INVITATION and READING
“At His Ascension our Lord entered Heaven, and He keeps the door open for humanity to enter.” (Oswald Chambers)
Matthew 28: 16-20
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
The verse that has been with me this week is Matt 28: 20. My immediate response is to find great comfort in the words “I am with you always.” I am reassured that Christ did not ascend to heaven, leaving us all alone, but rose in majesty to reign at God’s right hand on our behalf. His human limitations are now gone – unencumbered by time and space. Jesus is now with all of us at once! And so, as we are commanded to live and witness according to God’s law, our faith and the Holy Spirit keep Him ever present. We will be fully reunited with him again one day…and forever! Hallelujah!
Charles Wesley (1707-1788) wrote more than one hymn on the Ascension, and “Hail the Day That Sees Him Rise” (UMH #312) is one of them. Penned in 1739, Wesley’s original text contained 10 stanzas. Four of them, with several alterations, are in our hymnal. Additionally, the “alleluias” were not in Wesley’s hymn, but added sometime later. This addition did create, however, an opportunity to make a great pairing with the tune LLANFAIR, composed in 1817 by Robert Williams (1782-1818). Music scholar John Hammond writes that this combination of text and tune first appeared in John Parry’s collection, Peroriaeth Hyfryd (Sweet Music), in 1837.
In this recording by the St. Michael’s Singers you will see and hear Wesley’s original stanzas: 1,2,4,5, and 8, plus alleluias.
hear our prayers.
Just as we trust
that the Savior of humanity
is seated with you in your majesty,
we may also trust that he remains with us always
to the end of the age, as he has promised;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Leonine Sacramentary, New Ancient Collects, #109)
Offered by Joche Wilmot, Director of Music Ministries