Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God (Luke 24:50–53, NLT).
Today you might notice, particularly among the Anabaptist plain communities, as special worship gathering. These are strange times with business closing due to COVID-19. Still, traditionally, Mennonite businesses would remain closed on this special day in the life of the church.
For centuries, Christians from all denominations celebrated Ascension Day. Forty days after Easter, Jesus ascended or departed the face of the earth by physically taking to the air and disappearing in the sky. Ascension Day reminds Christians that our living Lord is ministering in heaven right now. As a result of His current position, Christ sent the Holy Spirit to empower believers and the church to do his work here on earth. And we retain the promise that He will return to this earth one day to gather those who belong to Him—those who received His redemption.
I want to encourage you to read the full account in Acts 1:6–11 sometime today. I always find it astounding as I relive the ascension scene on Mount Olivet with my imagination. In my mind’s eye, the sight is glorious. One of Ireland’s finest evangelical preachers, Thomas Kelly, apparently shared the same sentiment when he wrote the hymn, “Look, Ye Saints” (The Mennonite Hymnal, 186)
Look, ye saints! the sight is glorious: See the Man of Sorrows now; from the fight returned victorious, ev’ry knee to Him shall bow: Crown Him! crown Him! Crowns become the Victor’s brow.
Crown the Savior! angels, crown Him! rich the trophies Jesus brings; in the seat of pow’r enthrone Him, while the vault of heaven rings: Crown Him! crown Him! Crown the Savior King of kings.
Hark! those bursts of acclamation! Hark! those loud triumphant chords! Jesus takes the highest station—O what joy the sight affords! Crown Him! crown Him! King of kings and Lord of lords!
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Eric grew up in the little town of Gibraltar, PA with his grandparents. He met his wife Cheryl while working at Good’s Greenhouse in Bowmansville, PA. He has three adult children and values watching them grow into the people God wants them to be.