Ascension Sunday

What is Ascension Day?

According to the biblical story, after appearing for 40 days the risen Jesus led his disciples to the Mount of Olive in Jerusalem, telling them that the time had come for him to be returned to God.

A passage in the Acts of the Apostles recounts the tale: “Then they gathered around him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’

“He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

“After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.”

Encyclopedia Britannica says: “According to the first chapter of The Acts of the Apostles, after appearing to the Apostles on various occasions during a period of 40 days, Jesus was taken up in their presence and was then hidden from them by a cloud, a frequent biblical image signifying the presence of God.”

How important is Ascension Day?

It is thought that Ascension Day was being marked as early as the fourth century, and it remains a significant observance in the Catholic Church, as well as other Christian Churches.

Encyclopedia Britannica says: “The Feast of the Ascension ranks with Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost in the universality of its observance among Christians.

“The meaning of the Ascension for Christians is derived from their belief in the glorification and exaltation of Jesus following his death and Resurrection, as well as from the theme of his return to God the Father.

“Thus, the Gospel According to John uses both the sayings of Jesus and his post-Resurrection appearances to indicate a new relationship between Jesus and his Father and between him and his followers, rather than a simple physical relocation from earth to heaven.”

In countries where it is not marked as a public holiday, it has become common to move its commemoration to the following Sunday (a week before Pentecost) to allow more worshippers to attend mass.

Where is Ascension Day a public holiday?

Ascension Day is a public holiday in France, Germany, Austria, Indonesia, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the South Pacific island nation Vanuatu.

The day after Pentecost (which falls 10 days later) was marked as the “Whit Monday” bank holiday in the UK until 1971, when it was replaced by a bank holiday on the final Monday in May.

However, Pentecost Monday is still a public holiday in various European countries, including France, Germany and Belgium.

What is Pentecost?

Pentecost always falls exactly seven weeks after Easter Sunday, which means this year it is on 5 June.

The festival commemorates the arrival of the Holy Spirit to the disciples following the death of Jesus in the traditional Easter story.

Its name comes from the Greek word “Pentekostos”, meaning 50, which reflects its origins in the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (marked on the 50th day after Passover).

Pentecost is also known as “Whitsun” or “Whitsunday” in the UK and Ireland, which is variously believed to be a shortening of “White Sunday” or to have its origins in the Anglo-Saxon word “wit”, which means “understanding”.

The Holy Spirit

Acts 2

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

Today I wish to continue along the John Gowans theme, only this time I include his longtime friend John Larrson. With the song Burning Burning.

I have never seen Spirit or any of the other musicals for that matter but there has always been something I have liked about this song. The words are so important, it’s also a song that can be appealing to the individual.

1.
Burning, burning, brightly burning,
Brightly burning Fire divine,
Satisfy my spirit’s yearning.
Fill this empty soul of mine.
Chorus
Burning, burning, always burning.
Holy Spirit, stay with me;
To your will my will is turning,
What you will I want to be.

2.
Burning, burning, deeply burning,
Deeply burning holy Fire,
Now, your perfect plan discerning,
Your design is my desire.

3.
Burning, burning, gently burning,
Gently burning Fire within,
From your love my love is learning.
Now I feel your work begin.

Pentecost Sunday

Acts 2; 1-4

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

Image result for pentecost

Yesterday we celebrated Pentecost (the start of the Christian Church) and the above passage of scripture has to be one of my favourites I must admit. The way the Holy Spirit fills the house and what happened to each of them must of been awesome.

1.
Spirit divine, come as of old
With healing in thy train;
Come, as thou did’st, to sanctify;
Let naught of sin remain.

Chorus
Come, great Spirit, come,
Make each heart thy home;
Enter every longing soul;
Come, great Spirit, come.

2.
Spirit divine, purge thou our hearts
Make us to understand
Thy blessed will concerning us,
And teach us love’s command.

3.
Spirit divine, cleanse thou our souls
With Pentecostal flood;
Breathe into us the life that shows
The Father-love of God.

God’s Holy Spirit

Acts 2:1-21.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

This is a verse of scripture and song mainly used at Pentecost came to me this morning and I thought it doesn’t have to be kept until then to be sung, you can sing it most of the year because it’s a song where we ask the Holy Spirit not only to heal us but to help us to understand God’s will and finally to cleanse our souls and make them anew.

1.
Spirit divine, come as of old
With healing in thy train;
Come, as thou did’st, to sanctify;See the source image
Let naught of sin remain.

Chorus
Come, great Spirit, come,
Make each heart thy home;
Enter every longing soul;
Come, great Spirit, come.

2.
Spirit divine, purge thou our hearts
Make us to understand
Thy blessed will concerning us,
And teach us love’s command.

3.
Spirit divine, cleanse thou our souls
With Pentecostal flood;
Breathe into us the life that shows
The Father-love of God.

Saved to Serve

Acts 20 New International Version (NIV)

 

Paul’s Farewell to the Ephesian Elders

13 We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement because he was going there on foot. 14 When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15 The next day we set sail from there and arrived off Chios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus. 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.

17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[b] 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.

Send The Fire

Acts 2 V1-4

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

This is one of my favourite pieces of scripture and I have often tried to imagine what they heard and seen as they were filled with the holy spirit. Can you just imagine being filled with the holy spirit and speaking in tongues as the spirit enabled them.

I got to admit I have never witnessed anyone speaking in tongues so as a Christian I don’t know how I would react. Would I recognise it or would I become afraid? I would like to think as a Christian I would recognise it without fear

Pentecost

Acts2; 1-4

See the source image

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

Today we celebrated Pentecost and the above passage of scripture has to be one of my favourites I must admit. The way the Holy Spirit fills the house and what happened to each of them must of been awesome.