An Ascension Day Office – Livestreaming at 12 Noon, May 21st

Ascension 2020

Ascension Day is a neglected Holy Day in the modern Church.  Since it always occurs  on the Thursday following the Fifth Day after Easter (Rogation Sunday), it is rarely read in a formal service.   I celebrated it every year in my former parish and I thought that, given the continued lockdown in many parts of the country and the world, A.D. 2020 would be a good time to revive the office.  The text was prepared based upon services in the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, combined with the Collect, For the Epistle and Gospel, Lord’s Prayer, Gloria in excelsis and Closing Blessing from the Holy Communion liturgy in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, plus two canticles based on Scripture.    The complete text, including the appropriate Hymnal page for the Venerable Bede’s Ascension Day hymn, A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing, is available in the AIC Bookstore Publication, Occasional Services for Anglican Worship, which also includes service for other neglected or rarely celebrated days or seasons.  It is available by order from commercial bookstores and through the Virtual Bookstore link at the bottom of the Home page of this site.

An Ascension Day Office
May 21st, A.D. 2020

Please respond or say with the Minister all the words in Bold
The people always say the Amen.

[Adapted from Tenth Conference of St. John Cassian, 5th C.]
O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Thy throne has been established from of old;
Thou art from everlasting. Alleluia.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

BLESSED art thou, O Lord of heaven and earth, to thee be honour, glory and praise for ever.  From the darkness of death thou hast raised thy Christ from the dead to the right hand of thy majesty on high. The pioneer of our faith, his passion accomplished, has opened for us the way to heaven and sends upon us thy promised Spirit.  May we be ready to follow the Way and so be brought to the glory of his presence where songs of triumph for ever sound.

Blessed be God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever and ever.

THAT the remainder of this day may be holy, good and peaceful, let us pray with one heart and mind.     

O GOD our heavenly Father, as our Ascension day prayers rise before thee, may thy mercy be upon us; cleanse our hearts and set us free to sing thy praise, now and for ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The Psalm Page 219
Cantate Domino.

The Psalm appointed for this day is Psalm 96.
Please read responsively the words in bold type.

O SING unto the Lord a new song; * sing unto the Lord, all the whole earth.
2. Sing unto the Lord, and praise his Name; * be telling of his salvation from day to day.
3. Declare his honour unto the heathen, * and his wonders unto all people.
4. For the Lord is great, and cannot worthily be praised; * he is more to be feared than all gods.
5. As for all the gods of the heathen, they are but idols; * but it is the Lord that made the heavens.
6. Glory and worship are before him; * power and honour are in his sanctuary.
7. Ascribe unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, * ascribe unto the Lord worship and power.
8. Ascribe unto the Lord the honour due unto his Name; * bring presents, and come into his courts.
9. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; * let the whole earth stand in awe of him.
10. Tell it out among the heathen, that the Lord is King, and that it is he who hath made the round world so fast that it cannot be moved; * and how that he shall judge the peoples righteously.
11. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; * let the sea make a noise, and all that therein is.
12. Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it; * then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord.
13. For he cometh, for the cometh to judge the earth; * and with righteousness to judge the world, and the peoples with his truth.

The Gloria Patri

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

The First Ascension Day Canticle
 [Based on 1 Timothy 3:16]
Christ Jesus was revealed in the flesh and vindicated in the spirit.
Christ was believed in throughout the world and taken up in glory.
He was seen by angels and proclaimed among the nations.
Christ was believed in throughout the world and taken up in glory.
Believed in throughout the world, he was taken up in glory.
Christ was believed in throughout the world and taken up in glory.
This will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign,
Christ was believed in throughout the world and taken up in glory.
Who alone has immortality, and dwells in unapproachable light.

All saying together:  

To the King of kings and Lord of lords be honour and eternal dominion. Amen.

The Collect for Ascension Day Page 177

GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that like as we do believe thy only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens; so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

For the Epistle Page 177 

The For the Epistle  reading is from the 1st Chapter of
The Acts of the Apostles, beginning at the 1st verse:

THE former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom be had chosen: to whom also he shewed him self alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Here endeth the Epistle.

The Second Ascension Day Canticle
[Based on Psalm 145:1-4, 10-11, 21]

I WILL magnify thee, O God, my King; * and I will praise thy Name for ever and ever.
2. Every day will I give thanks unto thee; * and praise thy Name for ever and ever.
3. Great is the Lord, and marvellous worthy to be praised; * there is no end of his greatness.
4. One generation shall praise thy works unto another; * and declare thy power.
10. All thy works praise thee, O Lord; * and thy saints give thanks unto thee.
11. They show the glory of thy kingdom, * and talk of thy power.
21. My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: * and let all flesh give thanks unto his holy Name for ever and ever.

The Gloria Patri

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

The Gospel Page 178

The Holy Gospel is written in the 24th Chapter
of the Gospel of St. Luke, beginning at the 49th Verse.

Glory be to thee, O Lord.

JESUS said, Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. 

Praise be to thee, O Christ.

The Lord’s Prayer Page 82 

And now as our Saviour Christ hath taught us, we are bold to say,

OUR Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Gloria in excelsis Page 84

GLORY be to God on high, and on earth peace, good will towards men.  We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory, O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.

O Lord, the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ; O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us.

For thou only art holy; thou only art the Lord; thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father.  Amen.

The Extinguishing of the Candles

Closing Music

A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing

The Venerable Bede’s Ascension Day hymn, arranged to the German tune Lasst uns erfreuen, played on the Church organ in England by Richard Irwin, used with permission.

Richard’s music is available for download at

The original version has seven verses, with a double Alleluia after the first stanza and 5-fold Alleluia after the final stanza.

Here is the lyric for the first verse:

A hymn of glory let us sing
New songs tho’out the world shall ring
Alleluia! Alleluia

Christ by a road before untrod,
Ascendeth to the throne of God.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Closing Prayer and Responses 

O Christ our God, who hast opened the kingdom of heaven,
bring us to reign with thee in glory.  


Let us bless the Lord.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!  

The Blessing Page 84 

THE Peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his son Jesus Christ our Lord:  And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you and remain with you always.  Amen.

Go in peace and serve the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Thank you for joining us for this celebration of Ascension Day.  Please join us on Sunday, May 24th, for another livestreaming of a service of Holy Communion for Sunday after Ascension.

Published by

Anglican Internet Church

Fr. Shibley is a retired Anglican clergyman who produces unique videos, podcasts and books explaining traditional Christian theology from an Anglican perspective. All materials are in layman's language with a minimum of technical or theological terms. All are available either free or at reasonable cost. The AIC Bookstore now includes 17 publications.

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