Worship at home: The Ascension of Jesus, May 24, 2020

Please worship in a way that feels authentic to you. Perhaps alone, perhaps in a family group at home, perhaps in an online group that you put together. You can pick and choose which of these elements speaks to you this weekend, or you can make your way through the entire resource. Whatever you choose, know that God is near.


Worship at Home for the Sunday of Ascension


Words for Centering/A Poem for Reflection



A Blessing for Ascension Day

by Jan Richardson


I know how your mind
rushes ahead
trying to fathom
what could follow this.
What will you do,
where will you go,
how will you live?


You will want
to outrun the grief.
You will want
to keep turning toward
the horizon,
watching for what was lost
to come back,
to return to you
and never leave again.


For now
hear me when I say
all you need to do
is to still yourself
is to turn toward one another
is to stay.


and see what comes
to fill
the gaping hole
in your chest.

Wait with your hands open
to receive what could never come
except to what is empty
and hollow.


You cannot know it now,
cannot even imagine
what lies ahead,
but I tell you
the day is coming
when breath will
fill your lungs
as it never has before
and with your own ears
you will hear words
coming to you new
and startling.
You will dream dreams
and you will see the world
ablaze with blessing.


Wait for it.
Still yourself.

Call to Worship

by Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell, rev-o-lution.org

A new day has begun.

Hope wins!

A fresh start is granted.

Faith wins!

Today you have the opportunity to do something new.

Hope wins!

Christ is entering your life in a new way.

Faith wins!

Come, let us worship God, who is inviting us into life in a new way, a way that transcends death, a way of hope and faith.

Love wins!

Let us worship Christ, who overcame death to give us new life!


Living our Covenant of Welcome


Write down the name of at least one person with whom you’d like to connect this week. Pray for them, call/email/message them!

READ| Scripture: Acts 17: 22-28


6 While meeting together they asked, “Has the time come, Rabbi? Are you going to restore sovereignty to Israel?”

7 Jesus replied, “It’s not for you to know times or dates that Abba God has decided.

8 You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; then you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”

9 Having said this, Jesus was lined up in a cloud before their eyes and taken from their sight.

10 They were still gazing up into the heavens when two messengers dressed in white stood beside them.

11 “You Galileans—why are you standing here looking up at the skies?” they asked. “Jesus, who has been taken from you—this same Jesus will return, in the same way you watched him go into heaven.

12 The apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a mere Sabbath’s walk away.

13 Entering the city, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying—Peter, John, James and Andrew; Phillip, Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James ben-Alphaeus; Simon, a member of the Zealot sect; and Judah ben-Jacob.

14 Also in their company were some of the women who followed Jesus, his mother Mary, and some of Jesus' sisters and brothers. With one mind, they devoted themselves to constant prayer.



Becca has written a meditation on the Ascension of Jesus.


The Ascension of Jesus is a strange story at first glance. Jesus is air-lifted into the heavens and we’re left with a collage of clouds and sunlight. To be clear, it is a strange story. And, when we look at this story in the context of all of Jesus’ other interactions, blessings, healings, miracles...it actually feels pretty consistent with what we've experienced of Jesus so far. 


So much of what Jesus does and says challenges the way we think and live. He is always inviting us to reimagine the world around us with the lens of love and grace. And even in Jesus’ parting he leaves us lovingly and with a Companion, even if his parting is bewildering. We’re promised the company of the Holy Spirit.


Rebecca Lockwood, Associate Pastor for Missions and Education

In this particular passage there is a pattern of Jesus reproaching the disciples and then offering a promise. The disciples, as always, want to know a precise moment or date for when thigns will be different, when te realm of God will be realized and lived out among us. And Jesus responds telling us it's not for us to know the exact timing of things... but we will be given the Holy Spirit. We see this pattern again before Jesus ascends for good. And then we see this pattern a third time with the white-clad angelic like characters who ask, "Galileans, why are you standing around staring at the sky? There are things to do, good news to share!" (My paraphrasing.) Jesus will come back, at some point, in a similarly mysterious way. But we're not supposed to spend our time waiting staring skyward.


The disciples were asked to embrace the uncertainty of their future and their calling. And together they left to live out their ministry and fellowship. They didn’t know what lay ahead. They didn’t know the places they would go or the people they would meet. They were promised the Holy Spirit, whenever She decided to arrive. And they had each other. “God doesn’t call the equipped, God equips the called.” I’m not sure where that quote comes from originally but it applies here.


It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, without clarity or direction, or even purpose in a time of pervasive uncertainty. And yet, this scripture reminds us that we have all we need: the Spirit and each other. On Wednesday night during our final Spiritual Practice virtual gathering, we did the practice of Sacred Imagination. Out of our imagining and conversation, Carole Shulte commented that this really is all about a discernment of the Spirit. The disciples were going to have to learn to listen even more intently to discern and perceive the ways of the Spirit.


We hold that same call to listen and respond. The Spirit indeed still surrounds us and it is within our ability to perceive Its movements. Now more than ever are we called to listen and respond with love and grace. In my time among you at St. Peter’s, I have learned to listen to the Spirit and to be open to the surprises offered and to trust where the Spirit leads. We are headed into a new season for the life of this community. We will be changed by it. We don’t know all the twists and turns we will take or the skills we learn along the way.


But we have the same certainty the disciples did in this moment so many years ago: the Spirit will be among us, and we will find our way together. Jesus doesn’t ask us to hold a vigil and wait for his return. Jesus called and equipped us to the work of loving each other and creating a world where peace was possible. We have a new challenge before us, a new puzzle to demystify with the challenges and realities of a pandemic. We will care for each and act in the interest of all and within that framework of love, we will continue our work of loving, creating, and peacemaking.

Prayers for Our Community & the World


Pray in whatever way suits you. If it makes sense to you, consider praying the Prayer of Our Creator to close this time of intercession.



Offering our Gifts


In the midst of challenging times, we find that we need the church community now more than ever.

Even though we cannot be in-person, the church continues to gather in spirit and offer support. If you are able, we humbly ask you to consider making a pledge to St. Peter’s for our next fiscal year. (email generositylead@stpeterscarmel.org or financialsecretary@stpeterscarmel.org with questions). Thank you!


You can give online here:


or text 73256 with the keyword CARMEL and an amount. Click the link sent in the reply to complete your gift. It will take about 2 minutes.


Mail your donations to 3106 E. Carmel Drive, Carmel IN 46033.


For Stocks and IRAs: Contact Financial Secretary Jenny Terry (financial@stpeterscarmel.org).


From the Salt Project


Friends, how good and pleasant it is to be together, in person or in spirit, encouraging and consoling, provoking and inspiring. But now the service is ended. Why do you stand looking up toward heaven? Go in peace - into the world (when and how it is safe to do so), for the love of the world!


Our prayer mailbox at St. Peter's is full of mirrors with the word "Beloved" written on it. Feel free to stop by and take a mirror with you, for comfort and rememberance.

Until we are together again....