In some countries (e.g. Scandinavia, the Netherlands and in Germany) it is a public holiday; and Germany also holds its Father’s Day on the same date.
In Roman Catholicism the Ascension of the Lord is a Holy Day of Obligation. In the Eastern Orthodox Church the Ascension is one of twelve Great Feasts.
In Western Christianity, the earliest possible date is April 30, the latest possible date is June 3.
This Sunday we will celebrate the Ascension. The feast day was on Thursday and since it was sunny – legend has it that we are in for a long hot and dry summer. Funny what you read on the internet, wouldn’t you say?
Ascension does not have the fanfare of Christmas or Easter, yet it is an important feast day and an integral moment in the file and times of Jesus of Nazareth. There are no gifts exchanged at all and there are no pageants, yet this is the feast which announces that Christ is unified with God the Creator. It is, in our parish moved from the fortieth day after Easter ( A Thursday) to the Sunday so that we might all celebrate together this important feast. Some people get caught up in scientific conversations about weather or not Jesus really did go “up” like a spaceship. This level of discourse misses the rich relevance of the feast. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. There will be room enough for all. Jesus by the mystery of the Holy Spirit is still with us. God is incarnate around us and we must seek to do that which we are called into.
In the account of the Ascension in Acts 1:1-11 two men in white robes say to the apostles, “why do you stand looking up toward heaven?” I think sometimes we do that too. We spend a whole lot of time focus on some far off space where we will hopefully arrive someday. But we need to be on with the work of kingdom building here. We need to further the reign of God by living out our baptisms. We need to seek and serve Christ as we are reminded in this feast that he is still with us. God’s presence is real in those around us.
I like this feast day. We have a great opportunity to celebrate a Holy Day and Hallmark has not interfered.
I’m off to the Tigers Game in Detroit. Can you believe they are in first place? I hope the rain holds up. I’ll you look up toward heaven.!
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