Songs and Hymns for Ascension / Ascensiontide (14 May 2023)

Acts 1:1-11 and Luke 24:44-53 
I find it hard to find songs for Ascension day - don't you think the disciples must have felt a bit lost, especially in the Acts narrative?
  • Taizé / CP194 / URW392 Stay with us / Bleib mit deiner Gnade / Night will soon fall (Jacques Berthier) Another good one from Taize. We sang this a while back at BUC, it would be good to do it again. Sheet music, lyrics, and sound samples.
  • Online Resource O Christ when you ascended (Carolyn Winfrey-Gillette) Excellent down-to-earth words to a sort of familiar hymn tune (LANCASHIRE). Lyrics. I would probably sing it to ELLACOMBE. New words to old tunes.
  • TiS 185 Alleluia We praise you God Creator Lord (John Charles McIntyre) A chanted Alleluia based on Pachelbel's canon, coupled with some nice affirmations of faith from a 2nd part of the congregation, or cantor. This is quite lovely.
  • Online Resource O Holy Spirit power of the weak (David Bjorlin / Lim Swee Hong) A beautiful, meditative four part song. It would be great to teach the parts to your congregation, and would work well whether you sing only one verse, or all four verses. If four parts is too challenging, you could also get your congregation to sing only the melody line in two parts in canon (i.e. a round, but ending at the same time); or in unison would also work, but would be less fun. Lyrics, sheet music sample and purchasing optionsNew words to old tunes.   
  • Taizé  / TiS 730 / AoV1-152 / ATOK 387 / CH775 / UMH488 / WoV740 / ELW616 / GA308 / A&M838 / HPP214 / GtG227 / PH599 / G(II)293 / GC404 / GC(II)422 / G(3)510 / Cha569 / Srce387 / URW382 / Lau253 / StF777 Jesus remember me (Jacques Berthier) A beautiful chant, but we have not sung it often. Sheet music, lyrics, and sound samples.  
  • Online Resource An open hand a willing heart (Adam Tice) Excellent thoughtful words about our call, together as a church, to follow. There are three possible tunes. I like this one by Sally Ann Morris best. Sheet music, lyrics and purchasing options (GIA has multiple versions of this song).
  • VU359 / AA059 / W&R454 / STB205 / Online Resource He came singing love (Colin Gibson) A lovely image and reasonably straightforward song. Might need to be taught. Sheet music and lyrics.
  • TiS 541 / CH674 / WoV722 / ELW535 / GtG538 / G(II)394 / GC562 / GC(II)529 / G(3)626 / CP082 / SP&P190 / W&R709 / ZSS198 / URW400 Hallelujah we sing your praises / Haleluyah! Pelo Tsa Rona (South African) Joyous and simple song. Sound sample. Sheet music sample. Good for kids.
  • NCH70 / UMH660 / VU389 / WoV719 / ELW526 / A&M445 / HPP486 / GtG409 / PH461 / GC741 / GC(II)737 / G(3)843 / CP(E) 301 / W&R1 / Cha280 / STB049 / StF025 God is here as we your people (Fred Pratt Green). Great lyrics, but not inclusive in all sources and set to a range of tunes. I like it sung to the familiar tune ABBOT'S LEIGH. Lyrics, sound sample and sheet music sample.New words to old tunes.
  • NCH271 / UMH538 / VU196 / PH131 / CP249 / W&R333 Wind who makes all winds that blow(Thomas Troeger) Excellent words. Familiar tune (ABERYSTWYTH). Lyrics and sheet music sample.
  • TiS 387 / CH416 / UMH318 / VU158 / LBW363 / ELW389 / A&M199 / GtG246 / PH108 / CP(E) 140 / W&R312 / 82Hml-182 / Lau272 / StF297 Christ is alive Let Christians sing (Brian Wren) Excellent words of Christ's saving, and still relevant grace. A couple of tunes are offered in different hymn books. I prefer TRURO. Lyrics and sheet music New words to old tunes.
  • TiS 419 / NCH270 / CH592 / A&M252 / UMH544 / VU205 / WoV685 / ELW403 / HPP222 / GtG285 / PH314 / CP635 / CP(E) 185 / W&R327 / SP92 / 82Hml-513 / StF389Like the murmur of the dove's song (Carl P Daw) Excellent words and a simple tune about Christian unity. Each verse ends with "Come holy spirit, come". Lyrics and sheet music.  
