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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 17, 2007, 11:27:24 PM

Title: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 17, 2007, 11:27:24 PM
One Ascension Day I was making final preparations for the Service in the upstairs workroom when I heard some fluent Pennsylvania Dutch coming from the Narthex.  Knowing that the few of our members who “speachen zie deutsch” were not likely to arrive so early, I supposed that the Dutch was being spoken by a stranger. My supposition proved correct, for there, in the Narthex, was an Amishman complete with straw hat and chinwhiskers along with an “English” companion--his driver, I presumed.  Steven Miller (an Amish convert) had returned to his family homestead and was showing his professor friend the churches of the area.

Steven was very impressed that we were about to have a worship service, for the Amish regard Ascension Day as a great Holy-day on which none but the most necessary of work should be done.  Perhaps this is motivated by fear, for the Ascension Gospel tells us that ‘this Jesus, who has been taken from you, will return in the same manner.” (Luke); which, when juxtaposed with the warning that “on that day two men will be working in the field, one will be taken, and one will be left?” (Matthew) could give rise to the notion that those working on Ascension Day were risking their own personal parousia.  Irrespective, it is faithful.

But Steven also had many questions about how we were worshiping that night, for, of course, the Nave was filled with helium balloons.   The questions were sincere and curious, not sarcastic and critical.  The questions were good because they caused me to reflect on ‘why we do what we do.”

The balloons, on one level, are simply a play on the word Ascension.    A balloon ascension is appropriate for Ascension Day.  The releasing of the balloons is all the more appropriate because the very action causes the worshiper to gaze into the heavens, until the balloon vanishes from sight’ becoming like the Eleven who stood watching their Lord ascend until He was no longer visible.

This is in contrast to the beginning of the Lent-Easter-Pentecost cycle, the Paschal journey, for, on Ash Wednesday, our eyes are cast down and our heads are bowed.  Forty days prior to Easter we are confronted by the dust of the earth--forty days after Easter we look with joy to the heavens.   Or, as expressed fourth century hymn by John of Damascus:

      From death to life eternal, from this world to the sky
      Our Lord has brought us over with songs of victory .


There is a progression from the solid state of ashes, through the liquid of Baptismal water at Easter, to the buoyant gas that propels the message-bearing balloons. 

Paradoxically, the Paschal journey begins with the substance of a chemical reaction:  Ashes are produced by the burning, or rapid oxidation, of plant material (mostly carbon--which chemistry students will know to be one of most reactive of elements..  The journey ends with balloons filled with a chemical that is “inert” and entirely non-reactive.

The fact that the balloons carry with them a message of Christian hope makes this custom all the more fitting, as the farewell words of Jesus are  that “repentance and forgiveness of sins {are} to be preached to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’  (Another name for Jerusalem is Zion).  How wonderful then, that the prophecy of Isaiah finds a fulfillment by our gathering “the word of the Lord shall go forth from Zion” (Isaiah 2:2)

The message borne by the balloons is simply the blessed hope that is the Epistle for Ascension Day:

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you... God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.

The message carried by the balloons has been found by persons as far away as Brooklyn, New York; Delaware; Chambersburg; the outer banks of North Carolina and Smithburg, Maryland.  The dispersion of the message calls to mind another couplet from the ancient hymn:

   The day of resurrection, earth tell it out abroad
   The Passover of gladness, the Passover of God.


The message has found persons who are gladdened and encouraged that at least one congregation still keeps Holy-day and remembers  her Lord’s Ascension.   Perhaps, in that way, we are not all that different from our Amish visitor.

May you be among those who keep Holy-day, giving thanks for the hope to which God has called you.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dave_Poedel on May 19, 2007, 06:09:42 AM
Thank you, Tom.  We celebrated with a community-wide (high school students, faculty, congregational members) Eucharist in the morning.  Unfortunately, since it is final exams week, there will be more looking down at books and notes than looking up....but then again, wasn' that the angels message?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 20, 2007, 07:45:45 PM
Unfortunately, since it is final exams week, there will be more looking down at books and notes than looking up....but then again, wasn' that the angels message?

The looking down vs. looking up motif nearly led me to quote some songs from Les Miserables this year, but I demurred knowing that  most of the congregation had not seen that great musical in any form. 

But "Look down, look down" (the opening) is a perfect fit with the beginning of the Paschal cycle; "Empty chairs" draws us to a last supper setting; and when performed with candlelight "Will you join in our crusade?" has unmistakeable allusions to the Easter Vigil.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 20, 2007, 11:34:07 PM
I had a 3 1/2 hour delay at O'Hare last night (Saturay), and dropped in for mass at the airport chapel. I was interested to learn that in the RC it is an "option" to celebrate the Ascension on the 7th Sunday of Easter. This was also an option in the UMC lectionary when I was a UM pastor, and I generally took it. I see some advantages in it, particularly in communities where there has been no tradition of an Ascension Day celebration. Disadvantages too, I suppose; giving in to the evaporation of the church year and all that. What do you think?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 21, 2007, 12:14:02 AM
I was interested to learn that in the RC it is an "option" to celebrate the Ascension on the 7th Sunday of Easter. This was also an option in the UMC lectionary when I was a UM pastor, and I generally took it. I see some advantages in it, particularly in communities where there has been no tradition of an Ascension Day celebration. Disadvantages too, I suppose; giving in to the evaporation of the church year and all that. What do you think?

Call me a rabid fundamentalist, but to me scripture is clear that Jesus appeared for 40 days after His Resurrection, not 43--which would be the number if Ascension is transferred to 7 Easter. 

Also call me a rabid traditional catholic; but to me it tears at the very fabric of the universal church if we start exercising these "local options" over what should be a universal calendar.  For example, here in the Harrisburg Diocese Ascension is celebrated on the sixth Thursday after Easter, but not in the Philadelphia Archdiocese to the east nor the Baltimore Archdiocese to the south in which their Cardinals have decreed that the moveable Feast shall in fact move a bit further.

In Das Seibenthal we had exactly one-third of our average Sunday attendance present on Thursday evening; a ratio which has slowly improved through the years.  So too has the number of helpers to prepare the balloons; this year there was so much help that the task was completed in 40 minutes rather than the full hour or so in years gone by; providing an unexpected "sabbath" for meditation before the liturgy.

Yes, it is countercultural to try to assemble a sizeable congregation on a weekday.  But I believe that it is part of catechetical obligation to instruct by example that "church" happens on certain days other than Sundays.

Moreover, the Seventh Sunday of Easter should feel slightly like a Sunday in Advent....a time of expectation, awaiting, and anticipating.  Indeed, because today's Epistle refers to Christ as the Morning Star we sang the Niccolai chorale Wie Schorn...

The Seventh Sunday of Easter  is a bit awkward because the Lord has departed  but the promissed Comforter has not yet arrived.  How can we proclaim Christ as present even in that vaccuum if we simply skip from the Ascension celebration to the Pentecost celebration?    My argument parallels that of the framers of the 1978 calendar and liturgy who brought the reading of the Passion to Palm Sunda
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 21, 2007, 08:06:20 PM
Call me a rabid fundamentalist, but to me scripture is clear that Jesus appeared for 40 days after His Resurrection, not 43--which would be the number if Ascension is transferred to 7 Easter. 
Acts 1 talks about the 40 days that Jesus presented himself as alive to them before the Ascension.

Luke 24 has the Ascension on the same day he rose from the dead after two appearances.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 21, 2007, 10:29:49 PM
Call me a rabid fundamentalist, but to me scripture is clear that Jesus appeared for 40 days after His Resurrection, not 43--which would be the number if Ascension is transferred to 7 Easter.
Acts 1 talks about the 40 days that Jesus presented himself as alive to them before the Ascension.

Luke 24 has the Ascension on the same day he rose from the dead after two appearances.

Since Luke is the author of Acts it is unlikely that one who sought to present "an orderly account" to Theophilus would intentionally create an irreconsilable contradiction.  Even if he did, and even if the Ascension occurred on the Day of Resurrection, it did NOT occur 43 days afterward.  The options for celebrating the Ascension according to Luke are day one or day forty.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 21, 2007, 11:04:29 PM
We have services every Thursday evening and Sunday morning, so last week I told the Thurday crowd that instead of them doing Sunday on Thursday as usual, this week the Sunday crowd would be doing Thursday on Sunday since we were doing Ascension for both. Among the many things I'm a huge fan of in theory are pure liturgical practices like no Christmas decorations during advent, Epiphany on Jan. 6 regardless of the day of the week, and Ascension separate from Easter 7. I'm also a big fan of eating right and exercising in the sense that I'll cheer for anyone who does it.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 21, 2007, 11:23:26 PM
Peter,

As one who is swimming upstream in keeping Ascension Thursday I'm glad that you are cheering from the riverbanks.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on April 30, 2008, 05:50:05 PM
As we approach Ascension Day 2008 I am saddened to think that this might well be the final year for the balloon launch.  One of the consequences of Hurricane Katrina and the global petrochemical crisis is that the price of Helium has risen more than the price of gasoline--up 180 percent from a year ago. 

The local welding supply story which had been donating the helium can no longer afford to do so--their donation is that we can obtain the small cylandir at cost, which is $55.00---and much better than the over $100.00 price that would be full retail.

As the Pennsylvania Dutch say, "Ja well, so gates"
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Michael Slusser on April 30, 2008, 06:57:06 PM
I was interested to learn that in the RC it is an "option" to celebrate the Ascension on the 7th Sunday of Easter. This was also an option in the UMC lectionary when I was a UM pastor, and I generally took it. I see some advantages in it, particularly in communities where there has been no tradition of an Ascension Day celebration. Disadvantages too, I suppose; giving in to the evaporation of the church year and all that. What do you think?

In the U.S., the ecclesiatical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Philadelphia and Omaha (!) observe the feast tomorrow (Thursday). The other U.S. provinces shift the observance to Sunday, so more of the people can observe it. It ordinarily gives me the chance to ask, when we read that "a cloud took him from their sight," "What cloud? Have we seen this cloud before?" And of course one can go all the way back. I'm missing that this year, because I am flying to Germany to attend the beatification (solemn declaration that she is among the Blessed) of Margarethe Flesch, an orphan who from girlhood dedicated herself to caring for the poor and for children, was joined by a couple of others, and at the age of 39 discovered herself the foundress of a community of Franciscan sisters. She died in 1906 after 28 years of internal exile within her order (ugly story); well, if they did what they did for her own spiritual good (as they said), they seem to have succeeded. Anyway, in Trier, where I'm going, they celebrate the Ascension on Thursday.

Consequently, I won't celebrate it at all this year, as the Mass I offer tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. for our traveling party will be an ordinary Easter-season Mass, and on Sunday it will be the Seventh Sunday in Eastertide. Go figure!

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on April 30, 2008, 09:59:40 PM
We still hold Ascension Day Mass on Ascension Day.  It's such a beautiful liturgy - and I especially love the preface:

...and in their sight was taken up into heaven that He might make us partakers of His divine life.  Therefore...

The Schalk hymn (Hymn of the Day) is also stunning - especially with this line:

Death destroying, life restoring,
Proven equal to our need.
Now for us before the Father
As our Brother intercede;
Flesh that for our world was wounded,
Living, for the wounded plead!
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dave Benke on April 30, 2008, 10:23:03 PM
There are perhaps five regional Ascension Eucharists in the Atlantic District and of course many in local parishes as well.  The regional celebrations have been observed for a couple of decades.  Well attended and festive - God is gone up with a shout, hallelujah!  I'll be in Albany tomorrow for one such Eucharist.

On Ascension, 2003, a hymn was dedicated to me at Zion Lutheran in Schenectady.  Entitled "Lord of the Universe", the music is by Ralph Schultz, words by Dorothy Schultz.  Dr. Schultz conducted the choir in the inaugural performance at a packed sanctuary two weeks after my suspension from the clergy roster of the LCMS was lifted.  I have the autographed dedicatory original framed above the piano in our living room.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on April 30, 2008, 10:49:13 PM
I enjoyed singing under Ralph.  He is a gifted and loving man - as is his wife.

My favorite translation of that Psalm you cite is Coverdale's:  "God has gone up with a merry noise; the Lord with the sound of the trump."  A merry noise!  Beautiful.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: deaconbob on May 01, 2008, 10:57:18 AM
Our conference (Bronx) will be celebrating Ascesnion Thursday jointly this evening. I offered to drive some of our members from our church to the host church, but thus far no takers ( I know of one fine gentleman who is driving himself). I lament that my home congregation "ASCENSION" will again not be celebrating today. My children, 17-15-10 and a 13 yr old neice, all of whom attend RCC schools are off today...Dad's off to the Bronx....kids are home...shame on me.
Blessings,
Vicar bob
Reformed Catholic Church of the Augsburg Confession-RCC-AG
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 01, 2008, 12:09:47 PM
Some O.P. Kretzmann for the joyous day:

Now He was going home... In seven words the years of labor and sorrow end: "While they beheld, He was taken up."... There were no bells and banners on earth, but surely the trumpets on the other side sounded as they had never sounded before... Surely the chiming golden bells of heaven sang their welcome, and angel choirs intoned the song of the throne: "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength." ... On the anvils of God the nails had been forged into the scepter of a king... "He was taken up." ... The angel hosts sweep to either side, leaving the way clear to the Eternal Light that no longer blinds the eyes of us who stand gazing after Him... He leads a procession which comes from the ends of time and space, all the harvest of all the white fields the world has even known, the pilgrims of the night who come at last to the dawn of an everlasting day... "He was taken up." ... The Child of the manger, the praying heart on the starlit lanes of Galilee, the hunger in the wilderness, the weariness of the Sychar Well, the tears of the Garden and the Hill, the thirst of the Cross - all over now... The robes of the Transfiguration once momentary, now clothe Him forever, and angels and archangels sound the great doxology of His waiting Church: "Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever."...

An old story - perhaps too old for us to do more than glimpse its glory... And yet - we ought to remember it more clearly... It was the solemn moment in the story of God and man when the visible Christ became the invisible Christ... From that hour everything concerning Him became visible only to the eyes of faith... The final line of demarcation in the world - between those who believe and those who refuse to believe - was now clear... Men can say that all this is not true and use the mind of man to reject the mind of God, or they can know that God once walked among them and that they now have a Friend in heaven who knows all that earth and time and pain can do to man...

The Ascension did not take Jesus away... It brought heaven near... In the realm in which He now reigns time and space have no meaning... There is no up and down, no near and far, nor darkness, and no distance in the world of faith... He is as near as yesterday's prayer, today's joy, and tomorrow's sorrow... His homecoming has made heaven a home for us who still walk far from home... Wherefore stand we gazing into heaven?... Our momentary task is here, but through the slow dimming of the years we see the evening lights of home tended by the pierced hands of Him who has gone to prepare a place for us... Is there a better way to life - or die?... All that we have to do now is to believe and follow:

The lapping sea of death before his feet
Crept near; the wind was wild;
But he, who knew the One he came to meet,
Saw it and smiled.

Stepping without a hesitating word
Into the icy tide,
As if he saw the footprints of his Lord
Gleam at his side,

Borne up by Love that gave as he had given,
He crossed the midnight foam
And laid his hand upon the door of heaven
Like one returning home.
[The Pilgrim, pp. 14-16]
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Matt Staneck on May 01, 2008, 12:16:42 PM
OP!

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: janielou13 on May 01, 2008, 12:27:28 PM
OP indeed !  Deo gratias !
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dave Benke on May 02, 2008, 09:33:21 AM
Superior OP, Pr. W - and "merry noise" will preach, I guess a year from now.  I don't go for that transference theory thing that much, either from holidays to Sundays or the other version.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 02, 2008, 09:36:49 AM
Glad you don't go for it for the other version either.  :)  My favorite question to ask those who push that is:  where is the Scripture that teaches such übertragung, please? 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: FrostyPastor on May 06, 2008, 01:46:56 PM
I must confess that I have not, in all of my 25plus yrs of ordained ministry celebrated the Feast of the Ascension.  it was never part of the tradition in any of the congregations prior to my call and the critical mass necessary to make it work never seemed in evidence.  mea culpa.

As things turned out this year, my mother "fell asleep in Jesus" on Monday, April 28th, to repeat the expression used by the pastor of our home church, St. Paul Lutheran (ELCA), New City, NY, in an e-mail note to the congregation on the day of her death.  Mom's funeral wound up on Ascension Day.  Pastor R. Rottman, to my great joy, turned her funeral into a celebrative Feast of the Ascension. It was glorious! My Dad and sister spoke of mom, my brother and my son (now a sem student at LSTC) were the lectors and two of my nieces sang "On Eagles Wings" as a duet. Even though things really are not good between so much of my family and myself, the liturgy was powerful and God was at work through Word and sacrament.

Mike Frost

Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 20, 2009, 05:07:33 PM
The Helium cylandir is in the narthex, courtesy of the staunch Catholic owner of the local welding supply company.  I made the "circuit around Zion" intoning the traditional Rogatetide Psalms.  The Icon of the Ascension has replaced the Paschal icon.  The banner the home page of the parish website now bears the Ascensiontide Psalm verse.
 
Now  all that remains by way of  preparation on the eve of the Ascension is to give this thread a bump. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on May 21, 2009, 08:12:38 AM
I am working on reworking the Holy Spirit Novena used in the Roman rite (no, it will not be done to keep these nine days but maybe for inclusion in the Pentetost entrance rite) and while I have found a couple of different forms... has anyone ever used any that are somewhat contemporary or Lutheranized (smile but some of the perfecting language in the old verbage gets grating).  ?   For hymning the hill, here's my  Another Verse of the Gospel fror today:


_reaching above_
Harvey S. Mozolak

clouds uncaring
of its height and loft
the mount shrugged
in embarrassed rock slides
and gripped gnarled clinging
at the smallness
of its footstool
for the ascending

Everest and other ranges
ever relieved
not to have been chosen
their air too thin too distant
for disciples’ lungs
and climb
they can still hold
the human record
for rising triumph

inconspicuous the wood
but not forgotten the mounted place
ashamed of its small parched
arch the dry hump
of a hill outside
the sacred city’s limits
whose cringed cracks
of earth closed
in the quake’s trembling
as a tree brazenly
offered its bruised fruit to heaven
from the low sling of branches
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: vicarbob on May 21, 2009, 09:39:55 AM
A Blessed Ascension Thursday to all. In the Bronx,our second annual conference wide Divine Service will be presided over by (GOD) and the Bishop who will also preach. 5 members will be traveling with me from the congregation I serve to St Thomas' Church just off the Grand Concourse.
The Conference will gather again on another Thursday, June 11 to elect a new Dean. The Rev Dr Katrina Foster has resigned after 7 years of service. Newly enacted procedures in the MNYS has the Bishop submitting three names of presbyters (what no deacons) to the conference for consideration.
The Dean's position has added responsibilities and a stipend of 5 K per yr ( not enough) Retired pastors are eligible, provided they live (i think) in the Conference. (What no deacons, oh I said that).
Dr Foster has served the conference well, God speed and blessings. I am sure we will continue to hear from and be challanged in Christian witness by Kritina as she continues to shepherd Fordham Lutheran Church, where nearly 100 % of the members tithe.
Pax,
Bob
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 21, 2009, 09:53:34 AM
Yes, a blessed Ascension to all!  We got to celebrate First Vespers of the Ascension last night with a full house - because it also was the Baccalaureate for our local Lutheran High here at St. Paul's.  Tonight will likely be a significantly smaller crowd for the Divine Service.  Nevertheless, the first Ascension Day had but eleven folks on the earthly side of the veil. 

From my favorite Ascensiontide hymn:

He has raised our human nature
On the clouds to God's right hand;
There we sit in heavenly places,
There with Him in glory stand.
Jesus reigns, adored by angels;
Man with God is on the throne.
By our mighty Lord's ascension
We by faith behold our own! (LSB 494:5)
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 21, 2009, 10:15:43 AM

From my favorite Ascensiontide hymn:

By our mighty Lord's ascension
We by faith behold our own! (LSB 494:5)

I would modify the final lines:

By our mighty Lord's ascension
We by faith await our own!
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 21, 2009, 10:32:04 AM
One more Ascension joy:  it was upon Ascension day that the Venerable Bede reposed in Christ.  A monk who never wandered far from home, who devoted his life to expounding Scripture and telling the story of the Church's life in his native land.  And he wrote THE Ascension Day hymn which still today is used across the face of Christendom:  "A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing."  In a sign of the Church's inner unity beneath all the apparent brokenness, this hymn is still sung by Western Rite Orthodox, by Roman Catholics, by Lutherans, by Anglicans, and by Protestants of numerous stripes, usually with the Lasst Uns Erfreuen tune.

Christ by a road before untrod
Ascends unto the throne of God.
Alleluia!

Here is the traditional version, sung by Pr. Ben Mayes as found on the Lutheran Liturgical Brotherhood website (publishers of the Brotherhood Prayer Book):

http://www.llpb.us/MP3Hymns/SeasonalPropers/335%202%20A%20Hymn%20of%20Glorya.MP3
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 21, 2009, 10:45:36 AM
Tonight at 7 pm (http://www.zionpeoria.org/ascension.html): Cathedral Vespers (by candlelight), followed by the Holy Eucharist (LBW setting III).  Celebrant/Preacher: Your humble servant.  Place: Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peoria.  Our 10th year of the reinstitution of observing weekday Major Feasts. 

Cookies and coffee follow. 

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: swbohler on May 21, 2009, 12:21:02 PM
Rev. Weedon writes: "My favorite question to ask those who push that is:  where is the Scripture that teaches such übertragung, please?"

I assume that you are familiar with Walther's explanation, given in Thesis VI and VII of "Concerning the Holy Ministry or the Pastoral Office" in his "Church and Ministry" where he lists Scripture Proof as one of the bases of the theory.  I therefore assume that you are saying that you find this insufficient or deficient or wrong.  Am I correct in these assumptions?  By the way, this question is addressed both to Rev. Weedon and Dr. Benke.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 21, 2009, 12:42:38 PM
Pr. Bohler,

Oh, yes, I am quite familiar with Walther's theses on the subject, but (at least it seems to me) that the Scripture passages that he provides nowhere teach that there is such a transference.  Can you show me what I'm missing on that?  It is worth noting that the Lutheran Symbols nowhere speak of the royal priesthood of the baptized transferring their authority to the office of the holy ministry. 

P.S.  What is clear from the Scriptures cited is that the keys belong to the Church (and remain hers) and the keys are publicly exercised by the incumbents of the office of the ministry, an office which our Savior established within (neither above nor beneath) His Church for that express purpose.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Matt Staneck on May 21, 2009, 12:52:35 PM
You guys know of any good material for a little study on Ascension Day?  We're starting up our summer College Nights tonight and were going to do something else but I figure a study on Ascension Day is appropriate.

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: swbohler on May 21, 2009, 01:01:45 PM
Rev. Weedon,

I am not sure I understand what your objection to the tranfer theory is, since you agree with Walther that the Keys belong to the Church and that the pastor exercises them on behalf of the congregation.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 21, 2009, 01:14:44 PM
Pr. Bohler,

Its the notion of a transfer.  There IS no transfer.  The keys belong and remain the common possession of the Christian people.  There is an authorization for their public administration which takes place when a man is set into the ministry, but there is no transference since as a member of the baptized royal priesthood the keys were already his.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: swbohler on May 21, 2009, 03:52:59 PM
Rev. Weedon,

I don't think Walther ever thought of the transfer theory as meaning that somehow the Church/congregation no longer possessed the Keys after calling/transferring their public use to the pastor.  The Keys still belong to the Church/congregation; each Christian may/must exercise them privately. It seems that you are reading too much into the word "transfer", if I understand your objection correctly.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Eric Swensson on May 21, 2009, 04:01:59 PM
You guys know of any good material for a little study on Ascension Day?  We're starting up our summer College Nights tonight and were going to do something else but I figure a study on Ascension Day is appropriate.

M. Staneck

There's this by Calvin -- very succinct!

Geneva Bible Notes: As God overcame the enemy of his Church, took them prisoners, and made them tributaries: so Christ, which is God manifested in the flesh, subdued Satan and sin under us, and gave to his Church most liberal gifts of his Spirit, [Eph 4:8].
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: FrPeters on May 22, 2009, 09:51:25 AM
Ascension Mass... 60+ in attendance... began outside with the lesson from Acts and collect... procession behind crucifiex, torches, and incense into the Sanctuary to the words of the Psalm, Choir singing a capella "Come away to the skies" by Crisafalli, the snuffing of the Paschal Candle during the Gospel... it was all good... and a besutiful clear sky with a couple of clouds to float across just as the assisting minister read that He was taken up into the clouds and they saw Him no more...

On other things...  Walther was wrong... you heard it here...

There is no transfer because the royal priesthood does not possess the keys... the church does... the church authorizes the priest to exercise the keys by ordination and locates them in the congregation by installation... the royal priesthood do not hold any of the authority of the Pastoral Office and transfer it to anyone... the authority and ministry of the royal priesthood is completely different... it is the baptismal charism to be the people of God, pray, praise and give thanks, fulfill their vocation of service and witness to the world... the little Christs in the words of Luther... they do not transfer anything to the one who by ordination is Christ to them in the Pastoral Office (proclamation of the Word and administration of Christ's Sacraments)...
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 22, 2009, 12:28:51 PM
23 Christians from about half-a-dozen parishes gathered on the South Side of Peoria for candlelight Cathedral Vespers and Holy Communion.  Yes, we thought there should have been more -- our nearest dozen ELCA neighbors were reminded of this annual observance (our 10th year since restoring midweek Ascension and Epiphany services) -- but we were indeed heartened by Fr. Weedon's noting the attendance at Christ's Ascension itself -- and see what happened after that.  (Maybe I'll go back to having a guest preacher next year -- it seems to help attendance, partly by bringing in more from our ELCA sister parishes.)

Countering the disappointment that none of my pastoral colleagues showed up -- usually at least 3-4 attend -- was that a member of a Christian Reformed Church who'd just moved into town worshiped with us.  Peoria doesn't have any CRC parishes and it seems he'd rather despaired of finding an Ascension Day service here (apparently CRC congregations, at least in So. Holland, Ill., still celebrate the day routinely) and was pleasantly surprised to see that I had posted our press release on my blog.  Afterwards I did tell him that the local Episcopal churches also have Ascension services, but everyone else in Peoria who remembers Ascension moves it (following the Catholic Diocese's practice) to Sunday.

He is risen (and ascended) indeed!

spt+


Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on May 22, 2009, 02:17:38 PM
Our conference held our annual Ascension Day service last night at the Ceres Pioneer Rock Church, an historic building that is kept up by a local preservation committee which is located somewhat in the middle of our conference.  The pulpit stands above and behind the altar so that the preacher is a good 6' above the congregation.  Rather appropriate for Ascension Day!  I presided at the service.  Rev. Christopher Staley (STS) preached, and there were about 80 people in attendance, which exceeded the capacity of the little stone church, so that a handful stood listening outside the open door.  Counting Pastor Staley and myself, there were 7 pastors from our conference in attendance.  Following the service, we all joined in a potluck dinner at a local church - following the precedent set by the apostles (Acts 1:12 - it does not mention the potluck, but that is to be understood).  In all, a wonderful celebration of the Ascension of our Lord!

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 22, 2009, 06:53:54 PM
Nineteen gathered in Das Siebenthal for an Ascension Day liturgy much like the one described in my opening post.   The number of attendees has held remarkably steady over the past five years, meaning that while Sunday attendance has declined a bit during that time, the percentage of Sunday folk attending the midweek liturgy has increased.

There were a few logistical glitches:   The helium valve was defective so each balloon had to be filled by gently nudging the tank valve, slowing the process.   And when it was time to grab the balloons and recess to the grassy field just north of the Church a balloon broke free and became hopelessly entangled in a cieling fan.  These were the first such calamaties in more than a decade and a half of this custom.

For the first time, we had a Choir and Anthem, a setting of O Christ, Our Hope, our Hearts Desire.  I used that as a springboard to explain how the Ascension is the fulfillment of the mystery of the Incarnation, and pointed out the musical and theological genius of using the same tune with the Christmas Carol Let All Together Praise our God.

At Ascensiontide, we might rework the first verse:

Let all together praise our God
Before His glorious throne
Today He opens heav'n again
Receiving His own Son,
Receiving His own Son.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 22, 2009, 07:47:40 PM
Well, Ascension Day Divine Service brought out only 36.  :(  BUT it was the 8th liturgy celebrated in the parish that week:  1 Sat, 2 Sun Divine Servies, 1 Funeral, 1 Rogationtide Vespers with Graduation of the Kindergarten and 8th Graders, 1 Ascension Day Vespers with Baccalaureate, and 1 closing chapel for the School.  I had some folks who showed up for Ascension DS who had attended all those extra services.  I know Ascension Day Vespers had over 200.  Here's a little clip of the Psalm and the Hymn of the Day - a student from the high school is playing the organ:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSPcY15BOGY
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 23, 2009, 09:40:28 PM
I should add that, for the past three years, I have kept the Rogation Days which precede Ascension Day by making time on one of the three days to walk the boundaries of the Church and its adjacent cemetery while intoning the larger Litany and Psalms 96 and 24. 

Thus far I have kept this as purely a personal devotion in this manner:  Responsive Prayer II, with sung Trisagion, sung Lord’s Prayer (LBW Setting III).    At the beginning of the larger Litany I exit the Church, moving clockwise around the boundaries of both the Church and Cemetery.   At the conclusion of the Litany Psalm 96 is sung, followed by Psalm 24.

Here is what I have observed:  The petition of the Litany “to send forth faithful laborers....” is reached just as I pass my own gravestone.    The final Agnus Dei petitions are reached just as I pass a child’s monument from the early 20th century that is surmounted by a Lamb.   Psalm 96 begins as I begin to mark the bounds of the Churchyard, passing a grove of magnificent new trees that were a gift of a distant cousin who owns a nursery.   Psalm 24 coincides with the entry to the Church.   At the conclusion of that Psalm I offer the Collect of the Day plus several others for rural life, and then complete Responsive Prayer.

Altogether, the procession takes about 20 minutes.   Having gained a comfortable level of familiarity with this practice, next year I may make an announcement of the day and time and invite others to join me.  Or, perhaps, I may use this as a prelude to the noontime midweek Eucharist, dovetailing the Collect of the Day as the beginning of the Liturgy.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Samuel_Zumwalt on May 24, 2009, 12:27:24 AM
We had 30 at the noon Eucharist and 27 in the evening. Our parish organist played at noon and a guest organist at 7p.m.  Our guest preacher, a retired pastor, did an excellent job with the Ephesians 1 epistle lesson.

We always keep Epiphany on January 6 and Ascension on the 40th day.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 10, 2010, 10:59:21 PM
I should add that, for the past three years, I have kept the Rogation Days which precede Ascension Day by making time on one of the three days to walk the boundaries of the Church and its adjacent cemetery while intoning the larger Litany and Psalms 96 and 24....

Altogether, the procession takes about 20 minutes.   Having gained a comfortable level of familiarity with this practice, next year I may make an announcement of the day and time and invite others to join me.  Or, perhaps, I may use this as a prelude to the noontime midweek Eucharist, dovetailing the Collect of the Day as the beginning of the Liturgy.

The May weather has been March-like; with fierce northwest winds and heavy frost.  With a strong likelyhood of rain tomorrow and Wednesday today was the only day suitable for "walking the bounds" praying the Litany and Psalms. 

And, since these days fall within what is often the busiest week of the month for me; I decided against making any announcement and once again proceeded in solitude.

This time, however, I used this procession as a prelude to Morning Prayer, using Psalm 24 (one of four Invitatory Psalms in the Roman Breviary) as the transition from the procession to the Office.   Perhaps the chill wind made me walk faster than before; so I reached the church doors just at "lift up your heads, O gates..."
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on May 11, 2010, 06:54:23 AM
(poetry deleted)
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Birkholz on May 12, 2010, 10:11:29 PM
Dr. Norman Nagel will be speaking on the Ascension of Our Lord on Issues, Etc. tomorrow (Thurs) at 4:19 CST.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/photo.php?pid=3829667&id=90844274340 (http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/photo.php?pid=3829667&id=90844274340)
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 12, 2010, 10:34:41 PM
Harvey, your poems are always wonderful verbal Icons.

Pastor Shelly, keep it together... well a little hard to do in the wind, but the Blessed Breath of God keeps us together...


Ah, the wind....forgot to mention that in recent years we have moved a long standing tradition of closing an Eastertide Sunday liturgy with a procession for blessing seeds, soil, seedlings, and even pets to its proper place on Easter 6.

The wind this past Sunday was so fierce that it nearly flipped my chasuble up over my head--fortunately I felt it starting to lift from behind and I could gather it down before anyone else noticed.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 12, 2010, 10:40:40 PM
Whatever retirement means for Harvey, it must NOT mean that the poetry stops.  Please.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: FatherWilliam57 on May 13, 2010, 12:13:52 AM
I had a 3 1/2 hour delay at O'Hare last night (Saturay), and dropped in for mass at the airport chapel. I was interested to learn that in the RC it is an "option" to celebrate the Ascension on the 7th Sunday of Easter. This was also an option in the UMC lectionary when I was a UM pastor, and I generally took it. I see some advantages in it, particularly in communities where there has been no tradition of an Ascension Day celebration. Disadvantages too, I suppose; giving in to the evaporation of the church year and all that. What do you think?

Sorry to dig up this old post, but now the ELW allows for transferring the Feast of the Ascension to Easter VII.  Can't say I'm happy with that...

An interesting thread!  Since I moved to this parish, the local Episcopal parish (now Anglican) and my congregation have held joint services on Ascension and Epiphany (we host Ascension, they host Epiphany, and we rotate Thanksgiving Eve Eucharist).  The host pastor presides at the Eucharist, the other preaches.  We average about 40 for either service.

I note Fr. Peter's comment above about "snuffing" the Paschal Candle during the Ascension service.  I was raised with the "snuffing" during the Ascension Gospel, but since I have been ordained, I have gone with the practic of allowing the Paschal Candle to burn for all 50 days of Easter (allowing it to burn through the conclusion of the Pentecost service).

Any thoughts on this?  I appreciate the liturgical gesture on Ascension (as I said, I was raised with it).  However, I understand the Paschal Candle to represent Christ's living presence in our midst following his glorious Resurrection from the dead, not as a device for marking his "physical presence."  Hence my practice of the past 20 years of allowing it to burn for all of the Great Fifty Days.  Obviously, this is not one of the great "theological disputations" of our day and age, but I was wondering what other's practice and their rationale for it.  (As an aside, could it be that the pracitce of allowing it to burn through Pentecost was so that pastors in congregations that DO NOT celebrate on Ascension did not have to explain to their congregations why the candle, which was last seen burning on Easter VI, is now mysteriously "unlit" on Easter VII?  Always interested in how rituals developed.)
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Kurt Strause on May 13, 2010, 06:21:22 AM
The wind this past Sunday was so fierce that it nearly flipped my chasuble up over my head--fortunately I felt it starting to lift from behind and I could gather it down before anyone else noticed.

I thought Almy made clip-on chasuble weights just for that purpose.  :)

Kurt
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Kurt Strause on May 13, 2010, 06:30:50 AM
Any thoughts on this?  I appreciate the liturgical gesture on Ascension (as I said, I was raised with it).  However, I understand the Paschal Candle to represent Christ's living presence in our midst following his glorious Resurrection from the dead, not as a device for marking his "physical presence."  Hence my practice of the past 20 years of allowing it to burn for all of the Great Fifty Days.  Obviously, this is not one of the great "theological disputations" of our day and age, but I was wondering what other's practice and their rationale for it.  (As an aside, could it be that the pracitce of allowing it to burn through Pentecost was so that pastors in congregations that DO NOT celebrate on Ascension did not have to explain to their congregations why the candle, which was last seen burning on Easter VI, is now mysteriously "unlit" on Easter VII?  Always interested in how rituals developed.)

In my first parish, where we celebrated Ascension on the day, we extinguished the paschal candle at the gospel. But in my current parish, where Ascension is celebrated by the conference (at Ascension Lutheran, appropriately) I now leave the paschal candle burn through the last Sunday of Easter. I think my reason is just as you stated, because of the mysteriously unlit candle on Easter 7. The theological rationale seems compelling to me since we also light the candle for baptisms and funerals. Of course, if the candle signifies the risen and victorious Lord, why is it not lit on each Sunday, they being festivals of the resurrection?

