From the editor: May 30, 2014
The Ascended Lord
The Feast of the Ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was yesterday. Every year, when I hear the story from the Book of Acts, I feel like I have arrived a day late and am still trying to catch up. I just missed him! Perhaps the Apostles who were craning their necks to see the Lord ascend felt something similar. The Lord had just told his disciples, "I will be with you always, even to the end of the age." So now he leaves!
The two angels must have read the minds of the Apostles ("Wait! Wait!"), whom they reassured, saying that this "same Jesus" would return "in like manner" as he departed. The Apostles also were instructed to wait for the Lord's next move, which would be the descent of the Holy Spirit. They were not in control of events, but only the recipients of grace and a commission to fulfill.
But everything they had seen was simply too much to take in. 2000 years later, we're still taking the measure of the Incarnation of the Son of God and his Resurrection and Ascension into heaven. Based on what the Apostles saw with their own eyes and touched with her own hands, a Man—with flesh and blood, who broke bread and ate with them—had now gone up to heaven.
And our destiny as flesh and blood creatures lies exactly there—out of our sight—but it is still a place we can see by faith, which is the assurance of things not seen.
We have an eschatological hope of Resurrection only through the offering of the flesh and blood of the Sinless Lord, who now is become in that very Resurrected and Ascended flesh the Mediator—the Bridge—between God and Man.
But while we are waiting for the Lord to return ("come down"), we are invited to come up! Really? Just read Heb. 12:22-24. "You have come to Mount Zion...to Jesus, the mediator..." Is this mere wordplay or does not the church gathered for worship ascend "upward" or heavenward so that we find that the Lord is in our midst?
Thus St. Paul urges us to set our mind on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Our true life "is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, we will appear with him in glory." (Col. 3:1-4)
Our response? "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you"! Sin corrupts us, sickens us, impedes the life of Jesus in our mortal bodies. Why look down when we should be looking up?
Yours for Christ, Creed & Culture,
—James M. Kushiner