Ascension Day!

Today is Ascension Day! 

Today (and this coming Sunday for many of us) we celebrate what one of my professors called the fourth and final 'salvific mystery' or saving accomplishment of Christ that is recounted in the Creeds: after being born among us of the Virgin Mary, after suffering and dying to take away our sins on the cross, after rising from the dead with New Creation Life, Christ has also ascended into heaven, taking our fully restored human nature into the throne room, into the closest intimacy with the Father. 

When the divine Logos (Word) himself took on human nature and "became flesh and dwelt among us" he brought human nature and divine nature together in his person (as St. Athanasius emphasizes in his famous treatise, On the Incarnation).  Now he brings his human nature with him back into heaven, to the right hand of God the Father.  In so many different ways, it is Jesus Christ who brings God and humanity together, who reconciles us and makes "at-one-ment" to happen. 

For United Methodists, our books of worship and liturgy give us three prayer options for our Ascension celebration (Hymnal 323, Book of Worship 403 and 404).  Here is a prayer for this high holy day from The United Methodist Book of Worship:

Almighty God, your 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 abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the world; through the same your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

(The United Methodist Book of Worship 403 - taken from the Scottish Book of Common Prayer)

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