Ascension, the 40th Day

Easter is a season of 50 days, the Ascension falls on the 40th of those days. The Ascension the Day Jesus left this earth in human form. Luke tells us that the disciples were then left were staring up, in a bit of a dwam, wondering now what?

Gregory of Nyssa in his Oration ‘on the resurrection’, said:

‘This is the day that the Lord has made’ – a day very different from those made when the world was first created and which are measured by the passage of time. This is the beginning of a new creation. On this day, as the prophet says, God makes a new heaven and a new earth. What is this new heaven? you may ask. It is the firmament of our faith in Christ. What is the new earth? A good heart, a heart like the earth, which drinks up the rain that falls on it and yields a rich harvest. In this new creation, purity of life is the sun, the virtues are the stars, transparent goodness is the air, and ‘the depths of the riches of wisdom and knowledge’, the sea. Sound doctrine, the divine teachings are the grass and plants that feed God’s flock, the people whom he shepherds, the keeping of the commandments is the fruit borne by the trees. On this day is created a new humanity, one made in the image and likeness of God. For ‘this day the Lord has made’ is the beginning of this new world. Of this day the prophet says that it is not like any other day, nor is this night like other nights. But still we have not spoken of the greatest gift it has brought us. This day destroyed the pangs of death and brought to birth the firstborn of the dead.

‘I am ascending to my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God,’

declares the risen Christ. O what wonderful good news! He who for our sake became like us in order to make us his brothers and sisters, now presents to his true Father his own humanity in order to draw all his brothers and sisters up after him.

We are part of creation, not above it, or separate from it. The wind and waves, the trees and animals, the sun and moon, all creation praises God as Psalm 148 proclaims. In the Ascension there is completion, new life can be both on earth and in heaven, all is part of the wonder of creation, restored by God through Jesus. The Church makes a lot of Jesus’ birth, a lot of his death, and a lot of his Resurrection, and rightly so. However, without the Ascension the reset button hasn’t been pressed. When Jesus walked this earth in human form the disciples were full of questions, uncertainties, they were dubious and lacked, well faith, faith that they could act and do in Jesus’ name. They were cautious and taking risks wasn’t for them. It would have probably stayed the same, certainly none of the resurrection appearances appear to suggest a new found desire on their part to go out beyond what they knew, to take risks to spread the Good News. Indeed it could be said that even after the Ascension they were slow to do so, the Epistles in the New Testament are full of hesitancy over Gentiles, or being other than a Jew like their ancestors.

Easter declared a new creation, Ascension declares we need to get on and live it. God can and will help us, the Spirit will guide and comfort us, but we are not the instruments of forwarding God’s plan. As Teresa of Avila wrote:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

On the 8th Day

This installation art in the church garden is called On the 8th Day, was inspired by Carol Marples of Soul Mark Trust pieces for COP26 – 7 DAYS, link below. My thanks to Carol for agreeing to my rather cheeky title suggestion.

7 DAYS – Soul Marks Trust

Carols art work tells the story of creation with one panel for each day. Jesus in his resurrection made all creation new, gave new life to all that was, and so On the 8th Day was born.

The grave wrapping now redundant can blow freely in the wind, across 8 of them in gold are the letters to spell ALLELUIA. The work will remain in the garden until 26th of May, if you are in the area please feel free to come into our garden and explore around and through it. Remember the freedom of childhood and running through the sheets drying on the washing line, come feel that freedom again.

Night Prayers for Lent Course

The Lord Almighty grant us a quiet night, and a perfect end.


O God, make speed to save us;

O Lord, make haste to help us.

Psalm 31.1-5

Antiphon:          Make haste, O Lord, to deliver me,

for you are my tower of strength.

  1. In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.

2  Incline your ear to me; make haste to deliver me.

3  Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold; for the sake of your name, lead me and guide me.

4  Take me out of the net that they have secretly set for me, for you are my tower of strength.

5  Into your hands I commend my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth.

Antiphon:          Make haste, O Lord, to deliver me,

                           for you are my tower of strength.



Response (Ps. 31.5)

Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

            Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

For you have redeemed me, Lord God of truth.

            I commend my spirit.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

            Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.


Nunc Dimittis

Antiphon:    Preserve us, O Lord, while waking, and guard us while sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

1    Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace;

your word has been fulfilled.

    My own eyes have seen the salvation

          which you have prepared in the sight of every people;

3     A light to reveal you to the nations,

and the glory of your people Israel.

Antiphon:    Preserve us, O Lord, while waking, and guard us while sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

Lord, have mercy on us,

Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

A time of silent prayer

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven. 

Give us today our daily bread. 

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us. 

Do not bring us to the time of trial

but deliver us from evil. 


Lighten our darkness, Lord, we pray; and in your mercy

defend us from all perils and dangers of this night;

for the love of your only Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.



We will lie down in peace, and take our rest;

For you alone, Lord, make us dwell in safety.

Into your hands, O Lord, I commit my spirit;

You will redeem me, O Lord God of truth.

Keep us tonight, Lord, from all sin;

Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Lord, hear our prayer;

And let our cry come to you.

Bless the Lord, the God of our fathers;

Sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

Bless the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;

Sing God’s praise and exalt God forever.

The almighty and most merciful Lord guard us and give us his blessing.