The Ascension of the Lord
May 18, 2023
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 47, one of seven enthronement psalms which celebrate a “coronation” of God.
All you peoples, clap your hands,Psalm 47: 1
shout to God with cries of gladness,
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.
Used for the feast of the Ascension, the point of the psalm is much more than an exercise of pageantry. It is an act of faith and reverence to God, the Loving Omnipotence who chose to redeem us by assuming our humanity.
It is a confirmation that we believers do see the Supreme Being in the human Jesus we have come to love. This is what Paul prays for the Ephesians in our second reading:
May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,Ephesians 1:18-21
that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call,
what are the riches of glory
in his inheritance among the holy ones,
and what is the surpassing greatness of his power
for us who believe,
in accord with the exercise of his great might,
which he worked in Christ,
raising him from the dead
and seating him at his right hand in the heavens,
far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion,
and every name that is named
not only in this age but also in the one to come.
The Great Commission, found in today’s Gospel, is the true gift of the Ascension.
Go into the whole worldMark 16: 15
and proclaim the gospel to every creature.
Jesus tells us that his time on earth is complete. The lesson of Incarnational Love has been taught. We now are given the power to continue the message for all time.
Jesus promises that our faith will:
-create new possibilities to preach the Gospel
-show courage against antagonism
-heal and strengthen others to believe
These signs will accompany those who believe:
-in my name they will drive out demons,
-they will speak new languages.
-They will pick up serpents with their hands,
-drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
–lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.
If we believe and open our hearts to this message, indeed, it is a day for trumpet blasts! Here are a few from one of my favorite triumphal pieces! If the Apostles had only had trumpets, they might have played something like this for the Lord as He ascended 🙂
Poetry: Ascension Sonnet – Malcolm Guite
We saw his light break through the cloud of glory Whilst we were rooted still in time and place As earth became a part of Heaven’s story And heaven opened to his human face. We saw him go and yet we were not parted He took us with him to the heart of things The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted Is whole and Heaven-centred now, and sings, Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness, Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight, Whilst we our selves become his clouds of witness And sing the waning darkness into light, His light in us, and ours in him concealed, Which all creation waits to see revealed.
Music: Psalm 47 – Rory Cooney