Thursday, May 24, 2012

Looking Up: The Feast of the Ascension

Then, He went with His disciples to Bethany and stopped on the Mount of Olives. "While they beheld, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they LOOKED steadfastly toward heaven as He went UP, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, 'Ye men of Galilee , why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven'" (Acts 1:9-11).
Ascension of our Lord
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In the Life of the Church, we celebrate the Great Feast of the Ascension of our Lord 40 days following Pascha (this year on Thursday, May 24, 2012). In the presence of His disciples, our Lord ascends to His Heavenly Throne: "I ascend to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God" (John 20:17). According to the account given in Luke's Gospel: "And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now, it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy..." (Luke 24:50-53).

Jesus, their Master, leaves them, yet His disciples are filled with great joy. Its an odd reality to grasp; the comfort of being in the presence of their Lord, especially witnessing His Resurrection and being "filled with great joy" at His departure from them. But the reason for such a feeling among the Disciples is the promise given to them: Jesus tells them that He must go to the Father, but He will send the Holy Spirit upon them.

Troparion of the Feast of the Ascension (Tone 4): “Thou hast ascended in glory, O Christ our God, and gladdened thy Disciples with the promise of the Holy Spirit, having become confident of the blessing. Verily, thou art the Son of God, and Deliverer of the world."

Wishing you and your family a blessed Great Feast of the Ascension of our Lord!

- A Day in the Life of the Youth Director

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