Tomorrow is Ascension Day, the day on which we remember Jesus ascension into heaven 40 days after he rose from the dead. What I did not realize is that for many this is also a celebration of the new creation that God brought into being by the ascension of Jesus. What beautiful imagery to carry with us for the rest of the season until Pentecost.
This is not a celebration that I grew up with, nor is it one that I have taken much notice of in the last few years. However because of the fact that we are now saying morning and evening prayers at the Mustard Seed House, I thought that it would be a good idea to celebrate this day with a special litany. I tend to think of Ascension Day as a Catholic celebration. I was amazed this morning therefore at the beautiful and enriching prayers I came across from many different traditions and thought that I would share some of them with you.
I love the exultant note of this prayer from Rev. Marilyn E. Thornton the Lead Editor for African American Resources at the United Methodist Publishing House
One: Let us gather as they gathered on the Mount of Olivet.
Let us remember the teachings of the law, psalms, and prophets.
Many: Ride on King Jesus, no one can hinder you!
Here is another from the reformed tradition With A Shout
And this by David Diephouse who teaches history at Calvin College
Our God goes up with shouts of joy!
Our Lord ascends to the sound of trumpets!
All: Sing praises to our God, sing praises!
Sing praises, sing praises to our King!
The Almighty rides in triumph.
The Almighty leads captivity captive.
Who shouts for joy? Who blows the trumpet?
The hosts of heaven sing the honor of his name;
they praise him with an endless alleluia.
And this prayer from the Catholic service for Ascension Day
God our Father,
make us joyful in the ascension of your Son Jesus Christ.
May we follow him into the new creation,
for his ascension is our glory and our hope.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.