Many Christian churches will celebrate Ascension Day on (or near) May 21, which is 40 days after Easter. Theologian Friedemann Hebart explained Christ’s Ascension this way:
“When Jesus’ work on Earth was done, he took leave of his disciples and went to be with his Father. A time for sad farewells, one might think. Yet the church celebrates the Ascension with special joy. What is the reason for joy when Jesus leaves his people?
“The Ascension is not the end of Jesus’ work, but a new beginning! How could Jesus ever leave us alone? Because he has gone to be Lord of the universe, he can continue his work of life and love — among us, too. His work was not just a short episode in Galilee. In the person of the Holy Spirit, the same Lord is present among us, still re-vealing the Father’s loving heart, so that we, too, can believe — and sing songs of joy.”
On Thursday, May 10, Christians around the world will celebrate the Day of Pentecost. It’s often remem-bered as the church’s birthday. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he promised that the Holy Spirit would come upon those who believed in his resurrection.
Three thousand people were gathered in Jerusalem when the Spirit came upon them. They were so touched by the Holy Spirit that they began to worship regularly, especially on Sundays, the day of Christ’s resurrection.
To symbolize the “tongues, as of fire” (Acts 2:3, NRSV) that came upon the people present at Pentecost, liturgical churches display the color red in their worship services on Pentecost Sunday. Many people attending wor-ship wear red on that day.