Monday, May 21, 2007

Ascension -- Christ Fills All Through the Church

Thursday was the Feast of the Ascension. Christ's ascension is a critical aspect of his redemptive that is often not much though about. The truth is, the ascension beings the incarnation full circle. If Jesus did not ascend, we could not have salvation. The ascension enabled Jesus to release what accomplished for us through his life, death and resurrection. Until the ascension what he acheieved was, in a sense, only something he acheieved for himself. But the asension enabled the release of his redmeptive power into every corner of the cosmos.

Paul's words at the end of Ephesians 1 speak to this in a most intriguing way. He writes:

These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might hich He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

This text is dense with ideas. Let me draw your attention to the last sentence. Because of the Ascension, Jesus is head over all things TO the Church. The Church is the body of the ascended Christ which is the fulness of him and which fills all and is in all. Wow. Wow. This is the most amazing statement about the value of the Church. The ascended Christ now fills all and is in all. I think we can fill in a blank here and say he does that through the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit does not make Christ present as a stand alone act. The Holy Spirit makes the ascended Christ present through the Church. As the Church fills all the Spirit fills all. As the Spirit fills all, the ascended Christ fills all.

These ideas have implications for instrumental ecclesiologies.

These ideas have implications for the missional nature of the Church.

These ideas have implications for the worship of the Church.

This is why both the Apostles and Nicene Creeds are constructed in four sections:
1. The Father
2. The Son
3. The Spirit
4. The Church

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