What themes do you think we are to focus on in light of the Ascension of Christ? Why do you think we ignore Ascension?
Acts 1:4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 1:6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
Acts 1:7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
Acts 1:10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
In Tim Perry and Aaron Perry, He Ascended into Heaven: Learn to Live an Ascension-Shaped Life, we are treated to an accessible approach to the reality of the ascension, the theological substance of the ascension, and the significance of the ascension for Christian living. This is an exceptional book and deserving of every teacher’s and pastor’s library. (There are so few books on the Ascension, fewer still on an Ascension-shaped life.)
They make the point that we are to look up, then stop looking up and start looking forward — to the mission of God in this world.
St Augustine thought Ascension Day gave meaning to all other days in the church calendar and the Perrys say he thought it was the climax of the Christian Year.
The Ascension leads us to look back on the life of Jesus: What themes emerge in the life of Jesus once we look up to the Ascension?
The Ascension guides us to the cross: What themes emerge about the cross?
The Ascension teaches us that Jesus is both absent and present at the same time. The Ascension tells us about Jesus’ status more than his location. What is the relationship of the Spirit’s coming and the Son’s leaving?
The Perrys explore three Christian life themes for an Ascension-shaped life: confession of the creed, martyrdom, and the sacraments.