Post Living in the Ascension
Lord of infinity,
Stooping so tenderly,
Lifts our humanity
To the heights of his throne.
Amidst much material which is time-locked these are some of the most profoundly exciting words that have come from song-writer, Graham Kendrick.
There are two questions which are prompted by events like the Ascension of Jesus which was remembered as part of the Christian calendar on Thursday.
What is the meaning of what happened?
If like me you are finding that the first question has dropped down your must-have-an-answer list then the second becomes far more interesting. This is why I find those words from Kendrick’s hymn, Meekness and Majesty so arresting.
There are echoes of Paul writing to the Ephesians (4:7-8) in Kendrick’s words. In Paul the ascension of Christ both disarms the powers and enables the release of gifts to the new humanity.The Ascension rehabilitates human nature. It is lifted up or back towards its original capacity to reflect the glory of God.
What significance has this for living now?
In an earlier letter to the Roman Retirement Village Philippi, Paul tells those Christians that more than being a colony of Rome’s accredited citizens they are in fact of colony of heaven established by the ascended Christ and they can anticipate that citizenship in all its completeness being mindful of all that is true, honourable, just, pure, – the list goes on (Phil 4:8) and can be summed up thus – appreciate!
There are signs of heaven all around us when we have the eyes that see and the ears that are in tune with the work of God.
This is what I mean by living in the Ascension.
At a mundane level this would guide my choice of television viewing, more significantly it would direct my theatre going and exploration of the Arts.
As for my investment in the church I would wonder what a particular congregation did about justice, dealing with its own conflicts and the signs of desiring excellence in its services.
And in the widest sense I would want to enjoy and affirm anything that built up unity in diversity and developed values in my country that were defined by mutual-growth rather tolerance and trust rather than cynicism.