The Ascension Day

May 13, 2021 by

By Ashley Null, Gafcon:

For the followers of Jesus, his Ascension, which we celebrate today, was a turning point. From then on, they would live in the in-between time, between Jesus leaving this earth and his promised return.

For Christians, that means we are part of this world, but not of it.  We are born here, live here, work here, love and are loved here. We even eventually die here.  But here is not our home. Here is not the source of our power.  Here is not the focus of our hope. 

What are we to do then? We don’t want to be so earthly minded that we are of no heavenly good. But we don’t want the opposite to be true either.  We don’t want to be so focused on “pie in the sky” that we ignore people suffering in our midst.  We can’t solve the world’s problems, but surely, we can put a dent in them!  How do we get the balance right?

Medieval Christians were taught to see the institutional church as the beachhead of the Kingdom of God in their midst.  Its massive presence in everyday life was supposed to be where God’s will was done on earth as it was in Heaven.  When the church wielded earthly power and influence, as it often did, it was always to be a practical way to advance God’s agenda in the world.

But by the time Cranmer and the English Reformers experienced the institutional church of their day, they were convinced that something had gone terribly wrong.  The noble idea for the church to use worldly wealth, prestige and authority to glorify Christ had, in fact, corrupted both its leadership in how they lived their lives and the message of the Gospel they promoted.  As Article 19 of the Thirty-Nine Articles states: “the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.”  Even as the Medieval Church stressed more and more the need for sinners to prove themselves worthy of God’s forgiveness by their attempts at holiness, the clerical leadership was increasingly conformed not to Christ, but to the sins of the world.

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