Thursday, 1 May 2008

Ascension Day

"In the days of His earthly ministry, only those who could speak to him came where He was: if He was in Galilee, men could not find Him in Jerusalem; if He was in Jerusalem, men could not find Him in Galilee. His Ascension means that He is perfectly united with God; we are with Him wherever we are present to God; and that is everywhere and always. Because He is "in Heaven" He is everywhere on earth: because He is ascended, He is here now. Our devotion is not to hold us by the empty tomb; it must lift up our hearts to heaven so that we too "in heart and mind thither ascend and with Him continually dwell": it must also send us forth into the world to do His will; and these are not two things, but one." (William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury)

Really, this says it all, which is why I read it to the faithful this morning. A great thought that it's not about Jesus going "Beam me up Daddy" and the embryonic Church looking up to see two wee pierced feet sticking out of a cloud (or am I the only one who finds the artwork in the Ascension Chapel in the Anglican Shrine at Walsingham totally risible?). A living Christian faith isn't defined by defending the redoubt of an empty tomb but by conforming our humanity to the restored and tranformed humanity of the Risen and Ascended Christ and in living that out in the world today. Returning in Christ to the original integrity of the God who described the Divine nature as "I will be" and living in the power of and with the presence of the Spirit. Very Trinitarian. Oops..that's a fortnight away! Never mind, it all joins up.

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