May 16, 2021

Ascended with shouts of joy (click here)

Passage: Acts 1: 1-11; Psalm 47
Service Type:

May 16th, 2021 - Ascension Sunday

Welcome to Worship with St. Andrew’s Salmon Arm.  We are delighted that you have joined us, and hope that you will find a blessing here.


  • HOPE GARDEN:  It is so good to see the flourishing garden, and the produce growing to meet the needs of those who would otherwise go hungry.  A big thank you to everyone who helped prepare the soil and plant.  Now is the time for those who weed.  If you have a few spare minutes stop by the garden and pull weeds, even a row will be a big help.
  • Scripture Readers sought:  In an effort to keep improving our experience of worship, we are asking for people to sign up to read Scripture.    You can come to the regular video Session on Saturday’s at 11:00 or arrange with John to submit a video or audio file.  Scripture Lessons for the post-Easter season are available from Ena.  Please prayerfully consider taking part in this expansion of our worship experience.
  • Normally the June Loonie Offering has gone to help with "Dry Grad". This year the Session has decided to help fund the High School Apprenticeship Program. Your June loonie Offering will help one or more students who have no means to purchase things like tool belts, steel toed boots, and other PPE (personal protective equipment). It may even assist with other needs that these students, from impoverished homes may have, like meals for example. Please help a student acquire a trade with this June's Loonie offering.
  • Special Prayers:

For India and especially their medical centres, doctors, and nurses as they respond to overwhelming numbers of infection.  May they soon receive aid, for protective equipment, oxygen, respirators and vaccines. July's Loonie Offering will be going to help with covid relief work in India through PWS&D (follow this link to find out more: )

Please pray for the vaccine roll out in our community and others.

Pre-service sing-a-long  (thank you to Gloria Fitt for providing the music and the inspiration.)

Lighting the Christ Candle

The light of Christ has come among us.
Thanks be to God


Because Jesus ascended and sits at the right hand of God,

a new world has broken into ours—

a world in which justice does come for the poor,

freedom comes for the prisoners,

and healing for the sick.

Because Jesus ascended and sits at the right hand of God,

a new community has been formed—

a community that loves and cares for all members,

a family that welcomes all who are abandoned and rejected,

a place where all find a place of belonging.

Because Jesus ascended and sits at the right hand of God,

a new creation has begun— 

all that was distorted is being restored,

all that is corrupted is being renewed,

all that was broken is being made whole.

Because Jesus ascended and sits at the right hand of God,

God’s new world has begun. 


HYMN:  Majesty



Precious love,
your ascended Son promised the gift of holy power.
Send your Spirit of revelation and wisdom,
that in the blessed freedom of hope,
we may witness to the grace of forgiveness
and sing songs of joy with the peoples of earth
to the One who makes us one body. Amen.



While we claim to celebrate the ascension of our Lord,

the way we live proclaims our lack of faith

in his power to deal with the world.

Let us confess the incongruity between our faith and practice.

Let us pray:


We come, O Lord, on this day of glory to confess our lack of trust.

While we sing of your lordship over all creation,

we have too often acted as though you are powerless

in the face of today's events.

Help us to live with confidence in your presence today

and in hope for life with you forever. Amen.


We were made by God, brought forth from the earth,

the earth that was called good when God created it.

Your very being is good.

You are blessed, earth-born,

and called forth to care for the earth and all who dwell in it.

Go, know that you are forgiven and loved

by the God who made the earth, and made you,

and share the Good News. Amen.



The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  And also with you.

Share a sign of peace with those nearby, or ask the Spirit to bring his peace to another you may know, or to a world situation.


HYMN  Rejoice the Lord is King




Listen, hear and remember, these portions of the revelation of God’s word for us.

Acts 1: 1-11 (click here to view the readings and sermon)

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 baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”

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.

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “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.”

Psalm 47

Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.

For the Lord Most High is awesome,
the great King over all the earth.
He subdued nations under us,
peoples under our feet.
He chose our inheritance for us,
the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.[b]

God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.

God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy throne.
The nobles of the nations assemble
as the people of the God of Abraham,
for the kings[c] of the earth belong to God;
he is greatly exalted.

Sermon:  Ascended with shouts of joy

Ascended with shouts of joy!?  That acclamation is not so apparent as we see the disciples, confused, looking into the clouds to see where Jesus has gone.  The joy, for them and often for us, comes more with a slowly dawning awareness.

After all they, and we are human.

