Union with the King of glory

Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory!

And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Psalm 24:7-10, Ephesians 1:22-23

God keeps us in His holiness (John 17:15) as we remain in obedient subjection to Him (Romans 6:22). We must remain in union with Christ (John 15:4-5, 17:9). But true union with Christ is hardly understood or walked out today. The abysmal rift or chasm between head and heart, acting and being, masculine and feminine, leads many to think that a more or less spiritualized perfectionism is what union with Christ means… Only in union with Him, listening to Him and carrying out His orders, are we holy. Any substitute for this leaves us without the knowledge of ourselves as prideful sinner and well as saint.

We are all grievously tarred with the same brush. We all have that within us that wants to remain separate, to be holy by keeping the law perfectly. In effect we want to be God. We want to carry Christ’s banner — but in this age of individualism we only want to carry it if it has our name and imprint on it. We want to be in control; we want to bring others to their knees in admiration and submission. This pride is in every human heart. We tip over into evil the moment we forget to confess the tyrant within and acknowledge that our holiness is at every moment Another’s: it is incarnational. [1]

Observing Christ’s ascension helps us joyfully subject our hearts to His reign. Pride is quieted as we kneel in awe at this finale of His self-giving. His exaltation secures us so completely that we need none of our own. Contemplating Him as enthroned Lord and adoring Him as King of glory makes our hearts true. We needn’t – and indeed can’t – climb one single rung toward heaven on our own. He is our link, and by union with Him we can hope to be faithful subjects. We become His fullness by obeying Him, by living His mission and following HIs commands. Our confidence comes not from checking our own inventory, but because He is strong and mighty. Another lives in me, another lives in you, and He is the King of glory! 

Our Father, we thank and praise You for giving Your Son, and for seating Him at Your right hand, in glory. We confess that all creation belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, who reigns far above every claim of name or power. Holy God, forgive the prideful movements of our hearts — the wish to make a name for ourselves, to wield our own power. Give us grace to join our voices with the hosts of heaven who worship at your throne. 

[1] Leanne Payne, Listening Prayer (Grand Rapids, Hamewith Books, 1994), 231.

Painting:  Rembrandt, 1636, The Ascension, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Meditation prepared by Sarah Colyn, drawing on the writings and ministry of Leanne Payne.