The power and the presence
The power and the presence
Christ’s resurrection and ascension are referred to as two aspects of one reality. The ascension is the end of his physical appearances to his disciples and the beginning of Christ’s spiritual presence among them. Where the physical ends, the spiritual somehow begins. The spiritual represents a higher reality which can subsist on its own. The spiritual gives the physical its soul and its significance. In death, the spiritual separates from the physical. In the resurrection and ascension, the spiritual, by its own power, reunites with the physical for the fullness of life in God.
Christianity is about a power and a presence that encompass the physical and the institutional. The resurrection and ascension assert Christ’s power among us as we are commissioned to bring his presence into the world. Christianity is about the continuing presence of God in the Church which is not a fortress to keep the world out. God’s presence is brought to the world through the lives of believers. The church is people who are imbued with the Spirit. United by the spirit, our being church is a living testament of a people who adheres to the power of the resurrection and ascension in our lives. Our being church is a witness of God’s presence in a world that has lost its sense of the spiritual and the eternal.
The power and presence of Spirit in our lives should make us behave with humility and boldness.
Humility should deter us from the tendency to rely heavily on our particular talents and assets whenever we undertake something. We are often tempted to forget God’s role in our activity and to claim personal credit for our so-called successes. St Paul asserts: “Who confers distinction upon you? What do you possess that you have not received? But if you have received it, why are you boasting as if you did not receive it? (1 Corinthians 4:7) The efficacy of our actions is due to Christ’s power acting through us. We are mere instruments in God’s hands.
Christ’s presence and power in our lives should inspire us with boldness. We can boldly venture into undertakings which appear daunting or even impossible if we rely on ourselves and on our limited resources. If we look at the saints, we see that they boldly tackled projects which at first sight seemed absolutely beyond their capacity, simply because they knew they could count on Christ’s presence. Acting on faith, they went forth and did the impossible.
If Christ is the one working through us, how could we brag about our so-called accomplishments? And on the other hand, if Christ is working through us, why should we fear to undertake great things for his kingdom?