Farewell to the earthly Christ

On the 40th day after Easter, the Christian feast of the Ascension is celebrated. It re-minds the faithful of Jesus Christ’s entry into heaven, into God’s dominion.

Before the eyes of his disciples, 40 days after his resurrection and announcement of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was carried up and returned to his heavenly Father. The Acts of the Apostles (chap. 1:8-9) describes this: ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight’.

Since the Ascension, heaven for Christians has been the place where Jesus Christ is. Numerous parishes combine this feast day with a hike or an excursion and celebrate services outdoors. This is a symbolic reminder that Jesus Christ is present always and everywhere.