Weekly Pastoral Message prepared by Rev. Murray Adamthwaite
for Sunday 27th April 1997
From the Pastor: The Ascension II
When we ponder on the Ascension it raises some questions from our modern
viewpoint. In particular, does it not envisage Heaven as "up there" in the
spatial sense, when we know that "up there" is outer space in which are the
planets and stars, to which spacecraft have gone or are going? Is then the
Ascension credible in our modern world, since it has Christ visibly going "up
into the clouds"?|
In reply, we must first realize that the notion of a flat earth with a heaven
suspended above was not generally held in the first century, and the Bible
itself teaches a round earth "hanging on nothing". See Isaiah 40:22; Job 26:7.
More substantially, however, the Ascension involved not only a spatial removal
but a removal into a different realm. Both are important. The first emphasized
to the disciples, and to us too, the exaltation of our Lord; the second
emphasized His transformation for the Heavenly realm. Hence He was both "taken
up", and "received out of sight".
Let us remember also that when He comes we too will rise from our graves and be
"taken up" to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17), ever to be with
Him. The Ascension guarantees this hope.