"AND ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN …"
“And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?’ And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll … And between the throne and the four living creatures I saw a Lamb, standing, as if it had been slain.” (Rev. 5:2)
The very fact of our Lord’s ascension into Heaven, and His “sitting at the right hand of the Father,” is the source of great joy and profound optimism to the faithful believers. What happened when our Lord returned to Heaven? Revelation gives us some insight.
St. John, the spiritual leader of the churches of Asia Minor had been taken from his churches and exiled to the tiny island of Patmos, in the Mediterranean Sea. Sunday morning comes a time when he is normally preparing himself to celebrate the Holy Eucharist with his faithful gathering. Closed around by his own gloom, he is startled by a voice as loud as a trumpet, behind him. It is the Lord Himself, radiant and transformed in appearance, who takes him to an open door in Heaven for a view of the Heavenly Court.
After he does his best to adequately describe the scene before him: the Throne of the Father, the twenty-four presbyters, the four living creatures and the host of angels, he hears a challenge by a mighty angel: “Who is worthy to open the seals of the scroll?” (Upon which is written the prophecy of the destiny of the universe.)
Nobody in Heaven or on earth was worthy to reveal the future, and John wept, for not even one person had been found worthy. Except, in the center of the Heavenly court, a Lamb was standing as though it had been slain.
Jesus is that Lamb of God, “Who takes away the sins of the world.” The image of the lamb comes from the prophecy of Isaiah: “He was oppressed and afflicted, and he opened not his mouth. Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers, so he opened not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53: 7)
The Lamb has already been sacrificed. Now He is standing, erect and triumphant, glowing with life. The place where he stands is carefully noted; directly in the center of the Heavenly court, in the midst of every living being, between the Throne of the Father and the living creatures. This is the position of a priest who is offering a sacrifice.
The ascension of Jesus Christ is the return of the Son of God to the Father, in the triumph of fulfillment. Before He sits at the right hand of the Father, he offers for all time a single sacrifice for sins; “For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (Heb. 10: 14.)
The Ascension is at once the fulfillment of God’s plan for salvation of mankind, and the promise of the Gift of the Holy Spirit, who will come to abide in all who call themselves by the name of Jesus Christ, by Holy Baptism. The specific work of the Messiah is accomplished; now He will work in us, dignifying us with the responsibility for bringing the people of the earth to the Father in His Name, through the Holy Spirit at work in our members.
With the Ascension, then, all is accomplished.
by Rev. Vladimir Berzonsky
Holy Trinity Church, Parma, Ohio
From Word Magazine
Publication of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
May 1969 p. 8
Next Saturday, June 19th at 4:00 p.m., prior to Vespers, we will serve a memorial service for all the departed. Please add the names of any newly departed to our prayer list.
On Sunday, June 20th in the life of the Church we celebrate the Great Feast of Pentecost. Liturgically this is the greatest of the 12 Great Feasts. (Pascha is in a category all by itself!) Pentecost is the “Birthday of the Church”, the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Just a reminder that next week immediately following the Divine Liturgy, the traditional Vespers of Pentecost with the Special Kneeling prayers is served. In Orthodoxy, we go from glory to glory - come let us welcome the coming of the Holy Spirit!
We will have an all parish meeting on Sunday, June 27th following the Divine Liturgy. Please be sure to stay to participate as we all do our part to care for Christ’s Holy Church.
The spirit of Holy Pentecost leads us to another feast and fast of the church. The feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is celebrated on June 29th. From the 4th Century on, the Church has celebrated this feast which is spiritually linked with Holy Pentecost. It stands as the witness of the Apostles immediate fruit at the descent of the Holy Spirit when it came upon them. The Feast is preceded by a fasting period called Saints Peter and Paul Fast.” The fast is different from year to year since it always begins on the Monday following the first Sunday after Pentecost (All Saints' Sunday). The fast lasts just one day this year, Monday, June 28th, the Eve of the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul. To commemorate the great Peter and Paul, we will offer Great Vespers with Litiya for the feast on Monday, June 28th at 7:00 p.m. and Divine Liturgy on Tuesday, June 29th at 9:30 a.m.
Our Study group will be taking a break for the Summer months of June /July/August. Thanks to all who participate in this parish education opportunity.
Our parish library is open! Consider checking out a book or two for your summer reading.
|Date||3rd Hour||6th Hour||Epistle|
|Date||Coffee Hour||Service Duty||Church Cleaners|
|Jun 20||Father's Day||Telep / Baldychev||Skomorucha / Ashton / Wojciechowski|
|Jun 27||Wojciechowski / D'Orazio||Bunitsky / Morjana||S. Peck|
|July 4||Clause||Riley / Riley||Farrell|
|July 11||Riley||Sulpizi||Clause / Whalen|
14 Jun 2021 at 11:36am
4 Jun 2021 at 4:37am
29 May 2021 at 8:21pm
24 May 2021 at 3:21pm
21 May 2021 at 4:23pm
20 May 2021 at 11:24am
19 May 2021 at 2:48pm
18 May 2021 at 6:03pm