  • NCH259 / LBW157 / ELW393 / PH141 / GtG258 /  GC454 / GC(II)467 / G(3)545 / W&R322 / 82Hml-217 A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing (The Venerable Bede) Not all hymnals are inclusive or accessible. For example, they probably don't have the word "thitherward". Thank goodness. It's quite formal, sung to a good hymn tune and with lots of Alleluias. It's good to sing hymns written before the year 1000 sometimes, don't you think? Lyrics. Oldy-but-a-goody.
  • TiS 398 / AHB 310 / AoV1-118 / NCH289 / CH489 / UMH475 / VU367 / GA375 / A&M238 / LBW508 / ELW804 / GtG282 / PH313 / GC465 / GC(II)471 / G(3)556 / RS617 / CP645 / CP(E) 175 / W&R330 / Cha582 / Srce100 / Lau303 / StF372 / MP089 Come down O Love divine (William Williams) Old fashioned, but still inclusive and very well known. Words and tune. Hymnals vary a lot in the lyrics with respect to thees and thys and words like "vesture". Oldy-but-a-goody
  • NCH462 / UMH109 / VU265 / WoV757 / ELW684 / PH134 / GC580 / RS711 / CP410 / W&R32 / Cha335Creating God Your Fingers Trace (Jeffery Rowthorn) A good Trinitarian hymn about Creating, Sustaining and Redeeming God. There are many possible tunes. I like the Presence tune better. Lyrics
  • TiS 414 / CH616 / UMH192 / VU582 / HPP134 / PH433 / GC550 / CP(E) 198 / Cha257 / StF398 There's a Spirit in the Air (Brian Wren) A good song of getting the business of following Christ done. Speaking out, caring for others, being changed. Good, joyful tune too. Lyrics and sheet music.  
  • WoV743 / SFFS 2199 / SP&P093 / URW115 Stay with Us (Herbert Brokering) Simple song of comfort. This is a slightly mournful song, that could pick up on the loss that the disciples may have felt when Jesus ascended. I like the tune STAY WITH US best (WoV, URW, SP&P). Lyrics and sound sample (Youtube).
  • TiS 755 / ATA 196 / CH804 / VU884 / SFFS 2278 / A&M484 / HPP219 / GTG080 / CP662 / W&R710 / SP82 / Srcs830 / URW449 / Lau878 / STF487 / MP796  You shall go out with joy / The trees of the field (Stuart Dauerman) This is a good hand clappy foot stomping song. Fun. Lyrics & sound sample. Good for kids. 
  • TiS 749 / AoV1-154 / AoVK-131 / ATE 305 / NCH360 / Iona (SBL, Freedom is coming) / CH800 / UMH497 / VU572 / WoV773 / ELW809 / GA493 / A&M481 / HPP340 / GtG746 / G(II)484 / GC677 / GC(II)674 / G(3)776 / W&R713 / Cha447 / SP234 / StF782 Send me Jesus / Thuma mina (South African) You all know this one, right? If you don't - it's great - simple, repetitive, and meaningful. Thanks Alison, for the suggestion! Good for kids. Sheet music sample and lyrics. Youtube.
  • With many voices All peoples clap your hands (Pascal Jordan) A fun Caribbean song, which will need to be led by a cantor, with the congregation either slapping their legs, clapping their hands or singing the Alleluias. It's not easy, but it's very cool. Sound sample. How to teach it, and a history lessonBook available here.
  • CP510 You have passed by (Huub Oosterhuis) Remarkable poetry, set to a medieval pavanne tune, which will need to taught. I think if you sing this, you might want to give your congregation members a copy of the lyrics to ponder. Thanks to Pam for this suggestion. Lyrics and sound sample.
What other songs would you sing about the Ascension? Join the conversation and add a comment below...


Alison Sampson said...

What about Thuma Mina? Picks up the filling and sending themes in the text, and also great for kids. A really useful site - thanks! - always visit when I'm stuck.

Pam said...

CP 248 "And Have the Bright Immensities" offers a poetic interpretation of what ascending up into heaven might mean in a contemporary cosmology where we measure interstellar distances in light years. It's in Double Common Metre, so any number of tunes will fit. I have set it to A PURPLE ROBE, CP 152 or available at

CP 510 "You Have Passed By" reflects exactly that sense that the disciples may have felt, and that we, too, may feel in the face of the Ascension, a nice contrast from the usual triumphal
exaltation. It's a beautiful lyric by Huub Oosterhuis set to a medieval pavanne.