Saturday, May 19, 2007

This Week's Sermon

Not had time to write much this week, and this evening has been spent putting together services for tomorrow, so here is one of the sermons I will be using tomorrow... Again, a taster, and if you do want to continue then click at the end...

Year C Easter 7, Sunday after Ascension, 2007

A Time of Promise

Ascension day, which was on Thursday just gone is an important time in the Church’s year. It’s one of those feasts which members of the Church often overlook., but I believe it to be a valuable time when we remember the reason behind who we are asChristians.

Now many people have problems with the very idea of the Ascension – in our sophisticated technological world we wonder about the mechanics of it. We now know that the world is not flat with heaven ‘up there’ as our early Church brothers and sisters believed. Images of our Lord rising into the clouds to be received into the bosom of the Father no longer have that ring to them as when we simply believed there was hell, earth and heaven in three tiers all stacked upon each other. The picture of the feet sticking out of the ceiling, like the sculpture in the chapel of the Ascension at Walsingham, are rather comical instead of awe inspiring. But I believe that the mechanics are unimportant – what we do know is that somehow Christ was taken to be with the Father in bodily form, and that those who saw it could only describe it as Jesus rising to where they believed God lived – upwards. [more]


Nick said...

I think it was about affirming that he had indeed left the Earth physically. If he had just vanished, they might expect him to pop up again a week later... because that is what he had been doing a lot of the time post resurrection.

Rising up from the Earth and vanishing inside a cloud is a pretty good way to signify you aren't coming back in a way that others might already expect. It is especially significant because in those days people believed the kingdoms of the heavens, Earth and the underworld pretty much stacked on top of one another... so Jesus was playing to contemporary man's limited understanding.

It wouldn't surprise me if some whacked out scientist had tried to predict Jesus trajectory based on approximate dates.

You are right, we shouldn't let the physical aspects of ascension cloud (pardon pun) our understanding of what it means and what is expected of us as a response.



Tom said...

Jesus's life post resurrection is a bit confusing for me. His disciples didn't recognize him, he walked through locked doors, and then he floated to heaven on a cloud.

Kinda leads me to think that resurrected man (because he was the first to be resurrected) won't be exactly like man right now. Probably for the best.

Nick said...

I've read some interesting theoretical stuff on the "resurrection body". When Paul states that we shall all be "changed" he apparently used the Greek word referring to atoms. One theory I read actually suggested that the resurrection body is made up of neutrons (whereas we are made of protons and electrons). Neutrons can travel through solid matter and yet remain solid themselves.

Of course it's justy theory and we shouldn't get hung up too much on stuff like that... but it is interesting.

As to the disciples not recognising him... I think it's made pretty clear that they were "kept" from recognising him by the Holy Spirit. For whatever reason God wanted people to be at a certain point before his risen son revealed himself to them.

I guess this was about getting an honest reaction from his followers... and bringing them to a point where they understood why everything had to happen... before actually showing the fulfillment of what he had done.

Kind of makes me think a little about Henry V where the king wanders round his troops in disguise listening to what they are saying about him.