Kurt Strause
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dave Benke on May 13, 2010, 07:41:10 AM
Fr. Peters will be happy to know that the parishes in the northern part of the Atlantic District and I will gather this evening at 7 for the Ascension Eucharist at St. John, Stuyvesant, New York.  I'm thinking packed house, and incredible post-Eucharistic feast at one of only two Atlantic District rural(ish) parishes.

Just around the corner from Kinderhook, the area is besieged by tourists visiting the home of Martin Van Buren, 8th President of the US.  Well, maybe not besieged, but literally hundreds of people every year stream and/or trickle in to view the historic landmark.  At any rate, it's one of the most beautiful Hudson-side locales on our particular planet, and the homegrown SMP student tackling the ministries of God's people in Stuyvesant is a blessing. 

Sadly, I've been informed that the Happy Clown has closed; on the way to Hudson and Stuyvesant at an important intersection, it served the finest frozen custard cones in the world with the exception of Milwaukee. 

Since this serves as my travel blog, let me also state that one of the five most beautiful and scenic rides in an automobile in our particular country is the Taconic Parkway north of 84 at times other than sunrise and sunset when the deer have apparently been given priority use of the roadway.  The Taconic south of 84 in snow or ice is the most dangerous and yet thrilling  toboggan run in the East. 

Blessed Ascension of our Lord to all!

Dave Benke
Title: this way another keeping of the high day
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on May 13, 2010, 08:42:51 AM
(poems deleted)
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 13, 2010, 09:44:11 AM

I note Fr. Peter's comment above about "snuffing" the Paschal Candle during the Ascension service.  I was raised with the "snuffing" during the Ascension Gospel, but since I have been ordained, I have gone with the practic of allowing the Paschal Candle to burn for all 50 days of Easter (allowing it to burn through the conclusion of the Pentecost service).


I practice a "both-and" rather than an "either-or"; in that the Paschal Candle will indeed be extinguished tonight by the Acolyte during the reading of the Gospel; but it will be lighted on Exaudi Sunday, Pentecost, and the festival of The Holy Trinity.  So far no one has questioned this paradox or inconsistency.

The extinguishing of the candle is a teaching moment for the Acolyte along the lines of "why is this night different from all other nights?"  Watching the smoke dissipate helps us to enter into the mindset of the Disciples on the Mount of Olives---which is the reason why we close the liturgy by launching balloons, however hokey some readers may consider that practice. 

Hokey or not, I have been delighted to hear numerous parishioners tell me as this festival approached that this is one of the favorite liturgies of the year.  In a formerly "Union" congregation with a shared ministry for 120 of its nearly 150 years, in which the only other-than-Sunday service had been Christmas Eve, those comments speak volumes.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 13, 2010, 09:37:08 PM
Well, tonight we celebrated the holy feast.  Only 46 folks, but they sang loudly.  We used Divine Service 4 (perfect for a smaller crowd) and the organist gave us all kind of goodies for prelude, offering and postlude.  "Up through endless ranks" was HOD and closing hymn was Bede's beautiful:  "A Hymn of Glory." 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 13, 2010, 09:49:56 PM
Slightly more than half of our year-to-date Sunday average were present tonight--actually the best attendane at Ascension Day since 2003.  Five were young adults age 18-24; two were junior high youth.
Some of the young adults are quite brilliant in math and science and they reacted very postively to Fr. Mozolak's poem, the centerpiece of the Sermon.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 14, 2010, 12:22:05 AM
We had 68 at Zion this evening for candlelight Vespers and Eucharist (http://www.zionpeoria.org/ascension.html) (LBW 3) -- I was hoping for 50, and glad I decided to run 60 worship booklets.  The Conference Dean preached and the latest team for one of the Prision Mission's ministries was commissioned.  Worshipers came from at least 13 of the conference's congregations.  We, too, concluded with the Venerable Bede's grand hymn.

Oh, yesterday I learned that the downtown LCMS congregation also celebrates Ascension Day on Ascension Day.

Alleluia!  Christ is risen (and ascended)!
Steven+
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: FrPeters on May 14, 2010, 09:28:09 AM
We had 13 at the morning Eucharist and 51 at the evening Eucharist (a full service that began outside with the reading of the Acts lesson and collect, procession into the sanctuary reading Psalm 110, and then the remainder a sung liturgy complete with choir)... this year it was windy but, first the first time in a long time, the wind did not extinguish the processional torches... just our own parish celebration, no other LCMS within 45 miles, the ELCA does not observe it, and the WELS does not respond to phone calls...
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 14, 2010, 11:03:34 AM
We are now in the season-within-a-season variously called "Ascensiontide" or the Pentecos Novena.

In the SBH there was an appropriate shift in the Propers for Daily Prayer, which, unfortunately, was not maintained by LBW.

During the first 40 days of Eastertide I had been singing a paraphrase of the LBW Gospel Canticle Antiphon to any 8.8.8. tune:

This is the day the Lord has made,
Let us rejoice, sin's debt is paid;
Christ has the wrath of God allayed,
Alleluia!

Now it is time for a paraphrase of the SBH Antiphon

Unless I go (ascend) away
To those who love my word t'obey
The Comforter can't come to stay,
Alleluia!

These work best with Victory or O Fillii et Filiae
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 14, 2010, 05:23:30 PM
Got to do an Issues interview on the hymn "Up through Endless Ranks":

http://issuesetc.org/podcast/490051410H2.mp3
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dave Benke on May 15, 2010, 09:33:36 AM
Lovely, Pr. W! 

You know I'm still waiting for an invite for my first interview on Issues, Etc.  What have you been on, maybe 240 times?  Proximity is such a blessing.  But for me, every day I open the mail, and nothing there.  Every night I go to bed, and think, "maybe tomorrow - maybe tomorrow!"  Next day, open the mail, nothing there.  How long?  How long?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on June 01, 2011, 09:23:40 PM
I should add that, for the past three years, I have kept the Rogation Days which precede Ascension Day by making time on one of the three days to walk the boundaries of the Church and its adjacent cemetery while intoning the larger Litany and Psalms 96 and 24. 

Thus far I have kept this as purely a personal devotion in this manner:  Responsive Prayer II, with sung Trisagion, sung Lord’s Prayer (LBW Setting III).    At the beginning of the larger Litany I exit the Church, moving clockwise around the boundaries of both the Church and Cemetery.   At the conclusion of the Litany Psalm 96 is sung, followed by Psalm 24.

Here is what I have observed:  The petition of the Litany “to send forth faithful laborers....” is reached just as I pass my own gravestone.    The final Agnus Dei petitions are reached just as I pass a child’s monument from the early 20th century that is surmounted by a Lamb.   Psalm 96 begins as I begin to mark the bounds of the Churchyard, passing a grove of magnificent new trees that were a gift of a distant cousin who owns a nursery.   Psalm 24 coincides with the entry to the Church.   At the conclusion of that Psalm I offer the Collect of the Day plus several others for rural life, and then complete Responsive Prayer.

Altogether, the procession takes about 20 minutes.   Having gained a comfortable level of familiarity with this practice, next year I may make an announcement of the day and time and invite others to join me.  Or, perhaps, I may use this as a prelude to the noontime midweek Eucharist, dovetailing the Collect of the Day as the beginning of the Liturgy.

Today's heat in south-central Pennsylvania did not shatter the old records; but the cooling degree days surprassed those of the hottest days of 2009, 2004, and 2003.

So for "circling the bounds" while singing the Litany and Psalms 96 and 24 I needed to forego all vesture save my thinnest and lightest weight black clerics.  I had even contemplated dropping this devotion, but, with all that has taken place within the past year it seemed more important than ever to "make the rounds of Zion".

As for inviting others....that is still on my "next year in Jerusalem" list.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Richard Johnson on June 02, 2011, 03:06:25 PM
On Christ’s ascension I now build
The hope of my ascension;
This hope alone has always stilled
All doubt and apprehension;
For where the head is, there as well
I know his members are to dwell
When Christ will come and call them.

Since Christ returned to claim his throne,
Great gifts for me obtaining,
My heart will rest in him alone,
No other rest remaining;
For where my treasure went before,
There all my thoughts will ever soar
To still their deepest yearning.

O grant, dear Lord, this grace to me,
Recalling your ascension,
That I may serve you faithfully,
Adorning your redemption;
And then, when all my days will cease,
Let me depart in joy and peace
In answer to my pleading.

Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on June 02, 2011, 04:05:44 PM
Fits pefectly with Es Ist Das Heil

http://www.lutheran-hymnal.com/online/tlh-377.mid (http://www.lutheran-hymnal.com/online/tlh-377.mid)

The mental association with the tune's use with "All Who Believe and are Baptized" makes the final verse all the more powerful.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on June 02, 2011, 10:39:50 PM
Just curious if those who do not celebrate an Ascension liturgy on its proper day transfer it to the following Sunday, as Rome does in the US?  We still hold onto the 40th day, but it seems fewer celebrate the feast each year. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on June 02, 2011, 10:47:19 PM
Just curious if those who do not celebrate an Ascension liturgy on its proper day transfer it to the following Sunday, as Rome does in the US?  We still hold onto the 40th day, but it seems fewer celebrate the feast each year. 

In the Harrisburg Diocese Ascension is still celebrated on the 40th day, not the 43rd.

It is a swim upstream...attendance struggles to be about 1/3 of the Sunday assembly.and tonight was no exception.   

I also believe that celebrating the Eucharist on the 40th day Ascension is a good Lutheran upstream swim, for this strikes at the heart of the Zwinglian "Real Absence" which has taken sway over most of American Protestantism.  The Ascension is, of course, one fo the proof-texts for spiritiual descendants of the Swiss reformer.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Revbert on June 03, 2011, 06:49:12 AM
Just curious if those who do not celebrate an Ascension liturgy on its proper day transfer it to the following Sunday, as Rome does in the US?  We still hold onto the 40th day, but it seems fewer celebrate the feast each year. 

Since our little mission church doesn't have access to our normal space for most weekdays, we have to be creative for Ascension Day. For the last few years, I have been invited to preach at a joint service in Baltimore County sponsored by a fraternal group. We join with them for the service. We had about 40 last night.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: vicarbob on June 03, 2011, 10:06:45 AM
Just curious if those who do not celebrate an Ascension liturgy on its proper day transfer it to the following Sunday, as Rome does in the US?  We still hold onto the 40th day, but it seems fewer celebrate the feast each year. 

The congregation which I serve will be celebrating Ascension on Sunday, in spite of the fact our Conference holds a Divine Liturgy on its proper day. My home congregation, Ascension did not celebrate on the 40th day either. Most unfortunate.
I had hoped that Pr W would have answered the Bishop's query, but alias he did not, on least on this forum. Perhaps it is because the good pastor is coming east to help his former roommate celebrate his 25th Anny of Ordination?????? Hope so, because I have been invited too.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: BrotherBoris on June 03, 2011, 12:50:31 PM
Just curious if those who do not celebrate an Ascension liturgy on its proper day transfer it to the following Sunday, as Rome does in the US?  We still hold onto the 40th day, but it seems fewer celebrate the feast each year. 

FYI  The Orthodox Church in America celebrates the Ascension of our Lord on Thursday, June 2, 2011 this year according to our rubrical calendar.  Since the Ascension is classified as one of the Twelve Great Feasts, it has to be celebrated in ALL parishes, regardless of whether it is well attended or not. In fact, for us, attendance is not really a consideration, though it is always great to have nice crowd. We don't expect Sunday morning levels of attendance on feast days that fall during the week.  It's just not going to happen.  Its good to remember that the angels and all the heavenly hosts worship with us too.  That can inspire smaller gatherings.

I don't think we ever transfer the Feast of the Ascension to Sunday.  Anyway, we can't do that this year since Sunday June 5th is dedicated to the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: efretheim on June 03, 2011, 06:44:47 PM

In fact, for us, attendance is not really a consideration, though it is always great to have nice crowd. We don't expect Sunday morning levels of attendance on feast days that fall during the week.  It's just not going to happen.  Its good to remember that the angels and all the heavenly hosts worship with us too.  That can inspire smaller gatherings.


As a lay person, I like the thought of my pastor being there, completing all of the services, etc. even when I or anybody else can't be there.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Charles_Austin on June 03, 2011, 09:59:30 PM
Erik Fretheim writes:
As a lay person, I like the thought of my pastor being there, completing all of the services, etc. even when I or anybody else can't be there.

I comment:
As a pastor, I don't like that at all. We are not the paid prayers. We do not have private masses. We pastors are supposed to say our private prayers and devotions like everyone is supposed to do, but we are not "the congregation." If a eucharist is scheduled in my church and no one shows up, I turn out the lights and do something else. If evening prayer is scheduled and no one shows up, I may or may not do some personal praying, but probably not. Either the members of a congregation support and show up for scheduled services or the congregation needs to train people to do so or change its worship schedule.

Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on June 03, 2011, 11:36:49 PM
Erik Fretheim writes:
As a lay person, I like the thought of my pastor being there, completing all of the services, etc. even when I or anybody else can't be there.

I comment:
As a pastor, I don't like that at all. We are not the paid prayers. We do not have private masses. We pastors are supposed to say our private prayers and devotions like everyone is supposed to do, but we are not "the congregation." If a eucharist is scheduled in my church and no one shows up, I turn out the lights and do something else. If evening prayer is scheduled and no one shows up, I may or may not do some personal praying, but probably not. Either the members of a congregation support and show up for scheduled services or the congregation needs to train people to do so or change its worship schedule.


To the best of my recollection, only once in eleven years of holding a regular midweek Eucharist did anyone fail to show--and that was on an icy winter day.  I continued on in the naive hope that perhaps someone might arrive late. 

There have been a few times where the congregation has numbered one; and that has caused me to ponder the weight of responsibility placed on that sole participant as  I recall the instruction once given me by a Roman Priest that Server represents the whole Church in Heaven and on Earth.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: amos on June 04, 2011, 12:32:01 AM
Charles, "As a pastor, I don't like that at all. We are not the paid prayers. We do not have private masses. "

Now Charles, sit down and grab hold of a table or something --- I actually agree with you!   :o
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Charles_Austin on June 04, 2011, 03:44:00 AM
No need for me to take precautions. People agree with me quite a lot of the time. Always happy when they do; and I'm happy a lot of the time.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: GoCubsGo on June 04, 2011, 09:21:39 AM
Erik Fretheim writes:
As a lay person, I like the thought of my pastor being there, completing all of the services, etc. even when I or anybody else can't be there.

I comment:
As a pastor, I don't like that at all. We are not the paid prayers. We do not have private masses. We pastors are supposed to say our private prayers and devotions like everyone is supposed to do, but we are not "the congregation." If a eucharist is scheduled in my church and no one shows up, I turn out the lights and do something else. If evening prayer is scheduled and no one shows up, I may or may not do some personal praying, but probably not. Either the members of a congregation support and show up for scheduled services or the congregation needs to train people to do so or change its worship schedule.
I don't think anyone is suggesting a private mass here.  Having had Ascension day services in the past sometimes they are sparsely attended (5 to 15 people), should there be a cut off for participation and how does one set that?  Agreed, for the sake of argument that there should be more than just the pastor, but how many more?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Charles_Austin on June 04, 2011, 09:24:11 AM
Pastor Copeck asks:
Agreed, for the sake of argument that there should be more than just the pastor, but how many more?

I muse:
The first few times, one or two. After that, re-think the schedule.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: BrotherBoris on June 04, 2011, 10:55:09 AM
Erik Fretheim writes:
As a lay person, I like the thought of my pastor being there, completing all of the services, etc. even when I or anybody else can't be there.

I comment:
As a pastor, I don't like that at all. We are not the paid prayers. We do not have private masses. We pastors are supposed to say our private prayers and devotions like everyone is supposed to do, but we are not "the congregation." If a eucharist is scheduled in my church and no one shows up, I turn out the lights and do something else. If evening prayer is scheduled and no one shows up, I may or may not do some personal praying, but probably not. Either the members of a congregation support and show up for scheduled services or the congregation needs to train people to do so or change its worship schedule.
I don't think anyone is suggesting a private mass here.  Having had Ascension day services in the past sometimes they are sparsely attended (5 to 15 people), should there be a cut off for participation and how does one set that?  Agreed, for the sake of argument that there should be more than just the pastor, but how many more?
[/b]



Good question!

All we require in the Orthodox Church is one other person present besides the priest for the Eucharist to be celebrated. It could just be an altar boy, a reader, or one laymen. Usually, though, on a realistic level, it might be one priest, one altar boy, one chanter, one reader, and three or four laymen for a very poorly attended daily Liturgy. With us, the rank of the feast is very important.  If it is classified as one the the Twelve Great Feasts, then it MUST be observed, regardless of how few show up. (Examples might be the Annunciation, the Ascension,  the Assumption etc.)  Those services have to be held.  But if it is a feast of lesser rank (such as St. Nicholas Day, St. Mary Magdalene, St. John Chrysostom etc.), since those days are not part of the Great Twelve, they do not have to be observed. In many places they are observed, but its not a matter of obligation to observe them.  If a priest held services on such days and the attendance was very poor, he COULD cancel such observances. In the Orthodox Church priests are NOT required to celebrate a daily Mass (or Divine Liturgy to use the Eastern term.)  In fact, the daily services of the Orthodox Church are Matins and Vespers, not the Eucharist.  The Eucharist is reserved for Sundays and feast days.  It is celebrated daily only in places where there are an abundance of priests, such as monasteries or monastic churches connected with a seminary.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on June 04, 2011, 08:10:56 PM
I'm inclined to believe that as long as there is someone present to say the "Amen" and other responses, the Divine Services should be offered on their proper days.  Our LSB does not characterize 12 principal feasts, as the Orthodox, but we do list Ascension as of equal rank with any major feast or Sunday; and since it has its very own Proper Preface and hymns, it seems best to have its own day (and not to bump the last sunday of Easter).  FWIW.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on June 04, 2011, 09:48:20 PM
  Our LSB does not characterize 12 principal feasts, as the Orthodox, but we do list Ascension as of equal rank with any major feast or Sunday; and since it has its very own Proper Preface and hymns, it seems best to have its own day (and not to bump the last sunday of Easter).  FWIW.

Call me a fundamentalist or a mathematical purist but 40 does not equal 43

Transferal to the 43rd day is unfaithful to the Lukan record.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 04, 2011, 11:35:51 PM
  Our LSB does not characterize 12 principal feasts, as the Orthodox, but we do list Ascension as of equal rank with any major feast or Sunday; and since it has its very own Proper Preface and hymns, it seems best to have its own day (and not to bump the last sunday of Easter).  FWIW.

Call me a fundamentalist or a mathematical purist but 40 does not equal 43

Transferal to the 43rd day is unfaithful to the Lukan record.

The Lukan record in the book of Acts. According to his record at the end of the Gospel, the Ascension took on place on Easter evening. Jesus appeared to the two on the road to Emmaus "that same day" (referring to day the women discovered the empty tomb, Luke 24:13); after that appearance, the two run back to Jerusalem and Jesus appears to them there. Then he leads them out to Bethany and is taken up to heaven.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 14, 2012, 03:56:46 PM
I should add that, for the past three years, I have kept the Rogation Days which precede Ascension Day by making time on one of the three days to walk the boundaries of the Church and its adjacent cemetery while intoning the larger Litany and Psalms 96 and 24. 

Thus far I have kept this as purely a personal devotion in this manner:  Responsive Prayer II, with sung Trisagion, sung Lord’s Prayer (LBW Setting III).    At the beginning of the larger Litany I exit the Church, moving clockwise around the boundaries of both the Church and Cemetery.   At the conclusion of the Litany Psalm 96 is sung, followed by Psalm 24.

Here is what I have observed:  The petition of the Litany “to send forth faithful laborers....” is reached just as I pass my own gravestone.    The final Agnus Dei petitions are reached just as I pass a child’s monument from the early 20th century that is surmounted by a Lamb.   Psalm 96 begins as I begin to mark the bounds of the Churchyard, passing a grove of magnificent new trees that were a gift of a distant cousin who owns a nursery.   Psalm 24 coincides with the entry to the Church.   At the conclusion of that Psalm I offer the Collect of the Day plus several others for rural life, and then complete Responsive Prayer.

Altogether, the procession takes about 20 minutes.   Having gained a comfortable level of familiarity with this practice, next year I may make an announcement of the day and time and invite others to join me.  Or, perhaps, I may use this as a prelude to the noontime midweek Eucharist, dovetailing the Collect of the Day as the beginning of the Liturgy.

Today's heat in south-central Pennsylvania did not shatter the old records; but the cooling degree days surprassed those of the hottest days of 2009, 2004, and 2003.

So for "circling the bounds" while singing the Litany and Psalms 96 and 24 I needed to forego all vesture save my thinnest and lightest weight black clerics.  I had even contemplated dropping this devotion, but, with all that has taken place within the past year it seemed more important than ever to "make the rounds of Zion".

As for inviting others....that is still on my "next year in Jerusalem" list.

The challenge this year was not the heat, but the threat of steady rain for all three days of Rogatetide (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday preceding Ascension).  But careful study of the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center radar maps showed that there would be a dry slot early this morning, so the Procession was made, solo, again, owing mostly to the uncertainty of when--or even if--this could be done.

This year I noted--in addition to the previously mentioned "coincidences"--that I draw near to the monument of a WWI machine gunner who was killed in action as the petition "from an unprepared and evil death" is reached.   There are only two combat casualties in this cemetery, one from each of the World Wars, their other common bond being that each were the only sons.  With Memorial Day falling on Pentecost Monday, the historic Gospel for the Day (John 3:16-21) takes on a poignant layer of meaning.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 07, 2013, 09:14:46 PM
BTTT for Rogatetide and Ascenstiontide A.D. 2013.

The weather has not cooperated thus far for the Rogation walking of the bounds....I thought there would be a suffienct gap in the ocean laden rain clouds today but they let loose just as I reached the Narthex doors.

As the PA Dutch say, "ja vell, so gates".
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 08, 2013, 01:58:36 PM
The low pressure system moved just far enough east to allow the circling of the bounds this morning well prior to our normal Wednesday Noon Eucharist.

As I understand the history of the Rogate procession ancient useage was to have the procession before the celebration of the Eucharist.  Being able to follow this historic pattern made the placement of the Psalm 24 verse "lift up your heads, O ye gates...." at the doors to the church all the more fitting, calling to mind the Paschal entrance I had witnessed just four days prior with the local Antiochian congretation.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Jay Michael on May 09, 2013, 10:40:54 PM
In the waning hours of this Ascensiontide  ... an "Exegetical Discovery "

As I was working on my sermon for the Ascension of our Lord, I was thinking about the end of Luke's Gospel which says, "And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy . . ." Great joy. Why great joy? Well, did you know there is only one other time Luke uses that phrase? He speaks often of joy, but of great joy only one other time - when the angel announces Jesus' birth to the shepherds (Luke 2:10). So, great joy when the Son of God comes down from the Father and is born a man, and great joy when that God-man completes His work of redemption and returns to the Father. The "good tidings of great joy" has been fulfilled. Nice Luke! Nice.

The Sober Peasant (http://www.thesoberpeasant.blogspot.com/2013/05/exegetical-discovery.html)
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 09, 2013, 11:12:53 PM
In the waning hours of this Ascensiontide  ... an "Exegetical Discovery "

As I was working on my sermon for the Ascension of our Lord, I was thinking about the end of Luke's Gospel which says, "And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy . . ." Great joy. Why great joy? Well, did you know there is only one other time Luke uses that phrase? He speaks often of joy, but of great joy only one other time - when the angel announces Jesus' birth to the shepherds (Luke 2:10). So, great joy when the Son of God comes down from the Father and is born a man, and great joy when that God-man completes His work of redemption and returns to the Father. The "good tidings of great joy" has been fulfilled. Nice Luke! Nice.

The Sober Peasant (http://www.thesoberpeasant.blogspot.com/2013/05/exegetical-discovery.html)

I must remember that for next year!

Another Lukan inclusio is placing the beginning of his Gospel "in the temple" with the appearance of the angel to Zechariah and ending it with the disciples being "constantly in the temple". 

The difference, of course, is that Zechariah had been dumbstruck, while the the disciples had unloosened lips by which they could (and did) praise God.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Pastor Ted Crandall on May 10, 2013, 05:03:37 AM
In the waning hours of this Ascensiontide  ... an "Exegetical Discovery "

As I was working on my sermon for the Ascension of our Lord, I was thinking about the end of Luke's Gospel which says, "And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy . . ." Great joy. Why great joy? Well, did you know there is only one other time Luke uses that phrase? He speaks often of joy, but of great joy only one other time - when the angel announces Jesus' birth to the shepherds (Luke 2:10). So, great joy when the Son of God comes down from the Father and is born a man, and great joy when that God-man completes His work of redemption and returns to the Father. The "good tidings of great joy" has been fulfilled. Nice Luke! Nice.

The Sober Peasant (http://www.thesoberpeasant.blogspot.com/2013/05/exegetical-discovery.html)

Very nice, indeed! 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Thomas Byers on May 14, 2013, 06:19:34 PM
y few Lutheran Churches in Minneapolis observed Ascencion. thomas







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Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 14, 2013, 06:28:54 PM
We celebrated Ascension Day Morning Prayer at the LCMS International Center on that Thursday at 10 and then I was blessed to attend the Divine Service for the Feast at St. Paul's in Hamel. Pr. Ball preached a most comforting homily and the Eucharist was celebrated with high festivity (Gospel procession; incense).
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 25, 2017, 08:27:50 AM
Bump for the Great Feast of the Ascension, A.D. 2017.   Sadly, we will not be celebrating this Feast (nor any of the Paschal cycle) on the same day again until A.D. 2023.

I will be with the local Greek Orthodox congregation this morning.

The Troparion (Hymn of the Day) of the Ascension is sung in Tone 4, which is essentially a Western major scale.  The melody closely resembles the one used for the Troparion of Christmas--so both the coming of the Word made flesh and His bringing that flesh into the heavens is united by a common melody.

The Germanic hymnographers did something similar with the use of Lobt Gott, Ihr Christen for both the Nativity hymn Let All Together Praise our God (LBW #47) and the Ascensiontide hymn O Christ our Hope, Our Heart's Desire (LBW #300)
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 25, 2017, 08:58:37 AM
We will celebrate the Ascension of our Lord this evening at my country church with the Divine Service.  However, for a long time I was the only one in my circuit to do so.  So too with churches some distance away.  Do many of you observe the Ascension with a time of worship at your churches?  I realize it never gets anywhere near the attention of the other 'big' festivals, especially those that get the commercial boost.  Although I may attract only about 30 people I plan to keep this festival as long as I am here. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 25, 2017, 09:52:27 AM
We will celebrate the Ascension of our Lord this evening at my country church with the Divine Service.  However, for a long time I was the only one in my circuit to do so.  So too with churches some distance away.  Do many of you observe the Ascension with a time of worship at your churches?  I realize it never gets anywhere near the attention of the other 'big' festivals, especially those that get the commercial boost.  Although I may attract only about 30 people I plan to keep this festival as long as I am here.
Our circuit does an Ascension service all together with the location rotating among four congregatons. It is nice to have a unified choir, multiple clergy, and a full church.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 25, 2017, 12:19:57 PM
I'm in Rochester NY babysitting grandchildren for the weekend. Tried to find an Ascension Day service here without success--not even in a couple of churches (one Lutheran, one Episcopal) named "Ascension"!
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 25, 2017, 12:37:05 PM
I'm in Rochester NY babysitting grandchildren for the weekend. Tried to find an Ascension Day service here without success--not even in a couple of churches (one Lutheran, one Episcopal) named "Ascension"!
I get that most congregations aren't going to have enough people to pull off a Thursday evening service, but this seems like quite a shame. Surely there is a Catholic mass you could at least sit in on.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Charles Austin on May 25, 2017, 01:02:45 PM
 I have added Ascension to Sunday's celebration, since we get the story in one of the readings.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 25, 2017, 01:25:28 PM
I also will be focusing on the Ascension this Sunday.  I sympathize with those who will get only thirty or so for a Thursday evening Ascension service.  In the church I serve thirty would be a big Sunday attendance.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: LCMS87 on May 25, 2017, 01:38:48 PM
I'm in Rochester NY babysitting grandchildren for the weekend. Tried to find an Ascension Day service here without success--not even in a couple of churches (one Lutheran, one Episcopal) named "Ascension"!
I get that most congregations aren't going to have enough people to pull off a Thursday evening service, but this seems like quite a shame. Surely there is a Catholic mass you could at least sit in on.

I'm tempted to go all Genesis 18:22-33 on you.  How many righteous does it take to pull off a Thursday evening service?  Jesus said that were two or three are gathered in his name, there he is in their midst.  I'm convinced that holding a service has more to do with the interest and attitude of the pastor than with the number of parishioners who will attend.  In every congregation with which I'm familiar, there's a certain number of regular Sunday attenders--I'd guess around 20%--who will come if a service us offered.  Whether a service is held depends on whether the pastor is willing to plan hymns and liturgy and write a homily for that number.  Schedule the choir too, and you're good to go.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 25, 2017, 01:51:34 PM
I also will be focusing on the Ascension this Sunday.  I sympathize with those who will get only thirty or so for a Thursday evening Ascension service.  In the church I serve thirty would be a big Sunday attendance.

We only get about 30 or so; have for years.  But it has never bothered me.  I realize most people don't value this service or see a reason to make special time for it.  I do use an abbreviated, printed Divine Service to make it easier for the few. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: John_Hannah on May 25, 2017, 02:16:27 PM
Many American Roman Catholic Dioceses allow transferring Ascension Day to the Sunday after.  Indication that they share our problem.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Mark Brown on May 25, 2017, 02:22:07 PM
I'm in Rochester NY babysitting grandchildren for the weekend. Tried to find an Ascension Day service here without success--not even in a couple of churches (one Lutheran, one Episcopal) named "Ascension"!

Sorry, I don't advertise it externally.  I just let it be known in the congregation. I can still get ~20 for Epiphany, Thanksgiving, Ash Wednesday and then 30+ for Holy Week, but Ascension never went anywhere. But down in Henrietta, we did morning prayer early. A full bodied 3 of us before the work day.  You would have been a welcome 4th.

I blame the lack of "I've got to sing that" Ascension Hymns.  The one that is a must sing always gets sung on Sunday anyway.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 25, 2017, 03:38:38 PM
Here's today's homily from the LCMS International Center Chapel, celebrating the Feast of the Ascension. St. Paul's, Hamel sponsored the Eucharist. Chapel choir sang two outstanding pieces by Henry Gerike and one by J. S. Bach.

http://kfuo.org/2017/05/25/ascension-2017-chapel-sermon/
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 25, 2017, 03:49:44 PM
18 at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation; about 1/9 of a Sunday Divine Liturgy....a wide gamut of ages from 2 to 70+.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 25, 2017, 04:21:55 PM
But down in Henrietta, we did morning prayer early. A full bodied 3 of us before the work day.  You would have been a welcome 4th.

I got here about 1 a.m., so I might not have made early morning prayer anyway!  :o
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 25, 2017, 04:40:32 PM
I'm in Rochester NY babysitting grandchildren for the weekend. Tried to find an Ascension Day service here without success--not even in a couple of churches (one Lutheran, one Episcopal) named "Ascension"!
I get that most congregations aren't going to have enough people to pull off a Thursday evening service, but this seems like quite a shame. Surely there is a Catholic mass you could at least sit in on.

I'm tempted to go all Genesis 18:22-33 on you.  How many righteous does it take to pull off a Thursday evening service?  Jesus said that were two or three are gathered in his name, there he is in their midst.  I'm convinced that holding a service has more to do with the interest and attitude of the pastor than with the number of parishioners who will attend.  In every congregation with which I'm familiar, there's a certain number of regular Sunday attenders--I'd guess around 20%--who will come if a service us offered.  Whether a service is held depends on whether the pastor is willing to plan hymns and liturgy and write a homily for that number.  Schedule the choir too, and you're good to go.


How do you schedule a choir if there is no choir?
Size isn't always the issue. I've done our Saturday service with only three people. (We forego singing the hymns.) We seldom break 40 on Sunday during the Summer. (The snowbirds are gone and many of the regulars find ways to go north or into the mountains during our 106º average temperature months.) The offering we might receive on a Thursday night probably wouldn't be enough to pay for cooling the place.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 25, 2017, 04:50:16 PM
Anyone in the southern Illinois area, the Divine Service for the Ascension this evening at St. Paul's, Hamel with choir singing. 7 p.m.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Birkholz on May 25, 2017, 05:14:15 PM
Ascension Day Divine Service at Faith, Oak Lawn, Illinois (SW suburb of Chicago) will be at 7:00p, with light refreshments to follow.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 25, 2017, 06:23:24 PM
If anyone would like to worship with us this evening, KFUO.org is rebroadcasting the Ascension Day Divine Service at 7 pm central tonight.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 25, 2017, 06:30:41 PM
Do many of you observe the Ascension with a time of worship at your churches? 


For 3 years in the mid-90s, my pericope study group -- 3 of us were in neighboring congregations that make for a natural "parish" -- jointly celebrated the Ascension, once even making it a Conference Event.  But those pastors took new calls and it died until I was doing an interim and figured that Epiphany and Ascension worship was a way to lead both congregations in worship.  That was in the year 2000.  Tonight will be year 18.  Over the years Zion has hosted it as a Conference worship, invited the Bishop or other preachers (which usually helps attendance a bit).  Attendance isn't large, but represents 8-12 congregations.

Two LCMS congregations in Peoria also hold Ascension Day services.  The local Anglican church always has Thursday evening Vespers and Eucharist.  That's about it as far as I can determine.  Strangely, the Episcopal congregation (formerly the Cathedral for the Diocese of Quincy, when it was in TEC) is not. 

The U. S. Roman Catholics have transferred the Ascension to next Sunday.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 25, 2017, 07:36:50 PM
The U. S. Roman Catholics have transferred the Ascension to next Sunday.

As has our congregation.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Mike in Pennsylvania on May 25, 2017, 08:14:36 PM
A parish I served back in the '90's used to have their annual pie social following the Ascension Day service.  That built up attendance!
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 25, 2017, 08:44:22 PM
In the early 1990's holding an Ascension Day service in southwestern York County was highly controversial because the "8th District Sunday School Association" (which was largely comprised of devotees from Union churches) held its own "District Rally" in the evening.   

The District, which operated like a quasi denomination, had a "visitation Sunday" each year in early May.  On that day a representative of the District would attend a member Sunday School to pitch District events.

One year the visitor berated us--from the Sunday School podium--for daring to have a service on Ascension Day rather than supporting the District's Rally.  Privately, outside the building, I took him to task for being a poorly behaved guest.

The now-dissolved "8th District" truly was a parable of how institutions can morph into existing only for their own sake long after having lost all sense of mission.  Just before the "8th's" demise there were only two "Districts" still functioning within the York County Sunday School Association:  the 8th and the 15th.  Nevermind that Districts 1 through 7 and 9 through 14 and passed into oblivion; the final two still clung to their numbers as though their long faded glory years were still in full vigor.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 25, 2017, 09:20:36 PM
Just got back from the Divine Service. We had some 78 attend and sing their hearts out (20 of that being the choir). In the cornfields of southern Illinois the Divine Service in all its splendor: Pastor Ball in chasuble and Pastor Gleason serving as deacon in the dalmatic. Three boys assisted at the altar, carrying the Cross and the torches. Incense and the music of the choir and John blessed us with his trumpet; his wife, Kate, on the organ and directing the choir.

It was a much needed service of consolation. You see, at an Ascension Eve service yesterday long time pastor of St. Paul in Wood River, Illinois, Pr. Martin Schultz had a heart-attack as he was preaching. He was not able to be revived; the Lord calling him home. And we all knew and loved Pr. Schultz and feel very much for his family. Our own pastor, Pr. Ball, had served as Pr. Schultz's fieldworker and so had my boss, Pr. Bart Day. Pr. Ball spoke some very sweet and comforting Gospel to us and you could tell it came straight from his own heart and he was speaking the comfort as much to himself as to us. Indeed, "Oh, to feel the Son's embrace!"
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 25, 2017, 09:31:55 PM
Just got back from the Divine Service. We had some 78 attend and sing their hearts out (20 of that being the choir). In the cornfields of southern Illinois the Divine Service in all its splendor: Pastor Ball in chasuble and Pastor Gleason serving as deacon in the dalmatic. Three boys assisted at the altar, carrying the Cross and the torches. Incense and the music of the choir and John blessed us with his trumpet.

