Dear friends in Christ,
Tomorrow is Ascension Day. It’s one of the Principal Feasts of our church right along with Easter and Christmas, and most churches won’t even celebrate it. It’s a pity. Ascension Day is worth celebrating for lots of reasons, and not just because our prayer book tells us to.
On Ascension Day, we celebrate the day that Jesus left us to carry on his earthly ministry. As he was departing, he blessed his followers to carry on. Instead of sorrow, they were filled with great joy.
I think Jesus blesses us, too. Jesus trusts that you and I will carry on his earthly ministry of proclaiming the kingdom, teaching, healing, truth-telling, and reconciliation. We should be filled with joy at the honor to do this work.
So why don’t we celebrate Ascension Day? I think people get hung up on the physics of it. Too many bad teachers have undercut the faith by saying this feast day is an intellectual embarrassment, an old-school way of looking at the world. Jesus can’t go up, they say, because heaven isn’t really “up”.
So don’t look for a magic elevator. To do so misses the point of this day. It’s all about Jesus trusting his followers to carry on, and that includes us. It’s all about joy. It’s all about the promise of the Holy Spirit.
If your church isn’t celebrating Ascension Day, find one online. Or you can at least say prayers of the day on the Forward Movement prayer site.
A blessed and joyous Ascension Day to you.
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