Salvador Dali - Ascension

Ascension Day in the Southern Hemisphere commences the week of prayer for Christian unity.

There is also a temptation to stop celebrating Easter now, and extinguish the Paschal/Easter Candle. Resist it. You can do it. The Easter Season continues up to and including the Day of Pentecost. [Many of us, of course, have not been able to light the Paschal Candle during this time we have been unable to enter our church buildings].

Sunday is the seventh Sunday in the Great 50 days of the Easter Season.

The Gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles are obviously written by the same author, but in Luke the Ascension happens on the day of the Resurrection, in Acts 1:3 he appears to put the Ascension 40 days later. But it is to be noted that Justin and Irenaeus, both of whom rely heavily on the Lukan writings for their accounts of the Ascension, make no mention of the forty days, which would seem to indicate, as Lohfink observes, that ‘they saw in this expression no tradition which ought to be furthered’ (G. Lohfink, Die Himmelfahrt Jesu -Munich: Kosel, 1971).

Prof.dr. Henk Jan de Jonge (Leiden) argues that “the observance of Ascension Day on the fortieth day after Easter is due to a misunderstanding of Acts 1.3-11”:

In both his Gospel and Acts, Luke places the ascension at the end of the day of Jesus’ resurrection. There is no difference between Luke’s dating of the ascension in his Gospel and that in Acts. The forty days mentioned in Acts 1.3 are viewed by Luke as subsequent to the ascension, not as previous to it. The forty days are not the term fixed for the ascension; they are not linked with the ascension at all. They are linked with the post-Easter, post-ascension appearances. The ascension ought to be regarded as preceding the forty days of Jesus’ appearances rather than following them.

Abstract The Chronology of the Ascension Stories in Luke and Acts

Ascension Day collect/opening prayer reflection
Seventh Sunday of Easter May 16 collect/opening prayer reflection
Seventh Sunday of Easter May 16 collect/opening prayer reflection (BCP, TEC, USA; CofE Common Worship)

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