It was a much needed service of consolation. You see, at an Ascension Eve service yesterday long time pastor of St. Paul in Wood River, Illinois, Pr. Martin Schultz had a heart-attack as he was preaching. He was not able to be revived; the Lord calling him home. And we all knew and loved Pr. Schultz and feel very much for his family. Our own pastor, Pr. Ball, had served as Pr. Schultz's fieldworker and so had my boss, Pr. Bart Day. Pr. Ball spoke some very sweet and comforting Gospel to us and you could tell it came straight from his own heart and he was speaking the comfort as much to himself as to us. Indeed, "Oh, to feel the Son's embrace!"

So sorry to hear about the death of pastor Martin Schultz.  When I was a pastor in the St. Louis area I remember hearing him preach at his younger brother's installation at St. Paul's in Des Peres.  He was a wonderful pastor, husband and father.  The Lord comfort Martin's family with His promises (1st Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 26, 2017, 12:45:35 AM
Attendance isn't large, but represents 8-12 congregations.


Well, Cathedral Vespers and Holy Communion (with candlelight) on the South Side of Peoria didn't have the same sort of splendor as did St. Paul's in Hamel.  But the 17 present (representing 7+ congregations) sang their hearts out, accompanied by our magnificent organist on Zion's 7-rank Hinners pipe organ.  Pastor Tibbetts vested in cassock/surplice/tippet as liturgist for (LBW) vespers.  Votive lights in the stained glass window sills, hand-held candles and altar candelabra lit during the Lucernarium, with eucharistic lights added while Pr. Zip changed during a fine Prelude into cassock/alb/stole/chasuble as preacher and celebrant for LBW Setting 3.  No choir, trumpet, acolytes, torches, incense, or deacon (though the chalice bearer wore an alb), and I had installed the cross in the Chancel before anyone arrive.  The Word was proclaimed, the Body and Blood of Christ were distributed, and the offering will support our Companion Synods in the Malagasy Lutheran Church.

And thus, as in Hamel and churches large and small around the world, it was glorious.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 26, 2017, 07:45:27 AM
Steven,

Amen! Amen! Amen! When the Ascension service attendance is down, I always remind folks: the first Ascension service had only 11 gathered around the Lord Jesus on the earthly side. Of course, on the heavenly side it was far more splendid, as it is always! Pax!
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 26, 2017, 09:22:03 AM
THE EXAPOSTEILARION OF THE ASCENSION IN TONE TWO

While  Thy  disciples  looked  on  Thee, 
Thou  ascendedst O  Christ,
unto  the  Father  to  sit  beside Him.
Angels hastened, running on before and cried:
Lift ye the gates up, lift them up;
for the Lord King hath ascended
unto His bright primal glory
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: LCMS87 on May 26, 2017, 11:20:58 AM
Twenty-three gathered here last night to celebrate our Lord's coronation and enthronement and receive him for forgiveness in the Supper.  (That includes eight in the choir.)  The preceding salad supper had 18 join in fellowship, with a hymn sing following for about 15 minutes before the service began.  (We sing Lenten hymns before the midweek Lenten services though sometimes other hymns are selected.  I noted in the Sunday announcements that this would be a fitting occasion to sing "Crown Him with Many Crowns" which had been requested in Lent.  It was the first hymn chosen by a member last night.  The other selections were pretty good as well, though I could have done without the "loud boiling test tubes!")

Up until a couple of years ago our circuit held a joint Ascension service rotating among the congregations.  Our 23 last night was ten times the number of members of this congregation who joined in the joint service toward the end, and as large as the joint service in total in each of its last two years.  That's the reason the circuit decided to discontinue the joint service and encourage congregations to hold services individually.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 26, 2017, 11:29:20 AM
I didn't count everyone, but we had 6 clergy plus two acolytes vested, a vicar and emeritus pastor singing in the choir of about 20 or so, and maybe about 50 additional people at our circuit service at Trinity, Hammond. Good preaching by Chad Kendall.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 06, 2018, 02:44:05 PM
Today is Rogate on the pre Vatican II Western calendar, the beginning of the first of two "seasons within a season" (or "mini-season" or "seasonlette"--take your pick) called "Rogationtide" observed Sunday through Wednesday which is then displaced by the second and longer Ascensiontide kept Thursday until Pentecost Eve.

In the Orthodox Church there are no special services until the day before Ascension, the "Apodosis of Pascha" ("Leavetaking of Pascha") on which the Paschal Orthros and Divine Liturgy are served just as 39 days earlier. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 06, 2018, 03:58:22 PM
Today was still Rogate at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hamel and any other place using the one year series from LSB. :) Congregation sang Our Father Who From Heaven Above (with the choir singing the third and seventh stanzas in a J.S. Bach setting). Plus nine young people were confirmed in the late service. Joys abounding. Choir will also sing for Ascension on Thursday.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 06, 2018, 04:03:24 PM
I'm going to be in Rochester NY on Thursday; anyone know of a church that will have an Ascension Day service? I've struck out looking at websites.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: John_Hannah on May 06, 2018, 04:13:09 PM
I'm going to be in Rochester NY on Thursday; anyone know of a church that will have an Ascension Day service? I've struck out looking at websites.

Maybe you'll have to come to the Bronx.   ;D

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 10, 2018, 10:25:09 AM
At 10 central time, KFUO will be broadcasting the Divine Service for the Ascension from the International Center. Pastor Randy Asburry will be the celebrant and preacher. Lots of beautiful music too to celebrate our Lord’s Ascension.  Www.kufo.org
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 10, 2018, 10:29:30 AM
Thanks, Will!

The Forgotten Festival: 7 Reasons to Rejoice on Ascension Day
by Joel Biermann
    
"There are no decorated evergreens, no greeting cards, no gifts, no poinsettias or lilies, no colored eggs, no chocolate bunnies, and no responsive salutation. There’s just a Thursday with an extra name: Ascension. It’s not just the world that has ignored the festival. The Church seems to have lost interest as well. Most congregations have elected to forgo a worship service on Ascension and those that cling to the tradition count on few to attend. Apparently, Ascension Day doesn’t matter.

But it does matter. In fact, it matters every bit as much as Good Friday, Easter, and Christmas. It deserves to be celebrated. For those still unconvinced, here are seven reasons to rejoice on Ascension Day:

1. Jesus ascended so that the Holy Spirit could descend.
The Spirit is the promised “other Comforter” essential to the life and growth of the Church—no Holy Spirit, no Church, no faith, no salvation. Jesus ascended to send the Spirit.

2. Jesus reigns now over everything.
He has been enthroned at the Father’s right hand, and the full glory of the Godhead is His. The ascension is His coronation ceremony and highlights the splendor and authority of Jesus over every king, ruler, and nation.

3. The ascension was the plan from the very beginning.
Just as the passion and resurrection were predicted in the Old Testament, so too was the ascension. Jesus’ extraordinary visible ascent is the essential capstone of his earthly ministry.

4. Jesus ascended bodily.
Joined eternally to true God, a true human body is the object of honor and worship. This has profound impact on our understanding of God’s nature and also human nature. The material aspects of God’s creation are very good and endure forever.

5. The commission announced by Jesus is now in full force.
Just as a death must precede the implementation of a will, so the ascension of Jesus must precede the implementation and empowerment of the command to the disciples (you included) to witness the reality of Jesus to the world.

6. The ascension of Jesus is a preview of the promised consummation.
At the Last Day Jesus will return as He went: physically and visibly. It will not be a “spiritual” or metaphorical return, but an actual coming of His physical body. No one is going to miss it.

7. Jesus is Lord.
Not only did Jesus come back from the dead, but He now reigns on high. He is Lord of all creation. He is Lord of your life.

Whether or not anyone else joins you, you’ve got much to celebrate on Ascension Day. At the very least, take a moment to gaze skyward, study a cloud, and offer a prayer of thanks and praise and anticipation to the one who now reigns on high and who is coming soon."

https://blog.cph.org/everyday-faith/the-forgotten-festival-7-reasons-to-rejoice-on-ascension-day/
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 10, 2018, 12:35:27 PM
4. Jesus ascended bodily.
Joined eternally to true God, a true human body is the object of honor and worship. This has profound impact on our understanding of God’s nature and also human nature. The material aspects of God’s creation are very good and endure forever.

4A - Jesus's bodily Ascension brings to completion the work of His Incarnation.

From the Orthodox hymnody of this Great Feast, third Kathisma of Matins:

Quote
When You came down from heaven, O Savior, to the earth, *
and with yourself as God resurrected Adam's form *
which was lying down below in the dungeon of hell, *
and then to heaven raised it up by Your Ascension, O Christ, *
You made it sit with You together *
on the throne of Your Father, *
for You are merciful and love mankind.

and from the Stichera of the Matins Praises:

Quote
Praise Him with timbrel and dance; praise Him with strings and flute.

As the pre-eminent Angels perceived Your strange ascent, *
they were perplexed, O Savior, *
and they asked one another, *
What are we beholding? Human in form *
is the one we are seeing here. *
He has a body; and yet, look how He ascends *
far above the heavens, as our God."
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dave Benke on May 10, 2018, 12:51:38 PM
I'll tell a bad story on myself when it comes to "the forgotten festival:" 

I spoke at our local Lutheran high school early this morning on Ascension day, bringing the message based on Acts 1, and eventually dedicating and blessing 300 new gym/sanctuary chairs (a fundraising project I initiated and supported after noting last fall that they were using the same bad-news chairs I had been in charge of when I was chaplain at the school 45 years ago!). 

Anyway, out the door I went, and proceeded through several other locations over to Brooklyn.   There I determined to park my car at the local YMCA, because of alternate side parking regulations, which kind of run the everyday life of all driving New Yorkers.  On the way to the church on foot, I was struck by looking at cars parked on BOTH sides of the street.  I wondered to myself, "what religious holiday is this anyway?"  About a half block further I stopped, struck my head, laughed and said out loud, "Are you kidding??  You idiot!  You've already forgotten Ascension Day!"

Bad on me.  But illustrative of the "Forgotten Festival."

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 11, 2018, 09:53:12 AM
Yesterday evening we celebrated the Divine Service in honor of the Ascension of our Lord.  At last count it would appear that less than 30 people attended. At least one elderly lady from one of our circuit congregation faithfully attends each year.  As far as I know none of my other circuit churches hold an Ascension Day service.  In my 17+ years here I think I have probably been the only one to have one.  I vowed to keep observing the festival as long as I am here, knowing that whoever follows me may well discontinue it, reasoning that there are not enough people to warrant it.  Thanks to Pr. Kirchner for posting the brief article by Biermann. I will copy and save for next year. I think some pastors may wonder why we should make such a fuss about this day, and yet the reasons are legion. There are many portraits of our Lord in Holy Scripture - some of the Suffering Servant, some of the crucified Lord, some of the resurrected Savior.  But the Ascension reminds us that our Lord has resumed his place at the right hand of the Father and now rules over all.  Despite the state of the suffering church under the cross we know that the gates of hell will not prevail against us.  The witness will go forth.  The Word of the Lord will increase mightily.  Satan is a defeated enemy.  This should give the church hope. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on May 11, 2018, 10:11:42 AM
recently among the pics folks posted online of the Ascension were a number (some I have seen before like the Dali) and one I have not.  It a thing made of plaster, then painted.  I am not sure whether the description should be gaudy gore (like the plaster crucifixes with oozing blood), or sticky sentimental or kitsch but anyway I would be emulsified if it were in my parish building... BUT I like it.  It showed the feet of our Lord, ankles down the bottom edge of his robe showing... rays of glory extending weirdly from his toe nails and above them the nail holes of holy suffering, surround by a circle of symmetrical like small loaves of bread AND the whole thing, here is the strength of the thing... on a ceiling... the ah-ha, an ascent into the ceiling of where we live, not out in nature but above our heads where we sleep, eat, fight, smile, frown and everything indoors too.  Realism that clouds may not indicate.  He ascends over where we plop, sit, lie down, lie sitting up, walk, stand.... everywhere can be a mountain.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 11, 2018, 11:46:56 AM
Could it be, at least in part, that the Ascension of Our Lord, celebrates his absence from us? For Luke, the only gospel to mention the ascension, Jesus leaves his disciples. He is replaced by the Power. The Gospel of John presents the same truth. Jesus' farewell speech is about leaving the disciples and the coming of the Paraclete. (Matthew's gospel is quite different in this regard. Jesus promises to be present when we gather in his name. Jesus promised: "I am with you always till the end of the age.")


The "Presence and Absence" of Jesus is a section Mark Allan Powell's book, Loving Jesus. Some quotes:

“Authentic Christianity is always a reality to be experienced, not just a collection of facts or doctrines to be learned and believed” (p. 52).

“The thing is, we don’t just admire Jesus: we claim that he is still alive and that we are in an ongoing, living relationship with him” (p. 53).


The Bible teaches that while Jesus may remain present with us in all of the ways we have described, he is no longer with us as he once was, and he is not now with us as he will be. Living with the ambiguity of recognizing this “absence of Jesus” even when appreciating his continuing presence holds an important key for spiritual formation. (p. 54)


Somebody once asked me, “What does it feel like to be a Christian?” That seemed like an odd question, but I tried to answer. I said, “It feels like being in love with someone who has gone away.” They said, “That can’t be very pleasant.” Well, no, I don’t think it’s supposed to be pleasant, but it is pretty powerful. I am in love with my wife, and when she is gone, I think about her constantly. I perk up at any news of her and I am energized by the slightest connection (a letter, a phone call). That’s what being a Christian “feels like.” Of course, it is a confident sadness, and we’ll get to more of what that means in the next few chapters, but for now let’s just admit this much: we love Jesus as a bride loves her groom, but our bridegroom has been taken away from us, and that makes us sad. The love can be real and powerful and overwhelming, but the absence is real too. And, sometimes, it’s just hard. (p. 55, italics in original)


He quotes Luke 22:15-16, 18, 19; Matthew 26:29; 1 Corinthians 11:26 and notes that they all “call attention to the ways in which Jesus will not be present with his disciples when they gather to eat this meal. … We know that he is risen, but when we eat this meal – a meal that he once shared with us when he was here on earth and will someday share with us again in the kingdom – we notice his absence and are more aware of his death than we are of his resurrection. That’s how it will be, the Bible says, for people proclaiming his death ‘until he comes’.” (p. 57).


In the liturgies of many churches, Holy Communion is celebrated explicitly as “a foretaste of the feast to come.” the purpose of a foretaste is not to satisfy one’s hunger but to make one long for the feast. It seems to me that the more often Christians take Communion, the more impatient they should become. I’ve been taking Communion almost weekly for about forty years now and my attitude is becoming “Enough with the appetizers! I want the feast!” Of course, we must be grateful for what we have. Grateful, but not satisfied! One purpose of Communion is to feed our impatience, simultaneously reminding us of our Lord’s absence and allowing us to experience just enough of his presence to increase this longing in our souls. (p. 58)

I also note that the earliest Christians prayed, "Come, Lord Jesus." It's is a prayer of absence. It's like talking on the phone to the wife who is away and pleading, "Come home, soon. I miss you." The ascension highlights our experience of being without Jesus - something that is not very pleasant.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Rob Morris on May 11, 2018, 11:50:54 AM
The practice I inherited, which I have gladly continued, is to have the Confirmands lead several portions of the service on Ascension Day. For simplicity, we use Responsive Prayer 2 and they can do things like versicles, the creed, the Lord's prayer, and serve as lectors, in addition to being the acolytes, greeters, and ushers. When we had large classes, each student got one assignment. With a grand total of three this year, they teamed up to do all of the above.

It's great for them to get involved in every aspect of the service, gets them over some of their jitters before their confirmation day, and is really loved by the older members of the congregation who attend and get to see young people in leadership in church.

There aren't a lot of attendees (attendance is directly proportional to the number of confirmands, whose families have brought them, plus the every-service-that's-held faithful attendees), but it's one of my favorite services of the year.

Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 11, 2018, 12:09:33 PM
Could it be, at least in part, that the Ascension of Our Lord, celebrates his absence from us?
...
The ascension highlights our experience of being without Jesus - something that is not very pleasant.

Flummery.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 11, 2018, 12:19:18 PM
Could it be, at least in part, that the Ascension of Our Lord, celebrates his absence from us?

No.  As the men in white ask, "Why do you stand looking into heaven?"   ::)
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 11, 2018, 12:39:33 PM
Could it be, at least in part, that the Ascension of Our Lord, celebrates his absence from us? For Luke, the only gospel to mention the ascension, Jesus leaves his disciples. He is replaced by the Power.

As Jesus ascends the cloud hides Him from their sight.  He does not disappear.  I certainly did not think that last night as I celebrated the Eucharist. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: LCMS87 on May 11, 2018, 01:07:59 PM
Attendance at the Divine Service last night was just over a quarter of our average Sunday morning attendance.  It's been higher previous years, but to a degree that's because normally the choir sings in the Ascension service and this year it didn't.  There are also a couple of families who were out of town or who've been sick.

One of the things that struck me most both in the hymns for the feast and the readings--especially from Ephesians--is the prevalence of glory.  I would think that in a world that, and among Christians who, embrace a theology of glory this feast day would be wholeheartedly celebrated.  St. Paul writes of hope and riches and power.  This is the coronation of our brother Jesus.  He has brought our human nature to the highest position possible.  Now seated on the throne he rules over all things for the benefit of the church--our benefit--second only to his Father in authority.  His enemies, our enemies, are under his feet.  Sin, Death, Satan, Hell, these most ferocious foes are shown to have been defeated by our Savior.  If that isn't worth celebrating, isn't worth a bit of rejoicing, what is?  And of course, integral to the message of Ascension is that Jesus is coming back so that we will experience in full what is ours already now but so far seen only with the eyes of faith.

Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 11, 2018, 01:12:01 PM
Could it be, at least in part, that the Ascension of Our Lord, celebrates his absence from us?

No.  As the men in white ask, "Why do you stand looking into heaven?"   ::)


Ah, but that isn't the end of their speech. "This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven will come in the same way that you saw him go into heaven." They affirm that "this Jesus" was taken away from us. He is in heaven. We are waiting for his return. While we are waiting, we don't just stare up into heaven, we've been empowered by the Spirit to be Jesus' witnesses throughout the world.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 11, 2018, 01:23:37 PM
Could it be, at least in part, that the Ascension of Our Lord, celebrates his absence from us? For Luke, the only gospel to mention the ascension, Jesus leaves his disciples. He is replaced by the Power.

As Jesus ascends the cloud hides Him from their sight.  He does not disappear.  I certainly did not think that last night as I celebrated the Eucharist.


"He left them and was taken up to heaven" (Luke 24:51b)
"He was taken up to heaven" (Acts 1:2a)
"This Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven" (Acts 1:11b)


He is not hidden by a cloud. He is in heaven. He is no longer on earth.


We also have: "Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight" (Luke 24:31). Yes, Jesus disappeared.


If Jesus was present at the eucharist as he was with the disciples before his ascension, what was he wearing? Does he really have a beard? Is his hair straight, curly, or kinky? You could be the first person to take a picture of the real Jesus. Then we would all know what he really looked like.


However Jesus is present in our gatherings in his name and in the eucharist and in the "least of these", it is not the same presence that the disciples had with him before the ascension. (They could see if he had a beard or not.) It is also not the same presence that we will have with Jesus when he returns.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Eileen Smith on May 11, 2018, 01:27:13 PM
Could it be, at least in part, that the Ascension of Our Lord, celebrates his absence from us?

No.  As the men in white ask, "Why do you stand looking into heaven?"   ::)


Ah, but that isn't the end of their speech. "This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven will come in the same way that you saw him go into heaven." They affirm that "this Jesus" was taken away from us. He is in heaven. We are waiting for his return. While we are waiting, we don't just stare up into heaven, we've been empowered by the Spirit to be Jesus' witnesses throughout the world.

I have never experienced an Ascension where one heard in the message that Jesus is no longer with us.  Nor have I experienced an Ascension where the tenor of the day was somber in losing the presence of Jesus.  The hymns, the readings, the prayers are all uplifting and filled with joy and glory.  Jesus no longer is with us as he was, that is, walking among us physically but he is with us in the divine.  Moreover he is with us physically in his body and blood.  He is with us - literally - within us as we eat and drink of his body and blood.  He is present in the Word.  The church is the body of Christ on earth - the physical presence of Christ.  How could we have a body without a head?

If none of what I've posted makes sense let's move from Luke to Matthew:  And remember I am with you always to the end of the age.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 11, 2018, 01:39:14 PM
Could it be, at least in part, that the Ascension of Our Lord, celebrates his absence from us? For Luke, the only gospel to mention the ascension, Jesus leaves his disciples. He is replaced by the Power.

As Jesus ascends the cloud hides Him from their sight.  He does not disappear.  I certainly did not think that last night as I celebrated the Eucharist.


"He left them and was taken up to heaven" (Luke 24:51b)
"He was taken up to heaven" (Acts 1:2a)
"This Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven" (Acts 1:11b)


He is not hidden by a cloud. He is in heaven. He is no longer on earth.


We also have: "Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight" (Luke 24:31). Yes, Jesus disappeared.


If Jesus was present at the eucharist as he was with the disciples before his ascension, what was he wearing? Does he really have a beard? Is his hair straight, curly, or kinky? You could be the first person to take a picture of the real Jesus. Then we would all know what he really looked like.


However Jesus is present in our gatherings in his name and in the eucharist and in the "least of these", it is not the same presence that the disciples had with him before the ascension. (They could see if he had a beard or not.) It is also not the same presence that we will have with Jesus when he returns.

"And when He [Jesus] had said this, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight."  Acts 1:9

Your views represent a Reformed position reflected in the NIV translation where Peter is preaching in Acts 3.  Vs. 21: "He must remain in heaven...."  The proper translation is: "...whom heaven must receive."   

No one argues that the presence of Jesus during His earthly ministry is different than His real, physical presence now.  But that does not change the truth that He is truly and physically present in the bread and wine of the Holy Eucharist.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 11, 2018, 01:46:59 PM
Formula of Concord, VII, Lord's Supper:
"Therefore we reject and condemn with heart and mouth as false, erroneous, and deceiving all Sacramentarian opinions and doctrines which are inconsistent with, opposed to, or contrary to the doctrine set forth above, based as it is on the Word of God......

11.  Likewise, that according to the words of Christ's institution believers are not to directed to seek the body of Christ in the bread and wine of the Supper, but to look away from the bread of the Supper and by their faith to look to that place in heaven where Christ is present with his body and there to partake of him."
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 11, 2018, 02:41:39 PM
Christ's promise to be with us always--even as we await the eternal Pascha in His Kingdom--is proclaimed in the Troparia of the Ninth Ode of the Canon of Pascha.   

In the Orthodox tradition it is sung for the last time on the "Leave-taking of Pascha", the day before Ascension:

Quote
Refrain 3: Christ is the New Pascha, the living sacrificial Victim, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.

Troparion: O divine, O dear, O sweetest Voice! For Thou, O Christ, hast faithfully promised to be with us to the end of the world. And holding fast this promise as an anchor of hope, we the faithful rejoice.

Refrain 4: The Angel cried to her who is full of grace: Rejoice, pure Virgin! And again I say, Rejoice! Thy Son has risen on the third day from the grave, and has raised the dead. Rejoice, you people!

Again: O divine, O dear…

Refrain 5: Roaring royally, as the Lion of Judas, Thou hast slept, and Thou hast awakened the dead of all past ages.

Again: O divine, O dear…

Refrain 6: Mary Magdalene ran to the sepulchre, and she saw Christ, and spoke to Him as to the gardener.

Troparion: O great and holiest Pascha, Christ! O Wisdom, Word and Power of God! Grant that we may more perfectly partake of Thee in the unending Day of Thy Kingdom.

Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 11, 2018, 03:24:01 PM
Could it be, at least in part, that the Ascension of Our Lord, celebrates his absence from us?

No.  As the men in white ask, "Why do you stand looking into heaven?"   ::)

Ah, but that isn't the end of their speech....

The first problem is the verb in your question.  It goes on from there, but if you start on the wrong foot, you won't get where you're going without correction.  Something more than 36,500 posts here reveal you steadfastly refuse.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on May 11, 2018, 04:45:48 PM
does the Ascension NOTE or UNDERLINE his physically viewable absence?  The reason I ask that is not because of anyone finding the word CELEBRATES problematic.   An old confirmation program book made a statement about the resurrection appearances of our Lord which I found both fascinating and also questionable in a similar manner.  It said that Jesus' appearing and then not appearing or if you will disappearing and even (though they may not have fully noted this) his finding walls and roof not hindering to his coming and presence... was a way of Jesus getting his disciples used to his not being with them always in the way he had been with them in his three year ministry.  It was not denying that he said he would be with them always, but that the manner in which he would be sensed or received would be different.  I assume they could have also been pointing to his Eucharistic presence and as Word of God his presence in the Word of Scripture and Baptism and as a recipient of not everyday back and forth conversation but the use of prayer.  What do you think?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 11, 2018, 04:56:09 PM
"And when He [Jesus] had said this, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight."  Acts 1:9


Yup, and in v. 11 the two men in white tell us that he was taken up into heaven. He didn't just hide behind a cloud, but went somewhere.

Quote
Your views represent a Reformed position reflected in the NIV translation where Peter is preaching in Acts 3.  Vs. 21: "He must remain in heaven...."  The proper translation is: "...whom heaven must receive."   


δέχομαι can be translated a number of different ways. It's basic meaning is "to receive," but when used in terms of a guest it takes on the meaning of "to welcome, to show hospitality towards". It sometimes has a more active meaning of "to grasp". Heaven welcomed Jesus or took him in until the restoration of all things.

Quote
No one argues that the presence of Jesus during His earthly ministry is different than His real, physical presence now.  But that does not change the truth that He is truly and physically present in the bread and wine of the Holy Eucharist.


That difference can be called "the absence of Jesus." He is not here as he once was. Did you even read the comments from Mark Allan Powell?


Our eucharists are different than what happened in the upper room and in Emmaus. Those recipients could actually see and hear Jesus talk to them. They could tell us if he had a beard or not and the color and curliness of his hair. We can't do that. The presence we experience is both a presence and an absence, which is why we continue to pray, "Come Lord Jesus." We don't believe that Jesus has fully arrived. We're still waiting for him to come when our experience of his presence will be quite different than our experience of his presence now.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 11, 2018, 04:59:02 PM
Could it be, at least in part, that the Ascension of Our Lord, celebrates his absence from us?

No.  As the men in white ask, "Why do you stand looking into heaven?"   ::)

Ah, but that isn't the end of their speech....

The first problem is the verb in your question.  It goes on from there, but if you start on the wrong foot, you won't get where you're going without correction.  Something more than 36,500 posts here reveal you steadfastly refuse.


I suggest that you take your complaints to Mark Allan Powell. Or, at least read, Loving Jesus, where he talks about both Jesus' presence and absence.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 11, 2018, 05:14:59 PM
Our eucharists are different than what happened in the upper room and in Emmaus. Those recipients could actually see and hear Jesus talk to them. They could tell us if he had a beard or not and the color and curliness of his hair. We can't do that. The presence we experience is both a presence and an absence, which is why we continue to pray, "Come Lord Jesus." We don't believe that Jesus has fully arrived. We're still waiting for him to come when our experience of his presence will be quite different than our experience of his presence now.

Which is expressed very well, I believe, in the Troparia of the Ninth Ode I posted above:

Quote
O great and holiest Pascha, Christ!
O Wisdom, Word and Power of God!
Grant that we may more perfectly partake of Thee
in the unending Day of Thy Kingdom


Or as St. Paul writes to the Corinthians "we see now as through a darkened glass..."

Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 11, 2018, 05:40:48 PM

Your views represent a Reformed position reflected in the NIV translation where Peter is preaching in Acts 3.  Vs. 21: "He must remain in heaven...."  The proper translation is: "...whom heaven must receive."   


Oh, now, you mustn't challenge Brian's Greek. He's our resident expert!
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 11, 2018, 07:01:07 PM
"And when He [Jesus] had said this, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight."  Acts 1:9


Yup, and in v. 11 the two men in white tell us that he was taken up into heaven. He didn't just hide behind a cloud, but went somewhere....


Quote
No one argues that the presence of Jesus during His earthly ministry is different than His real, physical presence now.  But that does not change the truth that He is truly and physically present in the bread and wine of the Holy Eucharist.


That difference can be called "the absence of Jesus." He is not here as he once was. Did you even read the comments from Mark Allan Powell?


Our eucharists are different than what happened in the upper room and in Emmaus. Those recipients could actually see and hear Jesus talk to them. They could tell us if he had a beard or not and the color and curliness of his hair. We can't do that. The presence we experience is both a presence and an absence, which is why we continue to pray, "Come Lord Jesus." We don't believe that Jesus has fully arrived. We're still waiting for him to come when our experience of his presence will be quite different than our experience of his presence now.

I went back and read the earlier comments related to Mark Allan Powell.  I'm sorry, but I just don't feel comfortable with the idea of "real absence."  Comparing Christ's ascension to one's wife leaving town just doesn't do it.  I also did a quick tour through the BoC regarding the Ascension.  I fail to find any hint of a "real absence" in describing the ascension of our Lord.  What I do find is not an idea of a change of location, as such, but a change in glory.  As the creeds direct us, when He ascends He at that time takes His rightful place at the "right hand of the Father."  Jesus willingly laid aside this glory during the time of His earthly ministry.  It remained "hidden during the state of His humiliation" (Solid Declaration, VIII, 26).  Now, He has ascended into heaven that "He might fill all things" and be "present to rule, not only as God but also as man..." (27). The "right hand of God" is not a "specific place in heaven," but rather the "almighty power of God which fills heaven and earth, in which Christ has been installed according to His humanity in deed and in truth without any blending or equalization of th two natures in their essence and essential properties." (28).

Where in the counsel of the fathers of the faith do you see this idea of the "real absence"?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2018, 02:29:20 AM
"And when He [Jesus] had said this, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight."  Acts 1:9


Yup, and in v. 11 the two men in white tell us that he was taken up into heaven. He didn't just hide behind a cloud, but went somewhere....


Quote
No one argues that the presence of Jesus during His earthly ministry is different than His real, physical presence now.  But that does not change the truth that He is truly and physically present in the bread and wine of the Holy Eucharist.


That difference can be called "the absence of Jesus." He is not here as he once was. Did you even read the comments from Mark Allan Powell?


Our eucharists are different than what happened in the upper room and in Emmaus. Those recipients could actually see and hear Jesus talk to them. They could tell us if he had a beard or not and the color and curliness of his hair. We can't do that. The presence we experience is both a presence and an absence, which is why we continue to pray, "Come Lord Jesus." We don't believe that Jesus has fully arrived. We're still waiting for him to come when our experience of his presence will be quite different than our experience of his presence now.

I went back and read the earlier comments related to Mark Allan Powell.  I'm sorry, but I just don't feel comfortable with the idea of "real absence."  Comparing Christ's ascension to one's wife leaving town just doesn't do it.  I also did a quick tour through the BoC regarding the Ascension.  I fail to find any hint of a "real absence" in describing the ascension of our Lord.  What I do find is not an idea of a change of location, as such, but a change in glory.  As the creeds direct us, when He ascends He at that time takes His rightful place at the "right hand of the Father."  Jesus willingly laid aside this glory during the time of His earthly ministry.  It remained "hidden during the state of His humiliation" (Solid Declaration, VIII, 26).  Now, He has ascended into heaven that "He might fill all things" and be "present to rule, not only as God but also as man..." (27). The "right hand of God" is not a "specific place in heaven," but rather the "almighty power of God which fills heaven and earth, in which Christ has been installed according to His humanity in deed and in truth without any blending or equalization of th two natures in their essence and essential properties." (28).

Where in the counsel of the fathers of the faith do you see this idea of the "real absence"?


Ask your members - those people of faith who are closest to you? How often do they experience the presence of Jesus vs. the absence of Jesus? The first quote from Powell was: “Authentic Christianity is always a reality to be experienced, not just a collection of facts or doctrines to be learned and believed” (p. 52 italics added).


Whenever I've brought this up in adult classes - and we had a group that read through and discussed the book - they talk about their experiences of Jesus being absent.


What do you do with Jesus' statements in regards to the Upper Room Meal:
"For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." (Luke 22:16)
"For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." (Luke 22:18)
"I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." (Matthew 26:29)
"For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." (1 Corinthians 11:26)


So, is Jesus eating and drinking with us? Has the kingdom of God come?


He says (according to Paul) that our eating and drinking proclaims his death (not his presence) while we are waiting for him to come.


However Jesus is present with us in the sacrament, it is not the same presence that the disciples had with him in the upper room. It is not the same presence we will have with him when he returns. Part of that difference is our experience of his absence. We can't look across the table and see him sitting with us.


While I ask him for advice as I'm writing my sermon, it is not quite the same kind of conversation that I have with my wife. I hear her clearly answer my questions. There can be silence from Jesus. (If there's silence from my wife - it's not a good thing.)


The Ascension of Our Lord indicates that our relationship with Jesus will be different. We won't be shaking his hand, or embracing him, or sharing a kiss of peace with him as those first disciples were able to do. I believe that for Luke, our relationship with God comes through the Holy Spirit.
 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2018, 02:34:31 AM
Our eucharists are different than what happened in the upper room and in Emmaus. Those recipients could actually see and hear Jesus talk to them. They could tell us if he had a beard or not and the color and curliness of his hair. We can't do that. The presence we experience is both a presence and an absence, which is why we continue to pray, "Come Lord Jesus." We don't believe that Jesus has fully arrived. We're still waiting for him to come when our experience of his presence will be quite different than our experience of his presence now.

Which is expressed very well, I believe, in the Troparia of the Ninth Ode I posted above:

Quote
O great and holiest Pascha, Christ!
O Wisdom, Word and Power of God!
Grant that we may more perfectly partake of Thee
in the unending Day of Thy Kingdom


Or as St. Paul writes to the Corinthians "we see now as through a darkened glass..."


And we shouldn't be satisfied seeing through a darkened glass. We long to see clearly - like the blind man who required two touches before seeing clearly. We have the promise that the day will come when we see clearly, but it's not yet. I understand the "absence" as the longing for when there will be no darkened glass - but no glass at all that separates us from Jesus.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 12, 2018, 08:49:37 AM
Ask your members - those people of faith who are closest to you? How often do they experience the presence of Jesus vs. the absence of Jesus? The first quote from Powell was: “Authentic Christianity is always a reality to be experienced, not just a collection of facts or doctrines to be learned and believed” (p. 52 italics added).


Whenever I've brought this up in adult classes - and we had a group that read through and discussed the book - they talk about their experiences of Jesus being absent.


What do you do with Jesus' statements in regards to the Upper Room Meal:
"For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." (Luke 22:16)
"For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." (Luke 22:18)
"I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." (Matthew 26:29)
"For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." (1 Corinthians 11:26)


So, is Jesus eating and drinking with us? Has the kingdom of God come?


He says (according to Paul) that our eating and drinking proclaims his death (not his presence) while we are waiting for him to come.


However Jesus is present with us in the sacrament, it is not the same presence that the disciples had with him in the upper room. It is not the same presence we will have with him when he returns. Part of that difference is our experience of his absence. We can't look across the table and see him sitting with us.


While I ask him for advice as I'm writing my sermon, it is not quite the same kind of conversation that I have with my wife. I hear her clearly answer my questions. There can be silence from Jesus. (If there's silence from my wife - it's not a good thing.)


The Ascension of Our Lord indicates that our relationship with Jesus will be different. We won't be shaking his hand, or embracing him, or sharing a kiss of peace with him as those first disciples were able to do. I believe that for Luke, our relationship with God comes through the Holy Spirit.

It is certainly clear that we live in a "now-not yet" situation as believers.  If all was as it was intended to be we wouldn't be looking forward to what is to come.  No argument there.

As with the word "absence," I also find myself less than comfortable with the word "experience."  Not that Christians do not "experience" matters spiritual, but when one uses this word it places us quickly in a very subjective realm.  For example, we "experience" the hiddenness of God."  However, it would be easy for us to conclude from the experience that God has abandoned us.  He 'feels' distant or even absent.  Should we let our feelings ultimately dictate what we believe regarding the reality of His presence?  I experience the presence of God in Christ.  I experience the presence of Christ in Word and Sacrament.  I know that I experience Him here not because my inner senses tell me, but because the Word informs me. 

