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Friday, May 18, 2007

Ascention Day

Did you remember that yesterday was Ascension Day? Forty days after Easter Jesus ascended to heaven. Yesterday was 40 days after this year's Easter and the day we remember His ascension.
My grandmother considered it "bad luck" to do any work on Ascension Day. The day was kept almost like a Sunday. My parents dropped the bad luck idea (which I agree was the right thing to do) but still went to church in the morning and kept the rest of the day as a religious holiday. When we were first married, we did the same. We went to church in the morning and then to a Stauffer reunion for lunch and the afternoon. As the years went by, attendance at the reunion dwindled because people were no longer observing the "no work" rule. So the reunion was shifted to a Sunday instead of Ascension Day. We continued to go to church in the morning but, with nothing scheduled for the afternoon, worked around home in the afternoon.
Within the last 10 years, as the observance of the day continued to decline, the place Leroy works allowed them to take off for Ascension Day if they wished but did not shut down. Many other places of business that were formerly closed for the day also remained open. Naturally, we noticed a marked decline in church attendance as more people worked on Ascension Day. This year church services were held in the evening in an attempt to bolster attendance. So we both worked all day and went to church in the evening. Attendace was no better than last year at a morning service. Whether we want to admit it or not, we have basically adapted to the values of society around us and lost respect for the day.
Just before His death, Jesus said He was going to go back to heaven to prepare places for us and personally promised to return to take us to live there with Him. Ascension is not only about the ascension of Jesus to heaven, but also about our hope of His return. Hebrews 9:28 says "unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Does the dwindling observance of the day mean we are not taking His return seriously? Is there a connection between the two? What do you think?

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