On January 1, I announced a new blog series here at Joy Woven Deep. If you haven’t seen that post yet, I encourage you to check it out, then come on back and join in the journey.
Ascension of the Lord
(also called “Feast of the Ascension”)
What’s this holy day all about?
Ascension of the Lord is the observance of the fortieth day after the Resurrection (celebrated on Easter), when Jesus ascended into Heaven. The ascension is recorded in Acts 1:1-11.
What’s the history of this observance?
“Though the New Testament writers don’t devote a lot of words to explaining the details and significance of Jesus’ ascent, the Ascension would become an essential part of Christian doctrine. Both the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds include a statement about the Ascension. The church was celebrating the Feast of the Ascension as early as the fifth century, if not earlier” (citation).
What’s it to me?
The Ascension represents a great deal to the Christian, teaching us more about the person and power of Jesus. Jesus does not merely vanish, as He had done before (road to Emmaus), He rises and disappears into the cloud. Tim Keller writes that this may have been to conjure up images of a coronation ceremony. Jesus maintains His humanity as He passes through the time-space continuum and joins the Father.
So…what’s it to me? Let’s be honest. These are the accounts in Scripture that make me think, this. faith. is. nuts. We actually believe this! We actually believe that our God made man dwelt among us, lived a perfect life, died that we may live, was resurrected from the dead, then ascended into heaven. There’s a part of me that almost starts laughing at these crazy realities. I near giggle at the wild, the rampant God-ness of it all. The Ascension calls me to press in to the deep, supernatural, He is a little like us but we are nothing like Him truths of Christianity. And it compels me to long for His return.
A bit more concretely, Jeff Robinson writes that Tim Keller observes:
- The ascended Christ is available for loving communication and fellowship. He is supremely personal.
- The ascended Christ is supremely powerful. As the ascended king, he is sovereign over every part of the created order.
- The ascended Christ guarantees that you can know you are forgiven, accepted, and delighted in by God the Father. He is our advocate who intercedes constantly for us.
So, boil it down for me, would you?
The Ascension of the Lord commemorates the day when Jesus ascended into heaven forty days after the resurrection.
So, how could we observe it?
Read the Lectionary texts.
Pray the Collect for the Annunciation: Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into heaven, so we may also in heart and mind there ascend, and with him continually dwell; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Take some time to watch the clouds, to consider what it would have been like to watch Jesus pass through them, His promises still ringing in your ears.
Download the Sacred Ordinary Days Essentials Workbook and grow in your understanding of the Easter season through the one page summary. Then use the workbook pages to reflect on the past season and reset for the remainder of the season of Easter/Eastertide.
For kids: Ann Voskamp has assembled a great list of ideas, which includes cloud watching, releasing balloons, and making a rainbow cake to represent the rainbows encircling Jesus on the throne.
I would love for you to join the conversation. Would you add your voice to the conversation via blog post comments or on the Facebook page and share your thoughts on these questions with us?
What are your ideas for observing The Ascension?
Which components of exploring liturgy and the Christian calendar are you thinking about this week?
Is this series serving you well? What are you enjoying? How could it improve?
From Him | Through Him | To Him,