The Feast of the Ascension

The Feast of the Ascension of our Lord into Heaven was May 14, 2015.  It comes during the 6th week of the “Great 50 Days,” being 40 days after Easter Morning.  We find this historical event recorded in Mark 16:19, Luke 24:50-53 and Acts of the Apostles 1:6-11.

On this day Jesus’ bodily entry into Heaven. This means that He took human nature into heavenly glory. This means that our Lord has taken into the glory of the Godhead our wounded redeemed human nature.  So now, as we live in this world “dimly” (1 Cor 13:12) we know that this heavenly tie with the ascended Jesus allows us to live by grace that can move us from the inclination toward evil and darkness and into the mind of Christ. (Eph 5)

So at the Ascension all of creation has entered into “the last hour.”  We live now on the “final age of the world” or as some have termed “the last day.”  This is a primary teaching from Paul’s letter to the Romans.  What this means is that the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way.  This renewal and new creation is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real but imperfect. Christ’s kingdom already manifests its presence through the sacramental life and miraculous signs.This helps us develop the right habits that move toward the good.

So we read of this historic moment…

… and lifting His hands He blessed them. While blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into Heaven. And the eleven apostles returned to Jerusalem with great joy. … (Lk 24:51-52).

His physical departure makes way for His promised gift of the Holy Spirit.  By means of the Holy Spirit Jesus remains “manifested” with the Church throughout her earthly ministry (Jn 14:18-19). This gift of the Spirit also enables the Church to be a faithful witness to the ends of earth (Lk 24:48-53; Acts 1:8-11; Mt 28:20; Mk 16:16-14).

So Jesus ascended into Heaven. He is glorified with the Father and He glorifies us along with Himself (Jn 17).  But His Kingdom which is operating in His Church is slowly bringing to fruition the fullness of the Kingdom and our Lord’s return.

Jesus has “prepared a place” for us!  That place is before the blessedness of God s presence. That “place” is in the Church now as we live before the Eucharistic Lord. That “place” shall also be our heavenly home.  He is our “way, our truth, and our life.”  Jesus is “… Light to enlighten the Gentiles, and glory for the people Israel.” (Lk 2:32)  He brings salvation for all who choose His way, His truth, and His life.  (Matt 7:14)  Amen.

Let us pray,

… Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that He might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to His promise, He abides with His Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen  (BCP 226)

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