St. George
Serbian Orthodox Church
Carmichaels, PA

The Feast of the Ascension - 2004

by Fr. Rodney Torbic

Luke 24:52-52: And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.

The Holy Gospel of St. Luke is read in the Divine Liturgy in the Orthodox Church on the Feast the Ascension each year. Believers present in the Divine Liturgy of the Feast experience the joy of Christ.

Believers coming to the liturgical services of the Holy Orthodox Church during the time of the Ascension experience the joy of Christ. The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated in the Holy Orthodox for more than a week. The joy Christ brings to each believer permeates the Church during this period.

The Church expresses the profoundness of the Holy Ascension. The Church celebrates the profoundness of the Holy Ascension. The Church summons believers to participate in the celebration and to carry it with them into their homes and communities.

The Feast of the Holy Ascension is a major marking point in the liturgical year. The Feast of the Holy Ascension is a destination point of believers having journeyed through Great Lent to Pascha and on their way to the Feast of Pentecost.

While Orthodox believers experience movement through the year, the value of stillness remains a tenet of the Orthodox life. Psalm 46:10 states: "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

It is interesting to observe that immediately following the Psalmist's admonition to be still, we find the words used during the Divine Liturgy in the Feast of the Ascension. At the Small Entrance we hear from Psalm 47:5, "God has gone up with a shout, The Lord with the sound of a trumpet."

Keeping the Ascended Christ in our foremost thoughts serves to keep our lives headed in the right direction. Keeping the Ascended Christ foremost in our hearts serves to enrich our lives beyond comprehension.

The Feast of Ascenion directs our thoughts to Christ culminating His life on earth in human form. While considering Christ's departure on the Feast of the Ascension, we know that Christ is ever with us.

We know that Christ is with us in the Holy Mysteries of the Church. We know we have the opportunities to partake of His Precious Body and Blood. We know we have the opportunities to come to Christ in prayer. We know we hear Christ's words and sense His presence when we hear the Holy Gospel

The time remaining in our lives is a time to prepare for the Second and Glorious Coming of Christ. We can make good use of the remaining time of our lives by being mindful that Christ is ever with us in the sick, the suffering, the hungry, the imprisoned, and the stranger. (Mt. 25:31-46)

During the time remaining in our lives, we can be faithful to Christ, ever mindful of all that He has done and continues to do for us.

With thanksgiving, readers of Holy Scripture take comfort and draw lasting hope from Christ's words in the Gospel of St. Matthew: "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age." (Mt. 28:20)

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