Ascension At St Thomas A Becket, Cliffe In Lewes

Ascentiontide message

Dear Friends – Ascension Day falls at the end of May, 40 days after Easter. It is the day that the scriptures record that Jesus ascended into heaven.

It is amazing how many customs have grown up around Ascension Day. In some places it was the day of the village school outing. You all went to church first and then off on a trip.

The custom I particularly like is that of “Beating the bounds” and, in England, some continue the custom today. Members of the parish walk round the parish boundaries, marking boundary stones (e.g. by writing on them in chalk) and hitting them with sticks. According to some, it was once the young boys of the parish that were hit with sticks instead of the stones!!! Knowledge of the parish boundaries was once important, since churches had certain duties such as the care of children born out of wedlock in the parish. Also it was important to know which was your parish church when you wanted to get married. A very practical event which reminded people of the religious importance of the day. The disciples did the same thing on that first Ascension Day.

After witnessing the Ascension at the top of the mountain Luke tells us they returned to Jerusalem and were constantly in the temple praising God.

All good wishes     Canon Richard, Rector of Lewes