Did you know that Ascension Day was celebrated long before they started celebrating the birth of Jesus? This day was seen as an important turning point in the story of Jesus as the Son of God. What about us and celebration today? For most of us, maybe it's just a welcome day off? We know what the day stands for, but don't always make much of it. I want to make a case for taking up this celebration again, as churches and individuals.

We can read about what happened in Luke 24, for example. Jesus is standing there blessing them when they suddenly see Him begin to ascend. Soaring upwards towards heaven. Whether it happens slowly or quickly, we don't know, but at some point He disappears into the clouds. What happens then?

What His friends do not see: Jesus sits down at the right hand of God. That's what Mark tells us (Mark 16:19) That He sits down marks the completion of His mission. He has done what He came for! He is back home after his "mission abroad". He is united with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is finally together again. I think there must have been a party in heaven that day!

For those left on the ground, there is a spontaneous reaction: they fall to their knees in worship. They are not sad that Jesus is gone. They realize that this is not the end. It's the beginning of something completely new that they don't yet know what it is. They go back to Jerusalem in great joy and expectation for what Jesus has said will come!

We have every reason to celebrate this day.

The fact that Jesus went home opened up much more than they had seen so far! Even after the resurrection, Jesus had his human limitations. He could only be in one place at a time. He ate the food they gave Him. But when He goes home, He gets back everything He gave up some 33 years earlier. He goes out of our time, out of the limitations. And hereafter He is no longer visible among them. But God has never been so close to people as after this day.

Edin Løvås called Ascension Day the most neglected Christian holiday. Let's take it back! Let us, like the disciples on this day, in worship and great joy celebrate Jesus as he really is: true God, who sits on the throne in heaven and at the same time is omnipresent. He is at home - and He is present here and now in our lives. Everywhere, always.

How will YOU be celebrating this year?

- Ingfrid Mundal, Bodø 7/5-24

Photo: Sam Schooler on Unsplash

Let's take it back! Like the disciples, let's celebrate Jesus for who He really is



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