Ascension Day is Coming
The observance of the Feast of the Ascension – Ascension Day is May 1o, 2018. Bethany Church, where I serve will celebrate with St Paul’s Episcopal Church that evening at Bethany as a part of our exchange worship opportunities. We are inviting the whole community of LaPorte, Indiana to join us. This is an ancient “feast day” of the church. Eusebius seems to hint at the celebration of it in the 4th century. At the beginning of the 5th century, St. Augustine says that it is of Apostolic origin – that is the apostles of Jesus began this celebration and St Augustine speaks of it in a way that shows it was the universal observance of the Church long before his time.
You can also find it frequently mentioned in the writings of St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and in the Constitution of the Apostles. The Pilgrimage of Aetheria speaks of the vigil of this feast and of the feast itself, as they were kept in the church built over the grotto in Bethlehem in which Christ is traditionally regarded as having been born. It may be that prior to the 5th century the fact narrated in the Gospels was commemorated in conjunction with the feast of Easter or Pentecost.
I stood in the Chapel of the Ascension just a few weeks ago and pondered this event and asked why we don’t celebrate it like it once was. This is a worship of promise. The promise of Christ’s return. The promise of a new heaven and new earth and of Christ being with us always “until the end of the age.” I hope that you celebrate it this year on May 10th.