Disciples, Apostles, and Saints!
This week we celebrate Ascension Day, one of the seven principal feasts of the church. And every year, I feel so bad for this poor holiday. It is one of the most important days in the church calendar, and has been for centuries, but we treat it like it is nothing. It is above each of the days of Holy Week. But who even notices it?
I suspect I know why.
It doesn’t make sense to us.
It made sense to the people centuries ago. Before the Enlightenment. But as a moment in the story, we just can’t wrap our heads around its true value.
So here is, in a nutshell, why people of faith cared about the Ascension and why I think it is the low-key coolest of the holy days.
- Prophets take off. This is what they do in Scripture. They don’t get buried after dying of old age.
- Jesus got out of the way. Something bigger was happening. Jesus needed to take off so it could arrive.
- It is our turn. Jesus leaving physically draws the attention from the Messiah to the disciples.
Just as we include the Ascension in our Eucharistic Prayers, to remind us that Jesus didn’t just die and get resurrected but also ascended, we are also being continually reminded that our work continues.