Today is Ascension Day, forty days after Easter Sunday, ten days before Pentecost. It is the day referred to in William Blake's two poems titled "Holy Thursday". In his day it was a major festival. The day continues to be a public holiday in some countries. On Sunday we will replace the readings for the seventh Sunday of Easter with the readings for the Ascension of the Lord as we try to recover our communal memory of the Ascension and its place in the gospel story that narrates our life.
There are not many hymns for Ascension Day in The United Church of Canada hymn book. I suspect it is because we do not pay much attention to this event. But there is a prayer for Ascension Day. This is it:
by your power you raised Jesus Christ to rule over us.
We praise you that he puts down tyrannies
that threaten to destroy us,
and unmasks power that claim our allegiance.
We thank you that he alone commands our lives,
and gives us freedom to love the world.
Glory to you for the gift of his life!
Glory to you for his saving death!
Glory to you for Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns as our risen Lord. Amen.