Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ascension Day

While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. "This," he said, "is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." . . . "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. (Acts 1:4-5, 8-9)

The ascension of Jesus into heaven is a major milestone in the story of the Church, so the Church since very early times has celebrated the Feast of the Ascension.

It comes at an odd time for us – this fortieth day of Easter. We have settled into the Great Fifty Days of Easter with some ease. We have swung back into the rhythm of Sunday Eucharists with nothing special in between. So all of a sudden right in the midst of our busy week we have Ascension Day. After this, we have ten days in which to wait until Pentecost.

Maybe we would rather not bother with waiting because we already know what is coming next. Pentecost is on its way, with red vestments and festivities revolving around the birthday of the church.

So why should we keep Ascension Day? Maybe we need some time to reflect, regroup, and be refreshed. The season after Pentecost is long, and we need to prepare for the journey. Maybe we need to think some more about Jesus’ parting words. He said we would be his witnesses to the ends of the earth, which implies that as baptized persons, we are his witnesses regardless of whether we choose to be. We can, however, choose what kind of witnesses we will be. Maybe we need to think about new ways in which we can preach the Gospel to all nations.

If we appreciate the Ascension, the Creed will be more meaningful to us. Every Sunday we proclaim that Jesus ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the father.

In remembering Ascension Day we learn more how to trust that God might have some surprises for us just as he did for the first disciples.

In peace,

Linda +

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

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