"Love! Do you know the meaning of the word?" 'How should I not?' said the Lady, 'I am in love...in Love Himself.'
~C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Ascension

Today marks the 40th day since Easter and thus the Christian celebration of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven. The Ascension is a critical piece in Christian theology for numerous reasons. It was the pre-requisite for the sending of the Holy Spirit into the world. It was the final glorification of Jesus, who not only returned victorious from his battle with sin and death, but now is enthroned in the Holy City where he is worshipped day and night by the saints and angels in light.

But one of the key ideas associated with the Ascension is that we now have a Mediator who has ascended into the heavens where he lives to make constant intercession for us.

"It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us." (Rom. 8:34) Christ's intercessory work is tied closely to his ascension. Why? I believe because a mediator needs to be able to talk to both sides, both parties. In the context of Faith, Christians have always referred to God as the Other. Some have argued that you can have an Analogia Entis (analogy of being) but many, myself included, have concluded that there is a definitive line drawn between Creator and creature. It was a line that could only be mediated by one who was both Created and uncreated, divine and human, God and man.

Thus, Jesus Christ came in the flesh as the Son of the Virgin. He lived, died, and was raised from the dead in that same flesh. He has now taken our human flesh back to God. That is, the line has been crossed and re-crossed by Jesus. He can now plead our case in the throne room of his Father. He can be touched by our infirmities because he has experienced them and carries the marks of pain in his body. He knows our temptations, our weaknesses, and can plead for us as only one familiar with human strife and suffering can.

That is why St. Paul came to the conclusion "that there is one Mediator between God and men, the MAN Christ Jesus." (I Tim. 2:5) God could intercede for us prior to the Incarnation, but how much greater and perfect is the mediation of God and Man united in one Person constantly interceeding before the Father.

That is the beauty of the Ascension. Our human form has access to God Almighty through the manhood of God the Son in eternal proximity to the Father. Further, our needs, our sadness, our joy is truly felt in heaven.

"Alleluia! not as orphans are we left in sorrow now.
Alleluia! he is with us, faith believes nor questions how.
Intercessor, Friend of Sinners, Earth's Redeemer plead for me!
Where the songs of all the sinless, sweep across the crystal sea." William Dix

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the reminder in the last paragraph, that our needs, sadness and joy are truly felt in heaven. I really needed to hear that this week.