Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ascension Day Worship

The Ascension of Our Lord commemorates the risen Christ's ascension to heaven. The coronation of Christ the King is celebrated, but so in him is the enthronement of humanity itself. As Saint John Chrysostom (ca. 347-407) declared in a sermon on the Ascension, "Our very nature ... is enthroned today high above all cherubim." Notice how this thought appears in the liturgy, particularly in the both the Collect and Proper Preface historically appointed for this Festival day.
Almighty God, we believe that on this day your only Son, our Redeemer, ascended into heaven.
May we in spirit also ascend to that heavenly home and there forever live.
Through the same Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord.
He lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all place offer thanks and praise to you, O Lord, holy Father, through Christ our Lord; who, after his resurrection, appeared openly to his disciples and, in their sight, was taken up into heaven, that he might make us partakers of his divine nature. And so, with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn...

The Ascension of Our Lord is one of the six principal Festivals of the Church Year celebrating the central events in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ and of his Church&mdashthe other five being the days of Pentecost, the Holy Trinity, Christmass, the Epiphany of Our Lord, and Easter.

Following Saint Luke's account in the Acts of the Apostles, the Ascension of Our Lord falls on the fortieth day of Easter, and thus always on a Thursday. This festival day has been included on the Church's calendar since at least the fourth century.

If you are in the Peoria area, you are welcome to worship the Ascended Lord Jesus with us this evening. In addition to Zion's celebration, I am aware of two other Peoria Lutheran churches, Mt. Calvary (whose pastor is also a PLTS alumnus) and Trinity (both Missouri Synod congregations), that offer worship on the actual Ascension Day. St. Michael's and All Angels Anglican Church in Peoria, which offers Vespers and Holy Communion every Thursday, is also celebrating it. In the Catholic Church, Ascension Day is moved to next Sunday.

No comments: