Ascension Day 2011

Thursday is Ascension Day. Many churches will also mark it on Sunday, but unlike Easter, it will draw little attention. Two thoughts immediately come to mind when I think about the doctrine of the ascension – one comic, and one imaginative.
A friend of mine in seminary had just finished writing his Presbyterian ordination exams. “How’d it go?” I asked. “Bad” – he said, shaking his head. “The theology exam was all about the doctrine of the ascension. I couldn’t think of what to say so I just wrote, ‘Beam me up, Jesus.’”
It was true. Little time in class had been spent discussing Christ’s ascension. I suspect that has resulted in few Presbyterian sermons about the ascension.
That is too bad. Though the meaning of the ascension may be hard for some to understand, it carries important theological significance. Much more than Jesus being beamed upward, the ascension offers believers tangible promises of hope and power.
But many of us face the same problems my friend did. How do we speak of an event that defies easy explanation?
I think this is where imagination comes into play.

Ascension Day 2011
Ascension Day.

In many places in Finland Wednesday will be enjoyed in hot weather (which in Finnish terms means temperatures of +25 degrees Celsius and higher), but for the Ascension Day holiday on Thursday the mercury is expected to drop somewhat.
Temperatures of up to +28°C may be reached in the southern and eastern parts of the country on Wednesday, the Finnish Meteorological Institute reports.
The balmy temperatures may well contain strings attached, being accompanied by thundery showers. In particular in a broad band of the country stretch extending from Pirkanmaa to Kainuu severe thunderstorms may occur, with the possibility of local damage being caused.
If one is into hot weather, it is advisable to try to make the most of it today. Already on Thursday the temperatures will drop by several degrees. By then, in most parts of the country the daytime temperature will peak at no higher than 15 to 20 degrees Celsius, though the capital region can still expect the mercury to climb above 20°C.
“The temperatures will drop by up to five degrees. This means that in the south and the east the weather can still be said to be warm” – explains Henri Nyman from the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
The UV radiation will be strong in the south of the country reaching up to 5 or 6 on the UV index scale.
“The level of radiation is fairly normal for the time of year” – Nyman reckons.
All the same, one should take precautions and use UV protection whenever the UV index level is 3 or higher.
By Sunday at the latest, the cooler weather may gradually spread throughout the entire country, the Finnish Meteorological Institute predicts.

Norwegians were finally heading into the much-cherished Kristi himmelfarts (Ascension Day) weekend that traditionally signals the start of the summer hytte (cottage) season. The four-day holiday came late this year, because of the late Easter, but the sun was due to shine over much of the country.
Only Thursday is an official holiday, with schools, banks and most stores closed and no newspapers published, but many take off on Friday as well. Traffic was expected to be heavy out of the cities on Wednesday afternoon as folks fled to their cottages that are traditionally opened over the Kristi himmelfarts weekend.
This year, however, many hytter along the coast were opened during Easter itself or even earlier, because of unseasonably warm weather in April. The first big weekend after winter usually falls in May, quickly followed by the Pinse (Whitsund) weekend, but now both are in early June and for many, the cottage season is already in full swing.
Holidaymakers could also look forward to sunny skies and warmer temperatures following a period of strong winds, heavy rain and a late spring chill. State meteorologists were predicting brilliant sunshine over most of central and southern Norway and as far north as Trondheim.
“On Friday, Saturday and Sunday comes the summer weather we’ve promised, I guarantee that” – Bjart Eriksen of the state meteorologic institute told newspaper Aftenposten. The sun was already shining brightly over Oslo Wednesday morning with just a light breeze over the fjord.

Comments are closed.