Beloved friends, yesterday (May 30), the church observed the Feast of the Ascension commemorating the bodily ascension of Jesus into heaven. Also known as Ascension Day, this feast day is celebrated 40 days following Easter and 10 days before the day of Pentecost. The feast itself originated in the 4th century CE and is often celebrated with a procession symbolizing Christ’s journey to the Mount of Olives. Historically, the Paschal Candle lit at the Easter Vigil was extinguished on Ascension Day.
Sunday we will come to the final Sunday of Eastertide. We will continue the journey we have been on these past two weeks joining the disciples as they hear the words of Jesus’ Farewell Discourse. We move to the end of this discourse on Sunday to hear the longest recorded prayer by Jesus in scripture. It comes as his final words before leaving the Upper Room and moving to the garden of Gethsemane.
This will give us an opportunity to reflect on the importance of prayer, and what it means in our own lives to “talk to God.” Prayer seems so basic to our faith lives and yet at times also so allusive. When and how and what we focus on when we pray will be some of what I invite us to consider together. I have some ideas and look forward to hearing yours as I always learn from each of you as we make our way together.
Risen and ascended Christ,
you surround us with witnesses
and send us the Counselor
who opens our minds to understand your teaching.
Bless us with such grace
that our lives may become a blessing for the world
now, and in the age to come. Amen.
May you never forget that you are loved.