The Ascension of our Lord certainly encourages us look to the day when He will return in glory at the end of time. But it doesn't encourage us to place distance between God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  Is the encounter with Jesus different now than during the earthly ministry of Jesus?  Sure.  But the "relationship" with God always centers on Christ.  Jesus was clear that we find the face of God the Father in Him.  He was clear that the Spirit was sent to witness to Him and bring to mind the things He said.  I "experience" God in Christ. The Spirit brings Christ to me in Word and Sacrament.  The two work together, not separately.   
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 12, 2018, 09:57:22 AM
Exactly, Don. This absence and experience talk manifests a self-centered, looking within attitude. Rather than rejoicing that:

"Jesus reigns now over everything.
He has been enthroned at the Father’s right hand, and the full glory of the Godhead is His. The ascension is His coronation ceremony and highlights the splendor and authority of Jesus over every king, ruler, and nation.

Jesus ascended bodily.
Joined eternally to true God, a true human body is the object of honor and worship. This has profound impact on our understanding of God’s nature and also human nature. The material aspects of God’s creation are very good and endure forever.

The commission announced by Jesus is now in full force.
Just as a death must precede the implementation of a will, so the ascension of Jesus must precede the implementation and empowerment of the command to the disciples (you included) to witness the reality of Jesus to the world.

The ascension of Jesus is a preview of the promised consummation.
At the Last Day Jesus will return as He went: physically and visibly. It will not be a “spiritual” or metaphorical return, but an actual coming of His physical body. No one is going to miss it.

Jesus is Lord.
Not only did Jesus come back from the dead, but He now reigns on high. He is Lord of all creation. He is Lord of your life."

it is the suggestion that we lament that Jesus disappeared and left us like a wife leaving town. That self-centeredness seems to long again for the humiliation of Christ rather than His exaltation, to craft a Jesus in our image according to our selfish desires.

Brian asks, "Has the Kingdom of God come?" Well, Brian, ask your confirmation class:

"The Second Petition
Thy Kingdom come.
What does this mean?
The kingdom of God certainly comes of itself without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may come to us also.
How does God’s kingdom come?
The kingdom of God comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and live godly lives here in time and hereafter in eter­nity."

Of course the Kingdom of God has come! The now-but-not-yet fulfillment that Lutherans confess. Jesus is not silent, Brian. We rejoice that He now reigns, that He is

"present to rule, not only as God but also as man..." (27). The "right hand of God" is not a "specific place in heaven," but rather the "almighty power of God which fills heaven and earth, in which Christ has been installed according to His humanity in deed and in truth without any blending or equalization of th two natures in their essence and essential properties." (28)."

Alleluia!

https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/145

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usfiAsWR4qU
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 12, 2018, 10:41:30 AM
And we shouldn't be satisfied seeing through a darkened glass. We long to see clearly - like the blind man who required two touches before seeing clearly. We have the promise that the day will come when we see clearly, but it's not yet. I understand the "absence" as the longing for when there will be no darkened glass - but no glass at all that separates us from Jesus.

A vital piece of context that I omitted:  Every Divine Liturgy begins with the declaration:

"Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit;
both now and ever and unto ages of ages".

Present and future are combined.  I have heard several Orthodox Bishops preach that "for God all times are present...all times are now".
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 12, 2018, 10:57:13 AM
A sermon:

"The Ascension of Our Lord
       
In our society, people do not die. Not in so many words anyway.  People are "lost." They "depart.” They "slip away," "pass on,” or they "expire," but rarely are they said to die. Even in the church, we speak of people "finishing their course,” being "called home," "entering their rest," or, as I usually say, “entered the Church Triumphant.” It is simply not polite to talk directly about death in our society. What was once called a "mortuary" - literally a place of death - is now a funeral home, or better yet, a "memorial chapel". Even a cemetery is now frequently called a "memorial garden". It just doesn’t seem as harsh. “Dead” is so unloving.                                      

Except, of course, for those people we would just as soon do without. They die. In such cases it is not unusual to hear of someone being "dead and gone". There is a cathartic quality to the finality of saying that. It means that such a person is gone, unable to hurt us further, out of our lives, beyond inconveniencing us any longer, They are "dead and gone."                                                                              

In contrast we have Jesus. His enemies thought that He was dead and gone, but then He rose from the dead. It was an intense irritation to them and an equally intense joy to His disciples. Finally, forty days after His resurrection, Jesus went away. He ascended into heaven, as our text describes. In the eyes of the world, Jesus was now gone! To His followers, it looked and felt like He was gone.  But it is not so! The truth is that although Christ died, and finally ascended, He is not "dead and gone". The meaning of the celebration of the Church throughout two thousand years of Christian History is that Jesus is Ascended, but not Gone!                                                             The Biblical account is sparse. Luke wrote simply, "And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight." He just rose up in the air, higher and higher, perhaps still speaking to them, until He disappeared into a cloud, or one moved between Him and the disciples, hiding Him from their eyes.                                                    

One could readily conclude that the visible ascension stunned the disciples. Even after they could no longer see Jesus, they stood staring into the sky, perhaps searching for another glimpse. Luke tells us that, "As they were gazing intently into the sky...behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them; and they also said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.'"                                                  

There are not a lot of details here, but God recorded these events and these details because they are significant. The ascension of Jesus was a part of the plan of God, and a necessary part. This account is literally the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, for Luke included it at the end of his Gospel and to begin his next book, which records for us the deeds of the Apostles.                              

The Ascension was necessary. Why? First, it was necessary to fulfill prophecy. The Psalmists prophesied about God ascending. "God has ascended with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet." "You have ascended on high, You have led captive Thy captives; You have received gifts among men." Jesus also had prophesied His ascension, "And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man."                             

Aside from fulfilling the prophesies, Jesus ascending visibly showed the disciples exactly where He went. He ascended. They saw it happen. The resurrection was not witnessed. It was demonstrated to be true "by many infallible proofs", but no one was there, in the tomb, to see Jesus' body come back to life. The Ascension was witnessed. They saw Him rise into the sky.                                                   

Now, that doesn't mean that heaven necessarily is physically "up". One of the early Russian cosmonauts quipped ed that he could not see God or heaven up there as he orbited the globe. He was a victim of that silly idea. The Jews of Jesus' day, and most people of whatever religion back then, considered God to be "up" and evil to be "down". It is a common image even today. God Himself speaks of being above, and looking down on us. Jesus' ascension into the skies was a symbol at the same time it was a reality.
   
In the ancient world, the word for "heaven" was also the word for "sky" and the word for "the place where God dwells". Jesus rose into the sky to illustrate visually that He was going to be with the Father, and to reign over all things.               
   
Jesus also told the disciples that "if He did not go away, that He could not send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to them" to build and guide the Church, an event that we will celebrate next week.               

Finally, the Ascension was necessary so that Jesus could continue in His three-fold office. Because He has ascended, as we learned in our catechism, He is our Prophet, Priest, and King. As our Prophet, Jesus proclaims His Word to us through the lips of those He has called to be His messengers, who faithfully proclaim His Word in all its truth and purity. As our Priest, Jesus made the once-for-all sacrifice for our sins, and even now, He intercedes for us with the heavenly Father. As our King, Jesus rules all things in heaven and on earth in our favor. He rules the world by His power, He rules the Church by His grace in forgiveness, and He rules in heaven by His Glory, just as the Bible teaches.                                                                  

But it wasn't just for Jesus or those first disciples that the ascension was necessary. We too needed Jesus to ascend. The Christian faith is just that, faith. If Jesus had not ascended, faith would be ever so much more difficult. Because Jesus ascended, we can genuinely believe. Think about it, and it makes perfectly good sense. Jesus took His visible presence away from us so that we might believe that He is always with us! If you could see Jesus on TV or if He made occasional appearances among us, then you would want and need to see Him with your own eyes to believe that He was here! You would not want to pray without seeing Him or hearing His voice respond. You would struggle to believe that His body and blood are really present in the Sacrament, if you knew He was physically present somewhere else - or even here among us.                                        

Of course, Jesus is here. He promised it. “Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Strangely enough, we can take Him at His Word because we can't see Him. Since we cannot see Him at any time, we know that we cannot expect to see Him when He is present. So, not seeing Jesus doesn't mean He is not here. We have to decide the matter on the basis of His Words of Promise.                      

We can honestly say that Jesus is really present in this Sacrament for our forgiveness and strengthening, not because we anticipate being able to find Him with our senses, but because He says so! He wanted it to be so that we would walk by faith, and not by sight, or any other sense. On our altar, Jesus is bringing us His body and blood for the forgiveness of sins.                                       

And the Lord is present in the Word preached. If the pastor proclaims the true Word of God in purity and honesty, the voice you hear is not the voice of the pastor alone. It is the voice of Jesus. It is not His natural voice - it is the voice which He has called, through your calling of a pastor, to be His voice here, among you, speaking His holy and saving Word to you, in your ears.                              

Finally, the Ascension also means that Jesus is coming again, just as He promised. He is coming in the clouds. He is coming visibly, and with great glory - just as the Disciples watched Him go. The Ascension also guarantees us that we will rise from our graves at the end, unless we still stand on earth alive on that great day! Jesus is coming again, and not in secret to rapture a few away, but suddenly, visibly, and with great glory, and all of mankind will stand before Him and see it happen and glorify God.                                              

That is what the Ascension tells us. It teaches us that Jesus lives, that He is not gone, but among us. It says that we can look for Him in the Sacrament, and listen for His voice in His proclaimed Word. It means that He is listening to every prayer. And finally, it assures us that He is coming again and that we are going to rise from our graves to that salvation long promised, prepared on the cross and at the empty tomb, and proclaimed to you today and every Lord's day. Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you." Trusting His promises, the Ascension reminds us that Jesus is preparing that place for each of us, to come and receive us to Himself.                                               

Dead and Gone. It is a stark phrase. It fits most people who die, but not Jesus. He is no longer dead, and He is still with us. He rules the world on our behalf and in our favor. He sends preachers and teachers that we may know Him and hear His Word about His love, and His grace in forgiveness and salvation. He is watching over us to protect us, and to bless us, and to guide us, both physically and spiritually. So He is not dead and gone, but alive and among us and actually present wherever two or three are gathered together in His name. Jesus said, "Behold I am with you always, even to the end of the world." He is Ascended, but not Gone. For Christ is risen! Amen."
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 12, 2018, 11:15:16 AM
Dead and Gone. It is a stark phrase. It fits most people who die, but not Jesus. He is no longer dead, and He is still with us. He rules the world on our behalf and in our favor. He sends preachers and teachers that we may know Him and hear His Word about His love, and His grace in forgiveness and salvation. He is watching over us to protect us, and to bless us, and to guide us, both physically and spiritually. So He is not dead and gone, but alive and among us and actually present wherever two or three are gathered together in His name. Jesus said, "Behold I am with you always, even to the end of the world." He is Ascended, but not Gone. For Christ is risen! Amen."

Amen!

This brings to mind something that someone--I'm thinking Moderator Richard or Pastor Austin--one shared about spacing out the stanzas of "Joy to the World" throughout the festal cycle, saving the final stanza for the Ascension:

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 12, 2018, 11:26:49 AM
I like that idea!
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2018, 12:42:16 PM

As with the word "absence," I also find myself less than comfortable with the word "experience."  Not that Christians do not "experience" matters spiritual, but when one uses this word it places us quickly in a very subjective realm.  For example, we "experience" the hiddenness of God."  However, it would be easy for us to conclude from the experience that God has abandoned us.  He 'feels' distant or even absent.  Should we let our feelings ultimately dictate what we believe regarding the reality of His presence?  I experience the presence of God in Christ.  I experience the presence of Christ in Word and Sacrament.  I know that I experience Him here not because my inner senses tell me, but because the Word informs me. 


If we feel God has abandoned us, we're walking in the footsteps of Jesus and the psalmist he quotes. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. About 1/3 of the psalms are classified as laments. The ELW for, I the first time in hymnals I have, has a section of hymns under the heading "lament" (#697-#704). Complaining to God about God's inactivity (and our feeling of God's absence) is a sign of faith. When I took a course on Psalms in seminary, the issue of trying to solve people's problems right away, e.g., "Everything will be all right"), rather than giving them time to lament was a often problem found among church people.

Quote
The Ascension of our Lord certainly encourages us look to the day when He will return in glory at the end of time. But it doesn't encourage us to place distance between God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  Is the encounter with Jesus different now than during the earthly ministry of Jesus?  Sure.  But the "relationship" with God always centers on Christ.  Jesus was clear that we find the face of God the Father in Him.  He was clear that the Spirit was sent to witness to Him and bring to mind the things He said.  I "experience" God in Christ. The Spirit brings Christ to me in Word and Sacrament.  The two work together, not separately.   


The discussion continues about the "Christ of faith" and the "Jesus of history". They are the same and they are different.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Don Whitbeck on May 12, 2018, 12:47:52 PM
A sermon:

"The Ascension of Our Lord
       
In our society, people do not die. Not in so many words anyway.  People are "lost." They "depart.” They "slip away," "pass on,” or they "expire," but rarely are they said to die. Even in the church, we speak of people "finishing their course,” being "called home," "entering their rest," or, as I usually say, “entered the Church Triumphant.” It is simply not polite to talk directly about death in our society. What was once called a "mortuary" - literally a place of death - is now a funeral home, or better yet, a "memorial chapel". Even a cemetery is now frequently called a "memorial garden". It just doesn’t seem as harsh. “Dead” is so unloving.                                      

Except, of course, for those people we would just as soon do without. They die. In such cases it is not unusual to hear of someone being "dead and gone". There is a cathartic quality to the finality of saying that. It means that such a person is gone, unable to hurt us further, out of our lives, beyond inconveniencing us any longer, They are "dead and gone."                                                                              

In contrast we have Jesus. His enemies thought that He was dead and gone, but then He rose from the dead. It was an intense irritation to them and an equally intense joy to His disciples. Finally, forty days after His resurrection, Jesus went away. He ascended into heaven, as our text describes. In the eyes of the world, Jesus was now gone! To His followers, it looked and felt like He was gone.  But it is not so! The truth is that although Christ died, and finally ascended, He is not "dead and gone". The meaning of the celebration of the Church throughout two thousand years of Christian History is that Jesus is Ascended, but not Gone!                                                             The Biblical account is sparse. Luke wrote simply, "And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight." He just rose up in the air, higher and higher, perhaps still speaking to them, until He disappeared into a cloud, or one moved between Him and the disciples, hiding Him from their eyes.                                                    

One could readily conclude that the visible ascension stunned the disciples. Even after they could no longer see Jesus, they stood staring into the sky, perhaps searching for another glimpse. Luke tells us that, "As they were gazing intently into the sky...behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them; and they also said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.'"                                                  

There are not a lot of details here, but God recorded these events and these details because they are significant. The ascension of Jesus was a part of the plan of God, and a necessary part. This account is literally the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, for Luke included it at the end of his Gospel and to begin his next book, which records for us the deeds of the Apostles.                              

The Ascension was necessary. Why? First, it was necessary to fulfill prophecy. The Psalmists prophesied about God ascending. "God has ascended with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet." "You have ascended on high, You have led captive Thy captives; You have received gifts among men." Jesus also had prophesied His ascension, "And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man."                             

Aside from fulfilling the prophesies, Jesus ascending visibly showed the disciples exactly where He went. He ascended. They saw it happen. The resurrection was not witnessed. It was demonstrated to be true "by many infallible proofs", but no one was there, in the tomb, to see Jesus' body come back to life. The Ascension was witnessed. They saw Him rise into the sky.                                                   

Now, that doesn't mean that heaven necessarily is physically "up". One of the early Russian cosmonauts quipped ed that he could not see God or heaven up there as he orbited the globe. He was a victim of that silly idea. The Jews of Jesus' day, and most people of whatever religion back then, considered God to be "up" and evil to be "down". It is a common image even today. God Himself speaks of being above, and looking down on us. Jesus' ascension into the skies was a symbol at the same time it was a reality.
   
In the ancient world, the word for "heaven" was also the word for "sky" and the word for "the place where God dwells". Jesus rose into the sky to illustrate visually that He was going to be with the Father, and to reign over all things.               
   
Jesus also told the disciples that "if He did not go away, that He could not send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to them" to build and guide the Church, an event that we will celebrate next week.               

Finally, the Ascension was necessary so that Jesus could continue in His three-fold office. Because He has ascended, as we learned in our catechism, He is our Prophet, Priest, and King. As our Prophet, Jesus proclaims His Word to us through the lips of those He has called to be His messengers, who faithfully proclaim His Word in all its truth and purity. As our Priest, Jesus made the once-for-all sacrifice for our sins, and even now, He intercedes for us with the heavenly Father. As our King, Jesus rules all things in heaven and on earth in our favor. He rules the world by His power, He rules the Church by His grace in forgiveness, and He rules in heaven by His Glory, just as the Bible teaches.                                                                  

But it wasn't just for Jesus or those first disciples that the ascension was necessary. We too needed Jesus to ascend. The Christian faith is just that, faith. If Jesus had not ascended, faith would be ever so much more difficult. Because Jesus ascended, we can genuinely believe. Think about it, and it makes perfectly good sense. Jesus took His visible presence away from us so that we might believe that He is always with us! If you could see Jesus on TV or if He made occasional appearances among us, then you would want and need to see Him with your own eyes to believe that He was here! You would not want to pray without seeing Him or hearing His voice respond. You would struggle to believe that His body and blood are really present in the Sacrament, if you knew He was physically present somewhere else - or even here among us.                                        

Of course, Jesus is here. He promised it. “Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Strangely enough, we can take Him at His Word because we can't see Him. Since we cannot see Him at any time, we know that we cannot expect to see Him when He is present. So, not seeing Jesus doesn't mean He is not here. We have to decide the matter on the basis of His Words of Promise.                      

We can honestly say that Jesus is really present in this Sacrament for our forgiveness and strengthening, not because we anticipate being able to find Him with our senses, but because He says so! He wanted it to be so that we would walk by faith, and not by sight, or any other sense. On our altar, Jesus is bringing us His body and blood for the forgiveness of sins.                                       

And the Lord is present in the Word preached. If the pastor proclaims the true Word of God in purity and honesty, the voice you hear is not the voice of the pastor alone. It is the voice of Jesus. It is not His natural voice - it is the voice which He has called, through your calling of a pastor, to be His voice here, among you, speaking His holy and saving Word to you, in your ears.                              

Finally, the Ascension also means that Jesus is coming again, just as He promised. He is coming in the clouds. He is coming visibly, and with great glory - just as the Disciples watched Him go. The Ascension also guarantees us that we will rise from our graves at the end, unless we still stand on earth alive on that great day! Jesus is coming again, and not in secret to rapture a few away, but suddenly, visibly, and with great glory, and all of mankind will stand before Him and see it happen and glorify God.                                              

That is what the Ascension tells us. It teaches us that Jesus lives, that He is not gone, but among us. It says that we can look for Him in the Sacrament, and listen for His voice in His proclaimed Word. It means that He is listening to every prayer. And finally, it assures us that He is coming again and that we are going to rise from our graves to that salvation long promised, prepared on the cross and at the empty tomb, and proclaimed to you today and every Lord's day. Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you." Trusting His promises, the Ascension reminds us that Jesus is preparing that place for each of us, to come and receive us to Himself.                                               

Dead and Gone. It is a stark phrase. It fits most people who die, but not Jesus. He is no longer dead, and He is still with us. He rules the world on our behalf and in our favor. He sends preachers and teachers that we may know Him and hear His Word about His love, and His grace in forgiveness and salvation. He is watching over us to protect us, and to bless us, and to guide us, both physically and spiritually. So He is not dead and gone, but alive and among us and actually present wherever two or three are gathered together in His name. Jesus said, "Behold I am with you always, even to the end of the world." He is Ascended, but not Gone. For Christ is risen! Amen."

Thank You, Pr. Don Kirchner, for a wonderful Sermon. Plan to keep this one on file too.

In Christ,

Don
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2018, 01:04:05 PM
Dead and Gone. It is a stark phrase. It fits most people who die, but not Jesus. He is no longer dead, and He is still with us. He rules the world on our behalf and in our favor. He sends preachers and teachers that we may know Him and hear His Word about His love, and His grace in forgiveness and salvation. He is watching over us to protect us, and to bless us, and to guide us, both physically and spiritually. So He is not dead and gone, but alive and among us and actually present wherever two or three are gathered together in His name. Jesus said, "Behold I am with you always, even to the end of the world." He is Ascended, but not Gone. For Christ is risen! Amen."

Amen!

This brings to mind something that someone--I'm thinking Moderator Richard or Pastor Austin--one shared about spacing out the stanzas of "Joy to the World" throughout the festal cycle, saving the final stanza for the Ascension:

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love.


9-11 and the many other human-caused mass murders indicate that God's rule hasn't come to fruition. There are nations that do not prove the glories of God's righteousness. We look at humans inhumanity against one another, the recent martyrdom of Christians, and we can wonder about God's love.


The angry rhetoric that we hear from Christians against other Christians (and even more so against non-Christians) leads us to wonder if the loving God is really the ruler of their lives. When Jesus in John talks about "the ruler of this world" (12:31; 14:30; 16:11, cf. Ep 2:2), he is not talking about God the Father.


The news we hear everyday indicate that the kingdom of God has not yet come. (An argument a Jewish scholar gives for not believing that Jesus was the Messiah is that they are looking for the coming Kingdom rather than a King. So, in his mind, since this world has not been transformed into God's kingdom, the king/messiah must not have come. We, like him, are also waiting for the coming of the Kingdom and the return of the King but we also believe that the King has already come.)
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 12, 2018, 01:34:02 PM
We?! Is that the proverbial mouse in your pocket?   ::)

Wow, you are one confused rostered clergy. You no longer can confess even basic Lutheran concepts and SC confessions. Kyrie Eleison!
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Michael Slusser on May 12, 2018, 02:29:25 PM
Here is my homily this year. I leave it to any readers to say whether it speaks to Jesus' presence or absence or simply avoids that issue in favor of something else.

“A cloud took him from their sight.” Let’s look more closely at that cloud. It is no ordinary cloud. It isn't a cloud that a painter placed for our Lord to stand on. It isn't a cloud for data storage. It is a cloud that we have seen in the Bible before.
   Do you remember when Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on the mountain to pray? As he was praying, his appearance was changed, and two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared and talked with Jesus. Peter and those with him were amazed and Peter babbled something about putting up tents for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. Just then, “a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my chosen Son; listen to him.’” (Luke 9.34-35) In the cloud on the mountaintop they hear the voice of God. That cloud is back, and, when Jesus vanishes from their sight on Ascension Day, it is into the company of his Father.
   We have encountered this cloud in the Old Testament, too. If we go back to the book of Exodus, we read that at Mount Sinai, a cloud covered the mountain and the voice of the Lord called Moses to enter the cloud up on the mountain (Exod. 24-25) to speak with God. Later on, we are told that the cloud that represented God’s protective presence settled over the tent where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. “Whenever Moses went out to the tent, the people would all rise and stand at the entrance of their own tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses entered the tent, the column of cloud would come down and stand at its entrance while the LORD spoke with Moses” (Exod. 33. 9-10). Likewise, after King Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem, we hear that “a cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD” (1 Kgs 8.10-11).
   That cloud is the one that took Jesus from their sight. It is the biblical cloud that marks God’s presence while concealing his glory. When the cloud took Jesus from their sight, they knew he had gone to be with his Father, and that reunion took place out of sight in the cloud of the divine presence.
   If only we could behold the wonders concealed from us in that cloud! If only the heavens would open a tiny bit to make our hearts burn with desire for the things of God! There is a way: if we ask, the Holy Spirit of God can manifest hints of truth and beauty to us even now, as the Spirit prepares us to follow Jesus into that cloud ourselves. Let us pray, as we prepare for Pentecost, that God’s Spirit will come and form our minds and hearts to be ready to see God face-to-face.


Peace, and blessings of the season,
Michael
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2018, 02:36:34 PM
We?! Is that the proverbial mouse in your pocket?   ::)

Wow, you are one confused rostered clergy. You no longer can confess even basic Lutheran concepts and SC confessions. Kyrie Eleison!


Please enlighten me as to which basic Lutheran concepts and SC confessions I am not confessing. I'm of the opinion that you are the one who is confused. You are unable to discern the nuances of my posts that include confessing the real presence of Christ in the sacrament and also the absence of Jesus on earth after the ascension. For both Luke and John, the earthly Jesus' presence is replaced by the coming of the Holy Spirit / Power / Paraclete / Spirit of Truth. It is a person different from Jesus.


Martin Marty said in a speech many years ago that it is the clergy's job to help the people live with paradoxes. The presence and absence of Jesus is one of those paradoxes I live with - and I've found that the people I serve also live with that paradox and it is stated well by Mark Allan Powell, a Lutheran New Testament seminary professor. Perhaps you don't see it or live in it.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2018, 02:42:17 PM
One of the approaches to Luke/Acts is to see Luke dividing the world into three separate eras.


The first is the time of the prophets which comes and includes John the Baptist. Luke tells us of John's arrest (3:20) before he tells us of Jesus' baptism (3:21)! He removes John from the public ministry so that the new era of Jesus' ministry can begin.


The second era of Jesus' ministry ends with his ascension - only recorded in Luke/Acts, where, like John's arrest, Jesus is removed from his public ministry so that the new era of the church's ministry under the power of the Spirit can begin.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 12, 2018, 02:55:36 PM
We?! Is that the proverbial mouse in your pocket?   ::)

Wow, you are one confused rostered clergy. You no longer can confess even basic Lutheran concepts and SC confessions. Kyrie Eleison!


Please enlighten me as to which basic Lutheran concepts and SC confessions I am not confessing.

The two natures of Christ, the communication of attributes, and now whether or not God's Kingdom has come. Stuff like that. One participant mentioned to me that your most recent confession is that of a 1st century Alexandrian Jew.

Nuanced? Please!   ::)
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2018, 03:23:18 PM
We?! Is that the proverbial mouse in your pocket?   ::)

Wow, you are one confused rostered clergy. You no longer can confess even basic Lutheran concepts and SC confessions. Kyrie Eleison!


Please enlighten me as to which basic Lutheran concepts and SC confessions I am not confessing.

The two natures of Christ, the communication of attributes, and now whether or not God's Kingdom has come. Stuff like that. One participant mentioned to me that your most recent confession is that of a 1st century Alexandrian Jew.

Nuanced? Please!   ::)


Jesus is truly God and truly human. Two natures one person. Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of God and Jesus Christ is omnipresent. Y'got something wrong with that?


Yes, God's reign on earth (better than kingdom as a place) has come and we are waiting for it to be fully present. Y'got something wrong with that?

Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: readselerttoo on May 12, 2018, 04:26:18 PM
Jesus says to his disciples:   
“I will not abandon you as orphans, I will come to you. 19 In a little while the world will not see me any longer, but you will see me."


The world are the unbelievers.  They don't see him.  Disciples of Jesus see him.

Simple as that
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 12, 2018, 05:52:50 PM
To put some terminology in play to make distinctions.  During His ministry, Jesus maintained a local presence, i.e. localized, presence as well as His divine no local presence.  He occasionally manifested His nonlocal presence as when He observed Nathaniel under the tree before He arrived at the place.  Local presence is characteristic of humans, nonlocal divine, i.d. omnipresence.  After His ascension, Jesus withdrew His local presence while continuing to be present nonlocally, “I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Thus He is absent locally while still being present in a nonlocal manner.  Since our usual way of interacting with people is locally, we especially feel His local absence even while recognizing that He is still present to us nonlocally.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2018, 06:05:48 PM
Jesus says to his disciples:   
“I will not abandon you as orphans, I will come to you. 19 In a little while the world will not see me any longer, but you will see me."


The world are the unbelievers.  They don't see him.  Disciples of Jesus see him.

Simple as that


Not quite so simple. You changed the tense of the verb from future to present. Disciples will see him, but he doesn't state when that happens.


In contrast to this, he states: "I'm going to the Father and you won't see me anymore" John 16:10b.


However, to add to the confusion: "Soon you won't be able to see me; soon after that, you will see me" (John 16:16). Like the disciples in v. 18, we just might conclude that we don't know what Jesus is talking about.


When we will see him could be referring to appearances after the resurrection.


When we will see him could be referring to his return in glory.


I am certain that we do not see Jesus in the same way that the disciples saw him during his earthly ministry or his appearances after the resurrection. (As I've said, we don't know if he had a beard or kinky hair. They knew.) I'm just as certain that when Jesus returns in glory, we will see him in a different way than we see him now.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: readselerttoo on May 12, 2018, 06:46:59 PM
To put some terminology in play to make distinctions.  During His ministry, Jesus maintained a local presence, i.e. localized, presence as well as His divine no local presence.  He occasionally manifested His nonlocal presence as when He observed Nathaniel under the tree before He arrived at the place.  Local presence is characteristic of humans, nonlocal divine, i.d. omnipresence.  After His ascension, Jesus withdrew His local presence while continuing to be present nonlocally, “I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Thus He is absent locally while still being present in a nonlocal manner.  Since our usual way of interacting with people is locally, we especially feel His local absence even while recognizing that He is still present to us nonlocally.

Yes
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: readselerttoo on May 12, 2018, 06:49:03 PM
Jesus says to his disciples:   
“I will not abandon you as orphans, I will come to you. 19 In a little while the world will not see me any longer, but you will see me."


The world are the unbelievers.  They don't see him.  Disciples of Jesus see him.

Simple as that


Not quite so simple. You changed the tense of the verb from future to present. Disciples will see him, but he doesn't state when that happens.


In contrast to this, he states: "I'm going to the Father and you won't see me anymore" John 16:10b.


However, to add to the confusion: "Soon you won't be able to see me; soon after that, you will see me" (John 16:16). Like the disciples in v. 18, we just might conclude that we don't know what Jesus is talking about.


When we will see him could be referring to appearances after the resurrection.


When we will see him could be referring to his return in glory.


I am certain that we do not see Jesus in the same way that the disciples saw him during his earthly ministry or his appearances after the resurrection. (As I've said, we don't know if he had a beard or kinky hair. They knew.) I'm just as certain that when Jesus returns in glory, we will see him in a different way than we see him now.

Yes, but all hinges on how you interpret Jesus' statement "In a little while..."
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 12, 2018, 07:11:07 PM
We?! Is that the proverbial mouse in your pocket?   ::)

Wow, you are one confused rostered clergy. You no longer can confess even basic Lutheran concepts and SC confessions. Kyrie Eleison!


Please enlighten me as to which basic Lutheran concepts and SC confessions I am not confessing.

The two natures of Christ, the communication of attributes, and now whether or not God's Kingdom has come. Stuff like that. One participant mentioned to me that your most recent confession is that of a 1st century Alexandrian Jew.

Nuanced? Please!   ::)

Jesus is truly God and truly human. Two natures one person. Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of God and Jesus Christ is omnipresent. Y'got something wrong with that?


Yes, God's reign on earth (better than kingdom as a place) has come and we are waiting for it to be fully present. Y'got something wrong with that?

You don't do New Jersey any better than you do orthodox Lutheran, Brian.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2018, 07:44:32 PM
Yes, but all hinges on how you interpret Jesus' statement "In a little while..."


Yes, and the length of "little while" in God's perspective might be a bit longer than from our perspective.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2018, 07:47:13 PM
You don't do New Jersey any better than you do orthodox Lutheran, Brian.


I've never been too good at doing orthodox Missouri Lutheranism. I think I do our brand pretty well. I've also never been to New Jersey. I have no idea how to do it.


I also note that you still have given no concrete examples of my non-Lutheran confessions. Whenever I refute your claims you seem to take the approach that Rev. Austin talked about: "You don't really mean that." You're so convinced that we must be heterodox, that when we make an orthodox statement we must be lying.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: gan ainm on May 12, 2018, 08:02:53 PM

I've also never been to New Jersey. I have no idea how to do it.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUZEtVbJT5c
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 12, 2018, 08:28:41 PM
You don't do New Jersey any better than you do orthodox Lutheran, Brian.

I've never been too good at doing orthodox Missouri Lutheranism. I think I do our brand pretty well. I've also never been to New Jersey. I have no idea how to do it.

I also note that you still have given no concrete examples of my non-Lutheran confessions. Whenever I refute your claims you seem to take the approach that Rev. Austin talked about: "You don't really mean that." You're so convinced that we must be heterodox, that when we make an orthodox statement we must be lying.

Good grief, Brian! I've spent post after post on this thread pointing you to the SC, etc to show your error re the coming of the Kingdom of God. As one participant told me, you confess like a 1st century Alexandrian Jew rather than Lutheran. As to your errors re the two natures of Christ, I and others have pointed them out time and time again. Remember the Lord of all creation being nailed to the tree, that God died? Remember your Nestorian views? I'm not going to go back and cut-and-paste. You know full well the games that you play.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: readselerttoo on May 12, 2018, 09:08:23 PM
Yes, but all hinges on how you interpret Jesus' statement "In a little while..."


Yes, and the length of "little while" in God's perspective might be a bit longer than from our perspective.


...or shorter
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2018, 09:09:07 PM
You don't do New Jersey any better than you do orthodox Lutheran, Brian.

I've never been too good at doing orthodox Missouri Lutheranism. I think I do our brand pretty well. I've also never been to New Jersey. I have no idea how to do it.

I also note that you still have given no concrete examples of my non-Lutheran confessions. Whenever I refute your claims you seem to take the approach that Rev. Austin talked about: "You don't really mean that." You're so convinced that we must be heterodox, that when we make an orthodox statement we must be lying.

Good grief, Brian! I've spent post after post on this thread pointing you to the SC, etc to show your error re the coming of the Kingdom of God. As one participant told me, you confess like a 1st century Alexandrian Jew rather than Lutheran. As to your errors re the two natures of Christ, I and others have pointed them out time and time again. Remember the Lord of all creation being nailed to the tree, that God died? Remember your Nestorian views? I'm not going to go back and cut-and-paste. You know full well the games that you play.


Yes, you point out things that you believe that I believe. I tell you that I don't believe what you are accusing me of believing, and you insist that I must believe the errors.


I gave a view of a 20th century Jew about the coming kingdom. I didn't say that it was my view.


I've stated numerous time the orthodox position that Christ is truly human and truly God. Two natures. One person. God was born. God died. I don't believe that I can say anything to you that is orthodox that you would believe. That's OK. My salvation doesn't depend one whit on what you think.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2018, 09:38:34 PM
Yes, but all hinges on how you interpret Jesus' statement "In a little while..."


Yes, and the length of "little while" in God's perspective might be a bit longer than from our perspective.


...or shorter


The roughly 2000 years that Christians have been waiting for Christ's return is a long time for us humans who live 80-90 years. From the perspective of the beginning of the universe 13.8 billion years ago, 2000 years is infinitesimal. Thus, I consider God's perspective of time to see 2000 years as a blink of an eye.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 12, 2018, 10:33:58 PM
I gave a view of a 20th century Jew about the coming kingdom. I didn't say that it was my view.

You are correct. You did not say "I." You stated that it was the view of you and the mouse in your pocket., i.e., "We."

The news we hear everyday indicate that the kingdom of God has not yet come. (An argument a Jewish scholar gives for not believing that Jesus was the Messiah is that they are looking for the coming Kingdom rather than a King. So, in his mind, since this world has not been transformed into God's kingdom, the king/messiah must not have come. We, like him, are also waiting for the coming of the Kingdom and the return of the King but we also believe that the King has already come.) [emphasis added]

Remember this gem, in direct contradiction to the Lutheran Confessions?

I would argue that Jesus did not use his majesty during the incarnation (even though he could have). When the majesty was shown, like at the transfiguration, it was the Father doing it for him. If Jesus used his majesty, then he was no longer truly human and tempted in every way as we are.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Charles Austin on May 12, 2018, 11:28:08 PM
Can we just stipulate that Pastor Kirchner (and maybe a couple of others) believe that Brian and I are 1) not "Lutheran" enough, or 2) not "Lutheran" at all, or 3) not "Confessional" enough, or 4) too liberal, too ecumenical, too prone to use methods of scripture study that bring stomach acid to some (but not all) LCMSers, and that we ask too many questions, spread doubt rather than faith, and eat whatever other forbidden fruit found on the trees in our gardens.
Then we can dispense with the over and over again two-line postings declaring such.
You might also do us the favor of not pointing us to your favorite passages of our confessional documents, as if we had never read them.
You might also do us the favor of at least trying to believe us when we attempt to tell you what we believe. (But I doubt that will happen.)
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 13, 2018, 02:51:43 AM
I gave a view of a 20th century Jew about the coming kingdom. I didn't say that it was my view.

You are correct. You did not say "I." You stated that it was the view of you and the mouse in your pocket., i.e., "We."


Where did I say "we". As I recall, I was quoting the statement of a Jewish New Testament scholar.


