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Content about Ascension Day

March 1, 2010

Christ’s ascension is a pretty big deal. Saint Luke includes detailed accounts of Jesus’ instruction, blessing, and supernatural departure in both the ending of his “first book” (Luke 24:44-53) and the beginning of his “second book” (Acts 1:1-11). And those in the Reformed tradition stress the importance of Christ’s ascension as a witness and guarantee of our own resurrection as well as a call to evangelism, justice, and compassion (see, for example, Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 46-52).

March 1, 2009

Just in time for the holidays, here’s an easy one for all you sewers and weavers and other overworked “banner people.” These simple but dramatic visuals are made of lowly colored butcher paper hung from ceiling to floor. We used plain old white glue to add store-bought die-cut letters. Drama on a (time and money) budget!

March 1, 2009

Reader 1: Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. (Isa. 46:9)

Reader 2: I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. (Isa. 46:10a)

Reader 1: We remember Christmas—the former time when Jesus, the Son of God, was born in human flesh, emptied of his glory.

March 1, 2007

Our God goes up with shouts of joy!
Our Lord ascends to the sound of trumpets!
All: Sing praises to our God, sing praises!
Sing praises, sing praises to our King!
The Almighty rides in triumph.
The Almighty leads captivity captive.
Who shouts for joy?

March 1, 2007

In a phone conversation with my sister, I mentioned that I had led a session at a conference called “With a Shout! What Difference Does the Ascension Make for Everyday Life?” There was a long pause on the other end of the line, followed by a bewildered “Why would you spend a whole day talking about the ascension?”

March 1, 2007

Sing! A New Creation includes a delightful little sung meditation by John Bell of the Iona Community that has as its opening line, “Take, O take me as I am; summon out what I shall be” (SNC 215).

March 1, 2007

Union with Christ is the basis for our relationship with the triune God. By it we may join Jesus in joyful communion with the Father in the loving bond of the Holy Spirit so the deepest longings of our souls are satisfied. The meaning of our lives unfolds in loving and serving the God with whom we are united. This, in turn, leads to communion in love with others and meaningful service to the world.

March 1, 2007

Have you ever stumbled across a phrase in your reading that was so packed with truth you were compelled to stop and reflect? Like a delectable dessert that needs to be lingered over, or a favorite book or movie you return to again and again, you roll the phrase over and over in your mind.

March 4, 2004

For all of its significance in the church year, creating a visual for Ascension Day is a tough assignment. Christ’s work on earth was done and he returned to heaven to take his rightful place. The tricky part in representing this idea is the mix of tangible and intangible. We can imagine what it might be like to be among the disciples, but what about the part about Christ being taken into heaven and, as Mark writes, sitting at the right hand of God? Both ideas are critical to our understanding of what Christ did for us.

March 4, 2004

This festival of song based on Romans 8 was the concluding service of the Calvin Symposium on Worship and the Arts, January 2003. It would be especially appropriate for use anytime between Ascension and Pentecost, or as background material for any service based on a portion of Romans 8. The entire chapter of Romans 8 was proclaimed from memory by different people who had been coached by Dennis Dewey (see RW 65). For this service, we celebrated in song the gifts from the body of Christ from many times and places, united by the power of the Spirit.


March 3, 2003

Our Ascension and Pentecost worship can sometimes use a healthy dose of spring tonic. A robust swig of solid Reformed doctrine will help to kick us out of our lazy, monochromatic approaches to these traditional festivals. Granted, a spoonful or two of Heidelberg or Westminster may be hard to swallow. But they will revitalize our worship planning by steering us to some rich biblical perspectives that we so easily ignore.

December 1, 2001

Eastertide offers the church a wonderful opportunity to explore what Laurence Stookey calls the “explosive force of the resurrection of the Lord,” a feat that is “too vast to be contained within a celebration of one day.” Eastertide can also give churches the chance to experience weekly communion for a short period of seven celebrative weeks. And it can reclaim for the contemporary church the historical season known as The Great Fifty Days—the days from Easter to Pentecost. (For reasons of space, we have not included the service for Pentecost Sunday.)

March 1, 2001

For this service I simply took the teachings of the Heidelberg Catechism on the ascension of Christ and coordinated them with Scripture readings and songs (see Lord’s Days 18 and 19, pp. 879-881 in the worship edition of the Psalter Hymnal.) Members of the congregation read the Scripture passages. The worship leader introduced each Scripture reading and song with a heading, which was also printed in the bulletin. We placed the sermon early in the service; but you could insert a sermon at any point in the service where it matches a particular theme.

March 1, 2001

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Date: 3/14/00 9:46PM
Subject: Ascension Day

December 1, 2000

A few weeks ago, a product-engineer friend of mine and I were talking about church banners. He designs office furniture, so he is aware of the multitude of materials that are available to designers. Why, he wondered, do we often restrict our worship visuals to felt hangings, which we iron as perfectly flat as we possibly can? Why is this medium so universally accepted and why is, say, a wooden or metal sculpture less so?

December 1, 2000

How do we balance our joyful celebration of Christ’s resurrection with the enduring reality of our fallen world? That’s the question we will focus on in these services for Eastertide, the seven weeks from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. The answer lies in the gospel we proclaim—a gospel of transformation. God takes what is and changes it to conform to his will. While this leads us to repent of former ways in the hope of future ones, it does not allow us to deny the former ways.

March 1, 1999

In preparing this service, I chose passages that could be read dramatically and directly from the book of Revelation, a rich resource for reflections on the ascension and reign of Jesus Christ. These readings are taken from the first, fourth, and fifth chapters.

March 1, 1998

We have begun annual ecumenical Ascension Day services in the city of Georgetown, Ontario. So often Ascension Day is either ignored or moved to the following Sunday because it is so difficult to get people to come out for a midweek service. We have found that making it into an ecumenical service has revitalized our Ascension Day service. The Roman Catholics were amazed by the singing. The Christian Reformed people were impressed by the Roman Catholic choir and church building! All together approximately 325 attended.

March 1, 1997

Strange! We blow out all the stops celebrating Christmas—even though the Bible is mum on the time of year that Jesus began the humbling business of becoming our servant. And every year we fling open our church doors on Good Friday to celebrate how Jesus went through hell for us on the cross. But when Ascension Day, the crowning event of Jesus' ministry, comes around, Reformed worshipers increasingly keep the large oak doors firmly bolted.

March 1, 1995

Romy Geerlings put his feet up on the hassock and picked up the remote before he said a word about what Rosalee had just told him, quite casually, a moment before. He took an audible breath, meant itself as a reply, and then asked simply, no spin at all, "Church tonight?"

"Ascension Day," she said, her back to him, piling the newspapers and magazines on the shelf beside the TV. It was unlike her to say it that way, as if it were a mandate.

March 1, 1995

These four services celebrating God's creation have been designed to fit into the liturgical calendar on the Sundays between Ascension Day and the first Sunday in Ordinary Time. The services would be equally appropriate as a freestanding series on creation sometime during the summer months.

March 1, 1993

The legend began on a Good Friday in Bermuda, sometime before the turn of the century. A Sunday school teacher was having a difficult time explaining Christ's ascension to his students, but he finally had an idea. He took his class to the beach, where he launched a large kite on which he had painted a likeness of Christ. When the kite reached its maximum height, he snipped the string, allowing the kite to ascend even further and become lost in the clouds.

March 1, 1990

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.