I end up preaching the Sunday before Ascension almost every year, and it’s usually a mash-up of Mother’s Day and anticipating Pentecost and hey, this is where we are as a church right now – on that cusp between Luke and Acts, in this liminal time between Jesus’ ascension and his return.
But really, I think all we need to remember on this Feast of the Ascension is this – Look up.
Gospel: Luke 24:44-53
44Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And 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.”
50Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53and they were continually in the temple blessing God.
We’re in this great feast of Eastertide, and the Sunday anchors are Easter and then Pentecost. I google every year, and I can never find an Ascension church service near me – even though it’s a Principal Feast of the church. A Thursday Feast in the midst of Feasting is hard to muster energy for, I guess.
So. Look up.
Whether you’re bogged down in the day-to-day, or still in the Alleluia of Easter – look up. Pause and see what’s around you.
The tradition I’ve tried to instill for my family on this Feast Day is to eat our Feast (either snack or dinner) *outside*. Something jarring from the usual. A chance to have our senses assaulted with something different. Let the wind shake the cobwebs loose.
I know that seems like weak sauce mindful meal planning around a Principal Feast Day, but a. it’s hard to think of a food/drink/treat that works for Ascension and b. I think Anglican spirituality is, at heart, a practical one – how we do what we do is as important as what we’re doing. So – going outside, looking up, breathing in the new thing coming? That works for me.