Ah, I found it. After talking about what "he" argued, I wrote: "We, like him, are also waiting for the coming of the Kingdom and the return of the King but we also believe that the King has already come.)" I believe that is an accurate statement of the orthodox Christian faith.

Quote
The news we hear everyday indicate that the kingdom of God has not yet come. (An argument a Jewish scholar gives for not believing that Jesus was the Messiah is that they are looking for the coming Kingdom rather than a King. So, in his mind, since this world has not been transformed into God's kingdom, the king/messiah must not have come. We, like him, are also waiting for the coming of the Kingdom and the return of the King but we also believe that the King has already come.) [emphasis added]

Remember this gem, in direct contradiction to the Lutheran Confessions?

I would argue that Jesus did not use his majesty during the incarnation (even though he could have). When the majesty was shown, like at the transfiguration, it was the Father doing it for him. If Jesus used his majesty, then he was no longer truly human and tempted in every way as we are.

Not using his majesty is not the same thing has not having it. I take seriously Paul's statement that Jesus emptied himself. Although he had the μορφὴ θεοῦ he took on the μορφὴ δούλου.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 13, 2018, 08:08:41 AM
As stated above, your view is in direct contradiction with the Lutheran Confessions. FC SD VIII 23-26:

"23] On account of this personal union and communion of the divine and the human nature in Christ we believe, teach, and confess also, according to our simple Christian faith, what is said concerning the majesty of Christ according to His humanity, [by which He sits] at the right hand of the almighty power of God, and what is connected therewith [follows therefrom]; all of which would be naught and could not stand if this personal union and communion of the natures in the person of Christ did not exist realiter, that is, in deed and truth.

24] On account of this personal union and communion of the natures, Mary, the most blessed Virgin, bore not a mere man, but, as the angel [Gabriel] testifies, such a man as is truly the Son of the most high God, who showed His divine majesty even in His mother's womb, inasmuch as He was born of a virgin, with her virginity inviolate. Therefore she is truly the mother of God, and nevertheless remained a virgin.

25] In virtue of this He also wrought all His miracles, and manifested this His divine majesty, according to His pleasure, when and as He willed, and therefore not first after His resurrection and ascension only, but also in His state of humiliation; for example, at the wedding at Cana of Galilee; also, when He was twelve years old, among the learned; also in the garden, when with a word He cast His enemies to the ground; likewise in death, when He died not simply as any other man, but in and with His death conquered sin, death, devil, hell, and eternal damnation; which the human nature alone would not have been able to do if it had not been thus personally united and had not had communion with the divine nature.

26] Hence also the human nature, after the resurrection from the dead, has its exaltation above all creatures in heaven and on earth; which is nothing else than that He entirely laid aside the form of a servant, and yet did not lay aside His human nature, but retains it to eternity, and is put in the full possession and use of the divine majesty according to His assumed human nature. However, this majesty He had immediately at His conception, even in His mother's womb, but, as the apostle testifies [ Phil. 2:7 ], laid it aside; and, as Dr. Luther explains, He kept it concealed in the state of His humiliation, and did not employ it always, but only when He wished."

Ah, I found it. After talking about what "he" argued, I wrote: "We, like him, are also waiting for the coming of the Kingdom and the return of the King but we also believe that the King has already come.)" I believe that is an accurate statement of the orthodox Christian faith.

As stated above in orthodox Christian teachings and hymns, beginning with the SC, the Kingdom of God indeed has come.

"The Second Petition.

Thy kingdom come.

What does this mean?--Answer.

The kingdom of God comes indeed without our prayer, of itself; but we pray in this petition that it may come unto us also.

How is this done?--Answer.

When our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead a godly life here in time and yonder in eternity."

"Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, 'The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.'" Luke 17:20-21

Jesus then expands upon the already- but not yet aspect of the Parousia. So, unlike you, your mouse, and the 20th century Jew you quote, orthodox Lutherans are not "waiting for the coming of the Kingdom," Brian. This, of course, relates back to your Christological confusion and whether Jesus is true God.

Your confusion about this (a King without a Kingdom,) leads to your twisted view of the Ascension in contrast to orthodox Christianity:

"The ascension highlights our experience of being without Jesus - something that is not very pleasant."
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Charles Austin on May 13, 2018, 09:25:43 AM
Sigh. One more try.
When Brian asks questions about scripture, when he poses possible answers, including those of ancient scholars and others; the response here is often "But the confessions say!!!"
That implies to this humble correspondent that the confessions - and a wooden, literal reading of them at that - are elevated above scripture, above serious study of scripture and above our intelligence and human history.
Wow!
Then let's start reading the confessions instead of scripture on Sunday mornings. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: SomeoneWrites on May 13, 2018, 09:51:15 AM
Sigh. One more try.
When Brian asks questions about scripture, when he poses possible answers, including those of ancient scholars and others; the response here is often "But the confessions say!!!"
That implies to this humble correspondent that the confessions - and a wooden, literal reading of them at that - are elevated above scripture, above serious study of scripture and above our intelligence and human history.
Wow!
Then let's start reading the confessions instead of scripture on Sunday mornings.

I think it's different to say
"I teach according to the confessions."  and
"My teaching is informed by the confessions."

I don't accept that the above is a wooden reading of confessions.  I'm hearing "We assent that the Confessions are a true exposition of Scripture."  If another answer contradicts that (which may very well be possible), I'm hearing Lutherans (who assent to the confessions) say, "What has been stated is contradicting to what we teach as a true exposition of Scripture. 

It may be the confessions are wrong, but it's surprising to hear one's feathers getting ruffled when the above plays out. 

It's like - when I look at Bible, assuming God, I don't see transubstantiation or consubstantiation as accurate readings. 
But if I heard a Catholic or Lutheran teach a purely symbolic Lord's supper, it would be confusing. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 13, 2018, 10:49:45 AM
Ah, the irony... 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Michael Slusser on May 13, 2018, 11:14:02 AM
St. Augustine in a Sermon on the Ascension of the Lord:

Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, have to bear. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when he said: I was hungry and you gave me food.
     Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him? While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 13, 2018, 11:32:12 AM
As stated above, your view is in direct contradiction with the Lutheran Confessions. FC SD VIII 23-26:


I find it perfect aligned with FC Epitome VIII 11 (boldface added):

11. According to the personal union he always possessed this majesty, and yet dispensed with it in the state of his humiliation. For this reason he grew in stature, wisdom, and grace before God and other people [Luke 2:52*]. Therefore, he did not reveal his majesty at all times but only when it pleased him, until he completely laid aside the form of a servant [Phil. 2:7*] (but not his human nature) after his resurrection. Then he was again invested with the full use, revelation, and demonstration of his divine majesty and entered into his glory, in such a way that he knows everything, is able to do everything, is present for all his creatures, and has under his feet and in his hands all that is in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, not only as God but also as human creature, as he himself testifies, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” [Matt. 28:18*], and St. Paul writes: He ascended “above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things” [Eph. 4:10*]. As present everywhere he can exercise this power of his, he can do everything, and he knows all things.

Quote
As stated above in orthodox Christian teachings and hymns, beginning with the SC, the Kingdom of God indeed has come.

Yes, and we are waiting for it. LC Third Part: The Lord's Prayer, 53:

“The coming of God’s kingdom to us” takes place in two ways: first, it comes here, in time, through the Word and faith, and second, in eternity, it comes through the final revelation.

What I have written is fully in line with Scriptures and our Confessions.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 13, 2018, 12:06:52 PM
Read what you have written, Brian. No, it is not.

I would argue that Jesus did not use his majesty during the incarnation (even though he could have). When the majesty was shown, like at the transfiguration, it was the Father doing it for him. If Jesus used his majesty, then he was no longer truly human and tempted in every way as we are.

Vs.

"According to the personal union he always possessed this majesty, and yet dispensed with it in the state of his humiliation. For this reason he grew in stature, wisdom, and grace before God and other people [Luke 2:52*]. Therefore, he did not reveal his majesty at all times but only when it pleased him, until he completely laid aside the form of a servant [FC, EP 11, emphasis added]

He did use His majesty during the Incarnation when it pleased Him. When did it please Him? As expanded upon:

"On account of this personal union and communion of the natures, Mary, the most blessed Virgin, bore not a mere man, but, as the angel [Gabriel] testifies, such a man as is truly the Son of the most high God, who showed His divine majesty even in His mother's womb, inasmuch as He was born of a virgin, with her virginity inviolate. Therefore she is truly the mother of God, and nevertheless remained a virgin.

25] In virtue of this He also wrought all His miracles, and manifested this His divine majesty, according to His pleasure, when and as He willed, and therefore not first after His resurrection and ascension only, but also in His state of humiliation; for example, at the wedding at Cana of Galilee; also, when He was twelve years old, among the learned; also in the garden, when with a word He cast His enemies to the ground; likewise in death, when He died not simply as any other man, but in and with His death conquered sin, death, devil, hell, and eternal damnation; which the human nature alone would not have been able to do if it had not been thus personally united and had not had communion with the divine nature." [FC, SD VIII, emphasis added]

In fact, you "argue that Jesus did not use his majesty during the incarnation..."  Did Jesus shed His humanity when He ascended? Is He no longer true man? Is Jesus still Incarnate? If He is, does He use His majesty or does He not, as you argue? Do you see how mixed up your Christology is, Brian? I don't need to give you examples. You continually repeat them to us.

Perfectly aligned? Please!
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: gan ainm on May 13, 2018, 06:04:18 PM
This a sermon Rev. Stoffregen might like to read:  "Ascended Is Not Absent" by Pastor Timothy Winterstein, May 8, 2018

https://bishopandchristian.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/ascended-is-not-absent/

An excerpt from the sermon:

Your flesh and mine will be tempted to listen to the devil’s lies about Jesus’ absence, but here are Jesus’ words to you, the words of the Ascended One who has never lied: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:18-19, ESV). Because He is present in His Body, He is in you and you are in Him. And if you eat and drink the Body and Blood of this God-Man, you can be sure that when you see Him coming in the same way He went into heaven, His life flowing through you will mean resurrection and a new, glorified body like His.

Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 13, 2018, 07:01:20 PM
Read what you have written, Brian. No, it is not.


I read what I have written. I consider what I am trying to mean by what I have written. I read and reread through the Formula. I believe I am consistent with our Confessions. I especially like FC SD VIII 85 (emphasis added)


In the tract On the Last Words of David, which Dr. Luther wrote shortly before his death, he says, “According to the second, temporal, human birth Christ was also given the eternal dominion of God, yet temporally and not from eternity. For the human nature of Christ was not from eternity as his divine nature was. It is computed that Jesus, Mary’s son, is 1,543 years old this year. But from that moment when deity and humanity were united in one person, the Human Being, Mary’s Son, is and is called almighty, eternal God, who has eternal dominion, who has created all things and preserves them per communicationem idiomatum [through the sharing of characteristics] because he is one person with the Godhead and is also very God. Christ refers to this in Matthew 11[:27*], ‘All things have been handed over to me by my Father,’ and in Matthew 28[:18*], ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’ To which ‘me’? ‘To me, Jesus of Nazareth, Mary’s incarnate Son. I had this from my Father from eternity, before I became human, but when I became human, it was imparted to me in time according to my human nature, and I kept it concealed until my resurrection and ascent into heaven, when it was to be manifested and glorified.’ Thus St. Paul declares in Romans 1[:4*], ‘He was glorified or declared to be Son of God in power.’ John speaks of this as being glorified [John 7:39*].”

The passive verbs indicate that the Father gave such things to the Son in his humanity. The divine nature in Jesus would say: "All things were already mine." "All authority is mine." Such things were "imparted" to him according to his human nature.

Perhaps on contrast to what you quoted about miracles revealing his divine glory, this section declares that Jesus kept his divine glory "concealed" until the resurrection and ascension.

Quote
In fact, you "argue that Jesus did not use his majesty during the incarnation..."  Did Jesus shed His humanity when He ascended? Is He no longer true man? Is Jesus still Incarnate? If He is, does He use His majesty or does He not, as you argue?

Jesus did not shed his divinity when he was incarnated. It was kept concealed until the resurrection and ascension. Jesus did not shed his humanity, but he is no longer the incarnated one. The time of the incarnation has a beginning and an ending; even though the Christ is eternal. The resurrection and ascension were the time for Jesus to reveal his majesty. Prior to that as a human, such things "were given" or "handed over" to him by the Father. If he had made use of his majesty, he wouldn't have needed the Father to give him anything. I've also argued that if he had made use of his majesty, he would not have been a true human.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 13, 2018, 07:11:23 PM
Wow. yes, we know what you've argued, in opposition to the Confessions. You keep giving us examples of Christological error. When you're in a hole, stop digging, Brian.  ::)
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 13, 2018, 08:38:34 PM
The incarnation has an ending? Wow. NO WAY, JOSE. “What He once assumed He never put off.”
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 13, 2018, 09:05:54 PM
I'm sure it will get worse, Will.   :(
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: MaddogLutheran on May 13, 2018, 09:07:44 PM
Right on, Chaplain Weedon, which is yet another cause for rejoicing at the Ascension.  It's the moment when our human nature began residing in glory at the right hand of the Father.  When we read that we have an advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1), it is not just anyone, but a brother who is just as human as we are.  No wonder the early church founded this feast day.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 13, 2018, 09:52:45 PM
That and more. Alleluia!
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 13, 2018, 10:18:00 PM
...but he is no longer the incarnated one. The time of the incarnation has a beginning and an ending; even though the Christ is eternal.

Oh, dear!
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Eileen Smith on May 14, 2018, 08:59:43 AM
Read what you have written, Brian. No, it is not.


I read what I have written. I consider what I am trying to mean by what I have written. I read and reread through the Formula. I believe I am consistent with our Confessions. I especially like FC SD VIII 85 (emphasis added)


In the tract On the Last Words of David, which Dr. Luther wrote shortly before his death, he says, “According to the second, temporal, human birth Christ was also given the eternal dominion of God, yet temporally and not from eternity. For the human nature of Christ was not from eternity as his divine nature was. It is computed that Jesus, Mary’s son, is 1,543 years old this year. But from that moment when deity and humanity were united in one person, the Human Being, Mary’s Son, is and is called almighty, eternal God, who has eternal dominion, who has created all things and preserves them per communicationem idiomatum [through the sharing of characteristics] because he is one person with the Godhead and is also very God. Christ refers to this in Matthew 11[:27*], ‘All things have been handed over to me by my Father,’ and in Matthew 28[:18*], ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’ To which ‘me’? ‘To me, Jesus of Nazareth, Mary’s incarnate Son. I had this from my Father from eternity, before I became human, but when I became human, it was imparted to me in time according to my human nature, and I kept it concealed until my resurrection and ascent into heaven, when it was to be manifested and glorified.’ Thus St. Paul declares in Romans 1[:4*], ‘He was glorified or declared to be Son of God in power.’ John speaks of this as being glorified [John 7:39*].”

The passive verbs indicate that the Father gave such things to the Son in his humanity. The divine nature in Jesus would say: "All things were already mine." "All authority is mine." Such things were "imparted" to him according to his human nature.

Perhaps on contrast to what you quoted about miracles revealing his divine glory, this section declares that Jesus kept his divine glory "concealed" until the resurrection and ascension.

Quote
In fact, you "argue that Jesus did not use his majesty during the incarnation..."  Did Jesus shed His humanity when He ascended? Is He no longer true man? Is Jesus still Incarnate? If He is, does He use His majesty or does He not, as you argue?

Jesus did not shed his divinity when he was incarnated. It was kept concealed until the resurrection and ascension. Jesus did not shed his humanity, but he is no longer the incarnated one. The time of the incarnation has a beginning and an ending; even though the Christ is eternal. The resurrection and ascension were the time for Jesus to reveal his majesty. Prior to that as a human, such things "were given" or "handed over" to him by the Father. If he had made use of his majesty, he wouldn't have needed the Father to give him anything. I've also argued that if he had made use of his majesty, he would not have been a true human.

How are you defining Incarnation so that you see it with a beginning and an ending?  Is it not the union of divine and human in one person - without end?  Do we not believe that Jesus is with the Father as son of God, son of man and, as such, serves as mediator between God and humans?   In two weeks many of our congregations will be confessing their faith in the words of the Athanasian Creed, see following.  One of the three Creeds of the church it does not suggest that "and though he is both God and was man..."   With this in mind it would be helpful to understand how you define, "incarnation."

He is God, eternally begotten from the nature of the Father, and he is man, born in time from the nature of his mother, fully God, fully man, with rational soul and human flesh,

equal to the Father as to his deity, less than the Father as to his humanity;

and though he is both God and Man, Christ is not two persons but one,

one, not by changing the deity into flesh, but by taking the humanity into God;

one, indeed, not by mixture of the natures, but by unity in one person;

for just as the rational soul and flesh are one human being,

so God and man are one Christ.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 14, 2018, 09:33:13 AM
Brian owes you one, Ms. Smith. You’ve given him the opportunity to redefine common terms and argue that he’s perfectly aligned with orthodox Lutheranism. ::)
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 14, 2018, 09:48:30 AM
From what I've seen of Pr. Stroffren's line of argumentation thus far, I would guess that he would make a distinction between Jesus' years of earthly ministry and the time prior and following.  I suspect his definition of "incarnation" would be narrowed to just that small period of time (the years of earthly ministry) and exclude what follows in his ascension.  Unfortunately, the creeds and the fathers of the faith don't make such a distinction. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dave Likeness on May 14, 2018, 10:53:08 AM
"And the Word became flesh"  The incarnation of Jesus is followed by his circumcision, baptism,
transfiguration, suffering, death, burial, descent into hell, resurrection, ascension, sits at the
right hand of the God the Father Almighty and he returns to judge the living and dead.  None
of these events are dissociated from the body of Jesus.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 14, 2018, 12:30:06 PM
From what I've seen of Pr. Stroffren's line of argumentation thus far, I would guess that he would make a distinction between Jesus' years of earthly ministry and the time prior and following.  I suspect his definition of "incarnation" would be narrowed to just that small period of time (the years of earthly ministry) and exclude what follows in his ascension.  Unfortunately, the creeds and the fathers of the faith don't make such a distinction.


"Incarnation" is based on the Latin word for "flesh". The corresponding Greek word is σάρξ.


The first and basic definition in BDAG:
1. the material that covers the bones of a human or animal body, flesh
 
When the Word became flesh, The Word took on the material that covers the bones of a human body. Secondary meanings are related to this. "Living as a human" (with the limitations that humans have).


Paul is clear in 1 Corinthians 15:50-53: "This is what I'm saying, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood can't inherit God's kingdom. Something that rots can't inherit something that doesn't decay. Listen, I'm telling you a secret. All of us won't die, but we will all be changed - in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the final trumpet. The trumpet will blast, and the dead will be raised with bodies that won't decay, and we will be changed. It's necessary for this rotting body to be clothed with what can't decay, and for the body that is dying to be clothed in what can't die."


The flesh of the earthly Jesus is subject to decay. It can't exist for the eternity that the risen Jesus lives. The new, resurrected body that Jesus had, that could pass through walls, that would appear and disappear, is what makes Jesus' resurrection different from all the other resurrections recorded in scriptures: the widow's son (Luke 7:14), Jairus' daughter (Luke 8:54), Lazarus (John 11), the many at Jesus' resurrection (Matthew 27:52). The same words are used of Jesus being raised. Yet, we believe that these others would subsequently die again. Why? Their human flesh that decays wasn't changed into the new bodies that last forever.

The only appearance story we have of Jesus after his ascension is the one to Saul on the Damascus road. All three of the reports in Acts have Saul seeing "a light" and hearing a voice. There's no mention of a body or flesh.


My conclusion is that Jesus in his ascended, glorified state, no longer has the earthly flesh covering his body that he had during his years on earth - and neither will we when we are raised at the trumpet's sound.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Eileen Smith on May 14, 2018, 12:57:27 PM
From what I've seen of Pr. Stroffren's line of argumentation thus far, I would guess that he would make a distinction between Jesus' years of earthly ministry and the time prior and following.  I suspect his definition of "incarnation" would be narrowed to just that small period of time (the years of earthly ministry) and exclude what follows in his ascension.  Unfortunately, the creeds and the fathers of the faith don't make such a distinction.


"Incarnation" is based on the Latin word for "flesh". The corresponding Greek word is σάρξ.


The first and basic definition in BDAG:
1. the material that covers the bones of a human or animal body, flesh
 
When the Word became flesh, The Word took on the material that covers the bones of a human body. Secondary meanings are related to this. "Living as a human" (with the limitations that humans have).


Paul is clear in 1 Corinthians 15:50-53: "This is what I'm saying, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood can't inherit God's kingdom. Something that rots can't inherit something that doesn't decay. Listen, I'm telling you a secret. All of us won't die, but we will all be changed - in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the final trumpet. The trumpet will blast, and the dead will be raised with bodies that won't decay, and we will be changed. It's necessary for this rotting body to be clothed with what can't decay, and for the body that is dying to be clothed in what can't die."


The flesh of the earthly Jesus is subject to decay. It can't exist for the eternity that the risen Jesus lives. The new, resurrected body that Jesus had, that could pass through walls, that would appear and disappear, is what makes Jesus' resurrection different from all the other resurrections recorded in scriptures: the widow's son (Luke 7:14), Jairus' daughter (Luke 8:54), Lazarus (John 11), the many at Jesus' resurrection (Matthew 27:52). The same words are used of Jesus being raised. Yet, we believe that these others would subsequently die again. Why? Their human flesh that decays wasn't changed into the new bodies that last forever.

The only appearance story we have of Jesus after his ascension is the one to Saul on the Damascus road. All three of the reports in Acts have Saul seeing "a light" and hearing a voice. There's no mention of a body or flesh.


My conclusion is that Jesus in his ascended, glorified state, no longer has the earthly flesh covering his body that he had during his years on earth - and neither will we when we are raised at the trumpet's sound.

There are many things we speak of that words simply do not define well.  Perhaps chief among this is theology.  Have you ever considered that neither Greek nor Latin nor Hebrew can capture who God is satisfactorily.   The word 'incarnation' may mean flesh, on the other hand "Incarnation" is a mystery.  We believe it but we don't fully comprehend the Incarnation of our Lord.  I have never heard other than Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father as son of God and son of man.   It's inexplicable in any language, but we believe.   We believe that Jesus is not only our mediator but understands our weakness and understands our suffering precisely because he endured the same and not as some distant memory, "oh yeah, when I was a man..." but in the  present just as Jesus is present -- the human, the divine.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 14, 2018, 01:03:53 PM
Be polite, Brian. Thank Ms Smith for giving you the opportunity to be absurd.   ::)
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Charles Austin on May 14, 2018, 01:14:13 PM
Another one-liner snarky potshot at Brian. Boring.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Rev Mathew Andersen on May 14, 2018, 02:07:56 PM
From what I've seen of Pr. Stroffren's line of argumentation thus far, I would guess that he would make a distinction between Jesus' years of earthly ministry and the time prior and following.  I suspect his definition of "incarnation" would be narrowed to just that small period of time (the years of earthly ministry) and exclude what follows in his ascension.  Unfortunately, the creeds and the fathers of the faith don't make such a distinction.


"Incarnation" is based on the Latin word for "flesh". The corresponding Greek word is σάρξ.


The first and basic definition in BDAG:
1. the material that covers the bones of a human or animal body, flesh
 
When the Word became flesh, The Word took on the material that covers the bones of a human body. Secondary meanings are related to this. "Living as a human" (with the limitations that humans have).


Paul is clear in 1 Corinthians 15:50-53: "This is what I'm saying, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood can't inherit God's kingdom. Something that rots can't inherit something that doesn't decay. Listen, I'm telling you a secret. All of us won't die, but we will all be changed - in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the final trumpet. The trumpet will blast, and the dead will be raised with bodies that won't decay, and we will be changed. It's necessary for this rotting body to be clothed with what can't decay, and for the body that is dying to be clothed in what can't die."


The flesh of the earthly Jesus is subject to decay. It can't exist for the eternity that the risen Jesus lives. The new, resurrected body that Jesus had, that could pass through walls, that would appear and disappear, is what makes Jesus' resurrection different from all the other resurrections recorded in scriptures: the widow's son (Luke 7:14), Jairus' daughter (Luke 8:54), Lazarus (John 11), the many at Jesus' resurrection (Matthew 27:52). The same words are used of Jesus being raised. Yet, we believe that these others would subsequently die again. Why? Their human flesh that decays wasn't changed into the new bodies that last forever.

The only appearance story we have of Jesus after his ascension is the one to Saul on the Damascus road. All three of the reports in Acts have Saul seeing "a light" and hearing a voice. There's no mention of a body or flesh.


My conclusion is that Jesus in his ascended, glorified state, no longer has the earthly flesh covering his body that he had during his years on earth - and neither will we when we are raised at the trumpet's sound.
Wow, there are so many gaping holes in this argumentation it is hard to even know where to begin.

1: you take a Latin theological term coined by the early Church to express a theological concept and then force into it the meaning of a Greek word.  This mixing of meanings and languages is horrible practice.  I do hope you do not do that in your sermons, though I suspect you might.  the conclusion you reach is meaningless because the method you used is beyond faulty.

2:  You assume it is an essential quality of flesh to decay.  Given that you don't accept Genesis 1 and 2 as historically correct, I can understand this.  But biblically speaking, decay is an accidental attribute introduced following the fall.  There is, therefore, no indication that the flesh of Christ was subject to decay, even during His humiliation, much less his exaltation.

3: You assume the ability of Christ's body to pass through walls etc, is an attribute of his human nature.  The church has historically accepted it as an attribute of His divinity that is communicated to his humanity.  There is no promise that our resurrected bodies will be like His in the divine aspects of His person.

In other words, you force a context where there is none, ignore the actual context that is there.  Frankly, I don't mind reading liberal interpretations that are challenging or interesting.  But your questions are neither.  They tend to be boring in that they rehash old questions the Church dealt with long ago.  As far as Greek Scholarship goes, I have never seen you do anything that could not be found in a good Greek lexicon other than pick out the most unlikely meaning of a word and then woodenly force all your interpretation around it.  You simply are not so much challenging as tiring.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 14, 2018, 02:26:33 PM
From what I've seen of Pr. Stroffregen's line of argumentation thus far, I would guess that he would make a distinction between Jesus' years of earthly ministry and the time prior and following.  I suspect his definition of "incarnation" would be narrowed to just that small period of time (the years of earthly ministry) and exclude what follows in his ascension.  Unfortunately, the creeds and the fathers of the faith don't make such a distinction.

My conclusion is that Jesus in his ascended, glorified state, no longer has the earthly flesh covering his body that he had during his years on earth - and neither will we when we are raised at the trumpet's sound.

It would appear that I guessed right.  Having said that, I don't entirely understand your reason for going down this road.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: David Garner on May 14, 2018, 02:37:29 PM
From what I've seen of Pr. Stroffren's line of argumentation thus far, I would guess that he would make a distinction between Jesus' years of earthly ministry and the time prior and following.  I suspect his definition of "incarnation" would be narrowed to just that small period of time (the years of earthly ministry) and exclude what follows in his ascension.  Unfortunately, the creeds and the fathers of the faith don't make such a distinction.


"Incarnation" is based on the Latin word for "flesh". The corresponding Greek word is σάρξ.


The first and basic definition in BDAG:
1. the material that covers the bones of a human or animal body, flesh
 
When the Word became flesh, The Word took on the material that covers the bones of a human body. Secondary meanings are related to this. "Living as a human" (with the limitations that humans have).


Paul is clear in 1 Corinthians 15:50-53: "This is what I'm saying, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood can't inherit God's kingdom. Something that rots can't inherit something that doesn't decay. Listen, I'm telling you a secret. All of us won't die, but we will all be changed - in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the final trumpet. The trumpet will blast, and the dead will be raised with bodies that won't decay, and we will be changed. It's necessary for this rotting body to be clothed with what can't decay, and for the body that is dying to be clothed in what can't die."


The flesh of the earthly Jesus is subject to decay. It can't exist for the eternity that the risen Jesus lives. The new, resurrected body that Jesus had, that could pass through walls, that would appear and disappear, is what makes Jesus' resurrection different from all the other resurrections recorded in scriptures: the widow's son (Luke 7:14), Jairus' daughter (Luke 8:54), Lazarus (John 11), the many at Jesus' resurrection (Matthew 27:52). The same words are used of Jesus being raised. Yet, we believe that these others would subsequently die again. Why? Their human flesh that decays wasn't changed into the new bodies that last forever.

The only appearance story we have of Jesus after his ascension is the one to Saul on the Damascus road. All three of the reports in Acts have Saul seeing "a light" and hearing a voice. There's no mention of a body or flesh.


My conclusion is that Jesus in his ascended, glorified state, no longer has the earthly flesh covering his body that he had during his years on earth - and neither will we when we are raised at the trumpet's sound.

"Crown him the Lord of love --
Behold his hands and side,
Rich wounds, yet visible above,
In beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky
Can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his wond'ring eye
At mysteries so bright."

-- Crown Him With Many Crowns

And also St. Thomas.

And also those who gave the risen Christ food to eat.

Etc.

Yes, Christ's body is now glorified.  But that does not mean it is not physical, nor that it is materially different from ours.  Our flesh, enlightened by God's energies, is no different than His risen flesh.  I'll take a bold step and say it's heresy to think otherwise.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 14, 2018, 02:42:08 PM
Be polite, Brian. Thank Ms Smith for giving you the opportunity to be absurd.   ::)


What you call, "absurd," I call being biblical. Please give your explanation for the passages I referred to.


Human flesh decays. We see that with the corpses that are exhumed. Jesus (and eventually we, too) live for ever. We will need different bodies that are not subject to decay like our human flesh is. I believe that the resurrected Jesus had this other type of body that would allow him to live forever.


I also argue that this is what makes his resurrection different from that of, for example, Lazarus's. (I note that the Bible uses the same language for being raised [ἐγείρω] of Lazarus and others as it uses for the resurrection of Jesus.) The resurrected Lazarus continued to live in his old flesh. It would decay. He would die again. Jesus was raised with the new body that would last for eternity.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: David Garner on May 14, 2018, 02:47:18 PM
Be polite, Brian. Thank Ms Smith for giving you the opportunity to be absurd.   ::)


What you call, "absurd," I call being biblical. Please give your explanation for the passages I referred to.


Human flesh decays. We see that with the corpses that are exhumed. Jesus (and eventually we, too) live for ever. We will need different bodies that are not subject to decay like our human flesh is. I believe that the resurrected Jesus had this other type of body that would allow him to live forever.


I also argue that this is what makes his resurrection different from that of, for example, Lazarus's. (I note that the Bible uses the same language for being raised [ἐγείρω] of Lazarus and others as it uses for the resurrection of Jesus.) The resurrected Lazarus continued to live in his old flesh. It would decay. He would die again. Jesus was raised with the new body that would last for eternity.

WHY does human flesh decay, though?

Is that something that is inherent to the nature of humanity?  Or is it due to a lack of full communion with God?  I say the latter.  Adam and Eve were not naturally incorrupt.  They were only incorrupt inasmuch as they were united with God.  Their flesh only decayed when God removed Himself from them to protect them from the consequences of their sin. 

Anything else, and we're approaching some odd Nestorian view of humanity, where Adam and Eve were actually granted new, decaying flesh instead of the flesh they were formed with. 

I assume you'd agree that Adam and Eve would not have decayed but for the fall?  And also that Adam and Eve were not changed from human to something else after the fall?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 14, 2018, 03:07:09 PM
Be polite, Brian. Thank Ms Smith for giving you the opportunity to be absurd.   ::)


What you call, "absurd," I call being biblical. Please give your explanation for the passages I referred to.


Human flesh decays. We see that with the corpses that are exhumed. Jesus (and eventually we, too) live for ever. We will need different bodies that are not subject to decay like our human flesh is. I believe that the resurrected Jesus had this other type of body that would allow him to live forever.


I also argue that this is what makes his resurrection different from that of, for example, Lazarus's. (I note that the Bible uses the same language for being raised [ἐγείρω] of Lazarus and others as it uses for the resurrection of Jesus.) The resurrected Lazarus continued to live in his old flesh. It would decay. He would die again. Jesus was raised with the new body that would last for eternity.

WHY does human flesh decay, though?


Doesn't matter why. It does. Paul recognizes that it does.

Quote
Is that something that is inherent to the nature of humanity?  Or is it due to a lack of full communion with God?  I say the latter.  Adam and Eve were not naturally incorrupt.  They were only incorrupt inasmuch as they were united with God.  Their flesh only decayed when God removed Himself from them to protect them from the consequences of their sin. 


Decay is part of creation. Decay provides nutrients for the ground so that plants can grow and animals can eat the plants. It's necessary for life.

Quote
I assume you'd agree that Adam and Eve would not have decayed but for the fall?  And also that Adam and Eve were not changed from human to something else after the fall?



Nope. The evidence I read in Genesis does not indicate that they were immortal from the beginning; but that they had the opportunity to eat of the Tree of Life. They didn't.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 14, 2018, 03:14:12 PM
Be polite, Brian. Thank Ms Smith for giving you the opportunity to be absurd.   ::)


What you call, "absurd," I call being biblical. Please give your explanation for the passages I referred to.


Human flesh decays. We see that with the corpses that are exhumed. Jesus (and eventually we, too) live for ever. We will need different bodies that are not subject to decay like our human flesh is. I believe that the resurrected Jesus had this other type of body that would allow him to live forever.


I also argue that this is what makes his resurrection different from that of, for example, Lazarus's. (I note that the Bible uses the same language for being raised [ἐγείρω] of Lazarus and others as it uses for the resurrection of Jesus.) The resurrected Lazarus continued to live in his old flesh. It would decay. He would die again. Jesus was raised with the new body that would last for eternity.

WHY does human flesh decay, though?


Doesn't matter why. It does. Paul recognizes that it does.

Quote
Is that something that is inherent to the nature of humanity?  Or is it due to a lack of full communion with God?  I say the latter.  Adam and Eve were not naturally incorrupt.  They were only incorrupt inasmuch as they were united with God.  Their flesh only decayed when God removed Himself from them to protect them from the consequences of their sin. 


Decay is part of creation. Decay provides nutrients for the ground so that plants can grow and animals can eat the plants. It's necessary for life.

Quote
I assume you'd agree that Adam and Eve would not have decayed but for the fall?  And also that Adam and Eve were not changed from human to something else after the fall?



Nope. The evidence I read in Genesis does not indicate that they were immortal from the beginning; but that they had the opportunity to eat of the Tree of Life. They didn't.

According to Peter (quoting David), Jesus' body did not (was not subject to) decay:

 "25 For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’" (Acts 2)

So, are you going to say He was not really human?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: David Garner on May 14, 2018, 03:17:17 PM
Be polite, Brian. Thank Ms Smith for giving you the opportunity to be absurd.   ::)


What you call, "absurd," I call being biblical. Please give your explanation for the passages I referred to.


Human flesh decays. We see that with the corpses that are exhumed. Jesus (and eventually we, too) live for ever. We will need different bodies that are not subject to decay like our human flesh is. I believe that the resurrected Jesus had this other type of body that would allow him to live forever.


I also argue that this is what makes his resurrection different from that of, for example, Lazarus's. (I note that the Bible uses the same language for being raised [ἐγείρω] of Lazarus and others as it uses for the resurrection of Jesus.) The resurrected Lazarus continued to live in his old flesh. It would decay. He would die again. Jesus was raised with the new body that would last for eternity.

WHY does human flesh decay, though?


Doesn't matter why. It does. Paul recognizes that it does.

Quote
Is that something that is inherent to the nature of humanity?  Or is it due to a lack of full communion with God?  I say the latter.  Adam and Eve were not naturally incorrupt.  They were only incorrupt inasmuch as they were united with God.  Their flesh only decayed when God removed Himself from them to protect them from the consequences of their sin. 


Decay is part of creation. Decay provides nutrients for the ground so that plants can grow and animals can eat the plants. It's necessary for life.

Quote
I assume you'd agree that Adam and Eve would not have decayed but for the fall?  And also that Adam and Eve were not changed from human to something else after the fall?



Nope. The evidence I read in Genesis does not indicate that they were immortal from the beginning; but that they had the opportunity to eat of the Tree of Life. They didn't.

Well, clearly they were not immortal at all, because they died and were not (yet) resurrected.  Is it your position they would have died but for the fall into sin? 

The question is whether the state of grace in the garden was sufficient to keep them from dying, were they to remain in it.  That is, were they to come to full fruition in communion with God and eat of the Tree of Life (as we do, by the way), would they have nonetheless decayed and died?

