DEVELOPING AN ASCENSION MINDSET REFLECTION FOR THE FEAST OF ASCENSION Rev. Fr. Bonnie Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

Ascension Day 2021 | Planet EU

To ascend means to rise, go upward, or fly. It is always a beautiful thing to ascend. However, there are many interesting stories about sudden and funny reactions of people flying in an airplane, using an elevator or escalator for the first time. While many people enjoy flying, others dread the idea of being airlifted because of the fear of height, also known as acrophobia.

The Reality of the Ascension

The narrative of the ascension tells us that Jesus mounted to heaven after giving some valedictory instructions to the disciples. This was an extraordinary real-time event and not a figment of imagination.

Our Lord made it clear that he would ascend to heaven before it even happened. In John (16:28), Jesus said, “I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” On the resurrection day, he said to the zealous Mary Magdalene, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father” (John 20:17a). 

One of the important places any pilgrim to Jerusalem would love to see is the spot of the ascension located at Mount Olives. One could see there the chapel of ascension that houses the enclosure with the largely affirmed footprint of Jesus Christ before his ascension into heaven.

The footprint of Jesus at the site of the ascension is incredibly significant. Here, we understand that though our Lord is ascended to heaven, he is still here very much around. Remember he says, “I will be with you till the end of time. (Matt. 28:20).

Ascension as an important bridge

The primary function of a bridge is to connect two separate or parallel locations; hence a bridge serves as a meeting point. The ascension is the bridge that reconnected heaven and earth. Heaven was shut after the sin of Adam and Eve, and the ascension reopened the gateway to heaven. The Gospel of John (3:13) says: “No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.”

The Fulfilment of the Promise of the Lord

On the strength of the ascension, the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit became a reality. Recall that Jesus said, “it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocatewill not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7). So, the ascension is a precondition for the Pentecost event, which fulfilled the Lord’s promise.

Developing an Ascension Mindset

Every action in life is a product of a mindset. The ascension mindset entails thinking in the upward direction in terms of success, achievement, and excellence. Your mindset determines the miles you cover in life.

From our reflection thus far, we understand that our Lord Jesus Christ had the ascension mindset even before it happened. In fact, he commanded it into existence. For instance, he says, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (John 20:17b)

Your mindset has a lot to do with how you succeed or fail in life. St. Paul challenged the Colossians that as resurrected people, they should set their minds on the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. (Col.3:1). To the Romans, he says, “be transformed by the renewal of your minds to do what is the will of God; what is good, acceptable, and perfect.

Moving Forward!

As members of the body of Christ, we are all beneficiaries of the Lord’s ascension. We cannot have an ascended Lord while living a descended life. Therefore, as partakers of the ascension menu, we are invited to ascend from failure to favor, from setbacks to success. We need to rise from shame to fame and from fear to faith. This is the day and hour. You only need to set your mind to it with total dependence on God, and you shall succeed.

By the way, we must pray for the birthplace of our ascended Lord and the regions around Israel this time that God may grant lasting peace to those areas beset by constant violence and the destruction of lives and properties.

God bless you and remain ascendable.

Fr. Bonnie.

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