Prayer for Ascension Sunday (and Mother’s Day): Trust Jesus Rather Than Tradition (Mark 7:1-13)

Liturgist:    Teach me, O Lord, the way of your law; and I will keep it to the end.
All:               Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.   (Psalm 119:33-34)

Father, we give thanks today for mothers, both our biological mothers and our spiritual mothers in the faith, for the special ways they reveal to us your glory and goodness. Thank you for all the ways they have shown us Christ-like love, selfless sacrifice, protection and comfort and wisdom. Father, please help us honor your law that teaches us to honor our mothers and cherish all the ways they have taught us and loved us well. We pray for those who struggle with hurt and disappointment on Mother’s Day: for those who have longed to be mothers but have not been able to enjoy that blessing, for those with a difficult relationship with their mother, and for those harmed by abortion. Enable them to lament and bring that pain to you to find their identity in you as your beloved daughter, to find the freedom of your forgiveness, and to know comfort and encouragement that only you can give.

Liturgist: Teach me, O Lord, the way of your law; and I will keep it to the end. . .

Our risen King, you ascended into heaven to reign at the right hand of the Father, so help us to submit every thought we think and every tradition we practice to the authority of your word. Please set us free from sinful traditions and habits that we do not even see because we are comfortable with them, traditions and habits in our work, in our spending, in our friendships, in our entertainment, and in our ways of “doing church.”

Liturgist: Teach me, O Lord, the way of your law; and I will keep it to the end. . .

Please open our eyes and our heart to see and to savor the riches of your law. Your word is bread from heaven that nourishes us with communion with you, so fill us with hunger and thirst to take it in and savor it, to study it, to memorize it and meditate upon it. We pray that we would have your word on our hearts and lips when we rise and when we go to bed, when we work and when we play. May we sing it daily so that your word may dwell in us richly. Your word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, so please help us to see clearly by it, to walk through life boldly in its light and to flee from every path that leads us away from you and your mission.

Liturgist: Teach me, O Lord, the way of your law; and I will keep it to the end. . .

Our risen King, you ascended into heaven to reign and to give us power by your Spirit for serving you. Please help us tell and show our neighbors with excitement that trusting you and submitting to the rule of your law and your authority is not irrational bondage but rather the way of truth and wisdom and love that truly sets us free. We pray especially for leaders in our city & our state, our nation & our world who will honor your authority over all others, respect and protect the dignity of human life, promote equality and justice, and lead as humble servants for the common good.

Liturgist: Teach me, O Lord, the way of your law; and I will keep it to the end. . .

Our risen King, you ascended into heaven to reign, so we ask you to complete the salvation that began in your resurrection. We long for the day when your glory will fill the whole earth as the waters cover the sea and there will no more crying, or pain, or death but only mourning turned to dancing and the deepest joy forever. We pray for this in the words that you taught us, saying: Our Father. . .

Celebrating Jesus’ Ascension

May 17 is the day that we will celebrate Jesus’ ascension to heaven as the culmination of the Easter season.  In the worship of many modern Christian churches, Jesus’ ascension to heaven is a neglected and forgotten reality.  However, it has not always been so.  As the annual liturgical calendar developed in the fourth century, churches began to devote a special day to commemorate Jesus’ ascension within the Easter season prior to Pentecost.  Not only the calendar but also the early Christian creeds signified the ascension’s prominent place in early Christian thought and life.  Both the baptismal creed that later developed into the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed formulated in the first two ecumenical councils at Nicea (325 A.D.) and Constantinople (381 A.D.) list Jesus’ ascension among the most fundamental articles of the Christian gospel. Continue reading

See, the Conqueror Mounts in Triumph

During the season of Easter, we will learn this classic hymn about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and his consequent enthronement as king who reigns from heaven over all:

See the Conqueror Mounts in Triumph
Music (melody) | Music (SATB) | Audio (tune only)
Text: Christopher Wordsworth 1862
Tune: Henry Smart 1868

1.  See, the Conqu’ror mounts in triumph.
See the King in royal state,
riding on the clouds, his chariot,
to his heav’nly palace gate.
Hark! the choirs of angel voices
joyful alleluias sing,
and the gates on high are opened
to receive their heav’nly King.

2.  Who is this that comes in glory,
with the trump of jubilee?
Lord of battles, God of armies,
he has gained the victory.
He who on the cross did suffer,
he who from the grave arose,
he has vanquished sin and Satan.
He by death has spoiled his foes.

3.  Now our heav’nly Aaron enters
with his blood within the veil.
Joshua now has come to Canaan,
though the kings against him rail.
Now he plants the tribes of Israel
in their promised resting place.
Now our great Elijah offers
double portion of his grace.

4.  You have raised our human nature
in the clouds to God’s right hand.
There we sit in heav’nly places;
there with you in glory stand.
Jesus reigns, adored by angels,
man with God is on the throne.
Mighty Lord, in your ascension,
we by faith behold our own.

This hymn not only expresses joy at Jesus’ resurrection but also shows its cosmic and historical significance.  Continue reading