We saw that humanness time and time again as Jesus repeated and retaught what was important for the disciples to know.  Indeed, they like us are slow to hear and even slower to comprehend.

In the opening words of Acts we are reminded that throughout his time on earth Jesus taught through the Holy Spirit and that this teaching continued following the resurrection, as he taught about the Kingdom of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

In this teaching we are again reminded that this coming kingdom is not like an earthly kingdom.   Again, and again the reminder is given that this is not a kingdom full of earthly power.  This kingdom comes with power from on high to make us servants and witnesses of the kingdom.

For us, as for the disciples, the work of the kingdom is to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to all who wait to hear the story.  It seems like we have talked about that again and again these past few weeks.  Again, and again the message has been to tell the story.

Tell it often.

Tell it to friend and stranger.

Tell it in the power of the Spirit and then let the Spirit do the work.

So we are not surprised that when Jesus says goodbye to his servants on earth the message from Jesus is clear.

Wait for the power of the Spirit.

And when the Spirit comes, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and to the ends of the earth.

You will be my witnesses in Salmon Arm, in British Columbia and to the ends of the earth.

This is why Jesus ascending to Heaven is to be celebrated with shouts of joy.  The Spirit will come and will establish God’s eternal rule as we witness to his love and grace and mercy from here to the ends of the earth.

It is after the fact that the disciples understand that it is better that Jesus be with the Father than with them.  It is better to have the living and powerful Spirit working through all people on earth.  Our strength as servants and witnesses comes from the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit can come only if Jesus goes.

Our humanness rebels against that thought.  We never want those who are precious to us to leave.  Our human desire is to gather them close and keep them near to us.   And yet, it is for our benefit and for our growth that Jesus leaves.

In the power of the Spirit, we understand more fully what it means to inhabit the Kingdom of Heaven.  We understand more fully that our power is to attract and bring in more who believe.  We understand that our power is not political power to rule and organize.  We are servants of the living God.  We tell the story of Jesus to bring others to faith.  We speak of God’s desire for justice and we work to make justice happen, not for political gain, but so that all people may be free as they are lifted from oppression that is both physical and spiritual and are freed to love and serve the Lord Jesus.

So we sing with joy that the Lamb has ascended and claimed his throne.

Not in an earthly king way, where we become subjects rather than servants.  Where we are at the mercy of a despot who rules by might and fear, rather than grace and love.  Where we are weighted down with the burdens of obedience without any benefits.

We are called to rejoice because God is in his heaven and all is right with the world.

What a statement to make at a time like this.

How can we say that all is right with the world?  There is a pandemic.  People around the world are dying.  There are wars and conflicts.  There are natural disasters.  Yet—God is on the throne.  Jesus is on the throne.  More importantly the Holy Spirit is here among us, living in us, working through us, and that means that God’s love, grace and mercy are in the world and are spreading.

How do we know?

The story is being told.
Mercy is being extended.
Justice is seen to be done.
The work of the Spirit is being done.

Signs of hope are all around us.  Trees are budding.  Flowers are blooming.  The HOPE garden is thriving and we know that people in our community will be fed.  The work of the Spirit is being done.

People are being vaccinated.  And we are even becoming a part of that, as we participate in contributing to programmes that will help developing countries (and particularly India) find PPE and gain access to vaccines.

This kingdom is about more than us.  It is about us understanding our role in being servants into our own communities and even unto the ends of the earth.  The kingdom exists where the hungry are fed.  Where the thirsty are given a glass of water.  Where the sick are given medicine.  The naked are clothed.  The weak are cared for.  The lost are sought and found.  The work of the Spirit is being done.

Today we read the 47th Psalm.  It is a good thing that the King ascends to the throne.  It is a time of rejoicing.

We are urged --Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.

This is a time of joy.  When Jesus ascended to the throne the power of the Spirit became available for all of us.  ALL OF US.

The Psalmist reminds us that God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.

He reminds us:

Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.

God is king of all the earth!  More than that, God rules over the assembly of the kings of the nations.  All rulers, good, benign or despotic are subject to God.  They, as much as us, are called to rule in response to his grace and goodness and to be servants of the people who elected them as they live out their responsibility to God.  Not all will take up that responsibility.  They like all of us, are stubbornly human in their understanding and willfully selfish is so many ways.

This truth of human failings makes the Ascension of Jesus even more a cause for Joy.  Because each person who believes will receive the Holy Spirit and in the Holy Spirit we will have our humanness submit to God’s guidance.

