The Ascension is not really the celebration of the Lord Jesus taking his departure but of recognizing that the Word of God, enthroned with God the Father, now incarnate in the Lord Jesus, lives definitively in the midst of every human being. "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven . . . (NRSV, Acts 1:11a)?"
To listen to Patrick Gowers, Viri Galilaei, commissioned for the ordination of Richard Harries as Bishop of Oxford in St. Paul's Cathedral, performed by the Choir of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, John Scott, conductor; Andrew Lucas, organist, click here, then click on "Listen to Program," the hold and slide button to 59:44.
Click to listen Viri Galilaei, performed by the Choir of St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on the eve of the Ascension 2005.
(Both to follow the text and listen to the any of the three versions, click here.)
God is gone up with a triumphant shout:
The Lord with sounding Trumpets' melodies:
Sing Praise, sing Praise, sing Praise, sing Praises out,
Unto our King sing praise seraphic wise!
Lift up your Heads, ye lasting Doors, they sing,
And let the King of Glory enter in.
Methinks I see Heaven's sparkling courtiers fly,
In flakes of Glory down him to attend,
And hear Heart-cramping notes of Melody
Surround his Chariot as it did ascend;
Mixing their Music, making ev'ry string
More to enravish as they this tune sing.
2008 is the centenary of the birth of Olivier Messiaen.
Listen to the later version of L'Ascension for organ (brief programme note) performed by Georg Hagel on the 1999 Rieger organ of the Basilica of Vierzehnheiligen (Fourteen Saints) in Franconia. Click on each underlined selection. Georg Hagel
1.Majesté du Christ demandant sa gloire à son Père 2. Alléluias sereins d'une âme qui désire le ciel 3.Transports de joie d'un âme devant la gloire du Christ qui est la sienne 4.Prière du Christ montant vers son Père.
Click to listen to Naji Hakim perform Messiaen, The Ascension and The Mass of Pentecost on the Cavaillé-Coll organ of l'Église de la Trinité, Paris, the organ of which Messiaen was titular for 66 years. Naji Hakim
To hear Olivier Messiaen, Alléluias sereins d'une âme qui désire le ciel andTransports de joie d'un âme devant la gloire du Christ qui est la sienne from L'Ascension for organ performed by Paul Jacobs on The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, click here, then click on "Part II." For just Transports de joie, click here, then click on "Part II," then hold button and slide to 8:07 (8 minutes and 7 seconds).