It is Ascension Sunday, and I particularly enjoyed the challenge of selecting an image with which to focus and extend my thoughts this week.
Some images imagine Jesus in the act of ascending and looking up into the light of glory ahead. Others imagine the scene from the perspective of the disciples, looking up as Jesus ascends with the canvas showing only the bottoms of his feet. And so many others as well!
In the end I landed on this work from 1483 by Melozzo da Forli. I concede that it is more about the Ascended Jesus than the Ascension of Jesus. But for me this image reinforces not just the last scene of Luke’s Gospel, but the whole point of the incarnation, ministry, death and resurrection of our Lord. Here we see Jesus, risen and ascended, standing on the clouds of eternity but even in glory he continues to look upon the humanity of his love, and his hands are raised eternally in blessing of us all.
The hour this Sunday will include wonderful hymns of heritage, from ‘Fairest Lord Jesus’ to ‘Jesus shall reign’ and ‘Crown him with many crowns’, along with readings of Scripture and prayers for our world. As we continue to explore themes raised by Barbara Brown Taylor in her book ‘An Altar in the World’, the sermon will focus upon the act of blessing, God’s initiative and our calling.
During the service, reference will be made to the ‘Statement on Recent Violence in Gaza’ of the Presbyterian Church in Canada – you can find it at https://presbyterian.ca/2021/05/14/statement-on-recent-violence-in-gaza/
Have a look below at the Order of Worship and announcements for this Sunday. The service will be available online this Sunday from 10:20 a.m. at https://youtu.be/bfEEjAXjeEE and thereafter on the St. Andrew’s Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/StAndrewsPresbyterianChurchKingston