Easter answers that question for us in the negative.  Jesus recapitulates the fall in Himself, taking on Himself our flesh (not some weird version of our flesh that doesn't decay or hunger or thirst or suffer or die, but OUR flesh), and glorifying it in His person.  He completes the communion of the garden in Himself, and He graciously gives Himself to us to eat and drink so that we too might share in His resurrection.

Now, because we are not God by nature, but only divinized by grace, we still decay and die ourselves.  But the resurrection state -- the state Jesus occupied after the resurrection -- is our state too.  That is what He Himself has promised us.  So while we will die, and while we will decay, nevertheless in Him we will be raised again.

But it will be our flesh we wear in the Kingdom.  Because it is His flesh that He wears in the Kingdom.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 14, 2018, 03:18:43 PM
What you call, "absurd," I call being biblical. Please give your explanation for the passages I referred to.

Others already have. See above.

Decay is part of creation.

The context is human decay, a product of death.

See, Will. I told you that, unfortunately, it would get worse.   :(

Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 14, 2018, 03:27:42 PM
I almost wrote the same thing that David wrote, but then wondered if it would help. Brian, this is serious stuff. You have a Savior who has the same flesh and blood you have now. Glorified, yes. Incorruptible, yes. United to His divine nature, yes. But still very much His own flesh and blood, which He assumed from the womb of the holy Virgin Mother. Which He offered to His Father upon the cross as a fragrant and pleasing sacrifice that covers your sins. Which was raised on the Third Day and which is seated at the right hand of the Father. And in which He will come again to fulfill all His promises. Which means He will never not be your brother. Don’t deprive yourself of the comfort and joy of this!
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: David Garner on May 14, 2018, 03:38:41 PM
And the great beauty of this is it is rightly gleaned from very simple and plain passages of Scripture.

Such as the Ascension this thread references.  When Christ ascended bodily into heaven.  Or the post-resurrection accounts I referenced such as St. Thomas or the eating of the fish and honeycomb.  This isn't neck-deep-in-philosophy stuff.  It is properly basic.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 14, 2018, 04:01:34 PM
I'll take a bold step and say it's heresy to think otherwise.

Nestorianism, which you referenced on another post, is a heresy. Brian has espoused such views many times in the past, manifesting a complete confusion, if not an outright denial, of the communication of attributes.  Now he espouses that (not asks if) human decay, a product of death, was part of creation.   :o
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Keith Falk on May 14, 2018, 08:13:10 PM
So every ELCA person, every LCMS person, an Orthodox person (I believe Fr. Slusser has also chimed in), are all saying the same thing.  Not a single person here is supporting your theological view, Brian - not even Charles is (he is taking umbrage with one liners).  Why in the world are you defending it?  You are offering blatant heresy.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 14, 2018, 08:45:13 PM
According to Peter (quoting David), Jesus' body did not (was not subject to) decay:

 "25 For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’" (Acts 2)

So, are you going to say He was not really human?


Jesus' body didn't experience decay because it didn't stay in the tomb long enough to decay. It was resurrected into the new body that doesn't decay. The two on the road to Emmaus didn't recognize the risen Jesus. Mary thought he was a gardener. It took a while before Peter recognized Jesus on the shore. There was something different about the appearance of the risen Jesus.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 14, 2018, 08:49:03 PM
I almost wrote the same thing that David wrote, but then wondered if it would help. Brian, this is serious stuff. You have a Savior who has the same flesh and blood you have now. Glorified, yes. Incorruptible, yes. United to His divine nature, yes. But still very much His own flesh and blood, which He assumed from the womb of the holy Virgin Mother. Which He offered to His Father upon the cross as a fragrant and pleasing sacrifice that covers your sins. Which was raised on the Third Day and which is seated at the right hand of the Father. And in which He will come again to fulfill all His promises. Which means He will never not be your brother. Don’t deprive yourself of the comfort and joy of this!


Did Jesus's skin cells die and shed? Was his skin replaced every two or three weeks through such a process? If not, then it was not flesh like we have.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 14, 2018, 08:50:24 PM
And the great beauty of this is it is rightly gleaned from very simple and plain passages of Scripture.

Such as the Ascension this thread references.  When Christ ascended bodily into heaven.  Or the post-resurrection accounts I referenced such as St. Thomas or the eating of the fish and honeycomb.  This isn't neck-deep-in-philosophy stuff.  It is properly basic.


What about referencing the post-ascension account?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 14, 2018, 09:41:29 PM
I’d like to approach this a slightly different way.  It has long been orthodox teaching that Jesus is true God and true man.  Now, you are saying that the flesh of Jesus after His resurrection and especially after His ascension is different in some ways than ours.  But do you affirm that He is still true God and true man even today, or did He cease to be truly human as well as divine?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: SomeoneWrites on May 14, 2018, 10:29:34 PM

Nestorianism, which you referenced on another post, is a heresy. Brian has espoused such views many times in the past, manifesting a complete confusion, if not an outright denial, of the communication of attributes.

I'm hearing Nestorianism.  I'm really trying not to, but I'm hearing it.  I'm just not following where he wants to go with it - as I understand it.

Now he espouses that (not asks if) human decay, a product of death, was part of creation.   :o

I'm hearing that too.  But I'm not ready to call that heretical.  It sounds like you are, but I could be wrong.  I concede that it's not in line with the confessions. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Charles Austin on May 14, 2018, 10:31:38 PM
I believe this thread has truly entered the region of snooty, nerdist "theology" concerned about the number of seraphim that can polka on a pinhead.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 14, 2018, 10:48:09 PM
I believe this thread has truly entered the region of snooty, nerdist "theology" concerned about the number of seraphim that can polka on a pinhead.

Pastor Austin, this thread has entered into a serious discussion underscoring the necessity of rightly believing, teaching, and confessing Christ.

The Christological issues have many ramifications.   First and foremost, soteriological.   If the Second Person of the Holy Trinity is not fully human and fully Divine can we trust anything which He has taught?   And can we trust that He is able to be the mediator of the New Covenanat?

Much more secondarily, the enfleshment of the Word. and His bearing of that flesh into Heaven should have some bearing on how we on earth regard our own flesh which will some day be likewise resurrected.   What we do with that flesh now has implications for later on.   To be blunt:  Paul's admonitions to the Corinthians regarding sexual purity arise from his deep conviction that this flesh--joined to Christ--will share in Christ's resurrection.

It comes as no surprise to me that someone (not you!) who espouses neo-Nestorianism has been one of the most vocal advocates of libertine sexual behavior.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 14, 2018, 11:03:39 PM
I believe this thread has truly entered the region of snooty, nerdist "theology" concerned about the number of seraphim that can polka on a pinhead.

Good grief, Charles, the ecumenical councils, from which we derive our creeds, were not about how many angels can dance on a pin.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: SomeoneWrites on May 14, 2018, 11:14:14 PM
It comes as no surprise to me that someone (not you!) who espouses neo-Nestorianism has been one of the most vocal advocates of libertine sexual behavior.

Just noting my objection to the word choice in bold.  I don't think it's accurate, appropriate, or helpful. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 14, 2018, 11:29:05 PM
It comes as no surprise to me that someone (not you!) who espouses neo-Nestorianism has been one of the most vocal advocates of libertine sexual behavior.

Just noting my objection to the word choice in bold.  I don't think it's accurate, appropriate, or helpful.

What word would you suggest for B.S's "anything goes" approach?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: David Garner on May 14, 2018, 11:37:08 PM
And the great beauty of this is it is rightly gleaned from very simple and plain passages of Scripture.

Such as the Ascension this thread references.  When Christ ascended bodily into heaven.  Or the post-resurrection accounts I referenced such as St. Thomas or the eating of the fish and honeycomb.  This isn't neck-deep-in-philosophy stuff.  It is properly basic.


What about referencing the post-ascension account?

He showed His wounds to Thomas. He told the disciples He was hungry.

Because He is human.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: SomeoneWrites on May 14, 2018, 11:40:01 PM
It comes as no surprise to me that someone (not you!) who espouses neo-Nestorianism has been one of the most vocal advocates of libertine sexual behavior.

Just noting my objection to the word choice in bold.  I don't think it's accurate, appropriate, or helpful.

What word would you suggest for B.S's "anything goes" approach?

I don't think it's an anything goes approach, so I wouldn't go that direction. 
I'd suggest maybe - contrary to Scripture.  But we know he doesn't see it like that.  But I think that's a much fairer declaration. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2018, 02:33:53 AM
I’d like to approach this a slightly different way.  It has long been orthodox teaching that Jesus is true God and true man.  Now, you are saying that the flesh of Jesus after His resurrection and especially after His ascension is different in some ways than ours.  But do you affirm that He is still true God and true man even today, or did He cease to be truly human as well as divine?


I have affirmed many times that Jesus was and is true God and true human.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2018, 02:40:53 AM
And the great beauty of this is it is rightly gleaned from very simple and plain passages of Scripture.

Such as the Ascension this thread references.  When Christ ascended bodily into heaven.  Or the post-resurrection accounts I referenced such as St. Thomas or the eating of the fish and honeycomb.  This isn't neck-deep-in-philosophy stuff.  It is properly basic.


What about referencing the post-ascension account?

He showed His wounds to Thomas. He told the disciples He was hungry.

Because He is human.


Those were pre-ascension appearances.


I've never said that the risen Jesus was not human. I've argued, based on 1 Corinthians 15, that for his risen body to live eternally, he had to have a new and different flesh and body.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 15, 2018, 03:15:11 AM
I’d like to approach this a slightly different way.  It has long been orthodox teaching that Jesus is true God and true man.  Now, you are saying that the flesh of Jesus after His resurrection and especially after His ascension is different in some ways than ours.  But do you affirm that He is still true God and true man even today, or did He cease to be truly human as well as divine?


I have affirmed many times that Jesus was and is true God and true human.


And the great beauty of this is it is rightly gleaned from very simple and plain passages of Scripture.

Such as the Ascension this thread references.  When Christ ascended bodily into heaven.  Or the post-resurrection accounts I referenced such as St. Thomas or the eating of the fish and honeycomb.  This isn't neck-deep-in-philosophy stuff.  It is properly basic.


What about referencing the post-ascension account?

He showed His wounds to Thomas. He told the disciples He was hungry.

Because He is human.


Those were pre-ascension appearances.


I've never said that the risen Jesus was not human. I've argued, based on 1 Corinthians 15, that for his risen body to live eternally, he had to have a new and different flesh and body.


I think that a large part of the difficulty that I, and I presume others, have in dealing with Brian’s Christology and at least part of why he sounds heretical is partly that he defines theological terms such as incarnation idiosyncratically along strict etymological lines.  Another even greater part is that he strongly emphasizes the discontinuities between Jesus pre- and post-resurrection while only if pressed acknowledges the continuities, i.e. He is still human and divine, which is the opposite of traditional formulations.  Thus he sounds more heretical than he perhaps is.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 15, 2018, 07:13:04 AM
According to Peter (quoting David), Jesus' body did not (was not subject to) decay:

 "25 For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’" (Acts 2)

So, are you going to say He was not really human?


Jesus' body didn't experience decay because it didn't stay in the tomb long enough to decay. It was resurrected into the new body that doesn't decay. The two on the road to Emmaus didn't recognize the risen Jesus. Mary thought he was a gardener. It took a while before Peter recognized Jesus on the shore. There was something different about the appearance of the risen Jesus.

Take a broken, bloody body and leave it out for three days.  It WILL decay.  And you will know it.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide8
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 15, 2018, 07:47:31 AM
And the great beauty of this is it is rightly gleaned from very simple and plain passages of Scripture.

Such as the Ascension this thread references.  When Christ ascended bodily into heaven.  Or the post-resurrection accounts I referenced such as St. Thomas or the eating of the fish and honeycomb.  This isn't neck-deep-in-philosophy stuff.  It is properly basic.


What about referencing the post-ascension account?

He showed His wounds to Thomas. He told the disciples He was hungry.

Because He is human.

Those were pre-ascension appearances.

I've never said that the risen Jesus was not human. I've argued, based on 1 Corinthians 15, that for his risen body to live eternally, he had to have a new and different flesh and body.

So, Jesus had a different flesh and body post-resurrection. Then He had yet a different flesh and body post-Ascension? Because, otherwise, Brian can't explain to himself how Jesus could live eternally? So, in what way is Jesus still human? (I'm not even going to ask if He is still fully human.)

So, we will be raised with different flesh and body like Jesus' body post-resurrection. Then, at what point do we get yet different bodies like Jesus' post- Ascension body so that we will live forever? Will we still be human? In what way?

Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 15, 2018, 08:07:35 AM
I’d like to approach this a slightly different way.  It has long been orthodox teaching that Jesus is true God and true man.  Now, you are saying that the flesh of Jesus after His resurrection and especially after His ascension is different in some ways than ours.  But do you affirm that He is still true God and true man even today, or did He cease to be truly human as well as divine?


I have affirmed many times that Jesus was and is true God and true human.


And the great beauty of this is it is rightly gleaned from very simple and plain passages of Scripture.

Such as the Ascension this thread references.  When Christ ascended bodily into heaven.  Or the post-resurrection accounts I referenced such as St. Thomas or the eating of the fish and honeycomb.  This isn't neck-deep-in-philosophy stuff.  It is properly basic.


What about referencing the post-ascension account?

He showed His wounds to Thomas. He told the disciples He was hungry.

Because He is human.


Those were pre-ascension appearances.


I've never said that the risen Jesus was not human. I've argued, based on 1 Corinthians 15, that for his risen body to live eternally, he had to have a new and different flesh and body.


I think that a large part of the difficulty that I, and I presume others, have in dealing with Brian’s Christology and at least part of why he sounds heretical is partly that he defines theological terms such as incarnation idiosyncratically along strict etymological lines.  Another even greater part is that he strongly emphasizes the discontinuities between Jesus pre- and post-resurrection while only if pressed acknowledges the continuities, i.e. He is still human and divine, which is the opposite of traditional formulations.  Thus he sounds more heretical than he perhaps is.

A model of 8th commandment charity!
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: David Garner on May 15, 2018, 11:22:16 AM
And the great beauty of this is it is rightly gleaned from very simple and plain passages of Scripture.

Such as the Ascension this thread references.  When Christ ascended bodily into heaven.  Or the post-resurrection accounts I referenced such as St. Thomas or the eating of the fish and honeycomb.  This isn't neck-deep-in-philosophy stuff.  It is properly basic.


What about referencing the post-ascension account?

He showed His wounds to Thomas. He told the disciples He was hungry.

Because He is human.


Those were pre-ascension appearances.


I've never said that the risen Jesus was not human. I've argued, based on 1 Corinthians 15, that for his risen body to live eternally, he had to have a new and different flesh and body.

He ascended BODILY Pastor Stoffregen.

What you've argued based on 1 Corinthians 15 is quite beside the point.  You can argue whatever it is you wish.  Nonetheless, His flesh ascended with Him.  For you to suggest that somehow Jesus' flesh is now ontologically different from ours is exceedingly dangerous.  He has shown us what we are to be.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2018, 11:40:35 AM
What you've argued based on 1 Corinthians 15 is quite beside the point.  You can argue whatever it is you wish.  Nonetheless, His flesh ascended with Him.  For you to suggest that somehow Jesus' flesh is now ontologically different from ours is exceedingly dangerous.  He has shown us what we are to be.


Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him? While σάρξ and σῶμα have some connection, they are certainly different words and have differences in their meanings.


"He has shown us what we are to be." Exactly!! What we will be is not quite the same as what we are presently.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 15, 2018, 12:12:33 PM
What you've argued based on 1 Corinthians 15 is quite beside the point.  You can argue whatever it is you wish.  Nonetheless, His flesh ascended with Him.  For you to suggest that somehow Jesus' flesh is now ontologically different from ours is exceedingly dangerous.  He has shown us what we are to be.

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

And it keeps getting worse...  :(
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2018, 12:44:26 PM
What you've argued based on 1 Corinthians 15 is quite beside the point.  You can argue whatever it is you wish.  Nonetheless, His flesh ascended with Him.  For you to suggest that somehow Jesus' flesh is now ontologically different from ours is exceedingly dangerous.  He has shown us what we are to be.

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

And it keeps getting worse...  :(


Thank you for such an eloquent answer to my question.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 15, 2018, 12:54:58 PM
What you've argued based on 1 Corinthians 15 is quite beside the point.  You can argue whatever it is you wish.  Nonetheless, His flesh ascended with Him.  For you to suggest that somehow Jesus' flesh is now ontologically different from ours is exceedingly dangerous.  He has shown us what we are to be.

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

And it keeps getting worse...  :(

Thank you for such an eloquent answer to my question.

Well, Brian, you did not answer my earlier questions. So...

But hey, we're all being charitable. You ask,

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

From Luke 24:36-53

"As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh (σάρκα) and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you ware clothed with power from on high.”

And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God." [emphasis added]

So, at what point in this sequential narrative did Jesus shed his σάρξ  so that it did not ascend with Him?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 15, 2018, 01:38:02 PM
On the plus side I have to admit that I have never been part of a more involved theological discussion on the ascension of our Lord. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2018, 02:09:08 PM
What you've argued based on 1 Corinthians 15 is quite beside the point.  You can argue whatever it is you wish.  Nonetheless, His flesh ascended with Him.  For you to suggest that somehow Jesus' flesh is now ontologically different from ours is exceedingly dangerous.  He has shown us what we are to be.

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

And it keeps getting worse...  :(

Thank you for such an eloquent answer to my question.

Well, Brian, you did not answer my earlier questions. So...

But hey, we're all being charitable. You ask,

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

From Luke 24:36-53

"As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you ware clothed with power from on high.”

And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God." [emphasis added]

So, at what point in this sequential narrative did Jesus shed his σάρξ  so that it did not ascend with Him?


I've never said that he shed his σἀρξ. I've argued, which I believe Paul does in 1 Cor 15:39, 50, that the σάρξ we are born with is not immortal and thus, it cannot inherit eternal life. We have a new and different type of σἀρξ in the resurrection that is both the same and as different as the plant is the same and yet quite different from the seed that died in the ground and produced the plant.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 15, 2018, 02:14:27 PM
What you said was, and the context in which I answered and asked my question:

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

So, Brian, where does it say in that narrative that His σάρξ was no longer with the Jesus who ascended? For he had it when the disciples touched Him and He ate. When did Jesus no longer have it such that it did not ascend with Him?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide8
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 15, 2018, 02:17:14 PM
BTW, how about answers to these?

And the great beauty of this is it is rightly gleaned from very simple and plain passages of Scripture.

Such as the Ascension this thread references.  When Christ ascended bodily into heaven.  Or the post-resurrection accounts I referenced such as St. Thomas or the eating of the fish and honeycomb.  This isn't neck-deep-in-philosophy stuff.  It is properly basic.


What about referencing the post-ascension account?

He showed His wounds to Thomas. He told the disciples He was hungry.

Because He is human.

Those were pre-ascension appearances.

I've never said that the risen Jesus was not human. I've argued, based on 1 Corinthians 15, that for his risen body to live eternally, he had to have a new and different flesh and body.

So, Jesus had a different flesh and body post-resurrection. Then He had yet a different flesh and body post-Ascension? Because, otherwise, Brian can't explain to himself how Jesus could live eternally? So, in what way is Jesus still human? (I'm not even going to ask if He is still fully human.)

So, we will be raised with different flesh and body like Jesus' body post-resurrection. Then, at what point do we get yet different bodies like Jesus' post- Ascension body so that we will live forever? Will we still be human? In what way?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: readselerttoo on May 15, 2018, 02:45:30 PM
What you've argued based on 1 Corinthians 15 is quite beside the point.  You can argue whatever it is you wish.  Nonetheless, His flesh ascended with Him.  For you to suggest that somehow Jesus' flesh is now ontologically different from ours is exceedingly dangerous.  He has shown us what we are to be.

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

And it keeps getting worse...  :(

Thank you for such an eloquent answer to my question.

Well, Brian, you did not answer my earlier questions. So...

But hey, we're all being charitable. You ask,

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

From Luke 24:36-53

"As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you ware clothed with power from on high.”

And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God." [emphasis added]

So, at what point in this sequential narrative did Jesus shed his σάρξ  so that it did not ascend with Him?


I've never said that he shed his σἀρξ. I've argued, which I believe Paul does in 1 Cor 15:39, 50, that the σάρξ we are born with is not immortal and thus, it cannot inherit eternal life. We have a new and different type of σἀρξ in the resurrection that is both the same and as different as the plant is the same and yet quite different from the seed that died in the ground and produced the plant.

With St. Paul I would agree with your statement.  Prior to reception of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism our sarx is destined to death and corruption.  However does not Holy Baptism confer a new quality upon the person (which includes a new sarx)?   Jesus says to Mary after his resurrection:  "I am ascending to my Father and to your Father..."  Christ's Ascension means so much more than a simple reading between the first man and the last man, imo.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: MaddogLutheran on May 15, 2018, 04:41:22 PM
What you've argued based on 1 Corinthians 15 is quite beside the point.  You can argue whatever it is you wish.  Nonetheless, His flesh ascended with Him.  For you to suggest that somehow Jesus' flesh is now ontologically different from ours is exceedingly dangerous.  He has shown us what we are to be.

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

And it keeps getting worse...  :(


Thank you for such an eloquent answer to my question.
A couple young engineers in my office enjoy, to their great amusement, following the Flat Earthers on YouTube and other places on the internet.  For the uninitiated, Flat Earthers use scientific language, but assign different meanings than the scientific community does, to support their crackpot ideas.  The course of this debate reminds me of that, especially the exasperation.

Once again, Pr. Stoffregen, what you are thrashing about with has already been asked and answered by the Church, including and especially the Lutheran Confessions.  But you are too arrogant to start with that, instead preferring your own Greek studies and your own counsel, and then demanding people prove you wrong, when you actually haven't proving yourself right in the first place.

It really wouldn't matter if you weren't telling other people they are wrong in the process, even as they quote the Confessions for you in an attempt to offer correction.  But that's your M.O. here, for whatever reason, and what gets people riled up, not without good reason.  What you flirt with are actual heresies the Church as spent much time, energy, and unfortunately even blood to settle, so it's not surprising that people react strongly.  To mirror Pr. Fienen's comments, I'd be willing to accept you believe the same thing using different words, except you keep insisting people using the generally accepted words are wrong to do so.  That's the best possible construction I can put on that. 

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2018, 04:49:53 PM
What you said was, and the context in which I answered and asked my question:

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

So, Brian, where does it say in that narrative that His σάρξ was no longer with the Jesus who ascended? For he had it when the disciples touched Him and He ate. When did Jesus no longer have it such that it did not ascend with Him?


To quote 1 Corinthians 15:50 again with emphasis: Τοῦτο δέ φημι, ἀδελφοί, ὅτι σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα βασιλείαν θεοῦ κληρονομῆσαι οὐ δύναται, οὐδὲ ἡ φθορὰ τὴν ἀφθαρσίαν κληρονομεῖ.


It is not a statement that Jesus no longer had σἀρξ, but that the σἄρξ that is able to inherit the kingdom of God has to be a different type than the σάρξ that we presently have.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 15, 2018, 05:17:37 PM
What was:

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

Is now:

It is not a statement that Jesus no longer had σἀρξ, but that the σἄρξ that is able to inherit the kingdom of God has to be a different type than the σάρξ that we presently have.

 ::)
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide8
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2018, 05:21:14 PM
BTW, how about answers to these?

And the great beauty of this is it is rightly gleaned from very simple and plain passages of Scripture.

Such as the Ascension this thread references.  When Christ ascended bodily into heaven.  Or the post-resurrection accounts I referenced such as St. Thomas or the eating of the fish and honeycomb.  This isn't neck-deep-in-philosophy stuff.  It is properly basic.


What about referencing the post-ascension account?

He showed His wounds to Thomas. He told the disciples He was hungry.

Because He is human.

Those were pre-ascension appearances.

I've never said that the risen Jesus was not human. I've argued, based on 1 Corinthians 15, that for his risen body to live eternally, he had to have a new and different flesh and body.

So, Jesus had a different flesh and body post-resurrection. Then He had yet a different flesh and body post-Ascension? Because, otherwise, Brian can't explain to himself how Jesus could live eternally? So, in what way is Jesus still human? (I'm not even going to ask if He is still fully human.)

So, we will be raised with different flesh and body like Jesus' body post-resurrection. Then, at what point do we get yet different bodies like Jesus' post- Ascension body so that we will live forever? Will we still be human? In what way?


Jesus is still human in the same way that an oak tree is still the same stuff as the acorn.


I don't know if Jesus flesh and body post-ascension is different than post-resurrection. All I've pointed out is that the post-ascension appearances of Jesus to Saul was as a light not a person. That is detail is repeated in all three accounts of the event in Acts. Paul doesn't give details of this event in his letters. He talks about "seeing the Lord" (1 Cor 9:1) and the Lord "appearing to him" (1 Cor 15: 8) . Otherwise, Stephen, Ananias, and later Paul, see/hear Jesus in visions.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2018, 05:23:02 PM
What was:

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

Is now:

It is not a statement that Jesus no longer had σἀρξ, but that the σἄρξ that is able to inherit the kingdom of God has to be a different type than the σάρξ that we presently have.

 ::)


What was a question (without an answer) is now a statement. What's so difficult to seeing the difference?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2018, 05:30:10 PM
With St. Paul I would agree with your statement.  Prior to reception of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism our sarx is destined to death and corruption.  However does not Holy Baptism confer a new quality upon the person (which includes a new sarx)?   Jesus says to Mary after his resurrection:  "I am ascending to my Father and to your Father..."  Christ's Ascension means so much more than a simple reading between the first man and the last man, imo.


Jesus also tells Mary at that time: "Don't touch me" (μή μου ἅπτου). Could that indicate that there had been a change in Jesus' flesh or body?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2018, 05:32:56 PM
A couple young engineers in my office enjoy, to their great amusement, following the Flat Earthers on YouTube and other places on the internet.  For the uninitiated, Flat Earthers use scientific language, but assign different meanings than the scientific community does, to support their crackpot ideas.  The course of this debate reminds me of that, especially the exasperation.


Yes, I often feel like I'm like an engineer following the Flat Earthers arguments.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: MaddogLutheran on May 15, 2018, 05:33:30 PM
What you said was, and the context in which I answered and asked my question:

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

So, Brian, where does it say in that narrative that His σάρξ was no longer with the Jesus who ascended? For he had it when the disciples touched Him and He ate. When did Jesus no longer have it such that it did not ascend with Him?


To quote 1 Corinthians 15:50 again with emphasis: Τοῦτο δέ φημι, ἀδελφοί, ὅτι σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα βασιλείαν θεοῦ κληρονομῆσαι οὐ δύναται, οὐδὲ ἡ φθορὰ τὴν ἀφθαρσίαν κληρονομεῖ.


It is not a statement that Jesus no longer had σἀρξ, but that the σἄρξ that is able to inherit the kingdom of God has to be a different type than the σάρξ that we presently have.
So now you're proof-texting?  That chapter has a lot going on, which makes it problematic to cherry pick this one verse.  I think what appears before doesn't provide the context to support your argument.  But let's look at what follows, in English, and I'll go with NRSV since that is the ELCA's preferred translation:

51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55
“Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

No one has suggested that Jesus body wasn't changed after the resurrection--it had to be, to be resurrected.  Yet He made a point of eating with his disciples post-resurrection.  No one has suggested that our bodies won't be changed on the last day.  In Revelations, God says he makes all things new again, which to me sounds like a reset to the pre-fall state of creation.  The perishable body putting on imperishability sounds like something is being added, not wholesale replacement.  As our Orthodox friends here have pointed out, this is a restoration of communion with God, which is what gives eternal life.  That is after all what Jesus keeps saying about himself in the Gospel of John.

At minimum, there is no support for any body transformation at the moment of the ascension.  Your beef is, not surprisingly, with Jesus' resurrected body being different, a recurring theme by you here.   That body was taken into heaven--because the alternatives (it was destroyed or never existed) are unacceptable.  From the additional text I quoted, our bodies, both the living and the dead, will be transformed to become like his at the last trumpet.  It's really that simple.

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: pearson on May 15, 2018, 05:35:23 PM

I think that a large part of the difficulty that I, and I presume others, have in dealing with Brian’s Christology and at least part of why he sounds heretical is partly that he defines theological terms such as incarnation idiosyncratically along strict etymological lines. 


This is not only a model of 8th commandment charity (and it surely is that), I believe Pr. Fienen's complaint is also the key to understanding the task that Pr. Stoffregen is actually performing.  When scoffed at for his exegetical judgments, Pr. Stoffregen insists that he is taking scripture very seriously, and I think he is exactly right about that.  He take scripture very seriously as a literary text, and so he examines its textual minutiae carefully.  In the end, he's not doing theology; he's doing linguistic analysis.  He doesn't read scripture with the church; he reads scripture with the lexicon.  The historic contours of biblical theology expressed within western Christianity are not his real concern.  His real concern is the historical contours of ancient etymologies.  The meaning of the biblical text is not located in the single, long, constantly evolving trajectory of life and thought within the Body of Christ over the past 2,000 years; for Pr. Stoffregen, there are ancient meanings of biblical words two millennia old, and then there are "interpreted" meanings of those words to be applied in the contemporary world.  Everything in between is negligible.

This is not to disparage the linguistic analysis that Pr. Stoffregen does.  He is extremely good at what he does.  But no one should mistake what he does for Christian theology.  So Pr. Fienen's insight is apt: if it's theological discourse you are concerned with, then the goods that Pr. Stoffregen offers likely won't be of interest to you.  But if it's ancient etymologies you're interested in, then. . .

Tom Pearson
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2018, 05:41:27 PM
What you said was, and the context in which I answered and asked my question:

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

So, Brian, where does it say in that narrative that His σάρξ was no longer with the Jesus who ascended? For he had it when the disciples touched Him and He ate. When did Jesus no longer have it such that it did not ascend with Him?


To quote 1 Corinthians 15:50 again with emphasis: Τοῦτο δέ φημι, ἀδελφοί, ὅτι σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα βασιλείαν θεοῦ κληρονομῆσαι οὐ δύναται, οὐδὲ ἡ φθορὰ τὴν ἀφθαρσίαν κληρονομεῖ.


It is not a statement that Jesus no longer had σἀρξ, but that the σἄρξ that is able to inherit the kingdom of God has to be a different type than the σάρξ that we presently have.
So now you're proof-texting?  That chapter has a lot going on, which makes it problematic to cherry pick this one verse.  I think what appears before doesn't provide the context to support your argument.  But let's look at what follows, in English, and I'll go with NRSV since that is the ELCA's preferred translation:

51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55
“Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

No one has suggested that Jesus body wasn't changed after the resurrection--it had to be, to be resurrected.  Yet He made a point of eating with his disciples post-resurrection.  No one has suggested that our bodies won't be changed on the last day.  In Revelations, God says he makes all things new again, which to me sounds like a reset to the pre-fall state of creation.  The perishable body putting on imperishability sounds like something is being added, not wholesale replacement.  As our Orthodox friends here have pointed out, this is a restoration of communion with God, which is what gives eternal life.  That is after all what Jesus keeps saying about himself in the Gospel of John.

At minimum, there is no support for any body transformation at the moment of the ascension.  Your beef is, not surprisingly, with Jesus' resurrected body being different, a recurring theme by you here.   That body was taken into heaven--because the alternatives (it was destroyed or never existed) are unacceptable.  From the additional text I quoted, our bodies, both the living and the dead, will be transformed to become like his at the last trumpet.  It's really that simple.


How is this any different from what I've been arguing? Jesus' resurrected body has to be different (or, if you prefer, transformed) from the earthly body according to Paul's statement. The analogy Paul uses is that of a seed that dies in the ground and grows up to be something appearing quite different from the seed (even though it contains the same DNA as the seed).


I think it's that simple, but folks keep arguing with me. (Mostly, in my opinion, over things I've never said.)
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 15, 2018, 05:55:12 PM
What was:

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

Is now:

It is not a statement that Jesus no longer had σἀρξ, but that the σἄρξ that is able to inherit the kingdom of God has to be a different type than the σάρξ that we presently have.

 ::)

What was a question (without an answer) is now a statement. What's so difficult to seeing the difference?

A rhetorical question in direct response and challenge to:

Nonetheless, His flesh ascended with Him.

I.e.,

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

that you've now walked back, now agreeing with Mr. Garner. I understand. You've done it many times before.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: MaddogLutheran on May 15, 2018, 05:58:20 PM
How is this any different from what I've been arguing?...I think it's that simple, but folks keep arguing with me. (Mostly, in my opinion, over things I've never said.)

Because earlier you said this, which is one of the problems:

Where does it say that his σάρξ ascended with him?

You can't help yourself.  As much as we try to put the best possible construct on your words, they betray you.  The above is why I just wrote this:

At minimum, there is no support for any body transformation at the moment of the ascension.  Your beef is, not surprisingly, with Jesus' resurrected body being different, a recurring theme by you here.   That body was taken into heaven--because the alternatives (it was destroyed or never existed) are unacceptable.

Unacceptable, and I would add incongruous with the totality of the scriptural witness.

Others have previously challenged you about this body hang-up which drives you toward a Reformed view (at best) or Jesus Seminar (at worst) concept of Jesus post-resurrection body.  I don't need to rehash that again.  It is not the problem of other people that your attempts at cleverness end up with borderline heretical meaning...even if that is not your intention.  I've resigned myself to the idea that you revel in the role of clever troll here.  You just refuse to own your intellectual dishonesty, by denying you ever said problematic things even as they are quoted back to you.

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Keith Falk on May 15, 2018, 06:05:07 PM

I think that a large part of the difficulty that I, and I presume others, have in dealing with Brian’s Christology and at least part of why he sounds heretical is partly that he defines theological terms such as incarnation idiosyncratically along strict etymological lines. 


This is not only a model of 8th commandment charity (and it surely is that), I believe Pr. Fienen's complaint is also the key to understanding the task that Pr. Stoffregen is actually performing.  When scoffed at for his exegetical judgments, Pr. Stoffregen insists that he is taking scripture very seriously, and I think he is exactly right about that.  He take scripture very seriously as a literary text, and so he examines its textual minutiae carefully.  In the end, he's not doing theology; he's doing linguistic analysis.  He doesn't read scripture with the church; he reads scripture with the lexicon.  The historic contours of biblical theology expressed within western Christianity are not his real concern.  His real concern is the historical contours of ancient etymologies.  The meaning of the biblical text is not located in the single, long, constantly evolving trajectory of life and thought within the Body of Christ over the past 2,000 years; for Pr. Stoffregen, there are ancient meanings of biblical words two millennia old, and then there are "interpreted" meanings of those words to be applied in the contemporary world.  Everything in between is negligible.

This is not to disparage the linguistic analysis that Pr. Stoffregen does.  He is extremely good at what he does.  But no one should mistake what he does for Christian theology.  So Pr. Fienen's insight is apt: if it's theological discourse you are concerned with, then the goods that Pr. Stoffregen offers likely won't be of interest to you.  But if it's ancient etymologies you're interested in, then. . .

Tom Pearson


+1
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: MaddogLutheran on May 15, 2018, 06:06:01 PM

I think that a large part of the difficulty that I, and I presume others, have in dealing with Brian’s Christology and at least part of why he sounds heretical is partly that he defines theological terms such as incarnation idiosyncratically along strict etymological lines. 


This is not only a model of 8th commandment charity (and it surely is that), I believe Pr. Fienen's complaint is also the key to understanding the task that Pr. Stoffregen is actually performing.  When scoffed at for his exegetical judgments, Pr. Stoffregen insists that he is taking scripture very seriously, and I think he is exactly right about that.  He take scripture very seriously as a literary text, and so he examines its textual minutiae carefully.  In the end, he's not doing theology; he's doing linguistic analysis.  He doesn't read scripture with the church; he reads scripture with the lexicon.  The historic contours of biblical theology expressed within western Christianity are not his real concern.  His real concern is the historical contours of ancient etymologies.  The meaning of the biblical text is not located in the single, long, constantly evolving trajectory of life and thought within the Body of Christ over the past 2,000 years; for Pr. Stoffregen, there are ancient meanings of biblical words two millennia old, and then there are "interpreted" meanings of those words to be applied in the contemporary world.  Everything in between is negligible.

This is not to disparage the linguistic analysis that Pr. Stoffregen does.  He is extremely good at what he does.  But no one should mistake what he does for Christian theology.  So Pr. Fienen's insight is apt: if it's theological discourse you are concerned with, then the goods that Pr. Stoffregen offers likely won't be of interest to you.  But if it's ancient etymologies you're interested in, then. . .

