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The political implications of Ascension Day

Ascension Day, May 5, commemorating Christ’s taking His place in the Godhead at the right hand of God the Father, is an important holiday.  Because of His Ascension, Christ fills all things.  Thus, He can be present in the Lord’s Supper; thus, He is present with His church; thus, He rules over all things.  After the jump, read what St. Paul says about the Ascension and read two more striking essays on the holiday, including what Douglas Farrow says about the political implications (so to speak) of Christ’s ascension. [Read more…]

The importance of Christ’s Ascension

Yesterday was Ascension Day, marking the resurrected Christ’s return to His Father.  Pastor Reeder quotes the classic Bible scholar Paul E. Kretzmann on what the Ascension means:

“By His exaltation and ascension the Son of Man, also according to His human body, has entered into the full and unlimited use of His divine omnipresence. His gracious presence is therefore assured to His congregation on earth. He is now nearer to His believers than He was to His disciples in the days of His flesh.

He is now sitting at the right hand of His heavenly Father. As our Brother He has assumed the full use of the divine power and majesty. He reigns with omnipotence over all things, but especially also over His Church. God has put all things under His feet, and has given Him to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all, Eph. 1, 22. 23.

By His Word and Sacrament He gathers unto Himself a congregation and Church upon earth. He works in and with His servants; He governs in the midst of His enemies. He preserves and protects His Church against all the enmity of the hostile world and against the very portals of hell. And His intercession before His heavenly Father makes our salvation a certainty, Rom. 8, 34.”

via On the Lord’s Ascension « Pastor Reeder’s Blog.

Strangely, the Reformed use the Ascension as an argument against the presence of Christ in the sacrament.  (“Jesus isn’t here any more.  He’s in Heaven.”)  But Lutherans use the Ascension as an argument for the Real Presence, since now the Son of God, having taken His place in the Godhead, is omnipresent.

Happy belated Ascension Day

That was yesterday.  Sorry I missed it.  Ascension Day marks an important event, but it is odd the way Protestants interpret it in two opposite ways.  For the Reformed, that Christ ascended into Heaven means that this is where His body is, so it can’t be on the altars of churches celebrating Holy Communion.  But Lutherans say that the taking up of the man Jesus into the Godhead makes the doctrine of the Real Presence possible, since now this flesh and blood human being shares the attributes of the Trinity, including omnipresence.

Happy Ascension Day

Today is Ascension Day, the 40th day after Easter, commemorating the day on which our Risen Lord ascended into Heaven and sits on the right hand of the Father Almighty.

It’s odd that the significance of Christ’s ascension is taken in two opposite ways: The Reformed say that it means Christ is ABSENT, no longer on earth, so that His real presence in the sacrament is impossible. Lutherans say that it means Christ, at the right hand of Power, His human nature assumed into the Holy Trinity, can now be omnipresent, so that He CAN be on every altar.

Ascension Day used to be a hugely important day in the church year. How can we bring it back?

Chesterton on the Trinity

Eglise_Saint-Samson,_Bobital,_Côtes_d'armor,_France,_La_Trinité,_rosace,_facade_ouest,_5685

Yesterday was Trinity Sunday, following close upon Ascension (the incarnate Son taking His place in the Godhead) and Pentecost (the Holy Spirit poured out upon the Church).

Do you want to know a good Scripture verse to prove the doctrine of the Trinity?  “God is love” (1 John 4:8; 1 John 4:16).  Love is a union of distinct persons.  If love is at the essence of God, then He is a union of distinct persons, only supremely so–a perfect, absolute union of the three persons:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Having a Triune God is very different from having a god of other kinds of monotheism.

I remember reading G. K. Chesterton on the Trinity, who makes this point in an unforgettable way.  I dug up a couple of his quotations on the subject, which you can read after the jump.

 

By Emeltet (Own work), Eglise Saint-Samson, Bobital, Côtes d’armor, France, La Trinité, rosace, facade ouest, [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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“Now He Is Very Near”

640px-Jelenia_G._Church_ascending

Happy Ascension Day!

Some people think that Christ’s ascension into Heaven means that He is no longer with us.  Not so.  His ascension back into the Godhead means that now He can be with us, more so now than when He was in the flesh two millennia ago.

Because of His ascension, He can promise, “I am with you always, to the end of the age”  (Matthew 28:20).  The Ascended Lord is with us in the bread and wine of Holy Communion, where two or three are gathered in His Name, in the hearts of those who believe in Him, and in His Church.

Far from being gone, Christ now “fills all things”:

He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things. (Ephesians 4:10)

All things!

After the jump, read a profound passage from a sermon by Martin Luther on Ascension Day. [Read more…]