I am writing on Ascension Day. The ascension of Jesus is a forgotten doctrine of the church. If we rediscovered it, I believe it will go a long way to balance our need for our inner life in Jesus and our outer life of ministry and mission for Jesus. Ascension is very Third Way.
- It is the Ascension of Jesus which commissions us in our mission: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore…” (Matthew 28.19).
- It is from his seat of authority that Jesus as the Lamb of God receives the final commission to complete the launch of God’s rule over the cosmos. (Revelation 5.1-14).
- It is in his ascension that we are promised his return . He returns with authority as the Crucified One (John 19.37; Revelation 1.7). His wounds harmonizing with our wounds (Revelation 7.14-17).
Now a practical example. This is a letter I wrote to a young colleague as they approached their ordination into ministry. Although the circumstances of writing were toward a specific order of ministry, the application is for all who are commissioned by Jesus to GO – the entire Church.
Dear _________ ,
I am very pleased that your certification for ordination to the _________ passed unanimously. After signing-off on the document on Sunday, my secretary faxed a copy to the Bishop and the COM well in time for their meeting this month. My prayers follow you there and as your ordination approaches.
It has been my particular privilege to come to know you over the years, to support you financially, to pray for you regularly, and to give thanks for the work of God being done within you. As a fellow-pastor who has learned the immense value of teaching and walking with the Lord from within my own brokenness, I want to encourage you to take the risk to share your story with those whom God sends your way. Your experience has the hand of God all over it. He placed this trial in your life for His purpose: to minister to those who will have similar experiences that stand in the way of a deeper relationship with Him. Follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit when it comes. Use this experience as His gift.
As you begin your ________ I am sure there are times when you wonder what sort of mark you will make. We all want to serve. We all want to make God’s Kingdom real because we genuinely care for people. We all want to make our mark for good. I want to share something with you.
- You will never know when you are making your mark until after the time is passed. We just don’t know.
- We also can become overly concerned with who is for us and who is against us.
How do you resolve the tensions of these two realities? Rather ask yourself this: whom it is you are for. Always remember how God, in His authority over all things earthly and heavenly, perfectly positions all those who are totally devoted to Him. It is our total devotion to our Savior, knowing how our marks share His marks (2 Corinthians 4.7-12), that we remain useable instruments for His Kingdom and His glory!
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
With every good wish,