Reflections Feast of the Ascension
In between our celebrations of the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter and of the gift of the Spirit to His disciples, the ‘birthday of the Church’ at Pentecost, we observe another feast: the Feast of the Ascension. For all the memorable imagery that the story of Jesus’s ascension into heaven evokes, it still strikes many Christians as a rather curious episode. To put it crudely, had Jesus simply ascended vertically into space we would by now expect him to be somewhere in the outer reaches of the solar system, a thought that is hardly an aid to Christian devotion. Yet the event of the Ascension, which appears in both the New Testament books authored by Luke (his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles), serves as the narrative lynchpin of the grand story told by scripture. It is, as one scholar argues, the culmination of every biblical event leading up to it and the condition of the drama that follows it. To understand why this is so will take a little explaining.