Who stole Ascension Thursday?

May 8, 2013

In fairness, one probably cannot lay blame for the liturgical neglect of Holy Thursday at the grave of Gregory Dix. Modern “reformers” have, however, done much harm. Those of us who worship in the tradition of the church understand that belief  is molded by prayer; lex orandi, lex credendi. Modern revisionists have been hard at work reshaping the minds of unsuspecting lay people.

The old practice of the church locates the observance in accord with the biblical text, 40 days after the resurrection. This is a Thursday. It is a central feast of the church that brings completion to the Easter cycle. Jesus is crucified and laid in a tomb, from which he is raised incorruptible and the first of a new kind of humanity. This talk about a literal bodily resurrection is most obnoxious to the supposedly enlightened mind.  The notion that the glorified body of the Savior is taken into the heavenly realms brings the Easter narrative to fulfillment. It is a period at the end of a theological sentence. Full stop.

The Lord has risen indeed and is now enthroned on high and ever intercedes for his people. As a Thursday observance, the Ascension stands on its own in the church’s timekeeping. Moved to Sunday, it is just another weekly observance, and much less troubling to those who doubt the salvation of the cross, the actual resurrection, and the Ascension into heavenly glory.Well I mean, who would believe such a story anyway?

The traditional collect for Ascension Thursday also contains one of the coolest words  in the Book of Common Prayer.  How many times in your life will  you get to use the word “thither?” The collect is a wonderful snap shot of our own union with  the ascended Christ. Don’t forget Ascension Thursday.

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One Response to “Who stole Ascension Thursday?”

  1. Gary Says:

    Pat, we shant forget to observe Ascension Thursday lest we fail to have the opportunity to go thither.


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