There are two alternative Prefaces provided for use in the Eucharistic Prayer from the feast of the Ascension until Pentecost.
The first, given below, gives a bold assurance of a purpose of the Ascension. It is not about separation from us, though there is something of that, or at least a certain space opened between disciples and Master, into which, by grace, they are able to grow and mature. It is about giving the confidence that, where he has gone, we shall follow.
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
For the Lord Jesus, the King of glory,
conqueror of sin and death,
ascended (today) to the highest heavens,
as the Angels gazed in wonder.
Mediator between God and man,
judge of the world and Lord of hosts,
he ascended, not to distance himself from our lowly state
but that we, his members, might be confident of following
where he, our Head and Founder, has gone before.
Therefore, overcome with paschal joy,
every land, every people exults in your praise
and even the heavenly Powers, with the angelic hosts,
sing together the unending hymn of your glory,
as they acclaim:
Holy, holy, holy…
Preface: Ascension I
The Ascension is not only about the return to heaven of him who came down from heaven. For in his coming to us, the second Person of the Trinity took to himself our human nature, not as temporary disguise or a skin to make himself ‘visible’. In Jesus God united, irrevocably, with a human person, and in uniting with one person, assumed humanity. God enters into a new and profound communion with all human kind: through Jesus, he is our kin.
The Incarnation is a unique event: from the moment of his conception in the womb of Mary, Jesus alone is fully God and fully Man.
As Jesus, God lived one with us on earth.
As Jesus, humanity lives with God in heaven.
Incarnation, and indeed the sacraments – further gift of God – bridge the separation between heaven and earth.
We are not there yet, but the way is opened for us, and we are enjoined, encouraged, to be ready to join our elder brother.
The Ascension. Burne Jones, St Philip’s Cathedral, Birmingham. (c) 2013, Allen Morris