Thursday, May 02, 2013
Ascension Day offers us a clear and hopeful alternative to the humanism which led Adam and Eve into spiritual exile in a harsh and cruel world of toil and sweat, or the frustration and confusion of the Tower of Babel.
When our dear Lord was “taken up” He did not cease to be human. The central truth of our precious faith is summed up in the word Incarnation: in Jesus Christ God truly became man, taking not only our nature but submitting to our condition also, our frailty and our mortality. But this was no brief or temporary episode. He not only became man at Bethlehem or lived as a man at Nazareth or Capernaum He died as a man at Calvary and was Raised as a man on the “third day.” At his Ascension He carried our human nature into heaven, taking our true flesh and blood into the very presence of His Father. In His Ascension we see at last a humanism worthy of the name.
In the Ascension of Jesus Christ we celebrate not only His exaltation but our own final destiny. As He was raised, so we shall be raised from the dead. As He was taken up, we too will be exalted in the presence of His Father.
He promised, “I go to prepare a place for you....In my father’s house there are many mansions.” The Proper Preface for Ascensiontide declares, “That where He is, thither we might also ascend, and reign with Him in glory.” Here is a genuine humanism worthy of the name.
There is no hymn in our hymnal more audacious than Bishop Wordsworth great hymn, "See the conqueror mounts in triumph" with its bold line, "man with God is on the throne." No modern secular humanist ever went so far.