The season of Easter draws to a close with the Ascension and Pentecost—the final days of the earthly ministry of Christ and the birthday of the church. There’s a very real sense in which the work of the resurrection is not complete until the ascension of Christ when he returns to the right hand of the Father in human form and in power and authority. This is the ultimate defeating of death: “The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” Psalm 110:1
The author of Hebrews put it in the following way:
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 10:12)
He also spoke of this aspect of Christ's work when he said,
“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” (Hebrews 1:3-4)
Recognizing the reality and theological significance of the Ascension, either forty days after Easter or as a regular part of worship, guides our congregations in the rich truths of the completed work of Christ and His divine authority as King of kings.
Following are some hymn suggestions that highlight the authority of Christ as unfolded in the Ascension.
Crown Him with Many Crowns (especially verse 7)
Text: Matthew Bridges, 1852; Music: Diademata, George J. Elvey, 1868.
“Crown Him the Lord of heaven Enthroned in worlds above Crown Him the King to Whom is given The wondrous name of Love. Crown Him with many crowns As thrones before Him fall. Crown Him ye king with many crowns, For He is King of all.”
Before the Throne of God Above
Text: Charitie Bancroft, 1863; Music: Vikki Cook, 1997
A wonderful exploration of the role of Christ as mediator.
Rejoice the Lord is King
Text: Charles Wesley, 1746; Music: Darwall, John Darwall, 1770.
“He sits at God’s right hand till all his foes submit.”
Sing to Jesus
Text & Music: Fernando Ortega and Rich Nibbe, 2002.
“Christ who died, risen in paradise, giver of mercy, giver of life. Sing to Jesus, His is the throne. Now and forever, He is the King of Heaven.”
O Christ, Our Hope, Our Hearts Desire
Text: Latin Hymn, 8th Century, Tr. By John Chandler, 1837; Music: Kingsfold, Old English Folk Song
“And Thou art on Thy Father’s throne in glorious robes arrayed.” “All praise to thee ascended Lord, All glory ever be.”
Alleluia! Sing to Jesus (by William C. Dix, the author of “What Child is This?”)
Text: William C. Dix, 1867; Music: Hyfrydol, Rowland Hugh Pritchard, 1855.
There is No Greater Portrait
Text and Music: Eric Schumacher & David L. Ward, 2005.
“But now the Son is risen, ascended to the skies, By angels He is worshiped, by nations glorified.”
Join All the Glorious Names (especially verse 8)
Text: Isaac Watts, 1709; Music: Darwall, John Darwall, 1770.
“Jesus, my great High Priest, Offered His blood, and died; My guilty conscience seeks No sacrifice beside: His powerful blood did once atone, And now it pleads before the throne.”
A Hymn of Glory, Let Us Sing, vs 7
Text: The Venerable Bede, 673-735; Trans Benjamin Webb, 1854; Music: Lasst Uns Erffeuen, Peter von Brachel, 1623
“O risen Christ, ascended Lord, All praise to Thee let earth accord. Alleluia! Alleluia!”