Ascension to Pentecost

— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —

Since I grew up in the US in a non church-going home I never heard much about the two public German holidays that follow Easter. Because of my confusion, the first book in German I purchased was a book describing where the majority of celebrations in the liturgy cycle of the church.

Since my arrival in 1985 I have learned to follow the liturgical calendar and take a closer look at Ascension and Pentecost. These two days can and should have  spiritual life changing significance in a believers thinking.

The Ascension marks the end of Christ’s bodily service on earth or, in other words, the completion of his mission. At the ascension Christ installs his believers as his successors to continue the work He began at his birth. Since Jesus is no longer wandering around the countryside preaching, praying and teaching we are now called to do these things.

Ten days after the Ascension we celebrate Pentecost which is called the birthday of the Church.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

John 14:26

On Pentecost we were given the help we need to carry out the great task of being Christ’s successors here on Earth.

This period between Ascension and Pentecost was a period of waiting. The waiting time was totally different than the traumatic time between Good Friday and Easter. After the crucifixion the followers of Christ were full of fear and scattered in different directions. After the Ascension the believers were expectant and stayed unified.  After the resurrection Christ appeared bodily to over 500 people and removed any doubts in his followers minds as to who he was. The first chapter of Acts 1-26 records what happened between the Ascension and Pentecost.

In our lives we all come to times of evaluation and redirecting how we should proceed further on. The application I see for us is to use these 10 days also as a time of prayer and unity. A good exercise would be to look back to all that has happened since Good Friday. Most of us have been on a spiritual journey since the beginning of Lent in February. This Easter journey officially ends on Pentecost.

After Pentecost it is time for all of us to get busy in fullfilling God’s call to be witnesses to the ends of the earth.

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Acts 1:4-8

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