Ascension Day 4
Flower: Zenith by Cody Wood
Amhara Illumination, Ethiopia late 13th century
Christ the Head
♱ Opening Sentence
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
HEBREWS 4:14, 16
♱ Scripture Reading
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said,
“When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.”
(When it says, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
What word or phrase stood out to you as you read this passage? Pause for reflection.
♱ Contemplate with Art:
Look at the art above. what details stand out to you? What draws you in?
What do you notice difference? Where do you notice unity?
What about the Ascension of Christ does this image illuminate for you?
Read the passage again, allowing yourself to enter with your imagination.
How does the ascended body of Christ above build up, unify and mature the Church as the body of Christ on earth below?
Which of the gifts given by Christ resonate most with you? What is your posture of reception to his gifts given to you?
Where do you long for maturity and unity in yourself and in the Church?
Close your eyes and recall the passage and image in your mind. What do you remember? Talk with God about anything you experienced.
Are you resistant to anything? If so talk to God about what you are resisting.
Do you sense God speaking to you or calling you to action? Ask God for the help to follow his voice.
Almighty God and heavenly Father,
in your infinite love and goodness towards us,
you have given to us your only and most dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ,
to be our Redeemer and the Author of eternal life.
After he completed our redemption by his death
and ascended into heaven,
he sent his apostles, prophets,
and pastors abroad into the world.
By their work and ministry
he gathered together a great flock from all parts of the world,
for the eternal praise of your holy name.
For these great benefits of your eternal goodness
we give our most humble thanks.
Grant that we may daily increase
and go forward in knowledge and faith
in you and your Son by the Holy Spirit,
so that your holy name may be forever glorified,
and your blessed kingdom enlarged;
through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
now and forever. Amen.
Adapted from Sarum Rite, eleventh century