God’s character will grow in us.  God’s will takes hold of our will.  God’s love takes hold of our love.  God’s grace flows in us and through us.  WE will grow in wisdom and understanding.

As we shout for joy, we bear witness to the story of Jesus wounded, killed and resurrected for our salvation and as we live out that story, we bring his peace and justice into all the places that we touch.  Our humanness diminishes and His Holiness grows.  And God’s will is known, as his love changes the world one person at a time.

For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.

That song of praise is the proclamation of our faith:  God is in his heaven and because of that His Spirit is in those who believe, and because of that all is being made right on earth.

Praise God for ever and ever.  Amen.


HYMN Crown him with many crowns




Today we remember the gift of Jesus Christ given to us.  We join together giving thanks to God, by bringing our offering into the storehouse, and together we pray that God will bless all that we bring.


People of God, all that we bring, ourselves, our gifts and talents, our wealth, is sent out in the power of the Holy Spirit, to be God’s witnesses;  to proclaim the Good News to everyone whose need we meet and whose heart we touch.

All that we give and do shares the love that God has lavished on us

in Jesus Christ.  So may God receive these offering and send it all out in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit to bear witness to all you have seen and experienced.



Risen and ascended Christ,
you surround us with witnesses
and send us the Counselor
who opens our minds to understand your teaching.
Bless us with such grace
that our lives may become a blessing for the world
now, and in the age to come.

Risen and ascended Lord Jesus,
When we are numbed by the suffering of the world,
Take us back to the deep truth
Of your power and glory,
Of your invincible Kingdom,
Of your promise of reconciliation.
In the knowledge of this truth,
Help us to bring our gaze to earth
And find the strength to go into the world,
to do your will on earth as in heaven.
To build the kingdom of God
On earth as it is in heaven.

With our gaze on the earth and the people of the earth, we give you thanks for the HOPE Garden and the produce that will feed the hungry of our town.  We praise you for the dedicated workers who have tilled, and planted, and all those who will weed, water and harvest.  Bless them and bless their labours.

WE gaze on the countries of the earth and we realize O God that we are extremely blessed.  We ask for your mercy for those countries who have not had access to the vaccine.  We ask you to stir the peoples and countries who can to assist in the purchase of vaccines to share.  We pray that the programs that are arising to assist will help change things for all.  We pray for India which is extremely hard hit and who are crying for help.  May the help from our government and the assistance we give through PWS&D make a difference.

We pray for the pregnancy care Centre, who are asking for help this month.  May what we have given, join the gifts of others so that women seeking help with unexpected pregnancy may have help, counseling and assistance, as well as acceptance and care.



We pray with hope for a world in need – in need not just of a technical fix, but in need of love and grace, forgiveness and new life, hope, peace and fellowship, in need of renewal, in need of YOU.  May you bring your renewal to our city, our congregations and our homes.

Community Groups, Food bank, Second Harvest, Lighthouse Mission, Neighbourlink and all others who serve the needs of the community

Beating the Bounds

On this Ascension Sunday we again remember the bounds in which our Building and our homes sit.

We pray for the people in the neighbourhood of our church, and that you would touch the needs not known and often not always even expressed in the home.  Send your Spirit upon each resident and surround them in your love.

We pray for the people in our own neighbourhoods.  Some friends, some just faces we wave at as we go by, all of them loved by you.  Surround them in your love and care for all their needs.

We pray for the businesses and other places in near our church building:

Yan’s restaurant, the Top of the Hill Motors, The RCMP station, the Christian Reformed Church, the Bowling Alley, Okanagan College, the Recreational Centre and especially all those who work and volunteer in the vaccination program and all those who will be vaccinated, the Arena, the various gyms.

We add the businesses in our home neighbourhoods…..

May each have the resources they need to serve the community and may they be supported to stay strong until the pandemic is over.  May your never ending grace and love touch each place and all who work in them. or are served through them,


Hear us now as we pray as Jesus taught us saying, 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 debts as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever.  Amen

HYMN  Jesus shall reign, where’re the Sun




As people of faith we have gathered for worship.

As people of faith we now return to the world.

Go out to share the story of faith,

the story of life, with the world around you.

We share the faith in word and in deed,

in speech and in action.


As you go out to give a living witness,

as you go out to testify to God's love active in the world,

go knowing that God goes with you,

sharing the laughter and the hope, the fears and the tears.

Thanks be to God! Amen.


SUNG BLESSING:  Take O Take me as I am