Ascension Day is the 40th day of our Easter journey. It was the day when Jesus ascended to heaven before His disciples’ eyes on the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:1–12). Although it is an event not given as much attention as Christmas or Easter, it is one that is full of theological and biblical truth.
The hymn “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus” depicts the profundity of Ascension Day. It was written in 1866 by William C. Dix for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper at Ascension services.1
Stanza 1 alludes to the song in Revelations 5:9, which summarises the story of redemption. Stanza 2 continues with the crux of Ascension Day—that Jesus ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9), and His promises that He will not abandon us (John 14:18) and will be with us forevermore (Matt 28:20).
Stanza 3 reminds us that Christ is our High Priest, mediator and advocate (1 Tim 2:5). Lastly, stanza 4 references Isaiah 66:1 and Acts 7:49, where the sovereignty of our Lord Jesus Christ is emphasised.
Focusing on stanza 2, the scripture passages on which it is based (Matt 28:20, Luke 24:50–53, Acts 1:1–9, and John 14:14–20) provide a context for grasping the meaning of Jesus’ Ascension.
Jesus’ Ascension highlights His continuing presence with and in us through the Holy Spirit. Jesus declared that the Holy Spirit would come and we would be His witnesses, telling people everywhere about Him.
Enjoying Jesus’ presence with and in us comes with great responsibility, which may vary according to the roles we play in society. However, basic responsibility, such as being mindful of the common good, can be undertaken by all of us. Whatever we do to be a witness of Christ can be done with the understanding and belief that the Holy Spirit enables us to accomplish the task.
“Lord, help us not to dwell too much on the past, holding you to the Galilean hills and the streets of Jerusalem, but to know you more and more as our Lord and Saviour, risen, ascended and always present with us through the power of the Holy Spirit.”2
Alleuia! Sing to Jesus (sung to the tune of https://hymnary.org/hymn/UMH/196)
1 Alleluia! Sing to Jesus;
His the sceptre, His the throne.
Alleluia! His the triumph,
His the victory alone.
Hark! The songs of peaceful Zion
thunder like a mighty flood;
Jesus out of ev’ry nation
has redeemed us by His blood.
2 Alleluia! Not as orphans
are we left in sorrow now.
Alleluia! He is near us;
faith believes, nor questions how.
Though the cloud from sight received Him
when the forty days were o’er,
shall our hearts forget His promise,
“I am with you evermore”?
3 Alleluia! Heavenly High Priest,
here on earth our help, our stay.
Alleluia! Hear the sinful
cry to You from day to day.
Intercessor, Friend of sinners,
earth’s Redeemer, hear our plea
where the songs of all the sinless
sweep across the crystal sea.
4 Alleluia! King eternal,
you the Lord of lords we own:
Alleluia! Born of Mary,
earth your footstool,
heaven your throne:
you within the veil,
have entered, robed in flesh our great High Priest:
by your spirit, lift us heavenward,
in the Eucharistic feast!
Words: William C. Dix, 1866, alt., PD
Music: HYFRYDOL, Rowland Hugh Prichard, 1831, P.D.
2 Reprinted by permission from The Worship Sourcebook, © 2004 CRC publications.
Judith Laoyan-Mosomos is the Director for Worship and Church Music at the Methodist School of Music, and a member of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church.
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