“Urges Us On”


For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

As is readily apparent, I have fallen off quite suddenly in blogging daily. As my daily blogs have been reflections on my practice of Lectio Divina, it is not too hard to see, then, that I have also fallen off my regular practices of spiritual disciplines (including going to the seminary’s morning prayers regularly, praying, regular intervals of silence, getting enough sleep, and time dwelling in the Word). Like my physical diet lately, my personal “diet” of activities has consisted of “junk food” and “comfort food,” rather than wholesome, satisfying activities. I have a movie playing constantly, Facebook is ever before me, and my attention is sated rather than sharpened.

And yesterday was Ascension Day. In the midst of finishing the semester, and exams, and papers, and trying to find a summer placement, the Church Year bursts in and reminds me that Jesus Christ not only died for me and rose again, but “ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God.” While I am working and stressing and striving to sustain my own fragile kingdom, Christ is the true King, ruling and ordering and sustaining all of creation. It’s easy to miss Ascension Day; it sneaks in right before Pentecost, which is so much flashier. But we miss it at the risk of a lopsided gospel:

Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 49:
Q: How does Christ’s ascension to heaven benefit us?
A: First, he pleads our cause in heaven in the presence of his Father.
Second, we have our own flesh in heaven — a guarantee that Christ our head will take us, his members, to himself in heaven.
Third, he sends his Spirit to us on earth as a further guarantee. By the Spirit’s power we make the goal of our lives, not earthly things, but the things above where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand.

Christ the King reigns in heaven. His kingdom, and my future, is sure. His Spirit is here now, and “urges us on” to “make the goal of our lives, not earthly things, but the things above where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand.” Thanks be to God for the gift of His Son, and His Spirit for us.

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