Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Ascension Day 

Ascension Day, which is really tomorrow, is transferred to today at St. Mark's so that we can celebrate it at our Wednesday Night service.

We'll be using material, for the first time, from the Church of England's Common Worship that I've been so excited about. Drawing on both the Common Worship: Eucharistic Texts, and Common Worship: Times and Seasons, the liturgy for this evening is going to be both fresh and familiar. As I've mentioned before, I really like the fact that there are clear roles delineated for both clergy and laity, and that both get a fair amount of "air time," if you will. The services are very responsory, which I hope will prove to be as engaging for others as I think they are. One of the other things I like, from the Times and Seasons resource, is the vast amount of liturgical options to mark, well, the times and the seasons. Included in those options is a way for the presider to introduce the holy day that gives the reason, in a concise fashion, for why we celebrate it. I like this because it does not presume that everyone knows the significance of the holy days and serves as liturgical education in a brief, precise, and non-threatening manner.

For example, the presider's introduction for Ascension Day, which is to preface the reading of the ascension from the Acts of the Apostles, goes like this:

"Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, for forty days we have been celebrating with joyful hearts the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, his bursting from the tomb and his defeat of the power of sin and death. He appeared to his disciples many times and told them about the kingdom of God.

Today we recall how he left this earth and returned to his Father, ascending into heaven to take his throne over all dominions and powers. Trusting in his reign over all creation, and submitting to his kingly yet loving rule, let us hear the story of his parting."

We will also be using Eucharistic Prayer E from Common Worship, (that's right, Prayer E) with the extended preface for Ascension Day. It strikes me as poetic, my favorite line being, "...send your Holy Spirit, that broken bread and wine outpoured may be for us..." This will be the first time at St. Mark's that we use these resources and I hope they will be at least half as well received by the congregation as I've received them, because that means people will like them. Personally, I'm pumped!


P.S. Every Ascension Day since I heard the Rev. Jim Lemler preach on it, I've always remembered his story from his seminary days; wherein he told that once, to celebrate Ascension Day, he and some of his colleagues strapped a statue of Jesus to a powerful bottle rocket. After they lit it, everyone got to watch as he "ascended." He went on to explain that their Dean was not amused.


Yeah, we have already found a church home (Grace in New Lenox), and we're very excited as it seems like a wonderful faith family. Thanks for the offer, though...

Do you ever come back this way to visit Seabury or anything? If so, we'll have to connect...

By Anonymous Adam Jacob, at 7:23 PM  

Adam Jacob-

Actually, I was just thinking that - I will be in Chicago May 31-June 7 for Seabury's Commencement and to visit with old friends, and I suppose for a bit of vacation too. Would love to connect if that's a possibility!


By Blogger Ryan, at 9:08 PM  

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