20 May 2007 The Ascension of the Lord
Acts 7, 55-60; Rev 22; John 17, 20-26
Let me introduce the celebration today. The Ascension of the Lord is often celebrated on the 40th day after Easter, commemorating the ascension of Christ into heaven (Mark 16, 19; Luke 24,51; Acts 1,2). The 40th day strictly falls on a Thursday, but the Church decided to celebrate it on the 7th Sunday before Pentecost. According to many writings especially
We shall take our reflection from these meanings. First, the feast is an analepsis or a taking up. We know that scene. Luke said that “he led them out as far as
The second, the feast is an episozomene or a completion. If the goodbye leaves a space that needs fulfillment, the ascension can also be its finishing point. For example, my experience with the dying tells me that on the last few days, people who have been unforgiving, find themselves willing to forgive and die in peace. It is a wonderful experience when the dying suddenly says, “it is finished” or “into Your hands I commend my spirit.”
The third, the feast is an ascensio. The power of goodbye and completion is also from us. When we experience our aches and goodbyes in our lives, we often find ourselves helpless and distressed. We think that we cannot handle the pain of being separated. We think that we do not have the ability to complete the tasks and responsibilities we have set for ourselves --- like a thesis, a project, or a significant leadership position. The ascension teaches us that we can actually do it; that we have the power to see things through. And who gives us the power? Jesus. Jesus gives the Holy Spirit as He promised during his Ascension.
Thus, the celebration of the Lord’s Ascension tells us of its relationship to Pentecost. The feast is celebrated in view of the coming of the Holy Spirit. And thus underscores the fact that Christians are charged with the responsibility of continuing Christ’s action on earth.
*Youth For Christ leaders completing their planning.