Christ Ascends into Heaven to put our Feet on the Ground
In John 17, Jesus prays for the Church: I am no longer in the world but these are in the world. He is preparing us for His "Lifting Up" of the Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension with the goal that we will be the continuation on earth of Himself. Christ Ascends into Heaven to put our feet on the ground.
[Note: the Ascenscion--where Jesus comes and goes freely and ascends into the clouds--illustrates the fundamental "Permeability of the cosmos." We do not live in a closed system (Scientism, Naturalism, Materialism) our problems cannot be solved by mere politics (Utilitarianism, Idealism, Socialism, Fundamentalism) with a gulf between the Natural and Supernatural. Heaven and Earth are infused with the Glory of God.]
Jesus makes two petitions:
1. Keep them through Thy Name. We survive this world by remembering we are first and foremost identified with the Family Name--baptized into the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This cuts across our the ultimate claim of citizenship, family, race, gender, or orientation to one ultimate Identity--the Family of God. Application: our distinctions (race, gender, etc.) become spiritual gifts rather than essentials of our identity. This imitates the "Sacred Dance" of the Trinity: One in Essence and many in Economy.
2. Sanctify them through Thy Word. Here Jesus speaks of Himself the Living Word who sets us apart by consecrating Himself and Sends us as He has been sent: We become his feet--sent as a royal priesthood to be Prophets Priests and Kings.
As Prophets we speak God's Word to Man:Loving our Neighbors as ourselves. This Prophetic task is both Conservative and Liberal: we conservatively nurture Community (especially the Church and Family) to the cultivation of Virtue (God's Chararcter) and we liberally imitate the Mercy of God towards those in need.
As Kings we order the creation (all we are responsible for) to God's Kingdom: Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness. This Kingly Task is both of Wisdom and Witness. Wisdom orders all things in right relation and this becomes our Witness--as our lives are conformed to the Word of God.
As Priests we praise the one inherently Worthy: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. The Priestly Task is centered on the Weekly Eucharist where we are united with the Body, participating in the Love of God poured out in Bread and Wine. Loving God in Worship, we learn to love our Neighbor in Community and Mercy and seek first His Kingdom in Wisdom and Witness. Weekly Eucharist is the heartbeat of the 3-fold life of Prayer that also includes the Daily Office (Hours of Prayer) and Personal Devotion.