O SON OF GOD AND SON OF MAN,
You were incarnate, suffered, rose, and ascended for my sake;
Your departure was not a token separation
but a pledge of return.
Your Word, promises, and sacraments proclaim your death
until you come again.
That day is no horror for me,
for your death has redeemed me,
your Spirit fills me,
your love animates me,
your Word governs me.
I have trusted you and you have not betrayed my trust;
I have waited for you, and have not waited in vain.
You will come to raise my body from the dust,
and re-unite it to my soul,
by a wonderful work of infinite power and love,
greater than that which bounds the ocean’s waters,
ebbs and flows of the tides,
keeps the stars in their courses,
and gives life to all creatures.
This corruptible shall put on incorruption,
this mortal, immortality,
this natural body, a spiritual body,
this dishonored body, a glorious body,
this weak body, a body of power.
I triumph now in your promises,
as I shall when they are performed,
for the head cannot live if the members are dead;
Beyond the grave is resurrection, judgment, acquittal, dominion.
Every event and circumstance of my life will be dealt with –
the sins of my youth, my secret sins,
the sins of abusing you, of disobeying your Word,
the sins of neglecting minister’s admonitions,
the sins of violating my conscience –
all will be judged;
And after judgment, peace and rest, life and service,
employment and enjoyment, for your elect.
O God, keep me in this faith, and ever looking for Christ’s return.
The Valley of Vision A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, slightly modified
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many,
will appear a second time, not to deal with sin
but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Lord, why should I doubt any more,
when you have given me such assured pledges of your love?
First, you are my Creator, I am your creature,
you are my Master, I your servant.
But hence arises not my comfort: you are my Father, I am your child.
“You shall be my sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty.
Christ is my brother:
“I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God,
but, lest this should not be enough,
your maker is your husband.”
Nay, more, I am a member of his body, he my head.
Such privileges – had not the Word of truth made them known,
who or where is the man that dared
in his heart have presumed to have thought it!
So wonderful are these thoughts
that my spirit fails in me that their consideration,
and I am confounded to think that God,
who has done so much for me,
should have so little from me.
But this is my comfort, that when I come to heaven,
I shall understand perfectly what he has done for me,
and that I shall be able to praise him as I ought.
Lord, having this hope, let me purify myself as you are pure,
and let me be no more afraid of death,
but even desire to be dissolved and be with you,
which is best of all.
Anne Bradstreet, c. 1612-1672, New England poet and Puritan
For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,
even as I have been fully known.
To complete your seamless robe,
and so to complete our faith,
you ascended through the air into the heavens,
before the very eyes of the apostles.
In this way you showed that you are Lord of all,
and are the fulfillment of all creation.
Thus from that moment every human and every living creature
should bow at your name.
And, in the eyes of faith,
we can see that all creation proclaims your greatness.
Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153, French abbot and Cistercian mystic
After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”