“Lift up your gates, O you princes and be lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the king of glory shall enter in.”
Dear brothers and sisters – Greetings on this joyful feast of the Ascension, as we celebrate the Saviour ascending with our humanity into the Kingdom of God, where He is for ever human as well as divine, knowing the joys and sorrows, the challenges and trials of our lives, because He lived such a life.
In this knowledge, we pray to Him as One who joined Himself to us in the mystery of His Incarnation.
We pray to Him as One who started life as a refugee in the flight to Egypt; as One who wandered and had nowhere to call His own; as One who lived in simplicity and non-acquisitiveness; as One who hungered and thirsted; as One who wept and felt sorrow; as One who experienced torture and pain; as One who understood betrayal and condemnation; as One who endured and embraced human-nature and human life for the sake of humanity – to redeem it, perfect it, and raise it in glory.
We take comfort that in His self-abasement the ascended Lord deigned to live among us, sharing human life with us and showing us the promise of future life in the age to come, as He takes the ‘robe of Adam’ to be glorified in the Heavenly Kingdom: a promise and calling for each of us who have been baptised into His death and glorious resurrection.
Do you see then to what height of glory human nature has been raised? Is it not from earth to heaven? Is it not from corruption to incorruption? How hard would not someone toil in order to become the intimate friend of a corruptible king here below? But we, although we were alienated and hostile in our intent by evil deeds, have not only been reconciled to God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, but we have also soared aloft to sonship, and now our nature is worshipped in the heavens by every creature seen and unseen.
St Ephrem the Syrian
Wishing you all a happy and joyful feast.
May God bless you all.
In Christ – Hieromonk Mark