Transfiguration of matter

Daily Reading for June 2 • Ascension Day

So that he might fill the universe the Christ was emptied to the last drop of self. But in his ascended glory he remains man. Dare we believe that? If incarnation did something to God, ascension did something to matter. This was the culmination of the stupendous process we call creation. The God who went to such infinite pains in the making and development of electronic systems, molecules, and chemicals, metal, rocks and living cells, structured forms and responsive nerves, did not at the final stage abandon matter; he liberated it.

The ascension of Christ promises the transfiguration of matter, its divinization, as the Orthodox Churches have never ceased to teach. The physical will glow with God like metal enveloped and permeated by fire. ‘The universe itself is to be freed from the shackles of mortality and enter upon the liberty and splendour of the children of God’ (Romans 8.21). That is the end to which we aspire. And the way is the way of descent, the way of the death of self, again and again, the way of the broken bread shared with all, of the scarred hands that hold the world.

From “There is a Man in Heaven” in The Incarnate God by John V. Taylor. Copyright © 2003. A Continuum book used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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