For 2010, May 13 marks the end of the Easter season. What? Not a holiday you're familiar with?
May 13 is exactly 40 days from Easter Sunday and always falls on a Thursday. It is the day the Church celebrates the ascension of Christ.
So why not whip out your Easter decor or put on your Sunday best? And why has this day of commemoration practically gone unnoticed? Perhaps, with the miraculous and magnificent happenings of Easter Sunday--and all that it means for salvation of the world--the joyous celebration deserves the spotlight. It's the winning moment; the crown jewel of the Bible story. Maybe the ascension of Christ just gets pushed to the side. What's to celebrate there?
Actually, the Easter morning revelation is just another step in God's glorious plan to redeem a people for Himself. The resurrection of Christ enables God to bring grace and mercy to His people. The crowning moment of the Bible story is one waiting to happen--when Christ will return totally triumphant to herald the end of the age. And you might remember something being said about that at the actual ascension:
"And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven'" (Acts 1:10-11).
Thus, we can celebrate today that Christ is at the right hand of God interceding for His people, preparing heaven and earth for His return when God's children will be with Him for eternity!
But that's not all. The ascension of Christ not only tells of the present and future glories; but it also reminds us of our responsibility. Jesus told the disciples:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Maybe that's why the ascension of Christ is so rarely celebrated. We like the promises and the comfort, but are not big fans of the task. The good news continues though, even in the midst of our chore--Christ is ever with us, equipping and encouraging us in building His kingdom.
And that may just mean the best way to celebrate May 13, 2010 is by living out the Great Commission in your life. How are you making disciples for the Lord?