*God’s Words. Our Voice: Singing the Songs of Faith – May 6, 2018

May 05, 2018

“I am not ashamed to confess publicly that next to theology there is no art which is the equal of music…”    Martin Luther, in a letter (1530) to Catholic composer, Ludwig Senfl

Hymns are often the first way we learn to give voice to our faith as children and even those who are not great singers have favorite hymns that they know by heart.  You are invited to reflect on this stanza in the week ahead.  Use it for prayer, meditation, or in daily devotion.  Our prayer and hope is that these hymn stanzas will lift and deepen your faith and encourage your living of that faith in daily works of love and acts of mercy.

A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing!  ELW 393, Stanza 4


“You see him now, ascending high
up to the portals of the sky.”
Alleluia! Alleluia!
“Here-after Jesus you shall see returning in great majesty.”

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

The day of Ascension is celebrated 40 days after Easter, the resurrection of Our Lord.  Filled with shouts of Alleluia, A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing! is (like many of the other Easter hymns selected for this collection) paired with a tune that begs the singer to belt out his or her praises!  Luke 24:50-53 –Then [Jesus] led [the disciples] out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them.  While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.  And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.  The story of the Ascension of our Lord is also recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (1:3-11) where it is told in one sentence: “When [Jesus] had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9).

The Latin hymn is attributed to the Venerable Bede (c. 672-735), an English monk, who is also known as a historian and theologian.  The text of this stanza not only witnesses to the ascension of Jesus, but also anticipates his coming in glory at the end of time.  As the angel said to the disciples, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven?  This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)  On this day we celebrate our Lord returning to heaven with God the Father and await his return to reclaim His creation.

Acknowledgements:  Weekly hymn selections have been adapted from Singing the Songs of Faith: 52 Great Hymn Stanzas created in 2011 by Isobel Davies, Thatcher Lyman, Paul E. Shoop, and Jeremy Shoop.  The selection reflects their views and priorities and is a teaching tool in their settings.  The original resource is available in electronic form at  http://immanuelwebster.org/lutheran/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/52-Great-Hymns_web.pdf