I hope to see many of my congregants at church tomorrow night celebrating Ascension Day (for me, the day that I first sensed the “inner calling” to pursue the Holy Ministry, sitting in Church in Plant City, FL on A Cappella Tour no less). Here is a sneak preview of my sermon:
Attempts to reach the heavens go all the way back to Babel and the tower built by the descendants of Noah. All religion, in some way, is an attempt to reach up to God, to built our towers to heaven. Christianity is radically different in the sense that as a religion it is about God coming to us first, and taking us back with Him into heaven. It is about a God who frustrates every attempt of man to make his own way to God, or to build his own towers.
Because such towers, such attempts, always result in pride or are fueled by it. The people who built the tower of Babel, had they been able to achieve their goal, would have doubtlessly congratulated themselves, and patted themselves on the back for their great accomplishment. God knew this. He knew that if they accomplished this feat, they would think they could do anything. “Nothing will be impossible for man.”
So he comes down and scatters them. It’s not that He does not want to be close to man, to have fellowship with him. But He refuses to be a reward for man’s efforts. If He is to be close to man and man is to be close to God, then it will be on God’s terms, not man’s. And it will be the result of His efforts, His striving, His sacrifice—not man’s.