with our mouths.
You might like to use the following prayer:

Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits you have given me,
for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.
Since I cannot now receive you in the blessed Sacrament,
I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.
O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,
may I know you more clearly, love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen.
Prayer after Communion
Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you most humble and hearty thanks
for all your goodness and loving kindness.
We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ,
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And give us, we pray, such a sense of all your mercies
that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful,
and that we show forth your praise,
not only with our lips but in our lives,
by giving up ourselves to your service,
and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be all honour and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Dismissal

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
does his successive journeys run;
his kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
till moons shall wax and wane no more.

People and realms of every tongue
Dwell on his love with sweetest song,
And infant voices shall proclaim
Their early blessings on his name.

Blessings abound where’er he reigns:
the prisoner leaps to lose his chains;
the weary find eternal rest,
and all the sons of want are blest.

To him shall endless prayer be made,
and praises throng to crown his head;
his name like incense shall arise
with every morning sacrifice.

Let every creature rise and bring
peculiar honours to our King;
angels descend with songs again,
and earth repeat the loud Amen.

God the Father,
who has given to his Son the name above every name,
strengthen you to proclaim Christ Jesus as Lord.
All: Amen.

God the Son,
who is our great high priest passed into the heavens,
plead for you at the right hand of the Father.
All: Amen.

God the Holy Spirit,
who pours out his abundant gifts upon the Church,
make you faithful servants of Christ our King.
All: Amen.

And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
All Amen.
We go

Go in the peace of Christ. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thanks be to God. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Common Worship, material from which is included in this publication is © Copyright Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England.
Majesty by Jack Hayford is (c) Copyright Rocksmith Music Inc. Reproduced under CCL licence 206171