Ascension Day is today, 25th May 2017. It is 40 days since Jesus rose from the dead. And today he ascended into Heaven.
Throughout my religious life, I have only occasionally celebrated Ascension Day.
I remember that, when I was ten or eleven, a dance and music group I belonged to at the local Methodist church was involved in an evening service which was fun and interesting. Since then I don’t think I’ve ever done anything though.
Today I decided that I did want to mark this special day.
The Chaplaincy team at the University had organised an open air service at 8am by the lake. The beautiful sunny weather made it the perfect location and it was already quite warm.
There were a couple of readings, from Revelation and from Luke, three songs, some prayers of intercession and a few other words. It was a peaceful affair in all, if you don’t count the lawnmower, leaf blower, geese and the clock on the Trent building chiming at each quarter of an hour.
We were quite a small group to begin with, about twelve people, but as some latecomers arrived I think that there may have been about thirty people present. It was wonderful to be able to share in worship and faith in the morning before everything had truly begun on campus.
We were also able to share breakfast together afterwards in the chapel lounge. It felt like a community even though I, and many others, knew few of the other people who had attended the short service.
In some ways, the service today was part of Thy Kingdom Come, a global prayer movement which invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ.
After the Ascension Day service this morning, the chapel at the University was going to be open all day with prayer stations set up where people could come and pray. The sign-up sheets suggested that much of the day was covered with at least one person at the university praying. This weekend there are more 24 hour prayer initiatives being run as well as churches around the country unite to pray for our world.
It is such a privilege to be a part of a faith which cares so passionately for the world we live in and all the people who live in it. This passion comes from God, and He cares more for the world than it is possible for any human to do or imagine.
So, join with me and other Christians around the world as we pray for more people to come to know Jesus Christ and for peace to come again.