Look, Up in the Sky!Fr. Barnabas Powell
Chris is Ascended!
Have you ever met someone who had great potential but wasted their gifts by either not applying themselves or simply using their gifts badly? I have, and it is such a tragedy to watch someone who could really make something of themselves squander their gifts.
This what I am convinced the angels think when they see us flailing around with our lives when we were created to be so much more!
This is the significance of the Feast we celebrate today. The Feast of the Ascension is such a spiritual treasure house of beauty and wisdom and spiritual insight that to miss these insights impoverish our souls.
There is so much to say but let’s focus on one mystery of the Ascension – the Bodily Ascension of the Lord. After the Lord was resurrected, He appeared to the disciples for 40 days, and the last day He spent with them He took them to Mount Olivet where He ascended to heaven. But notice that He took His Resurrected and Physical Body into heaven with Him. We know it was His physical body because He had taken great pains to prove to the disciples over and over again that He wasn’t a ghost! He even ate a piece of fish in front of the disciples to make this very point.
So, why take His resurrected body into heaven? Why seat this physical body of our Lord at the right side of the Father in heaven? Why rise slowly into heaven rather than make like Superman and zip up into heaven?
Here’s why: Our Lord Jesus united the Physical and the Spiritual in Himself. Our great dilemma was that our disobedience had separated us from our only Source of life in our Creator. And this had set up divisions in all sorts of places, even between the physical and the spiritual. Christ comes and unites all of this in Himself and “what God has joined together, let not man put asunder!”
So, our Lord takes His resurrected and deified Body into heaven showing that we, too, can and should make our way to where He is. If we allow His Spirit to so permeate our lives, we, too, will acquire the Holy Spirit and our resurrected bodies will also be fitted by God’s grace to ascend to the heavens, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
You see, my dearest, it is the enemy’s plan to always get you to forget or be ignorant of your cosmic calling to “become by grace what Christ is by nature,” to acquire the Holy Spirit and to have even your very flesh prepared to enjoy eternal life as God’s companion. If he can get you to give away your inheritance in Christ and squander your life on vain pursuits, he can rob you of your intended place with Christ. The whole of the Orthodox faith is to fight this temptation and to train even your very physical body how to have every aspect of your person baptized by the deifying power of Christ’s Life.
Today, as we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord, know He has gone before us to blaze the trail we, too, are meant to travel. Today, don’t get sidetracked or tricked into accepting lesser visions for your life. Keep your eye on Christ and know you were created to follow Him into heaven!