An Ascension Sunday Message

An Ascension Sunday Message

Memorial Day Sunday—Ascension Sunday—May 29, 2022

PRELUDE: Candles Burn in the Quiet Night—James Michael Stevens

Memorial Day honoring of our beloved dead—school children, racist hate crime victims, veterans, war casualties, non-combatants the innocent of all nations, people who have given their lives in movements for equality, freedom and democracy anywhere.
Pastor:     Almighty God, before whom stand the living and the dead, we your children, whose mortal life is but a hand’s breadth, give thanks to You as we remember all whose lives have been given & taken in time of war, disease and targeted violence
People:   O Lord, our life, our times are in Your hands.
Pastor:     One generation comes into the world to be blessed with days of peace and safety and another goes through the valley of the shadow, enduring the cruelties of war, terror and persecution.
People:   Heartbreaking have been the times that have fallen to the lot of many even here, O God.
Pastor:     We have lived through years of destruction when we were schooled in sorrow and                         acquainted with grief.
People:   We have seen the just defeated, the innocent driven from their homes as often as we have seen right and justice triumph.
Pastor:     At this hour of memorial, we recall with solemn awe all who have perished in war, all who have given their lives for freedom, all who have offered their lives and their futures to establish peace.
People:   All our soldiers, men and women, who have died in our lifetimes in wars in the Middle East, in Europe, in Asia, in Africa
Pastor:     The innocent of all ages—men, women and children—who have been caught in the web of war, terror, gun violence in Buffalo, Uvalde, Ukraine, Parkland, Sandy Hook.
People:   The victims of the 9-11 attacks
Pastor:     Victims of the Pulse Nightclub attack.
People:   Martyrs of the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the environmental justice movement.
Pastor:     6 million people globally, 1 million Americans who have died of the Covid-19 virus.
People:   George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Cameron Lamb, all victims of police killings.
Pastor:     All martyrs of religious and racial hatred, wars against indigenous people everywhere.
People:   Veterans who live shortened lives due to brain injuries and exposure to toxic chemicals.
Pastor:     Martyrs of the LGBTQ movement, the women’s movement, the earth justice movement, journalists of all nations
People:   Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepherd, Jamal Khashoggi. Chico Mendes and Land Rights Activists in Brazil.
Pastor:     Our church and family members who have served in the military.
People:   All who are in harm’s way at this moment, both combatants or non-combatants, dedicated fire fighters and police officers, rescue workers, United Nations peacemakers.
Pastor:     May all these souls, like stars by day, shine within our hearts and light our path through  the darkness of war and terror toward a sunlit hour of peace.

HYMN: Come Ye Disconsolate  STF#2132

Leader: There is something wrong with our world, something fundamentally and basically wrong. I don’t think we have to look too far to see that. I’m sure that most of you would agree with me in making that assertion. And when we stop to analyze the cause of our world’s ills, many things come to mind.
People: We begin to wonder if it is due to the fact that we don’t know enough. But it can’t be that. Because in terms of accumulated knowledge we know more today than humans have known in any period of human history.
Leader: We have the facts at our disposal. We know more about mathematics, about science, about social science, and philosophy than we’ve ever known in any period of the world’s history. So it can’t be because we don’t know enough.
People:  And then we wonder if it is due to the fact that our scientific genius lags behind. That is, if we have not made enough progress scientifically. Well then, it can’t be that. For our scientific progress and genius over the years has been amazing.
Leader: I think we have to look much deeper than that if we are to find the real cause of humanity’s problems and the real cause of the world’s ills today. If we are to really find it I think we will have to look in the hearts and souls of human beings.
People: The trouble isn’t so much that we don’t know enough, but it’s as if we aren’t good enough. The trouble isn’t so much that our scientific genius lags behind, but our moral genius lags behind.
Leader: The great problem facing humanity is that the means by which we live have outdistanced the spiritual ends for which we live. So we find ourselves caught in a messed-up world.
People: The problem is with men and women themselves and their souls. We haven’t learned how to be just and honest and kind and true and loving. And that is the basis of our problem.
Leader: The real problem is that through our scientific genius we’ve made of the world a neighborhood, but through our moral and spiritual genius we’ve failed to make of it a brotherhood.
People:  And the great danger facing us today is not so much the atomic bomb that was created by physical science. Not so much that atomic bomb that you can put in an airplane and drop on the heads of hundreds and thousands of people—as dangerous as that is. But the real danger confronting civilization today is that atomic bomb which lies in the hearts and souls of men, capable of exploding into the vilest of hate and into the most damaging selfishness
Leader: That’s the atomic bomb that we’ve got to fear today. The problem is with people, within the heart and the souls of people. That is the real basis of our problem.
People:  My friends, all I’m trying to say is that if we are to go forward today, we’ve got to go back and rediscover some mighty precious values that we’ve left behind.  That’s the only way that we would be able to make of our world a better world, and to make of this world what God wants it to be and the real purpose and meaning of it.
Leader: And when we   talk about the world that God wants it to be, we are talking about rediscovering the lost values—first that there just like there are physical laws in the universe, there are also moral laws and second—that all reality has spiritual control. In other words, we’ve got to go back and rediscover the principle that there is a God behind the process
People: The God that I’m talking about this morning is the God of the universe and the God that will last through the ages. If we are to go forward this morning, we’ve got to go back and find that God. That is the God that demands and commands our ultimate allegiance.

SUNG RESPONSE TO CONFESSION:       God, Our Nation Feels the Loss       by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette
SCRIPTURE:           Psalm 47     Luke 24:44-53             Jennifer Weiman       
HYMN:  Wounded World That Cries for Healing   STF2177
SERMON:     An Ascension Sunday Message
HYMN:    Crown Him with Many Crowns     GTG#268
ANTHEM: People, Clap Your Hands—Louis Bourgeois, arr. Robert Powell
Matthew 25 Prayer, Lords Prayer, Congregational Response:  Come, Bring Your Burdens to God  GTG#851
OFFERTORY: Give Me Jesus—Traditional spiritual, arr. Moses Hogan; Nathan Sullins, guest tenor
SUNG PRAYER OF DEDICATION (chant through once)

Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know
Be still

CLOSING HYMN:   Guide My Feet (stanzas 1-5)   GTG#741
SUNG BENEDICTION RESPONSE:    Guide My Feet (stanza 6)  GTG#741
POSTLUDE: Sollt’ ich meinem Gott nicht singen; (Shall I Not Sing to My God)—set by Johann Ernst Rembt


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