Posts Tagged ‘ascension’

…or one of the importances, anyway, appears in the Kontakion (a kind of hymn) of the Great Feast of the Ascension commemorated last Thursday:

When Thou fulfilledst Thy Dispensation for our sake, uniting things on earth with the Heavens, Thou ascendedst in Glory, O Christ Our God, but departing not hence, remaining inseparable from us, and crying unto them that love Thee: “I am with you, and no one shall be against you!” *

Translations into English may vary, including breaking-off the participial phrases into separate sentences or subordinate clauses.¬† (Sorry, I’m an English major whom they let study Greek! ūüėČ )¬† But Patristics often calls Christ’s Incarnation His “Dispensation;” thus His Ascension into Heaven “fulfilled the Incarnation,” or completed it.¬† How?¬† “Uniting things on earth with the Heavens.”¬† Orthodox Christology maintains that in His Incarnation, Christ united the created with the Uncreated “without confusion, change, division, or separation” of either human nature or Divine (IV Ecumenical Synod, Chalcedon).¬† This is made even clearer in His Ascension: the humanity that He raised from the dead at Pascha, He enthroned in heaven with the Father and the Holy Spirit at His bodily Ascension forty days later.¬† This may even be suggested by the idea that in the Gospel and Epistles of¬†the Holy Apostle and Evangelist¬†John the Theologian,¬†“He is the vine and we are the branches” (see John 15),¬†bringing us also upward to Heaven¬†after Him at His Ascension, if we wish it with our lives, ie, if we truly are branches of Him, drawing His Uncreated Energy into ourselves by every means possible and manifesting it in our lives by His Graciousness.

Then, the Lord’s Ascension isn’t merely a neat trick, a grand finale, a big farewell, a UFO, or a metaphor, but the final act in His work on earth for our salvation, which work on earth was not complete until then.

(*–Adapted from the Jordanville Prayerbook.)