Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ascension Sunday Thoughts

Some thoughts on Ascension Sunday:
“The Ascension is not really a departure. It is entering into a new more dynamic manner of presence beyond the bounds of ordinary space and time. It is the assurance that Jesus is with us always during the ministry He gives unto the end of the age, and a hope for the age to come.”                           - John Michael Talbot
  Hat Tip:  internetmonk.com
What happens when you downplay or ignore the ascension? The answer is that the church expands to fill the vacuum. If Jesus is more or less identical with the church—if, that is, talk about Jesus can be reduced to talk about his presence within his people rather than his standing over against them and addressing them from elsewhere as their Lord, then we have created a high road to the worst kind of triumphalism. …and the other side of triumphalism is of course despair. If you put all your eggs into the church-equals-Jesus basket, what are you left with when, as Paul says…we ourselves are found to be cracked earthenware vessels?
N.T. Wright • Surprised by Hope, p. 112
Hat Tip:  internetmonk.com
“Ascension Day proclaims that there is no sphere, however secular, in which Christ has no rights – and no sphere in which his followers are absolved from obedience to him. Instead of it being a fairy tale from the pre-space age, Christ’s ascension is the guarantee that he has triumphed over the principalities and powers, so that at his name ‘every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’ (Phil. 2:10-11).” - Bruce Metzger

Hat Tip:  Euangelion
It is tempting on this feast of the Ascension to experience it the way the apostles did, to gaze into the heavens and to ponder the clouds and to pray over the miracle of this great moment.
But Christ’s words to his apostles are words to us all. ‘Go.’ The world will not be converted on a mountaintop. The message will not be spread in the clouds. It will happen in the streets and the synagogues, in public squares and private homes, in books and newspapers and media of all kinds. It needs to be lived in the world.
Dorothy Day once wrote: “Our faith is stronger than death, our philosophy is firmer than flesh, and the spread of the Kingdom of God upon the earth is more sublime and more compelling.”
So, do not stay too long on the mountain. The Kingdom of God is waiting to be spread. Sooner or later, we all must turn our eyes from the heavens, and direct them to the earth, and walk back into the world.
Sooner or later, we have to go and make disciples of all nations.
"Deacon Greg", Quoted  at The Anchoress