Forty days after Easter, Christians celebrate Christ’s bodily ascension into heaven. According to Acts 1, Jesus tells the disciples “to remain in Jerusalem and await the coming of the Holy Spirit;” he is then taken up from the disciples in their sight, a cloud hides him from view, and two men in white appear to tell them that he will return in the same way they have seen him go into heaven.
In contemporary theology, this moment is a kind of “inversion” of the Christmas story. Christmas teaches us that God is with us here on earth. The Ascension teaches us that we are also with God “in heaven.” In other words, if Christmas brings divinity to humanity, the Ascension brings humanity to divinity. And if that is the case, then we are in a very good position indeed to accomplish Christ’s objectives for the world.
There will be two mid-week opportunities in the cathedral for the observance of this principal feast:
Wednesday, May 25 (Eve of the Ascension)
5.00 p.m. Choral Evensong sung by the Young Choristers and Choral Scholars
*This service will close with a launch of our silent auction (UK tour fundraiser)
Responses Martin Neary
Psalm 93 (Turle)
Setting Stanford in C
Anthem Finzi God is gone up
Thursday, May 26 (Ascension of the Lord)
7.30 p.m. Sung Eucharist with the Cathedral Choir and the Choristers of St John the Divine
*This service will also include the baptism of our Director of Music Donald Hunt’s child, Anna.
Prelude Buxtehude Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BuxWV 224
Setting Howells Collegium regale (G, S/B, A)
Psalm 47 (plainsong)
Hymns 247, 374
Preparation of the Gifts Philips Ascendit Deus
Communion Amy Beach Peace I leave with you
Voluntary J.S. Bach Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV 532
Photo: Millenium window in St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh, depicting the Ascension.