In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Christ is in our midst! He is and shall be!
This evening we begin our celebration of the Great Feast of the Ascension our Lord – our commemoration of His return in body to His proper place, seated at the right hand of God the Father. This is a tremendously important Feast, and one that often doesn’t get the attention and the teaching and the reverence that it deserves. There are, of course, many different ways that we could approach the Feast this evening, but I’d like us to do so from a particular perspective:  what is the importance of the Ascension of the Lord for our complete and eternal salvation?
This requires a few reminders, things to have at the forefront of our minds: God the Word, creator of the universe, took flesh from the Virgin Mary, and became man. He became fully and completely man – Jesus of Nazareth, in every way like us, with the exception of sin. He lived a normal life on this earth, the life of a 1st century Jew in Palestine. When He had reached His 33rd year, in the midst of His miraculous earthly ministry, He gave Himself over to be crucified for our salvation. He gave Himself into the hands of sinners, showing us in the most dramatic way possible the extent of God’s love for His creation. He died a terrible death in His fully and completely human body, subjecting Himself to that most unnatural and terrible of human fates, death. Three days later, as part of this series of events that define all of human history (history before is defined by Christ, and history since is defined by Him), He rose from the grave. And when the women and the Apostles and the Jewish authorities visited His tomb, He was not there, His very body was gone.
His resurrection is not some great spiritual event; Christ rose bodily from the tomb and once again walked the earth. He now had a glorified body, a body like we were destined to have before we became weighed down with sin and death. Christ could eat with the Apostles, and walk through the door. He could be touched by Thomas, and appear or disappear at will. His body was glorified in His resurrection, but it was still the human body of Jesus.
And today we celebrate the Ascension of Christ into the heavens, His return (in a sense) to be seated at the right hand of the Father. He doesn’t ascend as a spirit or an angel – He ascends as the Incarnate Logos of God. The physical body of Christ, risen from the grave, ascends into the clouds in glory. Seated at the right Hand of the Father is a body made of flesh and blood, a body like yours and mine, the body of the Word of God, Jesus the Christ. 
The Father’s tell us that this is why man can be deified not only in soul but also in body – our created flesh is joined to Godhead in Christ for all of eternity. Our bodies will be resurrected unto salvation after the Second Coming of our Lord – soul and body reunited, spending eternity with the Holy Trinity. This is the relationship potential that we have with God! Body and soul, united to the Creator. This is why the places holy people live feel holy – true physical transformation. This is why we have holy relics – the grace of God fills and transforms the bodies of His beloved.
This is the love of God for us .
It should baffle our minds; it is beyond all human comprehension. And it should inspire in us daily the desire to give ourselves completely to Him – like wet clay in the hands of a potter. There is nothing else that matters in this life – there is Christ, and nothing comes before Him. May we all give Him that place in our lives each day.
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

Matthew Jackson

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