Tom Pearson
Excellent anaylsis!  And like I keep saying, I would not object to many of Pr. Stoffregen's ruminations, if he were not at the same time telling people doing actual Christian theology that they are wrong.

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2018, 06:08:46 PM

A rhetorical question in direct response and challenge to:


It seems to me that the speaker/writer determines if a question is meant to be rhetorical, not the hearers/readers. It was not rhetorical in my mind when I wrote it.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 15, 2018, 06:11:11 PM

A rhetorical question in direct response and challenge to:

It seems to me that the speaker/writer determines if a question is meant to be rhetorical, not the hearers/readers. It was not rhetorical in my mind when I wrote it.

Flummery
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 15, 2018, 06:19:57 PM

I think that a large part of the difficulty that I, and I presume others, have in dealing with Brian’s Christology and at least part of why he sounds heretical is partly that he defines theological terms such as incarnation idiosyncratically along strict etymological lines. 


This is not only a model of 8th commandment charity (and it surely is that), I believe Pr. Fienen's complaint is also the key to understanding the task that Pr. Stoffregen is actually performing.  When scoffed at for his exegetical judgments, Pr. Stoffregen insists that he is taking scripture very seriously, and I think he is exactly right about that.  He take scripture very seriously as a literary text, and so he examines its textual minutiae carefully.  In the end, he's not doing theology; he's doing linguistic analysis.  He doesn't read scripture with the church; he reads scripture with the lexicon.  The historic contours of biblical theology expressed within western Christianity are not his real concern.  His real concern is the historical contours of ancient etymologies.  The meaning of the biblical text is not located in the single, long, constantly evolving trajectory of life and thought within the Body of Christ over the past 2,000 years; for Pr. Stoffregen, there are ancient meanings of biblical words two millennia old, and then there are "interpreted" meanings of those words to be applied in the contemporary world.  Everything in between is negligible.

This is not to disparage the linguistic analysis that Pr. Stoffregen does.  He is extremely good at what he does.  But no one should mistake what he does for Christian theology.  So Pr. Fienen's insight is apt: if it's theological discourse you are concerned with, then the goods that Pr. Stoffregen offers likely won't be of interest to you.  But if it's ancient etymologies you're interested in, then. . .

Tom Pearson
Excellent anaylsis!  And like I keep saying, I would not object to many of Pr. Stoffregen's ruminations, if he were not at the same time telling people doing actual Christian theology that they are wrong.

Sterling Spatz

Indeed. An interesting exercise... Replace every mention of "Pr. Stoffregen" in the above with "The Jesus Seminar."
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 15, 2018, 09:24:43 PM
With St. Paul I would agree with your statement.  Prior to reception of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism our sarx is destined to death and corruption.  However does not Holy Baptism confer a new quality upon the person (which includes a new sarx)?   Jesus says to Mary after his resurrection:  "I am ascending to my Father and to your Father..."  Christ's Ascension means so much more than a simple reading between the first man and the last man, imo.


Jesus also tells Mary at that time: "Don't touch me" (μή μου ἅπτου). Could that indicate that there had been a change in Jesus' flesh or body?
“Touch me” is one possible translation.  ESV translates it as “cling to me.”  Which could well indicate that Jesus was warning her that His local presence was a transitory thing that would soon end with His ascension.  Don’t cling to me this way but begin to transition to me not being physically present with you.  Thus as evidence of a totally different body (but one that can still be touched, still eats, still bears the wounds of crucifixion) this event is thin, relying on the possibility of interpreting that way.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 15, 2018, 09:35:01 PM
Jesus may have told Mary not to touch Him (see my last post) but He did not extend that prohibition to others such as Thomas whom He commanded to touch Him.  As evidence this dog just won’t hunt.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: LCMS87 on May 16, 2018, 01:13:35 AM
With St. Paul I would agree with your statement.  Prior to reception of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism our sarx is destined to death and corruption.  However does not Holy Baptism confer a new quality upon the person (which includes a new sarx)?   Jesus says to Mary after his resurrection:  "I am ascending to my Father and to your Father..."  Christ's Ascension means so much more than a simple reading between the first man and the last man, imo.


Jesus also tells Mary at that time: "Don't touch me" (μή μου ἅπτου). Could that indicate that there had been a change in Jesus' flesh or body?
“Touch me” is one possible translation.  ESV translates it as “cling to me.”  Which could well indicate that Jesus was warning her that His local presence was a transitory thing that would soon end with His ascension.  Don’t cling to me this way but begin to transition to me not being physically present with you.  Thus as evidence of a totally different body (but one that can still be touched, still eats, still bears the wounds of crucifixion) this event is thin, relying on the possibility of interpreting that way.

Actually, the tense of the Greek verb makes the correct translation not, "don't touch me," but "don't keep on touching me."  In this case the ESV puts into good English the meaning of the Greek prohibition Jesus speaks:  "Don't cling to me."

I would have expected the Greek expert that Rev. Stoffregen styles himself to be to have corrected it in the first place or, at the very least, not to have used a mistranslated phrase to prop up a weird theological position that goes against the confession of the Lutheran Symbols and the Church catholic.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: LCMS87 on May 16, 2018, 01:31:05 AM

I think that a large part of the difficulty that I, and I presume others, have in dealing with Brian’s Christology and at least part of why he sounds heretical is partly that he defines theological terms such as incarnation idiosyncratically along strict etymological lines. 


This is not only a model of 8th commandment charity (and it surely is that), I believe Pr. Fienen's complaint is also the key to understanding the task that Pr. Stoffregen is actually performing.  When scoffed at for his exegetical judgments, Pr. Stoffregen insists that he is taking scripture very seriously, and I think he is exactly right about that.  He take scripture very seriously as a literary text, and so he examines its textual minutiae carefully.  In the end, he's not doing theology; he's doing linguistic analysis.  He doesn't read scripture with the church; he reads scripture with the lexicon.  The historic contours of biblical theology expressed within western Christianity are not his real concern.  His real concern is the historical contours of ancient etymologies.  The meaning of the biblical text is not located in the single, long, constantly evolving trajectory of life and thought within the Body of Christ over the past 2,000 years; for Pr. Stoffregen, there are ancient meanings of biblical words two millennia old, and then there are "interpreted" meanings of those words to be applied in the contemporary world.  Everything in between is negligible.

This is not to disparage the linguistic analysis that Pr. Stoffregen does.  He is extremely good at what he does.  But no one should mistake what he does for Christian theology.  So Pr. Fienen's insight is apt: if it's theological discourse you are concerned with, then the goods that Pr. Stoffregen offers likely won't be of interest to you.  But if it's ancient etymologies you're interested in, then. . .

Tom Pearson

What Dr. Pearson writes is good as far as it goes, but there is a strong case to be made against using etymologies of words to determine what the meaning of a given use of a word is. 

For example, we've probably all spoken of excruciating pain.  Using the technique Rev. Stoffregen follows, one would look at the etymology of excruciating, meaning "from a cross," and interpret every occurrence of that word as having to do with pain caused by crucifixion.  Of course, many people who use the word excruciating today are completely unaware of the word's etymology, and in using it simply intend to speak of pain that is very great and causes much agony.  Thus a wooden dependence on etymology can create erroneous or even nonsensical interpretations--as we've often seen on this very board.   

While the etymology of a word can be interesting, it does not determine the meaning a writer or speaker invests in the word.  Indeed, as language evolves over decades and centuries, reliance on etymology to determine meaning can lead one to an understanding very much at odds with the message the author intended to convey. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 16, 2018, 02:45:44 AM
With St. Paul I would agree with your statement.  Prior to reception of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism our sarx is destined to death and corruption.  However does not Holy Baptism confer a new quality upon the person (which includes a new sarx)?   Jesus says to Mary after his resurrection:  "I am ascending to my Father and to your Father..."  Christ's Ascension means so much more than a simple reading between the first man and the last man, imo.


Jesus also tells Mary at that time: "Don't touch me" (μή μου ἅπτου). Could that indicate that there had been a change in Jesus' flesh or body?
“Touch me” is one possible translation.  ESV translates it as “cling to me.”  Which could well indicate that Jesus was warning her that His local presence was a transitory thing that would soon end with His ascension.  Don’t cling to me this way but begin to transition to me not being physically present with you.  Thus as evidence of a totally different body (but one that can still be touched, still eats, still bears the wounds of crucifixion) this event is thin, relying on the possibility of interpreting that way.


Isn't if fun to do word and grammar studies!! I also don't take this as you saying that I'm wrong.


NRSV uses "Do not hold on to me." Why would it translate the word that way in that one verse? Overwhelmingly, the word is translated "touch" in the NT. (My word studies used the NRSV.)


All eight times it's used in Matthew, translated "touch".
All ten times it's used in Mark, translated "touch".
Ten times in Luke, translated "touch," three times it is "light" (a lamp) (which happened by touching a lit wick to an unlit wick).
The one time it's in Acts, "kindle" a flame.
One time in 1 Corinthians "touch" a woman. (ESV has "have sexual relations")
One time in 2 Corinthians "touch"
One time in Colossians "do not handle"
One time in 1 John "touch".


What gives translators the idea that "touch" is not the best choice in John 20:17 (the only time the word is used in John)? It's probable that the present tense form used in John leads translators to use "hold on" or "cling" or "grab," because it implies an ongoing touching. (Although a couple other times the present tense is used and both the NRSV & ESV translate it "touch".) Translators could also look back to an older meaning of the word. In the classical period, like in Homer, it had the meaning, "to fasten" or "bind." The middle: "fasten oneself to," "grasp," "take hold of," "cleave". This is a bit different from the "touch" in the gospels that Jesus did to heal the sick.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 16, 2018, 02:57:41 AM
What Dr. Pearson writes is good as far as it goes, but there is a strong case to be made against using etymologies of words to determine what the meaning of a given use of a word is. 

For example, we've probably all spoken of excruciating pain.  Using the technique Rev. Stoffregen follows, one would look at the etymology of excruciating, meaning "from a cross," and interpret every occurrence of that word as having to do with pain caused by crucifixion.  Of course, many people who use the word excruciating today are completely unaware of the word's etymology, and in using it simply intend to speak of pain that is very great and causes much agony.  Thus a wooden dependence on etymology can create erroneous or even nonsensical interpretations--as we've often seen on this very board.   

While the etymology of a word can be interesting, it does not determine the meaning a writer or speaker invests in the word.  Indeed, as language evolves over decades and centuries, reliance on etymology to determine meaning can lead one to an understanding very much at odds with the message the author intended to convey.


I've heard arguments against using etymologies. I don't find them convincing. While it is absolutely true that the meaning of a word is given by it's particular context, which is why the same Greek word may be translated many different ways in English translations; the study of a word's origins helps capture the nuances of that word which may not be found in the English words chosen.


An illustration I've seen and used shows two overlapping circles. The first represents the range of meanings of the original language word (Greek, Hebrew, or Syriac for our Scriptures). The second represents the range of meanings of the English word (or phrase) used to translate the word. While there is overlap in meanings, it's seldom that the two circles will be on top of each other. There will be some nuances in the original language that don't come through in the English word; and there are nuances in the English word that aren't part of the original language word.

Studying etymologies and how words are used in other contexts helps us better understand those nuances. I remember several years ago, a translator I think for the president, used the word "lust" where it wasn't appropriate. While it technically conveyed the meaning of the original language word, the sexual nuances we have with that word made it the wrong choice.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Rev Mathew Andersen on May 16, 2018, 03:26:32 AM
It is pointless to argue with Brian as he does not actually argue FOR anything other than just to be arguing.

In this single conversation he began by talking about the "absence" of Jesus.  OK, I could conceive that as Christ does often feel absent to us and this is a perception we must deal with in this life.

But then he jumped to the conclusion that the risen Christ's body did not have flesh based on  his translation of a Latin theological term mixed up with the translation of the Greekf "sarx" (sorry - not looking up how to put foreign languages here).  His argument for this was that Christ was able to do things like walk through walls following the resurrection.

however, in spite of the fact that he used that post-resurrection/pre-ascension account as proof of the ascended Christ not having "flesh," he later made a distinction between Christ's resurrected body and His ascended body.

Now he says that Christ's resurrected body does have a different kind of flesh - even though he had argued it could not have flesh before because by nature flesh dies.

And now he uses a single word in the resurrection account to jump to the conclusion (a jump olympian proportions, logically speaking) that Christs risen body is different from his previous body in some way he does not specify. (since he does not specify I won't argue that he is wrong or right)

On top of all this, he seems to say that because we will have a risen body like Christ's, we ourselves will partake in his divine nature in the resurrection.  Frankly, the inherent limitation on the physical body are just as important as the body's physical abilities.  So, while I agree we will have a glorified body, I do hope we will have the limitations physicality imposes.  I, for one, have no desire to walk through walls.  So I deeply hope I will not have Christ's divine attributes.

the fact is he simply has no thesis he is proposing or defending.  He is just throwing stuff out there.  It reminds me of my son as a teen arguing why he should be allowed to stay out past curfew - just throwing out any reason he could think of hoping I would buy one.

I notice this is a pattern with Brian.  He does not just do this with the Bible.  He also does it with the statements of other posters, arguing against what he thinks they said instead of what they actually did say.  Often what he thinks they said is quite different to what they actually wrote.

It simply is not logical.  It's just a cognitive jumble and certainly not worthy of being called either theology or exegesis.  It is neither interpretation nor speculation but just nonsense.

Going back to his original quotes from Powell's book - I would say they are not necessarily wrong.  We do often perceive an absence of Christ though it is not a real absence and fail to perceive the presence of Christ in communion, thought it is a real presence.  But I am not sure how that led to the bizarre hodgepodge of Christology that Brian presented afterward.

And Brain, while it is fun to do grammar and word studies, neither are what you are doing.  You are just throwing around a mess of mixed up ideas that have little foundation in much of anything, least of all language and grammar.  And reading nonsense that doesn't even have internal cohesiveness is not fun.  It is just migraine inducing.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Keith Falk on May 16, 2018, 10:32:20 AM
Whenever Brian brutalizes Powell's work, I cannot help but remember Dr. Powell standing up in our New Testament class, very nearly a sneer on his face every time he uttered the words "Marcus Borg" or "Jesus Seminar".  Dr. Powell proudly and unabashedly told us he believed in the Virgin birth, the physically resurrection of Christ, every miracle, etc.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: MaddogLutheran on May 16, 2018, 10:46:36 AM
It is pointless to argue with Brian as he does not actually argue FOR anything other than just to be arguing.

In this single conversation he began by talking about the "absence" of Jesus.  OK, I could conceive that as Christ does often feel absent to us and this is a perception we must deal with in this life.

But then he jumped to the conclusion that the risen Christ's body did not have flesh based on  his translation of a Latin theological term mixed up with the translation of the Greek "sarx" (sorry - not looking up how to put foreign languages here).  His argument for this was that Christ was able to do things like walk through walls following the resurrection.

[snip]

On top of all this, he seems to say that because we will have a risen body like Christ's, we ourselves will partake in his divine nature in the resurrection.  Frankly, the inherent limitation on the physical body are just as important as the body's physical abilities.  So, while I agree we will have a glorified body, I do hope we will have the limitations physicality imposes.  I, for one, have no desire to walk through walls.  So I deeply hope I will not have Christ's divine attributes.


the fact is he simply has no thesis he is proposing or defending.  He is just throwing stuff out there.  It reminds me of my son as a teen arguing why he should be allowed to stay out past curfew - just throwing out any reason he could think of hoping I would buy one.

I notice this is a pattern with Brian.  He does not just do this with the Bible.  He also does it with the statements of other posters, arguing against what he thinks they said instead of what they actually did say.  Often what he thinks they said is quite different to what they actually wrote.

It simply is not logical.  It's just a cognitive jumble and certainly not worthy of being called either theology or exegesis.  It is neither interpretation nor speculation but just nonsense.
Thank you for this tour de force summary, Matthew.  It is challenging to succinctly explain why all this is problematic on this forum, but you accomplish it.  If the moderators and others in positions of authority of the ALPB desire self-reflection as to the nature and trend of this forum (why tiresome arguments and grudges get repeated, as mentioned in this post from "What's next for ALPB?" (https://alpb.org/Forum/index.php?topic=6985.msg442855#msg442855)), this is a good place to start.  The model here has been light moderation, something with which I generally agree, but if you think the forum quality needs improvement, I would suggest you start with a heavier hand at moderation by nipping such "nonsense" in the bud--so that others are not left to react.  But we should not be surprised at the result when things are allowed to fester.  The rest will take care of itself.

I did want to comment on the sections of your post I bolded.  Frankly it never occurred to me that anyone might try and explain Jesus "walking through walls" post-resurrection with not having a physical body (Jesus Seminar aficionados excluded of course), especially when we also have Jesus admonishing Thomas to touch his hands and side to remove any doubt.  What is ridiculous about that is the assumption that such "magical" feats require one to be non-corporeal, when the gospels include other accounts of Jesus defying the laws of physics.  He was transfigured on the mountain top, fed the 5,000, and walked on water (with Peter!), .  All these were miracles, so I'm not sure why we would need to develop rational explanations for them.  Maybe in the new creation we'll only walk through walls if we are holding His hand.  ;)  Jesus did all these unexplainable things on earth because He is God, His person being a union with His divide nature, not because of anything special about his human body.  (That's what I learned in catechism, but took a long time to appreciate.)

If a pre-resurrection Jesus can walk on water, a post-resurrection Jesus can walk through walls.  Occam's razor.

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 16, 2018, 11:13:54 AM
Yes, Brian has demonstrated time and again not understanding or rejecting the communication of attributes, in discussions about the crucifixion, post-resurrection, etc. His response? He's the engineer, and we're a bunch of flat-earthers.

Of even greater concern to me, however, is Brian's response to Mr. Garner regarding humans pre-Fall.

WHY does human flesh decay, though?

Is that something that is inherent to the nature of humanity?  Or is it due to a lack of full communion with God?  I say the latter.  Adam and Eve were not naturally incorrupt.  They were only incorrupt inasmuch as they were united with God.  Their flesh only decayed when God removed Himself from them to protect them from the consequences of their sin. 

Anything else, and we're approaching some odd Nestorian view of humanity, where Adam and Eve were actually granted new, decaying flesh instead of the flesh they were formed with. 

I assume you'd agree that Adam and Eve would not have decayed but for the fall?  And also that Adam and Eve were not changed from human to something else after the fall?

Decay is part of creation.

I suppose if one needs to support evolution, one must posit that.

But hey, one thing we did learn from Brian's rhetorical gymnastics... At the resurrection we'll all look like gardeners. That will make my Mom happy.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: David Garner on May 16, 2018, 11:34:39 AM
Yes, Brian has demonstrated time and again not understanding or rejecting the communication of attributes, in discussions about the crucifixion, post-resurrection, etc. His response? He's the engineer, and we're a bunch of flat-earthers.

Of even greater concern to me, however, is Brian's response to Mr. Garner regarding humans pre-Fall.

WHY does human flesh decay, though?

Is that something that is inherent to the nature of humanity?  Or is it due to a lack of full communion with God?  I say the latter.  Adam and Eve were not naturally incorrupt.  They were only incorrupt inasmuch as they were united with God.  Their flesh only decayed when God removed Himself from them to protect them from the consequences of their sin. 

Anything else, and we're approaching some odd Nestorian view of humanity, where Adam and Eve were actually granted new, decaying flesh instead of the flesh they were formed with. 

I assume you'd agree that Adam and Eve would not have decayed but for the fall?  And also that Adam and Eve were not changed from human to something else after the fall?

Decay is part of creation.

I suppose if one needs to support evolution, one must posit that.

But hey, one thing we did learn from Brian's rhetorical gymnastics... At the resurrection we'll all look like gardeners. That will make my Mom happy.

I think it follows from a view that mortality or immortality are inherent to nature, meaning, created = mortal (by nature).

The problem with that is it leaves very little room for proper Christian understanding of the fall.  For if Adam and Eve were naturally mortal, then they had no promise of eternal life, since their nature insists that they will die.  And if Adam and Eve were naturally immortal, then they had no reason to expect they should ever die, since their nature insists that they cannot.

Rather, Adam and Eve were created creatures, and their mortality or immortality rested entirely on their communion with God.  So long as they are in perfect communion with God, they live.  When they lack that communion, that's when they decay and die.  But the overarching point is this -- it is not in their nature to do either.  Plants thrive in the light and die in darkness (to use a too-simple analogy -- please understand I am aware that somewhere there is surely a plant that can grow in darkness).  So, too, we thrive in communion with God and die without it.  What Christ accomplished was not the creation of some superhuman with an ontologically different body from ours, but rather the perfect communion with God in His person, taking our flesh to the grave and thus shattering the grave wide open. 

We too will take our flesh to the grave.  And our hope is that, as we in the Orthodox Church sing at all services during this season of Pascha, "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life."

We don't escape the tomb.  It's just that, in communion with God, the tomb cannot hold us.  Christ has shown forth that this is true.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 16, 2018, 11:38:16 AM
It is pointless to argue with Brian as he does not actually argue FOR anything other than just to be arguing.


If that's what you believe, you're misreading me.

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In this single conversation he began by talking about the "absence" of Jesus.  OK, I could conceive that as Christ does often feel absent to us and this is a perception we must deal with in this life.


Exactly. Sometimes you do get what I'm arguing FOR.

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But then he jumped to the conclusion that the risen Christ's body did not have flesh based on  his translation of a Latin theological term mixed up with the translation of the Greekf "sarx" (sorry - not looking up how to put foreign languages here).  His argument for this was that Christ was able to do things like walk through walls following the resurrection.


A misreading. I've never argued that the risen Christ's body did not have flesh; but that the flesh had to be different than the human flesh we (and I believe he) had on earth.

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however, in spite of the fact that he used that post-resurrection/pre-ascension account as proof of the ascended Christ not having "flesh," he later made a distinction between Christ's resurrected body and His ascended body.


Not quite. I made a distinction between the risen Christ's appearances before and after the ascension.


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Now he says that Christ's resurrected body does have a different kind of flesh - even though he had argued it could not have flesh before because by nature flesh dies.


This is Paul's statement: "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." The human body is temporal, it is subject to decay, it is not something that can last forever. Thus, in the resurrection we must be given new bodies. (He even uses the phrase "spiritual body" (σῶμα πνευματικόν) to describe what we're given in the resurrection. Paul's distinction between ψυχικόν and πνευματικόν is whole discussion on it's own.)


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On top of all this, he seems to say that because we will have a risen body like Christ's, we ourselves will partake in his divine nature in the resurrection.  Frankly, the inherent limitation on the physical body are just as important as the body's physical abilities.  So, while I agree we will have a glorified body, I do hope we will have the limitations physicality imposes.  I, for one, have no desire to walk through walls.  So I deeply hope I will not have Christ's divine attributes.


I have never argued that "walking through walls" was part of the divine nature. I view it as part of the resurrected nature - an illustration of how the πνευματικόν bodies are different from ψυχικόν ones. You may interpret it differently.

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Going back to his original quotes from Powell's book - I would say they are not necessarily wrong.  We do often perceive an absence of Christ though it is not a real absence and fail to perceive the presence of Christ in communion, thought it is a real presence.  But I am not sure how that led to the bizarre hodgepodge of Christology that Brian presented afterward.


I note that the section in Powell's book is called, "Presence and Absence." He, nor I, are denying the presence of Christ in our lives; but we're also honest about experiencing the absence of Jesus in our lives - as he argues, the early church's statements and liturgies and theology also include, e.g., the "now and not yet" aspect of Jesus' coming.

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And Brain, while it is fun to do grammar and word studies, neither are what you are doing.  You are just throwing around a mess of mixed up ideas that have little foundation in much of anything, least of all language and grammar.  And reading nonsense that doesn't even have internal cohesiveness is not fun.  It is just migraine inducing.


Yup, because exegesis begins by looking at all the possibilities - some might stick and some might not. Greek word studies require looking at all the uses of a word in scriptures (and even the LXX and sometimes other writings); then deciding that some (or many) may not be relevant to understanding its use in a particular passage, e.g., the uses of ἅπτω as "lighting" a lamp, doesn't help much in discerning the meaning of the risen Jesus' command to Mary - but they must be looked at in doing word studies. It is definitely mind-numbing. I find it fun - like going on a treasure hunt - that there can be a lot of meaningless digging before possibly finding a treasure. On the other hand, I don't find running a 10K or 5K or 20 meters fun, but there are people who do.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 16, 2018, 11:47:04 AM
Whenever Brian brutalizes Powell's work, I cannot help but remember Dr. Powell standing up in our New Testament class, very nearly a sneer on his face every time he uttered the words "Marcus Borg" or "Jesus Seminar".  Dr. Powell proudly and unabashedly told us he believed in the Virgin birth, the physically resurrection of Christ, every miracle, etc.


And I've said and confess the same things. The challenge from Borg is to be able to explain the meaning of those confessions for our present lives of faith. Sort of like saying: "You believe in the Virgin birth, the physically resurrection of Christ, and Christ did miracles. So what? How do those beliefs make a difference in your life now?" I don't believe God recorded these things just so that we knew what happened for a short time in history; nor for us to create a checklist of things that one marks on a sheet of paper as a test of one's faith. They are to be the living Word - the Word of God living in our lives today, making differences in us.


I've also stated that I disagree with many of the findings of the Jesus Seminar. I have compared Raymond Brown's books, "The Death of the Messiah" and "The Birth of the Messiah" with John Dominic Crossan's writings. They both use the same historical evidence, but come to quite different conclusions. I'm on Brown's side.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 16, 2018, 11:59:27 AM
I did want to comment on the sections of your post I bolded.  Frankly it never occurred to me that anyone might try and explain Jesus "walking through walls" post-resurrection with not having a physical body (Jesus Seminar aficionados excluded of course), especially when we also have Jesus admonishing Thomas to touch his hands and side to remove any doubt. 


I repeat myself again: I never claimed that Jesus did not have a physical body; but, based on Paul's argument in 1 Corinthians 15, the resurrected body is a different type of body than our earthly bodies. Granted, Paul makes a contrast between the physical (or natural) body (σῶμα ψυχικόν) and spiritual body (σῶμα πνευματικόν); but we haven't begun to explore what those words might mean.


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What is ridiculous about that is the assumption that such "magical" feats require one to be non-corporeal, when the gospels include other accounts of Jesus defying the laws of physics. 


What is ridiculous is that you are arguing against a position that I have never taken.


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If a pre-resurrection Jesus can walk on water, a post-resurrection Jesus can walk through walls.  Occam's razor.


And Peter also walked on water. Does that mean that he is divine? (I think not, thus walking on water doesn't necessarily prove divinity.) Does the post-resurrected body of Jesus fulfill the statements Paul makes in 1 Corinthians 15 about resurrected bodies being changed? I argue that it does.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 16, 2018, 12:15:41 PM
I think it follows from a view that mortality or immortality are inherent to nature, meaning, created = mortal (by nature).

The problem with that is it leaves very little room for proper Christian understanding of the fall.  For if Adam and Eve were naturally mortal, then they had no promise of eternal life, since their nature insists that they will die.  And if Adam and Eve were naturally immortal, then they had no reason to expect they should ever die, since their nature insists that they cannot.


According to Genesis 3, the promise of eternal life would have come if they had eaten of the tree of life. There is a series of statements in v. 22:
• he reach out his hand
• and take also of the tree of life
• and eat
• and live forever.


There is nothing in either creation account that indicates the humans were created immortal.


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Rather, Adam and Eve were created creatures, and their mortality or immortality rested entirely on their communion with God.  So long as they are in perfect communion with God, they live.  When they lack that communion, that's when they decay and die. 


I do not believe that their sin caused a lack of communion with God. They were no longer in the garden. They had to work for their food, but the LORD continued to talk with them as before. They made sacrifices to the LORD. Gen 4:26 tells us that the people worshiped in the LORD's name (or called on the name of the LORD). Their relationship with the LORD might have been different than in the garden, but there was still a relationship.

Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Rev Mathew Andersen on May 16, 2018, 01:16:33 PM


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On top of all this, he seems to say that because we will have a risen body like Christ's, we ourselves will partake in his divine nature in the resurrection.  Frankly, the inherent limitation on the physical body are just as important as the body's physical abilities.  So, while I agree we will have a glorified body, I do hope we will have the limitations physicality imposes.  I, for one, have no desire to walk through walls.  So I deeply hope I will not have Christ's divine attributes.


I have never argued that "walking through walls" was part of the divine nature. I view it as part of the resurrected nature - an illustration of how the πνευματικόν bodies are different from ψυχικόν ones. You may interpret it differently.

That would be absolutely horrible.  Walls exist for a reason.  They hold things up and keep things, such as other people, out.  Walls mean if you wish to come to me you must knock on a door and be subject to my invitation and vise versa.  The physical creation is a very good creation even in its fallen state and more so in the resurrection.  The fact that there is a point in space in time that is me and another that is you and that we don't intersect except through the manipulation of the physical world in accordance with the physical laws is an amazing thing.  I have never understood the appeal of a concept of the resurrection that does away with physical laws and limitations beyond those limitations imposed by sin.  I, frankly, would not want to communicate with someone else without a physical medium and see no point in walking through walls or instantaneously moving from one place to another as Christ did.  I certainly have no desire to exist as being of light or whatever.  I am perfectly happy to let Christ be divine and to remain fully human with all of humanity's beautiful limitations.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: David Garner on May 16, 2018, 02:24:08 PM
I think it follows from a view that mortality or immortality are inherent to nature, meaning, created = mortal (by nature).

The problem with that is it leaves very little room for proper Christian understanding of the fall.  For if Adam and Eve were naturally mortal, then they had no promise of eternal life, since their nature insists that they will die.  And if Adam and Eve were naturally immortal, then they had no reason to expect they should ever die, since their nature insists that they cannot.


According to Genesis 3, the promise of eternal life would have come if they had eaten of the tree of life. There is a series of statements in v. 22:
• he reach out his hand
• and take also of the tree of life
• and eat
• and live forever.


There is nothing in either creation account that indicates the humans were created immortal.

Agree, but I would disagree the contrary (that humans were created mortal as a matter of nature) is true.

What is the tree of life?  The answer to that question dictates where we go from here.

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Rather, Adam and Eve were created creatures, and their mortality or immortality rested entirely on their communion with God.  So long as they are in perfect communion with God, they live.  When they lack that communion, that's when they decay and die. 


I do not believe that their sin caused a lack of communion with God. They were no longer in the garden. They had to work for their food, but the LORD continued to talk with them as before. They made sacrifices to the LORD. Gen 4:26 tells us that the people worshiped in the LORD's name (or called on the name of the LORD). Their relationship with the LORD might have been different than in the garden, but there was still a relationship.

What is being in the garden, save for perfect communion with God?

And what is being expelled from the garden save for being left to our mortal and sinful ways?

You can be out of communion with God and yet have a relationship with Him.  The communion we share in Christ is not perfect, because it includes us sinners.  It is only in Christ and in the eschaton that the communion is complete.  For us, it's a constant struggle to maintain that proper relationship with God.  We are still outside the garden, but we have been shown the way in.  We are still outside the wedding feast, but we have been promised a wedding garment.  Etc.

Some of this is both/and, mind you.  We received a garment of righteousness in baptism, for example.  So in that sense we are perfectly saved and in perfect communion with God.  Yet we remain sinners, not through anything He has done, but due to what we have done and continue to do.  The communion we share in the Eucharist strengthens us in remission of sins to go and do His will.  And yet we fail, as Luther said, daily and much.  The point is it is the communication of the divine to us through Christ that grants us life eternal.  It is not of ourselves.  Adam had that communion directly with God and squandered it through his sin.  Because of that, we lack that perfect communion.  Christ recapitulates Adam's fall and completes what was promised to Adam in Himself.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide8
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 16, 2018, 03:41:27 PM

Jesus is still human in the same way that an oak tree is still the same stuff as the acorn.


Or a "fetus" is still the same stuff as a fully grown adult?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide8
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 16, 2018, 06:11:37 PM

Jesus is still human in the same way that an oak tree is still the same stuff as the acorn.


Or a "fetus" is still the same stuff as a fully grown adult?


More like the zygote from a sperm and egg is the same stuff as the fully grown adult.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on June 06, 2019, 09:54:56 PM
I hesitate to post this thought, for a year and three weeks have passed since the previous comment, and Western Ascension is of course now either seven or four days removed, depending on whether or not it was "transferred" to the Seventh Sunday of Easter.

Nevertheless:  In reading the Oikos of the Orthodox Orthros this morning I was struck by how so many of its phrases were amplified by the meditation I had penned nearly two decades ago (A.D. 2000), long before I consciously began the journey into Orthodoxy.

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Leaving things of earth upon the earth;
consigning things of ash unto the mound;
come, let us rouse ourselves, lift up eyes and thoughts, and to the heights ascend.
Let our faces and our senses, mortals, likewise look to heaven's gates.

Imagine us upon the mount called Olivet to gaze upon the Redeemer riding on a cloud.

From there, the Lord went straightaway to the heavens.
There, the Liberal One distributes gifts to His Apostles:
as a father calling them, confirming them;
directing them as sons;
saying to them,
"I do not part from you.
I am with you, and there is,
 therefore, none against you."


Older, Illumined, but only slightly wiser I now realize that the verses from "The Day of Resurrection" really did not belong in a meditation on the Ascension, for they are a poor truncation of the Paschal Canon which is sung for the final time on the Apodosis of Pascha, the day before the Feast of the Ascension.   

As Stephen the Amish convert might say, "Ja vell.  So gates."
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: JohannesKelpius on June 07, 2019, 09:14:39 AM
I'm a big fan of John Mason Neale's English translations of Byzantine and Syriac hymns. Yes, he takes liberties to make them fit the rhyme and metre, and they are of course completely out of their normal liturgical context, but the end result is still beautiful and edifying. It gladdens me that the words of St John Damascene can be heard even in Protestant churches every Easter.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on June 07, 2019, 09:58:31 AM
It gladdens me that the words of St John Damascene can be heard even in Protestant churches every Easter.

The hymns truly sparkle when sung to a lively Dorian mode melody. 

The Lancashire default in most Protestant hymnals is boring white bread by comparison.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: JohannesKelpius on June 07, 2019, 10:17:35 AM
Byzantine chant is transcendental and glorious when done by people who know what they're doing. If they don't, it's unbearable. In my visits to Greek churches, it's usually the latter case. These English or German hymn tunes, while lacking the antique grandeur and virtuosity of a well-done Byzantine chant, can sound reasonably good in a room full of mediocre singers.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on June 07, 2019, 11:39:10 AM
Byzantine chant is transcendental and glorious when done by people who know what they're doing. If they don't, it's unbearable. In my visits to Greek churches, it's usually the latter case. These English or German hymn tunes, while lacking the antique grandeur and virtuosity of a well-done Byzantine chant, can sound reasonably good in a room full of mediocre singers.

There are many Germanic hymn tunes which have borrowed from Byzantine tonality:  Wer Nur Den Lieben, for example, is roughly based on the Third Tone "Ye Holy Apostles..."
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Eileen Smith on June 07, 2019, 12:41:07 PM
Byzantine chant is transcendental and glorious when done by people who know what they're doing. If they don't, it's unbearable. In my visits to Greek churches, it's usually the latter case. These English or German hymn tunes, while lacking the antique grandeur and virtuosity of a well-done Byzantine chant, can sound reasonably good in a room full of mediocre singers.

There are many Germanic hymn tunes which have borrowed from Byzantine tonality:  Wer Nur Den Lieben, for example, is roughly based on the Third Tone "Ye Holy Apostles..."

And yet I'll bet our God accepts the praises of even the most mediocre of voices, the most unbearable of tunes when done to the praise and glory of His name.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 07, 2019, 12:55:45 PM
Byzantine chant is transcendental and glorious when done by people who know what they're doing. If they don't, it's unbearable. In my visits to Greek churches, it's usually the latter case. These English or German hymn tunes, while lacking the antique grandeur and virtuosity of a well-done Byzantine chant, can sound reasonably good in a room full of mediocre singers.

There are many Germanic hymn tunes which have borrowed from Byzantine tonality:  Wer Nur Den Lieben, for example, is roughly based on the Third Tone "Ye Holy Apostles..."

And yet I'll bet our God accepts the praises of even the most mediocre of voices, the most unbearable of tunes when done to the praise and glory of His name.


So it's OK to offer God our 2nd or 3rd best? I've described some congregations as: "They strive for mediocrity and usually reach it."


