Who would venture to describe the heavenly triumph, when Jesus Christ returned victoriously into heaven on Ascension Day? Jesus returning successfully to his Father after accomplishing his dangerous mission to gain an imperishable inheritance and kingdom not only for himself, but also for us his poor siblings according to the flesh. He came home after disarming the opposing powers and authorities making a public spectacle of them. He had taken the power of death away from the devil, had smashed hell’s portals and destroyed its mighty fortress and taken control of its most treasured keep too. He returns home – Lord of blessed salvation – the first of those risen from the dead – he, the king of life, triumphs and is celebrated by God the Father and all angels in heaven. If there is joy over one sinner coming to repentance and returning home to the Father, then just imagine the joy in heaven amongst all the heavenly hosts and elected saints when the Savior of the world, the Messiah and Christ of all, the redeemer of sinners and comforter of the distressed, returned in glory to sit at the right hand of the Father – enthroned with all authority in heaven and on earth! Who will describe the jubilation, the hymns triumphant, the Hallelujahs and Magnifications welcoming back home the beloved and only begotten Son of the Father? Since the morning stars praised our Lord, the creator of all visible and invisible there was not festive celebration like this magnificent Ascension Day of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s the great big holiday of our Lord starting the never-ending festive season in the heavenly realms above – where his praises never cease and neither do his adoration or his worship stop either. Yet these are things, happenings and histories beyond our comprehension, words and illustrations. We can’t even imagine it really yet. It’s way beyond us. However we will get there by the grace of God when his time for us comes. Then he will carry us home too. We’ll die here and live there eternally in blessed Zion, our heavenly home prepared by our loving God and Savior Jesus Christ a long while ago already. Then our resurrected bodies will have their own ascension day following him, whose our head and who has already shown the way and will pull us home finally to be with him for ever. His joy, peace and love will abound and surround and succumb us – that he’ll be all in all.
Lord, our ruler, how glorious is your name in every land and over all seas. We bow down before your majesty and praise you for your great love, that you have shown to us in Jesus Christ. You have given your beloved Son as sacrifice for our sins. You raised him from the dead and have crowned him with praise and glory to be seated at your right hand in the heavens. Everything you have put under his feet and you have raised him as head of the congregation and Church so that he may judge in righteousness and justice. O God prepare yourself praise from the mouths of your children and let us worship your name with joyful songs of gratitude and adoration. Amen. (Agenda of the Prussian Union 1931)
See, the Lord ascends in triumph, Conqu’ring King in royal state Riding on the clouds, His chariot To His heav’nly palace gate; Hark! The choirs of angel voices Joyful alleluias sing, And the portals high are lifted To receive their heav’nly King.
Who is this that comes in glory With the trump of jubilee? Lord of battles, God of armies, He has gained the victory. He who on the cross did suffer, He who from the grave arose, He has vanquished sin and Satan; He by death has spoiled His foes.
While He lifts His hands in blessing He is parted from His friends; While their eager eyes behold Him, He upon the clouds ascends. He who walked with God and pleased Him, Preaching truth and doom to come, He, our Enoch, is translated To His everlasting home.
Now our heav’nly Aaron enters With His blood within the veil; Joshua now is come to Canaan, And the kings before Him quail. Now He plants the tribes of Israel In their promised resting place, Now our great Elijah offers Double portion of His grace.
He has raised our human nature On the clouds to God’s right hand; There we sit in heav’nly places, There with Him in glory stand. Jesus reigns, adored by angels; By our mighty Lord’s ascension We by faith behold our own. (Christopher Wordsworth 1807-1885)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for holiday of Ascension. It is found on Pg. 198 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.