This Sunday begins a series of three feast days in the church year. These three feast days are deeply connected to one another. Today we celebrate the feast of the Ascension. Technically, the feast of the Ascension occurred on Thursday. We are told in Acts 1:3 that Jesus “presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” Forty days after Jesus rose from the dead, Jesus ascended back into heaven. Just as the Israelites were led in the wilderness by the presence of God who had liberated them from captivity, Jesus is present and leading the new Israel (the Church) for forty days. Jesus’s ascension is one of the more overlooked events in Jesus’s life. However, for us, it is one of the most significant. Jesus says in John 16:7, “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” Jesus ascends into heaven in order to send us the Holy Spirit.
Ten days after the Ascension, this is exactly what happens. On the day of Pentecost, 10 days after the Ascension and 50 days after Passover and Jesus’s death, the Holy Spirit comes. Pentecost isn’t just a Christian holiday; it was originally a Jewish holiday. Pentecost is a Jewish holiday (Festival of Weeks – 7 weeks after Passover) celebrating the giving of the Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai. It was during this festival in Jerusalem that the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles in tongues of fire. The law of the flesh is replaced with the law of the Spirit. Many consider the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost to be the birth of the Church: when Christ’s body becomes activated for the work of Christ in the world by the Holy Spirit. Jesus revealed in his life the Father and the Son. Now, on Pentecost, He reveals the Holy Spirit.
Following Pentecost, the Trinity (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit) have been revealed. This is why the Sunday following Pentecost is Trinity Sunday. The fullness of God has been revealed, even if our grasp of this incredible mystery is limited. As Trinity Anglican Church, Trinity Sunday is our feast day. We have been brought into the very heart of the relationship between the Father and the Son by the Holy Spirit.
The Ascension, Pentecost, and Trinity Sunday, connect the mighty acts of Jesus on our behalf with the mission of the church today. Trinity Anglican Church is called to participate in the family life of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and invite others into this Holy family. Don’t miss these important feasts in the life of the Church!