Throughout the coming year I will be offering a series on the major feasts of the Christian Calendar. The series will include scriptural, hymnological, and choral resources regarding the liturgical celebrations. My hope is that we of the free church would become more conversant with many of the great liturgical traditions, making good use of those which would biblically and theologically aid our local congregations.
Today is Ascension Day; this day marks one of the major feasts celebrated in the church year. The feast day occurs forty days after Easter, yet most churches congregationally observe it the following Sunday. The feast day recalls Christ’s glorious ascension into heaven forty days after Easter. The account of the magnificent event is found in Acts 1:3,9. This great miracle lends cause for celebration in the church year of God’s mighty power and providence. John Wesley penned a beloved poem resounding with triumphant Alleluias in grateful homage to Christ the King for His wonderful ascension.
Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia.
to his throne above the skies; Alleluia.
Christ, the Lamb for sinners given, Alleluia.
enters now the highest heaven. Alleluia.
There for him high triumph waits;
lift your heads, eternal gates!
he hath conquered death and sin;
take the King of Glory in!
Still for us he intercedes,
his prevailing death he pleads;
near himself prepares our place,
he the first-fruits of our race.
Lord, though parted from our sight,
far above the starry height,
grant our hearts may thither rise,
seeking thee above the skies.
One of the great anthems for Ascension Day is a setting by the English composer Gerald Finzi of the ascension poem God is Gone Up With a Triumphant Shout.
The appropriate liturgical color for Ascension Day is white.
May our hearts be filled with awe and gratitude to the King of Glory for His advent, life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.