Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Ascension of Our Lord

What a blessing to gather in the Lord's House this evening to celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord.  There were about 25 of us in attendance (not counting the multitudes of saints and angels with us, of course), which is the most we've had in Divine Service on Ascension Day in the five years I've been serving here.  Hey, maybe it's catching on!  I love the hymns we sing during this joyous Feast - Bede's "A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing" (one of my favorites, for sure - we'll be singing this as the Processional Hymn again on Sunday, so that our brothers and sisters who couldn't join us this evening won't miss it, and because, well, as I said, it's one of my favorites and I'm the pastor, so there), and "Up through Endless Ranks of Angels" (less familiar, but a goodie, nonetheless).  I love the Proper Preface for this Feast, too:
It is truly good, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who after His resurrection appeared openly to all His disciples (great line, confessing the historic reality of our Lord's resurrection) and in their sight was taken up into heaven that He might make us partakers of His divine life (just ponder that one for a bit - awesome!).  Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify Your glorious name, evermore praising You and saying . . .
The Collect of the Day:
Almighty God, as Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, ascended into the heavens, so may we also ascend in heart and mind and continually dwell there with Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

OT Reading:  2 Kings 2:5-15
Second Reading:  Acts 1:1-11
Holy Gospel:  Luke 24:44-53 

Jesus Is Ascended, but Not Absent
On the fortieth day after his resurrection, our Lord ascended to the right hand of the Father.  But although Jesus is hidden from your eyes, He is not absent from you.  For He now fills all things in heaven and on earth.  He continues "to do and to teach" (Acts 1:1), preaching repentance and forgiveness of sins through those sent in His Name (Mark 16:14-20; Luke 24:44-53), giving You His true body and blood in the Supper.  Jesus is your great Elijah who pours out on you a double portion of His Spirit in the Word and the Sacraments (2 Kings 2:5-15).  He is Lord over all things for the sake of the Church.  He whom heaven cannot contain has raised your human nature to share fully in the glory of God.  You who believe and are baptized into Christ's body are already sitting in the heavenly places; for you are in Him who is at the Father's right hand.  When He comes again in the clouds on the Last Day, you also will appear with Him in glory. (Lectionary Summary from LCMS CoW)

A blessed Feast Day it was! 

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