Ascension – a time of expectant waiting. Jesus had told his disciples ahead of time that he would be taken from them so that the promised Comforter would come, yet I often try to imagine what it must have been like for the disciples to see him in bodily form for the last time, ascending from their sight. Two men in white robes appeared and said to them: Men of Galilee, what are you wondering at, looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come back the same way as you have seen him going up to heaven. (Acts 1:11)
The Offertory you are about to hear using this text, from the feast of the Ascension, is one of the most unique chants in the repertoire. This particular Mode 1 tune is used four times during the Church Year – each with appropriate texts: Ascension, Dedication of a Church, St. Michael and all Angels, and finally All Saints. In each rendition, there is a beautiful rising melisma (many notes) on the pivotal word of the text which relates to “ascending” in some way. Listen for the word “ascendentem“. You cannot help but hear the imagery portrayed.