When folks think or even say, "That was awful," it's not likely that they are praising and glorifying God. Their attention is now focused on the poor performer(s) - not God. A similar thing happens when they think, "He's just showing off," when professional musicians draw too much attention to themselves rather than being a conduit to help folks focus on God.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: D. Engebretson on June 07, 2019, 01:29:21 PM
Byzantine chant is transcendental and glorious when done by people who know what they're doing. If they don't, it's unbearable. In my visits to Greek churches, it's usually the latter case. These English or German hymn tunes, while lacking the antique grandeur and virtuosity of a well-done Byzantine chant, can sound reasonably good in a room full of mediocre singers.

There are many Germanic hymn tunes which have borrowed from Byzantine tonality:  Wer Nur Den Lieben, for example, is roughly based on the Third Tone "Ye Holy Apostles..."

And yet I'll bet our God accepts the praises of even the most mediocre of voices, the most unbearable of tunes when done to the praise and glory of His name.


So it's OK to offer God our 2nd or 3rd best? I've described some congregations as: "They strive for mediocrity and usually reach it."


When folks think or even say, "That was awful," it's not likely that they are praising and glorifying God. Their attention is now focused on the poor performer(s) - not God. A similar thing happens when they think, "He's just showing off," when professional musicians draw too much attention to themselves rather than being a conduit to help folks focus on God.

I really don't think that was what Eileen meant.  We all know that gifts and abilities vary, especially in the musical arena.  The pastor that served before me can't sing on tune to save himself.  If I don't sing louder than him when we are sitting next to one another he pulls me down too.  That said, I am sure, to use Eileen's words, that "God accepts the praises of even the most mediocre of voices, the most unbearable of tunes when done to the praise and glory of His name."
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on June 07, 2019, 01:59:38 PM
Two thoughts:

"The only thing you should bring to the choir or the chanter's stand is your broken, humble heart"

--Fr. David Jacobs

"Many a chanter's great voice has been ruined by a greater ego"

--Fr. Elias Bitar
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Steven W Bohler on June 07, 2019, 02:24:54 PM
Parents put the kids' artwork up on the refrigerator, not because the art is so great, but because they love their children and THAT makes even those squiggles and smudges beautiful.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: George Erdner on June 07, 2019, 04:51:34 PM
Byzantine chant is transcendental and glorious when done by people who know what they're doing. If they don't, it's unbearable. In my visits to Greek churches, it's usually the latter case. These English or German hymn tunes, while lacking the antique grandeur and virtuosity of a well-done Byzantine chant, can sound reasonably good in a room full of mediocre singers.

There are many Germanic hymn tunes which have borrowed from Byzantine tonality:  Wer Nur Den Lieben, for example, is roughly based on the Third Tone "Ye Holy Apostles..."

And yet I'll bet our God accepts the praises of even the most mediocre of voices, the most unbearable of tunes when done to the praise and glory of His name.

Accepts them? Absolutely! But I suspect God is especially pleased when we make an effort to do our best. I cannot support that opinion through passages of Scripture, yet I still believe God appreciates it when we try our best, so always try to do my best.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dan Fienen on June 07, 2019, 05:30:16 PM

Do our best and offer our best are indeed what we should want to do. But what is my best may be very different than someone else's best. I enjoy chanting the liturgy and have done it well. However, I've reached the stage of life where my chanting is simply not as good as it was twenty or thirty years ago. Does that mean that since my chanting (and singing in general) has deteriorated with age, that it is now no longer acceptable to God? On the other hand, I think that my preaching has gotten better. Does that mean that my preaching forty years ago was not acceptable to God since it was not what would eventually become my best?


God accepts and blesses what we offer to Him and in His name, whether it would be considered top ranked or merely acceptable. He accepts us as imperfect sinners whose best is likely never to be ranked humanly speaking the best possible and some days we only achieve delusions of adequacy. But then nothing we could possibly offer will be truly worthy of Him. His acceptance of us is always a matter of grace.


Naturally, none of this should be taken as an excuse for doing slip shod work or not trying to present the best that we can at that time. I may not, am not first rate, but my effort should be the best that I can do, limited not by my willingness to offer God my second rate effort but limited by my limits.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 08, 2019, 04:24:43 AM
So it's OK to offer God our 2nd or 3rd best? I've described some congregations as: "They strive for mediocrity and usually reach it."


When folks think or even say, "That was awful," it's not likely that they are praising and glorifying God. Their attention is now focused on the poor performer(s) - not God. A similar thing happens when they think, "He's just showing off," when professional musicians draw too much attention to themselves rather than being a conduit to help folks focus on God.

I really don't think that was what Eileen meant.  We all know that gifts and abilities vary, especially in the musical arena.  The pastor that served before me can't sing on tune to save himself.  If I don't sing louder than him when we are sitting next to one another he pulls me down too.  That said, I am sure, to use Eileen's words, that "God accepts the praises of even the most mediocre of voices, the most unbearable of tunes when done to the praise and glory of His name."


Even if it's not what she meant, it happens. "That was good enough" or "We're just amateurs" are statements I've heard. Besides being the pastor, I'm also the church musician. I feel that I've failed the congregation if I haven't had time to practice during the week. Without rehearsing, I'm not offering my best to God and the people I'm leading in song. At the same time, I make mistakes. I don't expect to be perfect. I want to make sure that the mistakes do not detract from the singing; nor that any extra embellishments do not detract from the singing.


If a pastor can't sing, the liturgy doesn't need to be sung. A friend's pastor was told by the council that she shouldn't be singing the liturgy. She insisted that it had to be sung. Her poor singing detracted from the worship service. She was eventually fired. The congregation had a good music program with an excellent adult choir, a bell choir, a good organist, another excellent pianist. They didn't want the good music spoiled by poor chanting by the presider.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Richard Johnson on June 09, 2019, 02:58:37 AM

Do our best and offer our best are indeed what we should want to do. But what is my best may be very different than someone else's best.

Reminds me of a comment my wife made a few weeks after we began attending the local Episcopal Church. I was afraid she would not be able to be at home there because the music was pretty mediocre and the liturgy (not the liturgy itself but its execution) wasn't what we had tried to do in our parish. But one day she said, "Well, it's obvious that they take the liturgy very seriously and they do the very best they can with the resources that they have, and what more can anyone ask?"
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dan Fienen on June 09, 2019, 02:13:01 PM
My brother is a professional organist. He has his doctorate in organ and was, until he switched to college administration and then retired, chapel organist and organ/church musician professor at a Lutheran college. I know what excellence on the organ sounds like. In all my years in the ministry I have never had an organist in my church come close to what my brother can do. I've learned to live with that and appreciate the effort and dedication that the amateur organists who serve for small or no compensation put into assisting with worship. I've even learned how not to wince at some of the more egregious errors and clunkers they commit.


They do their best and I appreciate their effort. And yes, together I, my congregation, and organist make a joyful noise to the Lord, even though nobody will even make a dime recording and selling a greatest worship hits album from our church.


There are churches that have the resources, facilities, choirs, instrumentalists, etc. to put together truly marvelous worship services, and the superior preacher to go along with it. More power to them. With those resources, they should be doing that kind of quality worship. I thoroughly enjoy those services when I can attend. But just because we cannot match that does make our worship any less worshipful, meaningful, or acceptable to God. Bach at the height of his compositional powers, playing ability, and choirs in Leipzig was still no match for heaven's angelic choirs. Yet God accepted his work by grace. He graciously accepts our offerings limited though they may be.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 09, 2019, 02:30:48 PM
They do their best …


I cannot say that I've had musicians who "did their best." I've even heard them say, "That's good enough." They knew they could do better, but didn't want to try.


At one congregation, the organist didn't feel a need to practice until Sunday morning. It's not likely that we are getting her best. Even though she proudly boasted of playing that pipe organ for 50 years, I once asked her to give me the pitch for intoning with just an 8 foot stop. She replied, "What's a stop?" She was not interested in increasing her knowledge or skills.


At my home congregation, they got a new electronic organ. The congregation arranged for and were going to pay organ lessons so the organist could better learn how to play the new instrument. She refused to go. They have a different organist now.


In contrast, I had an excellent pianist quit because with two small children at home, she couldn't practice and thus perform to the level she expected of herself. Either the children were sleeping so she couldn't play on her grand piano; or they were awake and wanted to play with her. She was committed to doing her best, and when she couldn't do that; she didn't play.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dan Fienen on June 09, 2019, 02:36:52 PM
They do their best …


I cannot say that I've had musicians who "did their best." I've even heard them say, "That's good enough." They knew they could do better, but didn't want to try.


At one congregation, the organist didn't feel a need to practice until Sunday morning. It's not likely that we are getting her best. Even though she proudly boasted of playing that pipe organ for 50 years, I once asked her to give me the pitch for intoning with just an 8 foot stop. She replied, "What's a stop?" She was not interested in increasing her knowledge or skills.


At my home congregation, they got a new electronic organ. The congregation arranged for and were going to pay organ lessons so the organist could better learn how to play the new instrument. She refused to go. They have a different organist now.


In contrast, I had an excellent pianist quit because with two small children at home, she couldn't practice and thus perform to the level she expected of herself. Either the children were sleeping so she couldn't play on her grand piano; or they were awake and wanted to play with her. She was committed to doing her best, and when she couldn't do that; she didn't play.
Well, yes. Not all organist, congregations, or even preachers care enough to put in the work and effort to perform at the quality that they're capable of. That is not acceptable.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: George Erdner on June 09, 2019, 02:57:33 PM
They do their best …


I cannot say that I've had musicians who "did their best." I've even heard them say, "That's good enough." They knew they could do better, but didn't want to try.


At one congregation, the organist didn't feel a need to practice until Sunday morning. It's not likely that we are getting her best. Even though she proudly boasted of playing that pipe organ for 50 years, I once asked her to give me the pitch for intoning with just an 8 foot stop. She replied, "What's a stop?" She was not interested in increasing her knowledge or skills.


At my home congregation, they got a new electronic organ. The congregation arranged for and were going to pay organ lessons so the organist could better learn how to play the new instrument. She refused to go. They have a different organist now.


In contrast, I had an excellent pianist quit because with two small children at home, she couldn't practice and thus perform to the level she expected of herself. Either the children were sleeping so she couldn't play on her grand piano; or they were awake and wanted to play with her. She was committed to doing her best, and when she couldn't do that; she didn't play.
Well, yes. Not all organist, congregations, or even preachers care enough to put in the work and effort to perform at the quality that they're capable of. That is not acceptable.

In my limited observations of musicians in church settings, they seem to be little different from their counterparts in secular music, or any other field of endeavor. When I go out with my wife to a venue that has live music, you can tell rather quickly which bands work hard and which ones only work hard enough to be good enough. I've observed that a small minority of people in any group effort environment, sacred or secular, will always strive to do their best, no matter what. And, another small minority will "dabble" in whatever they do, and will always accept "good enough" as being good enough. The majority of people respond to the direction of whatever leadership is in place, whether it's formal or informal. If the leader inspires those working together to strive for their best, then all but that "it's good enough" minority will strive for excellence. If the leader does not inspire, then all but the minority who only know how to strive for their best will settle. I've observed this when leading volunteers in preparing meals for a men's homeless shelter at my previous congregation back in Pittsburgh. I see it in my regular job working at different retail stores as a third-party vendor. When the music director at a congregation has the choir keep working on a piece of music until everyone gets it right, the "good enough" people tend to drop out, while everyone else buckles down and works hard to achieve excellence.

It also occurs to me that the desire to use one's gifts to the best degree possible is also a gift from God. So is the talent for exercising leadership to motivate others to strive for excellence.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on June 09, 2019, 03:19:25 PM
this statement was just kinda left out there untested:

" But I suspect God is especially pleased when we make an effort to do our best. I cannot support that opinion through passages of Scripture, yet I still believe God appreciates it when we try our best, so always try to do my best."

If we could/can do anything it is but what is required.   There is nothing that we do that is best, pleasing apart from grace in Christ.  Even perfection, tho never achievable while living in this time, would only be the way we were created to be.  And as far as God appreciating...  where can you get God being grateful or indebted to us?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: George Erdner on June 09, 2019, 04:51:29 PM
this statement was just kinda left out there untested:

" But I suspect God is especially pleased when we make an effort to do our best. I cannot support that opinion through passages of Scripture, yet I still believe God appreciates it when we try our best, so always try to do my best."

If we could/can do anything it is but what is required.   There is nothing that we do that is best, pleasing apart from grace in Christ.  Even perfection, tho never achievable while living in this time, would only be the way we were created to be.  And as far as God appreciating...  where can you get God being grateful or indebted to us?

"Best" is a relative term, not an absolute. Nothing that we do can ever be perfect. The best I can do will never be perfect, but the best I can do is better than making a half-assed effort to just get by. I can mow the lawn and do an OK job, even if I might miss a spot, and not get all the edges right. Or, I can mow carefully and not miss any spots, and carefully clip the edges so that it's the best I can do. I don't claim I can do it perfectly. But I surely can make an effort to make the finished job the best I can make it.

I can type a post here in Your Turn, and if I make a typo I can ignore it because folks will still understand the gist of what I'm writing. Or, I can proofread to make sure I've caught as many mistakes as possible before I hit "Post".

Are you telling me that God doesn't care that I try?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on June 09, 2019, 04:54:38 PM
trying to tell God you are trying yields nothing...
God gives all...
God cares for us  and that has nothing to do with our attempts at trying. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: George Erdner on June 09, 2019, 05:01:17 PM
trying to tell God you are trying yields nothing...
God gives all...
God cares for us  and that has nothing to do with our attempts at trying.

I'm not talking about telling God one is trying. I'm just talking about trying. I do not expect God's specific or extra help if I'm trying to do my best. I know that if I feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and otherwise do good things, that won't earn me salvation. Salvation comes only through Grace. But surely God is pleased when we do those things. And, if we make the best effort to do those things to the best of our ability, would that not please Him?

Even if it doesn't please God, I'm still going to try to do my best. If I'm wrong, and it doesn't please God, so what? Virtue is its own reward, and making the effort to do your best is a virtue.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dave Likeness on June 09, 2019, 05:36:31 PM
Here are two helpful Scripture texts for this discussion:

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might."  (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."  (Colossians 3:23)

In plain English, you are to do your best and give it all you got in all of life's endeavors because you are a servant
of the Lord.   
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 09, 2019, 06:25:27 PM
Here are two helpful Scripture texts for this discussion:

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might."  (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."  (Colossians 3:23)

In plain English, you are to do your best and give it all you got in all of life's endeavors because you are a servant
of the Lord.   


I would add another direction. What we do, especially in connection to worship services, is a witness to other people about our faith in God. While we are always imperfect people, we should desire that our witness to the God who so loves us to die for us, should be the best that we can offer to the world.


I'll add that I spent a year traveling on gospel teams. We were intentionally witnessing to God in our presentations. We would sometimes say that we rehearsed and practices as if all the success depended on us; but we prayed and perform recognize that any success came from God. We would make mistakes; and God could use them as well as using a song that we did flawlessly.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 19, 2020, 09:59:14 PM
Bump for Western Ascension, A.D. 2020--the year of the Coronavirus.

In the Orthodox Church we will (in our hierarchically and gubernatorialy restricted settings) celebrate the Feast of Saints Constantine and Helen, Equal to the Apostles on Thursday May 21. *

The conversion of Constantine came through his gazing into the heavens and beholding the ensign of victory over the Milan bridge.

In that sense, there will be a "bridging" of East and West.

The "Doxa" of the Orthros Praises:

Quote
The King of kings and God,
who adorns the worthy with abundant gifts,
caught you in His net, through the sign of the Cross,
like He did to Paul the glorious, O Constantine.

He said to you, "In this sign conquer your enemies."

Thus having sought Him, as did your godly-minded mother,
and having found Him for whom you longed,
you utterly defeated them.

In company with your mother,
earnestly pray for Orthodox rulers,
and the Christ-loving armed forces,
and all of us who loyally observe your memory,
entreating Him who alone loves humanity,
to deliver us from all wrath.

This ancient hymn has acquired a whole new layer of meaning in this age of Coronavirus.

*Pascha being one week later than Western Easter this year means the Great Feast of the Ascension will be celebrated in the Holy Orthodox Church on May 28.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 20, 2020, 09:37:54 AM
The Feast of the Ascension, in Lutheran circles, is unfortunately not widely celebrated, as it probably once was.  Although, in a small way I have noticed that it had an impact on our forefathers based on traditional altar art and statuary.  Even though my church has not yet opened for 'in-person' worship (our first service scheduled for May 31), I will have a live streamed Ascension Day service of the Word tomorrow night.  I have noted in my circuit over the years that I seem to be the last one still holding on to this honored festival.  Admittedly, it does not have the 'pull' of the more well known festival times.  However, it is still a high point of the Easter season and should not be overlooked, especially this year.  For having observed the passion and suffering of our Lord, then His glorious resurrection, now we see Him assume his rightful place at the right hand of the Father where He intercedes for us.  Victory, not defeat. 

Ascensiontide is part of an 'enthronement festival' where the coronation of Christ is celebrated, and by extension, for those 'in Christ,' the enthronement of God's people as well.  John Chrysostom declared that "our very nature...is enthroned today high above all cherubim." The Collect of the Day reflects this when we pray: "so we may also in heart and mind ascend and continually dwell there with Him..."

These themes are brought out in such hymns as "Up Through the Ranks of Angels by Jaroslav Vajda  (LSB #491) or "On Christ's Ascension I Now Build" (LSB #492) or "A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing" (LSB #493) or "See, the Lord Ascends in Triumph" (LSB #494) or "Look, Ye Saints, the Sight is Glorious" (LSB #495). With the Ascension we anticipate our Lord's return in glory and the final resurrection where death is swallowed up forever.  We celebrate the sign of His conquering and triumph over sin and death and Satan. What an appropriate festival for this time of crisis so full of sickness and death!  Instead of looking only to our present suffering, we are called to look heavenward in faithful anticipation of what we know is yet to come. We look to the heavens not in sadness, but in joy: "This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

As a festival of the church it was celebrated on the fortieth day after Easter already by the fourth century.  St. Augustine claimed that it was at his time celebrated "all over the world."
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 20, 2020, 10:28:07 AM
I note that the TLH hymnal had 12 hymns in the "Ascension" section; LW had 6; LSB has 5.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 20, 2020, 10:29:31 AM
I note that the TLH hymnal had 12 hymns in the "Ascension" section; LW had 6; LSB has 5.

I wonder if that, in part, notes less attention to this day?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 20, 2020, 11:15:58 AM
I note that the TLH hymnal had 12 hymns in the "Ascension" section; LW had 6; LSB has 5.

I wonder if that, in part, notes less attention to this day?

I would think so.  Midweek services are becoming less common -- in our little community, I am not sure how many have midweek Advent or Lent services any more; Thanksgiving services, if they are is held at all, are on Wednesday night; a number of the churches have dropped Maundy Thursday services.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Birkholz on May 20, 2020, 12:24:24 PM
We've celebrated a festival Divine Service at Faith, Oak Lawn for the past few years.  Most of the pastors in the circuit attend, along with a few other guests and visitors from area congregations.  I typically invite a guest pastor to preach.

This year our District President, the Rev. Allan Buss, was scheduled to preach.  We haven't opened back up yet, but he still wanted to come and preach for the online service.  The service can be viewed live on our church Facebook page at 7:00p Central.  Otherwise you can also watch the service later, and I'll post the sermon separately as well. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: James J Eivan on May 20, 2020, 03:19:57 PM
Saint Athanasius Lutheran, Vienna (https://www.saint-athanasius.org) observes Ascension Eve in accordance with sanctuary availability at 7:30 Wednesday May 20.  On demand viewers can view on their YouTube (https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCcEEkvEhMK9uYqMkC1bZd-g) channel as well. Cross posted to Online Worship Resources (http://alpb.org/Forum/index.php?topic=7406.msg478068#msg478068) as well.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 20, 2020, 04:34:07 PM
I note that the TLH hymnal had 12 hymns in the "Ascension" section; LW had 6; LSB has 5.

I wonder if that, in part, notes less attention to this day?


I would check to see of some of those hymns were relocated under other sections. ELW doesn't have an "Ascension" section, but in its "Topical Index of Hymns," there are 12 listed under "Ascension." Most are in the "Easter" sections, others are spread around the hymnal, e.g., "Lord Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor" is in the "Holy Communion" section.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 20, 2020, 04:55:34 PM
How many hymns does one sing at an Ascension Day Service? Do we need 12 hymns for the occasion in the hymnal to provide for an Ascension service?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: James J Eivan on May 20, 2020, 05:05:31 PM
How many hymns does one sing at an Ascension Day Service? Do we need 12 hymns for the occasion in the hymnal to provide for an Ascension service?
Sing 4 or 5 on Thursday evening... another 5 or 6 on the Sunday after for those unable to attend Thursday  ... don't drop my favorites from the hymnal  ... I won't drop your favorites either ... all of a sudden you have 12 hymns.

Of course this assumes the 'old' normal. ;) 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Charles Austin on May 20, 2020, 05:42:39 PM
Pastor Fienen:
How many hymns does one sing at an Ascension Day Service? Do we need 12 hymns for the occasion in the hymnal to provide for an Ascension service?
Me:
Yes, because you don’t only  sing  ascension day hymns on ascension day. That way you don’t only sing Pentecost hymns on Pentecost, or Advent teams in Advent, or Christmas hymns at Christmas time.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Eileen Smith on May 20, 2020, 05:56:57 PM
The Feast of the Ascension, in Lutheran circles, is unfortunately not widely celebrated, as it probably once was.  Although, in a small way I have noticed that it had an impact on our forefathers based on traditional altar art and statuary.  Even though my church has not yet opened for 'in-person' worship (our first service scheduled for May 31), I will have a live streamed Ascension Day service of the Word tomorrow night.  I have noted in my circuit over the years that I seem to be the last one still holding on to this honored festival.  Admittedly, it does not have the 'pull' of the more well known festival times.  However, it is still a high point of the Easter season and should not be overlooked, especially this year.  For having observed the passion and suffering of our Lord, then His glorious resurrection, now we see Him assume his rightful place at the right hand of the Father where He intercedes for us.  Victory, not defeat. 

Ascensiontide is part of an 'enthronement festival' where the coronation of Christ is celebrated, and by extension, for those 'in Christ,' the enthronement of God's people as well.  John Chrysostom declared that "our very nature...is enthroned today high above all cherubim." The Collect of the Day reflects this when we pray: "so we may also in heart and mind ascend and continually dwell there with Him..."

These themes are brought out in such hymns as "Up Through the Ranks of Angels by Jaroslav Vajda  (LSB #491) or "On Christ's Ascension I Now Build" (LSB #492) or "A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing" (LSB #493) or "See, the Lord Ascends in Triumph" (LSB #494) or "Look, Ye Saints, the Sight is Glorious" (LSB #495). With the Ascension we anticipate our Lord's return in glory and the final resurrection where death is swallowed up forever.  We celebrate the sign of His conquering and triumph over sin and death and Satan. What an appropriate festival for this time of crisis so full of sickness and death!  Instead of looking only to our present suffering, we are called to look heavenward in faithful anticipation of what we know is yet to come. We look to the heavens not in sadness, but in joy: "This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

As a festival of the church it was celebrated on the fortieth day after Easter already by the fourth century.  St. Augustine claimed that it was at his time celebrated "all over the world."

To our list of hymns I'll add "Hail Thee Festival Day" v 2 with 1 sung at Easter and 3 on Pentecost. 

I'd be interested to know why we have effectively lost the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord.  Is it that services are held on a Thursday?  Something else?   Some congregations I know have joint services but I don't know of any churches around here other than Roman Catholic that commemorate this feast.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Weedon on May 20, 2020, 06:04:20 PM
Our parish has always observed it. I have no idea why it has fallen so in popularity. Many years ago a godly old layman from a neighboring parish joined us for worship that night. His congregation didn’t keep the feast. He shook his head on the way out. “I don’t understand it. This feast is so important. It’s where we still LIVE.” He was right. We still are “in Ascensiontide and the time of the session at the right hand.” This is the great feast of Christ’s Kingship (as opposed to that 20th century that pops up toward the end of the church year). And it was in the spirit of the Ascension that the feisty witnesses to St. Polycarp’s death could defiantly proclaim: “Now, the blessed Polycarp suffered martyrdom on the second day of the month Xanthicus just begun, the seventh day before the Kalends of May, on the great Sabbath, at the eighth hour. He was taken by Herod, Philip the Trallian being high priest, Statius Quadratus being proconsul, but Jesus Christ was the ruling Monarch, to whom be glory, honour, majesty, and an everlasting throne, from generation to generation. Amen.” A feast to remember who’s sitting upon the throne, having ascended to heaven, is a vital feast for the people of God. Let us work toward its joyous recovery!
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 20, 2020, 08:35:47 PM
Pastor Fienen:
How many hymns does one sing at an Ascension Day Service? Do we need 12 hymns for the occasion in the hymnal to provide for an Ascension service?
Me:
Yes, because you don’t only  sing  ascension day hymns on ascension day. That way you don’t only sing Pentecost hymns on Pentecost, or Advent teams in Advent, or Christmas hymns at Christmas time.

Additionally, not every congregation is familiar with all the hymns.  My point was that the selections made in each hymnal's preparation gives a clue as to how "valuable" a particular feast or season is for that generation which put together the hymnal. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 20, 2020, 09:50:43 PM

I'd be interested to know why we have effectively lost the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord.  Is it that services are held on a Thursday?  Something else?   Some congregations I know have joint services but I don't know of any churches around here other than Roman Catholic that commemorate this feast.

I'll be leading worship (on line) for Ascension Day tomorrow, but only because we have a regular Thursday morning service. And I'm doing it because the diocesan "clergy conference" is tomorrow--which says something about expectations of Episcopal parishes in this diocese regarding Ascension Day.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 20, 2020, 10:24:19 PM
Here is our circuit’s service, featuring several pastors and sanctuaries in lieu of one sanctuary with the circuit and pastors all together. Thanks to Pastor Patrick Gumz of Trinity- Hammond for putting it together, using new equipment acquired via a special Lilly grant for churches to provide live-steam during COVId.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kYl-BhOUJZ0&feature=youtu.be
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 20, 2020, 10:24:57 PM
I'd be interested to know why we have effectively lost the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord.  Is it that services are held on a Thursday?  Something else?   Some congregations I know have joint services but I don't know of any churches around here other than Roman Catholic that commemorate this feast.

The Orthodox do, in fact, the Ascension is one of the twelve Great Feasts.

The West is one week ahead of us (or we are one week behind, take your pick) for the Paschal cycle this year.

But next Wednesday we will serve the Apodosis ("Leavetaking") of Pascha by repeating the entire Paschal Orthros and Divine Liturgy as had been served 39 days before; then assembling again on Thursday for the Great Feast of the Ascension.

We will not have an alignment of Orthodox Pascha and Western Easter until 2025.

But as for tomorrow, I will be chanting the Orthros and Divine Liturgy for the Feast of Sts. Constantine and Helen, Equals to the Apostles at 8:30 EDT.

Live stream here:

https://video.ibm.com/channel/v8GYFuyKMqZ
 (https://video.ibm.com/channel/v8GYFuyKMqZ)

Same time for our services next Wednesday and Thursday.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 21, 2020, 05:10:37 AM
We will, as usual, have two services today. However, one will be on the parking lot and one in the building. Normally, we have a pitch-in supper, activities for children, and a ceremony during which the young men remove the Lenten yard cross. But, due to Covid, we will not have anything beyond the services.

Blessed Ascension Day to you all.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 21, 2020, 07:54:48 PM
I had read the Epistle for the Feast of Saints Constantine and Helen, Equals to the Apostles in previous years, but conscious that today was Western Ascension Day I saw it through different eyes, and was struck by how portions of Paul's defense before King Agrippa parallels (and augments) the farewell words of Christ in Luke 24 and Acts 1.

Quote
Acts 26:1, 12-20

In those days, King Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak for yourself." Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense: "I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining round me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It hurts you to kick against the goads.' And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles - to whom I send you to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' Wherefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and perform deeds worthy of their repentance."
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: James J Eivan on May 21, 2020, 08:12:15 PM
We will, as usual, have two services today. However, one will be on the parking lot and one in the building. Normally, we have a pitch-in supper, activities for children, and a ceremony during which the young men remove the Lenten yard cross. But, due to Covid, we will not have anything beyond the services.

Blessed Ascension Day to you all.
”Pitch in support” ... for the terminology challenged ... is that a regional term for a pot luck supper ... if not, how does a pitch-in supper differ from a pot luck supper?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 12, 2021, 10:32:04 PM
My Orthodox assimilation had progressed to the point that I had nearly forgotten that this is the sixth week of Western Easter until hearing a radio commercial for the predominantly Amish "Markets at Shrewsbury"  (https://www.marketsatshrewsbury.com/vendors/)which reminded listeners that "The Markets will be closed on May 13 for Ascension Day".

What Stephen Miller had told me a quarter century ago still holds true:  Ascension is a very holy day for the Amish.  A true sabbath.

On my side of the Bosporus Ascension--like all Feasts and Fasts connected to Pascha--will be four weeks from now on June 10. 
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 12, 2021, 10:41:02 PM
My Orthodox assimilation had progressed to the point that I had nearly forgotten that this is the sixth week of Western Easter until hearing a radio commercial for the predominantly Amish "Markets at Shrewsbury" which reminded listeners that "The Markets will be closed on May 13 for Ascension Day".

What Stephen Miller had told me a quarter century ago still holds true:  Ascension is a very holy day for the Amish.  A true sabbath.

On my side of the Bosporus Ascension--like all Feasts and Fasts connected to Pascha--will be four weeks from now on June 10.
That surprises me about the Amish and the liturgical calendar. I don't know why, I just assumed the church year would not be a big deal to them.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 12, 2021, 10:53:49 PM
My Orthodox assimilation had progressed to the point that I had nearly forgotten that this is the sixth week of Western Easter until hearing a radio commercial for the predominantly Amish "Markets at Shrewsbury" (https://www.marketsatshrewsbury.com/vendors/) which reminded listeners that "The Markets will be closed on May 13 for Ascension Day".

What Stephen Miller had told me a quarter century ago still holds true:  Ascension is a very holy day for the Amish.  A true sabbath.

On my side of the Bosporus Ascension--like all Feasts and Fasts connected to Pascha--will be four weeks from now on June 10.
That surprises me about the Amish and the liturgical calendar. I don't know why, I just assumed the church year would not be a big deal to them.

Easter and Ascension are their primary holy days.  "Old Michaelmass Day" (October 11) is also important as it is the Fast day before the Fall Communion.

Communion is twice a year:  Easter and the Sunday after Old Michaelmass.  (Could that have been one of the inspirations for the nearly forgotten "Worldwide Communion Sunday in October?) 

It is very curious to me how the Amish follow the Julian calendar for Michaelmass but the Gregorian/Western Pascha calendar for Ascension.  Of course Orthodoxy is split between Old and New Calendarists.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 13, 2021, 10:15:09 AM
What Stephen Miller had told me a quarter century ago still holds true:  Ascension is a very holy day for the Amish.  A true sabbath.

Now this is interesting.  I had no idea.  Considering how many churches that observe a liturgical calendar seem to overlook the Ascension, I am surprised that a 'low church' such as the Amish would observe it.

That said, contrary to how we will celebrate it at my church this evening, with a Divine Service of Holy Communion, the Amish appear simply to observe it as a kind of day of rest and family.  As one Amish man noted: "Most businesses close for the day…A few businesses might stay open, but I don’t know of many that do. Mainly it’s a day of rest for us. We think about the meaning of the day. We spend time with the family. Some districts might have church."

I wonder what they think of when they "think about the meaning of the day"?  For those of the Reformed faith the Ascension marks the essential removal of Jesus physical presence from the earth.  The NIV, a translation with much reformed influence, renders Peter's words regarding the Ascension in Acts 3:21 as "He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything" (instead of the Greek which reads: "whom heaven must receive").  'Real presence' churches that celebrate the Sacrament of our Lord's Supper celebrate his hidden, yet recognized presence in this event.  We celebrate His glorification at the right hand of the Father, but also celebrate how that same glorified Christ remains among us in a real and tangible way.  Do the Amish think about the glorification only?  What does it mean to them?  Why is it a 'holy day'?
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 13, 2021, 12:47:45 PM
What Stephen Miller had told me a quarter century ago still holds true:  Ascension is a very holy day for the Amish.  A true sabbath.

Now this is interesting.  I had no idea.  Considering how many churches that observe a liturgical calendar seem to overlook the Ascension, I am surprised that a 'low church' such as the Amish would observe it.

That said, contrary to how we will celebrate it at my church this evening, with a Divine Service of Holy Communion, the Amish appear simply to observe it as a kind of day of rest and family.  As one Amish man noted: "Most businesses close for the day…A few businesses might stay open, but I don’t know of many that do. Mainly it’s a day of rest for us. We think about the meaning of the day. We spend time with the family. Some districts might have church."

I wonder what they think of when they "think about the meaning of the day"?  For those of the Reformed faith the Ascension marks the essential removal of Jesus physical presence from the earth.  The NIV, a translation with much reformed influence, renders Peter's words regarding the Ascension in Acts 3:21 as "He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything" (instead of the Greek which reads: "whom heaven must receive").  'Real presence' churches that celebrate the Sacrament of our Lord's Supper celebrate his hidden, yet recognized presence in this event.  We celebrate His glorification at the right hand of the Father, but also celebrate how that same glorified Christ remains among us in a real and tangible way.  Do the Amish think about the glorification only?  What does it mean to them?  Why is it a 'holy day'?


The NIV2011 has "Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets."

One issue with the NIV is that there have been four versions of it.
Version 1 published in 1978.
Version 2 published in 1984.
Version 3 published in 2005 and called Today's New International Version (TNIV) that was more gender inclusive.
Version 4 published in 2011, based on TNIV, but called NIV and was less gender inclusive than TNIV.


The CEB, also published in 2011 has: "Jesus must remain in heaven until the restoration of all things, about which God spoke long ago through his holy prophets."


The NRSV has: "who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets."


δέχομαι has as its basic meaning, "to receive (something)." Generally, it refers to receiving something that has been offered, although, occasionally, the receiving can venture into the idea of "taking (by force)." It is often used of "receiving guests," i.e., "to welcome." Of the 54 occurrences of this word in the NT, the NRSV translates it "welcome" 54 times.


While I wouldn't use "remain" to translate Acts 3:21, the only place the NRSV translates it that way, it does convey the sense that "heaven must welcomed him until the time of the restoration of all things." The welcome implies being able to stay until that future event.
Title: Re: Keeping Holy-day at Ascensiontide
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 13, 2021, 01:04:25 PM
What Stephen Miller had told me a quarter century ago still holds true:  Ascension is a very holy day for the Amish.  A true sabbath.

Now this is interesting.  I had no idea.  Considering how many churches that observe a liturgical calendar seem to overlook the Ascension, I am surprised that a 'low church' such as the Amish would observe it.

That said, contrary to how we will celebrate it at my church this evening, with a Divine Service of Holy Communion, the Amish appear simply to observe it as a kind of day of rest and family.  As one Amish man noted: "Most businesses close for the day…A few businesses might stay open, but I don’t know of many that do. Mainly it’s a day of rest for us. We think about the meaning of the day. We spend time with the family. Some districts might have church."

I wonder what they think of when they "think about the meaning of the day"?  For those of the Reformed faith the Ascension marks the essential removal of Jesus physical presence from the earth.  The NIV, a translation with much reformed influence, renders Peter's words regarding the Ascension in Acts 3:21 as "He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything" (instead of the Greek which reads: "whom heaven must receive").  'Real presence' churches that celebrate the Sacrament of our Lord's Supper celebrate his hidden, yet recognized presence in this event.  We celebrate His glorification at the right hand of the Father, but also celebrate how that same glorified Christ remains among us in a real and tangible way.  Do the Amish think about the glorification only?  What does it mean to them?  Why is it a 'holy day'?


The NIV2011 has "Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets."


One issue with the NIV is that there have been four versions of it.
Version 1 published in 1978.
Version 2 published in 1984.
Version 3 published in 2005 and called Today's New International Version (TNIV) that was more gender inclusive.
Version 4 published in 2011, based on TNIV, but called NIV and was less gender inclusive than TNIV.

The version our church used for a number of years, both as a pew Bible and for Bible classes, was the one published in 1984, and it is the one to which I refer above. 

After these were removed we purchased the ESV.