I am grateful to get away with my wife Debbie for a few days to attend and participate in a celebration for the life of a dear music professor from our undergraduate alma-mater, Adrian College. We hope to visit and see friends from 30+ years ago and worship in the college chapel. As we embark, we leave on a very important feast day for the church. Ascension Day is Thursday, May 5, and this is one of the highlighted days of worship one should not miss, but most of us do, unless the day falls on a Sunday.
Ascension day is the 40th day of Easter and commemorates the ascension of Jesus into heaven 39 days after resurrection on Easter Sunday. You will find the Biblical accounts of the Ascension in Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:6-11. During the forty-day period before he ascended into heaven, it is believed that Jesus preached and intermingled with his apostles and disciples. According to tradition, Ascension Day was first celebrated in 68 AD, however the first written evidence of the Ascension Day feast occurred in 385
Today, Ascension Day is celebrated primarily by Catholics and Anglicans. According to Western Christianity methods of calculating the dates of Easter, the earliest possible date for Ascension Day is April 30, the latest possible date is June 3.
Ascension Day celebrations include the following:
- The Easter (Paschal) candle is put out.
- There may be processions with torches and banners and fruits and vegetables may be blessed in church.
Ten days after Ascension Day is
) which commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples. Pentecost ends the cycle of
related events in the Christian Calendar.
Consider reading one of the Daily office settings for the day and find the collect for Ascension in the Prayer Book as your prayer for the day: (BCP 226)
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.
Blessings to all!