Thursday following the 5th Sunday after Resurrection Sunday is Ascension Day. An Ecumenical Feast of the Church.
“The observance of this feast is of great antiquity. Although no documentary evidence of it exists prior to the beginning of the 5th century, St. Augustine says that it is of Apostolic origin, and he speaks of it in a way that shows it was the universal observance of the Church long before his time.”
“…the ascension of Jesus Christ. Forty days after the celebration of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus, the church around the world holds in remembrance this eventful day. The gospel writer records: “Then [Jesus] said to his disciples….
‘See, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’ Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.” Luke 24:49-53.’ “
While the ancient (Catholic and Eastern) Churches and their derivatives practice all sorts of ritual and have special observances, for an Evangelical – Ascension Day is full of promise in a visceral way.
Our hope rests on no ritual, but on facts: that Jesus not only came out of the tomb, but that He Ascended … He is the First Fruit, a finished work by God. We are next.
Christ endured 40 days in the desert, after His baptism by John. He endured 40 days on earth after resurrection. The Hebrews endured 40 years in the desert… before the people of God crossed the river and went into the Promised Land.
” … he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil 1:6
Walking with the Lord through whatever remains of our lives – enjoying our relationship with Him – is the objective. We remain on earth, but have a heavenly destination.
Rejoice He is Risen! Paul says:
“If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” 1 Cor. 15:14