“Christ our God, You ascended in glory and You gladdened Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. Your blessing assured them that You are the Son of God and the Redeemer of the world!” (Dismissal Hymn)
On the Thursday of the sixth week of Pascha, we in the Orthodox Church celebrate the Ascension of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ. This Feast, one of the Twelve Great Feastdays of the ecclesiastical year, is based on the Gospel of Luke 24:50-53 and the Book of Acts 1:1-12 which speaks of this event 40 days after Pascha.
The importance for us as Orthodox Christians is found in the Dismissal Hymn of the Great feast, “Christ our God, You ascended in glory and You gladdened Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. Your blessing assured them that You are the Son of God and the Redeemer of the World!”
It is important for us on this Feastday and thereafter, to affirm the lordship and sovereignty of Christ over our everyday lives, within our families and within our parish family, for, “You ascended in glory, filling all creation with your presence. And You sent us the Holy Spirit that we may praise and glorify Your divinity. Lord glory to You!” (Hymn of Praise)
The Ascension marks the end to the early appearances of Christ after the Resurrection. The Feast signifies the enthronement of Christ as Lord who exercises sovereignty over all things. This Feast also indicates the glorification (Theosis) of human nature in the Risen Christ and the anticipation of the Spirit on the great Feast of Pentecost.
Let us shout for Joy as the entrance verse proclaims for Our Lord ascended in glory from the Mount of Olives and are enthroned together with the Father, raising up compassionately our fallen nature!