Today we continue our Easter celebrations by remembering Jesus' ascension into heaven. The hymn we sing at evening prayer captures the feel of this feast day:
Eternal Monarch, King most high,
Whose blood hath brought redemption nigh,
By Whom the death of Death was wrought,
And conquering grace’s battle fought.
Ascending to the throne of might,
And seated at the Father’s right,
All power in Heav’n is Jesu’s own,
That here His manhood had not known.
That so, in nature’s triple frame,
Each heav’nly and each earthly name,
And things in hell’s abyss abhorred,
May bend the knee and own Him Lord.
Yea, angels tremble when they see
How changed is our humanity;
That flesh hath purged what flesh had stained,
And God, the Flesh of God, hath reigned.
Be Thou our joy and strong defense,
Who art our future recompense;
So shall the light that springs from Thee
Be ours through all eternity.
O risen Christ, ascended Lord,
All praise to Thee let earth accord,
Who art, while endless ages run,
With Father and with Spirit One.
Crucially, today is about the glorification of Jesus' humanity. At the ascension, Jesus doesn't stop being human, but rather takes our human nature to the throne of God. A human being is enthroned in heaven, and worshipped by angels. "God, the Flesh of God, hath reigned."
Through our baptism we share in the risen humanity of Jesus. And every human being who has ever lived, or will, live has something in common with the ascended Jesus simply in virtue of their humanity. Today let's recommit ourselves to recognising the dignity of every human being, to building a world which respects that dignity, to living as Christians as a sign of hope to those around us, and to giving thanks for what God has done for us through Jesus, risen from the dead and ascended into heaven.