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A Hymn and a Prayer for Ascension Day

UP THROUGH ENDLESS RANKS OF ANGELS

Up through endless ranks of angels,
cries of triumph in his ears,
to his heavenly throne ascending,
having vanquished all their fears,
Christ looks down upon his faithful,
leaving them in happy tears.

Death-destroying, life-restoring,
proven equal to our need,
now for us before the Father
as our brother intercede:
flesh that for our world was wounded,
living, for the wounded plead.

To our lives of wanton wandering
send your promised Spirit-Guide,
through our lives of fear and failure
with your power and love abide:
welcome us, as you were welcomed,
to an endless Eastertide.

Alleluia, alleluia,
oh, to breathe the Spirit's grace!
Alleluia, alleluia,
oh, to see the Father's face!
Alleluia, alleluia,
oh, to feel the Son's embrace!

Text: Jaroslav J. Jajda, 1973. (c) 1974, Augusburg Publishing House. Used by permission
The hymn may sung or read as poetry. The tune ASCENDED TRIUMPH, composed by Henry Gerike for this text, it can be found in the Lutheran Book of Worship.
Alternative tune suggestions: LAUDA ANIMA, PICARDY, UPP, MIN TUNGA, WESTMINSTER ABBEY.
Subscribers to RW may reproduce this text for church or school use.

 

AN ASCENSION DAY PRAYER

by Robert Westveer

Ascended Lord, we praise you. In your death you "utterly wiped out the damning evidence of broken laws and commandments which always hung over our heads. You completely annulled it by nailing it over your head on the cross." In your resurrection you gave us new life, free life, full of new possibilities. In your ascension you paraded sin and death behind you in your triumphal procession (Col. 2).

You are our guarantee of victory. You are our guarantee because you went through everything we struggle with and came through the other side. What you did, you promised to help us do. You will always be with us—not merely with sympathy but also with power. You are our guarantee because it is our nature, as well as the Godhead, that sits on the throne. It is truly "one of us" who governs now as Ruler of time and space. This, too, gives us confidence and courage for the future. You are our guarantee because, in going away, you released the Spirit on us. You are not distant from us but closer to us than ever before. The current of the Spirit works over and through us endlessly. It seeps and trickles into all the depths of heart and mind and will so that truly we are "like trees planted by water. We bear fruit in season, our leaves do not wither, and all that we do turns out well" (Ps. 1).

We bring our hopes, our needs, our desires to you. We are confident of access because you are "one of us." We are confident of answers because you are the Ruler of the universe. Yours is the name above every other name, the name before which every knee bows and every tongue confesses, "You are Lord," to the glory of God (Phil. 2).

Hear our prayers and accept our praises. May they rise like sweet-smelling incense before you from lives that are like altars set ablaze by the fire of the Spirit. Amen.