Two reasons we might observe Ascension Day:
Jesus’ ascension to heaven is a significant event in the life of the person Christians claim to follow. It marks the completion of his earthly ministry – the work of establishing a colony of heaven on earth whose inhabitants would be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth bringing it into the realm of God’s life-giving kingdom – and the start of his current ministry, continuing to reconcile all things to God by his work of intercession, of reshaping the world as we know it through presenting her to our loving Creator. And, as anyone who has ever left one job and started a new one knows, endings and beginnings are worth marking.
On the day of his ascension, Jesus affirmed his promise to send the Holy Spirit. Christians will commemorate the day the Holy Spirit was sent ten days from now, at Pentecost (or Whit Sunday). But many will have no idea that it is Pentecost until they turn up on the day, and that, it seems to me, simply demonstrates the spiritual poverty we are left with when we throw out the riches of our history – the scandal of the thinness of our untransformed, un-renewed imagination. If it is worth celebrating the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at all, then it is worth preparing ourselves to celebrate.
So, if Ascension Day is worth observing, how might we mark the occasion?
Steve Taylor posts some great creative liturgy here, much of which could be tailored more simply or for the home as well as the larger gathering...