In the English town of Walsingham, there is a Church. And inside that church is a chapel dedicated to the feast of the Ascension. Now, there is nothing unusual about that except hanging out of the ceiling in the center of that chapel is a statue of the feet of Jesus in a cloud. It may seem strange, but Scripture tells us that as the Apostles watched, Jesus rose into the clouds and out of their sight.
The Feast of the Ascension is an important feast on the church’s calendar. This fest is one of only a handful celebrated by almost all Christian denominations and ranks with Easter and Pentecost in importance.
The feast commemorates the bodily Ascension of Jesus into heaven. As far as historians can tell, this feast has been celebrated since the 4th century. The three days leading up to the feast are called rogations days and often involve prayers for a good harvest. Following the feast, an octave is celebrated leading up to Pentecost.
Ascension is a word that carries with it a sense of elevation, transcendence, and spiritual growth. This speaks to an innate desire to seek a higher purpose and connect with something greater than ourselves.
The Ascension must be considered more than the day Jesus physically left the earth. Ascension represents the soul’s journey, the awakening of consciousness, and the realization of our divine potential. Ascension is the process of moving beyond the limits of earthly existence and reaching for something, well, heavenly.
The significance of the Ascension is to remind us that our faith is not built on a book of a historical figure but rather on a living, exalted savior who intercedes for us at the right hand of God. The Ascension calls us to be faithful witnesses to the teachings of Christ, namely, the love of all. We are faithful when we bring our light into the world for all to see. And in this way, we build up the kingdom of God here on earth.
This path will not be easy. We will encounter various challenges along the way. We may face doubts, fears, and uncertainties. We may stumble, and we may fall, but it is in these moments that we are given the opportunity to rise again, learn from our mistakes, and grow strong in our faith.
The spiritual journey is not solitary, and we will not be alone on this quest either. We are surrounded by fellow travelers and pilgrims on the path to provide support, guidance, and encouragement. Together, we will uplift one another, inspire each other to persevere and continue to ascend towards the divine.
Friends, let us always remember that the spiritual life is not a destination but an ongoing process. It is a lifelong commitment to growth, a continuous seeking of divine truth, and a deepening of our relationship with God. It is a journey that transcends the boundaries of time and space, for it is the very purpose of our existence.
May our hearts be open to the call, may our spirits be uplifted by the divine presence, and may our lives be a testament to the transformational power of the spiritual path. May blessings and peace be upon you all, Amen.