Greetings this Ascension Day, St. Barnabas!
We will not have a service this evening (10 May 2018), as we like to do, but we’ll do some further celebrating on Sunday. In the meantime, and on the actual day in the church calendar, here are a few items to consider… If you don’t have time for them all, choose one or two, but it will give you a way to do some celebrating, worshiping, pondering, even though we are not gathering together.
*Listen to Peter Philips’ beautiful Ascendit Deus in jubilatione  from Clare College, Cambridge, 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjU9GdGt3NI — from Psalm 47.
*Why is celebrating Ascension Day so important? Read 10 reasons why.
*Read Acts 1.1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1.17-23; and Mark 16.15-20.
Let us acclaim and praise the Lord, lifted up beyond our sight.
Response/All praise be yours, O Lord, enthroned in glory!
Lord Jesus Christ, today you have been taken up victorious to the right hand of the Father:
– bring to completion the deliverance of all peoples. R/
You showed yourself to your disciples for forty days:
– strengthen our faith. R/
You entered into the Holy of Holies as the eternal priest of the new covenant:
– intercede for us. R/
Before you took leave of your disciples, you promised to send the Holy Spirit, that they might preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth:
– enliven our witness. R/
+Add your personal intentions and intercessions
+The Lord’s Prayer
O God, you descended in the cloud to the Mount of Olives, as once you descended in the cloud upon Mount Sinai. On Sinai you gave the law of the covenant to Moses. On the Mount of Olives you took to yourself in glory the One who is the law of the new and eternal covenant. Let us who are the members of his Body live in joyful expectation of his return, keeping faith with the covenant sealed in his blood, until that day when we can sing your praises face-to-face. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
-From Magnificat Morning Prayer, 10 May 2018
*Finally a Malcolm Guite+ poem:
Here is a sonnet for Ascension Day, the glorious finale of the Easter Season.
Commentary: In the mystery of the Ascension we reflect on the way in which, one sense Christ ‘leaves’ us and is taken away into Heaven, but in another sense he is given to us and to the world in a new and more universal way. He is no longer located only in one physical space to the exclusion of all others. He is in the Heaven which is at the heart of all things now and is universally accessible to all who call upon Him. And since His humanity is taken into Heaven, our humanity belongs there too, and is in a sense already there with him.”For you have died”, says St. Paul, “and your life is hidden with Christ in God”. In the Ascension Christ’s glory is at once revealed and concealed, and so is ours. The sonnet form seemed to me one way to begin to tease these things out. [MG+]
We saw his light break through the cloud of glory
Whilst we were rooted still in time and place
As earth became a part of Heaven’s story
And heaven opened to his human face.
We saw him go and yet we were not parted
He took us with him to the heart of things
The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted
Is whole and Heaven-centred now, and sings,
Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness,
Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight,
Whilst we our selves become his clouds of witness
And sing the waning darkness into light,
His light in us, and ours in him concealed,
Which all creation waits to see revealed.
If you have any insights or questions, please share them with us!