Ascension

Large representations of Christ’s Ascension dominate the ceilings of the churches in Bindlach (picture), Neudrossenfeld, Wunsiedel, and now once again in the Palace Church in Bayreuth. In Wonsees the Ascension forms the final section of the altarpiece. Jesus vanishes into Heaven before the eyes of His disciples. Two angels are also often present: one of them points up to where Jesus is entering His Father’s glory, and the other points down to the earth and seems to say – as  expressed in a hymn: ‘Do not look up, the Lord is here with us.’ That is the mystery of the Ascension: Jesus Christ is no longer visible to His disciples, but He is now close to all mankind. As the Risen Christ says at His last appearance in Matthew’s Gospel : ‘And surely I am with you always till the end of the age’ (Missionary or baptism commandment respectively). This promise is found in many margrave churches.

In the creed it says: ‘…ascended into Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty ‘.

In the Church of the Order, Bayreuth, Father and Son are seen in their heavenly glory. Elsewhere the Holy Trinity is portrayed, surrounded by angels and the halo of rays of light, and Christ holds either a cross or the globe surmounted by a cross. Through His death He has redeemed the world and reigns with the Father – as written in Psalm 110, the verse from the Old Testament most often quoted in the New Testament: ‘ The Lord says to my lord,”Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.” ‘ Hope is focussed on the fact that those forces which harm life will be conquered.

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