On Christ's Ascension I Now Build
The hope of mine ascension
this hope alone has ever stilled
all doubt and apprehension;
For where the Head is, there full well
I know His members are to dwell
When Christ shall come and call them.
Josua Wegelin, 1636; trans. Willaim Cxamanske, 1938.
Christ was indeed raised from the dead on Easter morning...and forty days later we celebrate His ascension into heaven. There are many reasons to celebrate Jesus' ascension and they all have to do with the comfort which they afford His people here on earth, when we truly understand what his Ascension means to us.
Christ left us for our good. As sad as it may seem that Christ visibly left the earth, it was better by far that he return to the father then that he would stay with us. We often wonder of what it would be like if Jesus were here. We are like the disciple who stood gazing up into the sky wondering what next. We act like St. Peter when he told Jesus that he should not be informing the disciple of His coming death...but what did Christ say, he said, "Get behind me Satan, you do not have in mind the things of God, but rather the things of men." We too are guilty of having in mind the things of men when we long for Jesus visible presence among us. If he were still on earth, how could he be present with all those who simultaneously gather around his word, how could he rule his church for the benefit of his people, how could he fill all things as St. Paul says in Ephesians.
Christ told us he was going away for our good so that we wouldn't have any preconceived notions about a Christian utopia here on earth. Jesus did not come to rule Israel like David or Solomon. Rather He came to save us from our selfish ambitions that we have when we question why Christ visibly left us and why he didn't destroy evil in the world. Jesus ascended into heaven so that he would more appropriately rule like God, instead of like how we would have men rule over us here on this earth.
He left so that he could be present every time Christians gather around his word. He left so that as our brother and fellow human he would be given power and might far beyond anything we could ever imagine so that as one of us he could rule on our behalf and in our best interest.
He ascended into heaven so that our hearts and our minds would be drawn away from the things of this world and towards Him who rules all things and who went before us to prepare a place for us so that His people might spend eternity in His Father's house.
He also ascended to leave us an image of hope, knowing that we to will ascend into heaven when we die and leave behind this world of sin, sadness, sickness, and sorrow. He left us a triumphant picture of our ascent into heaven as well, so that this world will be left behind us and we to will join him in heaven. Our heart rests on Christ's Ascension. Amen.
Join us for our Ascension service on Thursday, May 17 at 6:00 p.m. and let your heart be lifted up in the comfort of Christ's Ascension.