It’s Ascension Day, a very important feast in the Christian calendar, which (like so many important feasts) is little noticed today.
I read something in one of Francis Schaeffer’s books a long time ago that left an impression on me. I’m pretty sure he was citing someone else. The idea was that the importance of the Ascension is (at least in part) that it proclaims the physical existence of Heaven. According to the testimony of witnesses, Jesus had (after the Resurrection) an actual body that could be touched and consumed food. And that body went somewhere. Not to a “philosophical other,” but to some place where bodies can live.
“The Ascension of Christ” from the Bamberg Apocalypse, 11th Century
Today is Ascension Day in the Christian calendar. I won’t tell you what it’s called in Norwegian, because you’ll laugh.
All right, I’ll tell you if you insist. But don’t laugh.
Ascension Day is one of those sadly neglected church festivals that’s actually pretty meaningful. Ascension Day ties up the bow of the Resurrection, you might say. It finishes the operation, resolves the chord.
It has a number of implications. I saw a list today, and there were more than I’d ever thought about.
But I’ll mention the one that I remember, one Francis Schaeffer mentioned in one of his books.
Ascension Day verifies the physicality of Christian faith.
If you believe (and if you don’t, you’re not really a Christian) that Jesus rose from the dead with a body – a functioning body that could be touched and that ate food – then where is that body now?
The Ascension tells us that it’s with God in Heaven. Not some “metaphysical other.” Not the land of spirits and ghosts and legends. Some physical place. You can’t hide a body in a myth.
A place, as He promised, where we will be also someday.