Thursday, May 14, 2015

Where will you be today or tonight?

The Ascension of our Lord is part of our confession and creed and yet, liturgically, it has largely dropped from the radar and piety of the church.  There are more people in church on Thanksgiving or an average Wednesday in Advent and Lent.  This is a scandal to the full meaning of the Easter season and our confession of Christ.  We cannot afford to let the Ascension of our Lord slip into obscurity.

What can we do?

  1. Lay people can insist upon the restoration of this holy day where it has been dropped from the local liturgical calendar.
  2. Pastors can re-introduce this feast into the liturgical life of the parish whether or not many folks will actually attend  (try scheduling a baptism or confirmation for this evening to draw attention to it).
  3. Congregations that do not believe they can do this alone can band together for a circuit wide observance of the Ascension.
  4. The Church can begin teaching the importance of the Ascension both as feast and as fact -- for the sake of our witness and our catechesis.
  5. If the congregation and pastor will not schedule the service, the faithful can at least ask and expect the church to be open for prayer and this to be announced.  Perhaps the faithful can shame us into pious practice.
For my part, we will have two Ascension services -- one spoken liturgy with hymn at 11 am and one full sung liturgy with choir at 7 pm.  The Eucharist will be at both.  So I have laid down the gauntlet.  Now let us begin the work of restoring the Ascension of our Lord to the liturgical calendar of the parish and the piety of the people.  Let it begin!


Anonymous said...

So what good reason or rationale do pastors have for not having Ascension Day service? Pastors need to get off their duffs and get to work by offering the means of grace on this day. Great suggestions on how to implement it. A blessed Ascension Day.

Anonymous said...

We have Ascension Divine Service with Holy Communion tonight. We observe this holy day each year.
Rev. Erickson, Pampa, TX

JL said...

We have Ascension Day worship tonight, preceded by a spaghetti supper. Our pastor "resurrected" this feast day about 4 years ago and it's been very well attended since. I'm excited to play handbells in tonight's service!

John said...

Harrumph! Harrumph!
I belong to a Confessional Congregation with a Confessional Shepherd.
The congregation, in its heyday, had a communicant membership in excess of 1500, and a weekly attendance of over 1,000.
Today, we have a Sunday attendance of less than 100.
We didn't have an Ascension service this evening. Our Pastor, however used our Wednesday Bible Class to teach the glorious doctrine of Ascension. This coming Sunday, the theme will be The Ascension, rather than Easter 7.
There is no happy clappy at our congregation. One will hear only a sermon on Christ and Him Crucified at our church.
It is wonderful that congregations are able to have Ascension services on the day of Ascension. While we aren't able to do so, our congregation is no less served than those that are able to have such services.
Shepherds, just be concerned about the flock to which you have been called to serve. Our congregation is properly served by our shepherd.

Anonymous said...

I like how the Netherlands celebrate Hemelvaart Day on Ascension Day. Lots of fun festivities. Probably not much sitting through church services though.