And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”… And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:5, 9-12
The Ascension of our Lord is oft forgotten. While most of our church festivals occur on Sundays, Ascension Day’s observance on a Thursday makes it a prime candidate for being overlooked. Usually, it falls prey to a gorgeous evening in May when people are eager to go to a ballgame or attend some end of the school-year event. That is not the case this year.
On Ascension Day 2020 in the year of our Lord, our attention is occupied with other pressing concerns: the health of our family and loved ones, the state of our weakened economy and the uncertainty of the future. The coronavirus has occupied the thoughts of everyone from young children who wonder why they can’t see their friends at pre-school to older married couples who long to see one another, but are separated by a nursing home lockdown. Where does Jesus’ ascension fit into a world thrown into chaos and confusion?
Jesus ascends into heaven to His Father’s right hand because He had completed His saving work on earth. He had fulfilled the Law on our behalf, offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice in our place through His death on the cross, and rose triumphant over the grave thereby opening for us the way of everlasting life. Since His work here was done, He returned to His Father in heaven.
While there wasn’t much of a celebration on earth, just a few of His disciples gazing up into the clouds, there was a great celebration by all the heavenly host as the Conquering Hero (the Lamb who was slain) returns to His throne. In Revelation chapter 5, St. John is given a vision of myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands angels praising Jesus in song.
We also have something to celebrate! Our Lord has triumphed over all of His foes. We need not live in fear of the future, but great anticipation of the joyful celebration in heaven when we add our voices to all the company of heaven in praise of the One who conquered sin and all of its effects and even death itself. For now and especially tomorrow, let’s take time to celebrate with the heavenly host that Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and will one day come again in glory.
Prayer Almighty God, as Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, ascended into the heavens, so may we also ascend in heart and mind and continually dwell there with Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan