Ascension, Gwyneth Thompson-Briggs, 2020 [excerpt]
A Collect for Ascension Day
Almighty God, whose only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven:
May our hearts and minds also there ascend, and with him continually dwell;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen! (BCP p.613)
The last three Sundays before the start of so-called ‘Ordinary Time’ are so special.
Tomorrow is Ascension Day (40 days after Easter, always on a Thursday!) in which we remember that Jesus said, ‘It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.’ (John 16:7) And so He went. ‘He was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.’ (Acts 1:9) And because He ascended, He is now ‘at the right hand of God, [He is] indeed interceding for us.’ (Romans 8:34) And because He Ascended, the Holy Spirit came with power on Pentecost. And because the Holy Spirit is God with us, we can embrace and explore the wonder of the Trinity– that God in three persons is one.
These next few weeks are a rich feast for understanding the unique glories of the Christian faith. As we reflect on the theology of Ascension, Pentecost, and Trinity, we are nudged to worship, for we come close to mysteries that we cannot fully understand, but hold on to, in hope, for our rescue and salvation. I invite you to bring your mind, heart, and body to worship as we glorify God in the magnificence of His triune character over the next three weeks.
Keep us steadfast in [our] faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father;
who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen!
Here’s what you can expect over the next three Sundays:
- May 21: This Sunday, Bishop Chris will lead us in worship. We have over a dozen youth and adults who are confirming their baptism vows and being received into the Anglican Church. We will take a break from our Romans Preaching Series and think about the Ascension and those words Jesus spoke before he left. The Ascension will feature prominently in our Collect of the Day and our Eucharistic Prayers. We give thanks to God that our Savior Jesus is interceding for us as He sits at His right hand. I hope you will stick around for a few minutes on the terrace after worship and greet Bishop Chris and his wife Catherine! They are looking forward to meeting as many of you as they can!
- May 28: Pentecost! Remember the art project you did with the sticks and the paint about 10 days ago? You are going to see it complete, in all its fullness. We will celebrate the sacrament of baptism as a bunch of kids get welcomed into God’s family and our church takes on the responsibility of discipling them in the faith. I will preach from Psalm 104 and the description of what happens “when the Lord sends forth His Spirit.” Come Holy Spirit in power and joy!
- June 4: Trinity Sunday! We will return to our Romans series and we will embrace the good news for which we have been waiting… ‘But now the righteousness of God has been revealed…’ (Romans 3:21) God’s righteousness is accomplished IN us because the Son has redeemed us and the Spirit has filled us. Thanks be to God for the glory of the eternal Trinity! After our morning services, the vestry and I will host a parish meeting. We want to update you on our summer plans, our hiring projects, the clergy development program, and next steps for The Evening Service! I hope you can be with us at 12:45 on June 4 for about 30 minutes.
I’ll admit that these Sundays have not always gotten the media splash of Easter and Christmas. And without taking away from the significance of those days, we know that Ascension, Pentecost, and Trinity allow the promises of incarnation and resurrection to actually become manifest in our day to day lives. These coming Sundays remind us of the truths that make our faith alive and real and transformative. Thanks be to God.