[17MAY2012] Eastertide | Ascension Day
O Almighty God, whose blessed Son our savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abideth with his church on earth, even unto the end of the ages; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
“But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you. But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.” John 16:5-9
The Church celebrates the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ on this day. What that means may be recognized and interpreted in as many different ways as there are people who follow after Jesus… but I do know this; the Ascension of Jesus Christ is hugely, magnificently, overwhelmingly, significant to me and the current context of my life.
For the past few weeks, I have been examining my heart, my motive, my dreams, my understanding of Scripture, and the mission of Christ in my life. So I am not misunderstood, my faith hasn’t been in crisis, but I have been taking note at the odds by which my personal beliefs about the teachings of Jesus seem to diverge from the mainstream of Christian America. This has disturbed me and has been the source of my inner reflection and soul examination. You see, I believe that we, every Christ following believer, can live the life that Jesus lived while he walked the earth. I believe this because he said we could do it. Likewise, I also believe the teachings he espoused in the Beattitudes and The Sermon on the Mount are true and livable expectations for people who have determined to live a life of self-denial and Christ-likeness as they pursue the kingdom of God on this earth while waiting for the ultimate and glorious return of Jesus for the eternal kingdom. The conflict is this; while some people profess to believe these things likewise, there are few that I have met personally, who are intent on pursuing them. I realize this may sound critical and judgmental, and I apologize for that, but it has been my experience.
“We who have once for all cloned ourselves in Christ, and been made worthy to have him dwelling within us, may show everyone, if we choose, simply by the strict discipline of our life and without saying a word, the power of him who dwells in us.” John Chrysostom
This past week I had a break-through of sorts and realized that my discontent was founded in the sense that what I was seeing was true. I also realized that I could not allow the discontent to swell to discouragement. I resolved to continue the course that God has set my heart on; I will press on toward living the kingdom as full as I possibly can on this side of eternity. I will settle for nothing less than all that Jesus has promised. Those persons, believers they may be, who are misguided in their understanding of the promises of God (Galatians 3:12-21), I will pray for them. I will press on with the conviction God has placed in my heart.