Hail thee, festival day! Blest day to be hallowed forever!
You thought it was just another Thursday, right? Today is the fortieth day of our Easter celebration and it is the day we honor Christ’s Ascension to his father. There is a lot of artwork that tries to depict the story of the Ascension. Often the artists are very literal in their interpretation with the result that Jesus looks more like he’s being beamed up to the Enterprise than ascending to heaven. Our artwork for today is a late medieval painting by Pietro Perugino. It is more symbolic in its portrayal. Christ’s followers are represented by key figures in Jesus’ life and beyond. John is shown holding a book, while Peter holds the keys of the kingdom. Paul is holding the “sword of the word” and Mary, the mother of Jesus is smack dab in the middle of everything.
Christ is shown wearing a deep red robe which is a sign of his kingship and he is surrounded by a mandala which artists use to show that someone is especially holy. Mandalas are also used to portray the entirety of the cosmos.
The angels are interesting. They’re playing medieval instruments and the little angels? Perugino was painting at a time when drawing angels as toddlers called
became a popular element in Christian artwork.
As usual, everyone is shown to be looking up. They’re watching Jesus and waiting to see what will happen next. Oh, how I can relate to that. What will happen next? How long will this last? Of course, we have no real answer to the questions. What we do know is that although Christ left the earth to return to heaven he didn’t abandon us. The Holy Spirit is our advocate, our guide and our companion.
One of the lessons appointed for today is Ephesians 1:15-23. As I read it this morning, I thought, “Yes! That’s what I want for our congregation.” So please know that his prayer for the Ephesians is my prayer for you.
I have heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people. So I never stop being grateful for you, as I mention you in my prayers. I ask the glorious Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you his Spirit. The Spirit will make you wise and let you understand what it means to know God. My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and that you will understand the hope that was given to you when God chose you. Then you will discover the glorious blessings that will be yours together with all of God’s people.
I want you to know about the great and mighty power that God has for us followers. It is the same wonderful power he used when he raised Christ from death and let him sit at his right side in heaven. There Christ rules over all forces, authorities, powers, and rulers. He rules over all beings in this world and will rule in the future world as well. God has put all things under the power of Christ, and for the good of the church he has made him the head of everything. The church is Christ’s body and is filled with Christ who completely fills everything.
God bless you today and always!
+ Pastor Heidi