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The Feast of the Ascension

After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.  Acts of the Apostles 1:3, 8-9


This year, May 9th is the Feast of the Ascension. Saint Lukes writes of the Ascension of Christ in the Gospel he wrote as well as his “volume 2” The Acts of the Apostles. Luke tells us that it occurred 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection.

This feast day has been celebrated at least since the third century. The first Chapel of the Ascension, built in the fourth century, is located on the Mount of Olives. Twice the chapel was rebuilt. I had the blessing of visiting it on my first pilgrimage to the Holy land.

The Ascension tells us of the reuniting of the “Word made Flesh” and God the Creator of heaven and earth.

Jesus, united with the Father, promised to send the Holy Spirit to unite us one to another, Creator and Created, and the Living and the dead. This gift given 10 days later is the Feast of Pentecost.

Scripture tells us that Jesus, sitting at the right hand of the Father, intercedes for us as our Great High Priest.”

In the Ascension, Heaven and earth are united in a new way as the human Jesus unites with the Creator of life. Jesus’ unity with God promises the same for us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We now experience the unity of God, Jesus, and all creation in prayer, service, and community. We celebrate this unity each Sunday through Word and Sacrament.

This is a sacred mystical union whereby we are all transformed.

Jesus transcends all earthly bounds through his Resurrection and Ascension. We now live as a part of that greater and more transcendent reality as baptized followers of Jesus.

Icon of the Ascension

Chapel of the Ascension


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