Fifty days has Easter: the 40th day of Easter is called Ascension Day, and the 50th day is Pentecost. Although replete with theological significance, Ascension Day is often overlooked in the church calendar.
The Book of Acts and the Gospel of Luke both narrate Jesus’ ascension to heaven.
In Jesus’ final moments on earth, “He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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 1:7-9, NIV)
The Gospel of Luke tells us: “When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.” (Luke 24:50-53, NIV)
The Book of Acts highlights Jesus’ promise to His disciples of the power of the Holy Spirit they would receive. The Gospel of Luke focuses on the joy that filled the disciples after witnessing Jesus being taken up to heaven.
What is the significance of the coming of the Holy Spirit, and of the joy that overwhelmed the disciples? Why is Ascension Day important, and why do we have to celebrate it?
The Methodist Festival Choir invites you to ‘Risen Above: A Festival on the 40th Day of Easter’. Come, listen to the story of the Ascension, sing, and pray with us. Together we will discover the profound meaning of Jesus’ ascension, and reflect on how it may have an impact on our Christian discipleship.
“Jesus ascended in triumph to his heavenly throne.
There he hears our prayers,
pleads our cause before the Father,
and rules the world.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
– Reprinted by permission from The Worship Sourcebook, © 2004, CRC Publications.
Image courtesy of the Methodist School of Music