Heaven Brought Near

May 25th, 2006
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Thanks to my friend, Pr. William Weedon, for posting this and reminding me again how wonderful a writer O.P. Kretzman was. Here is OP’s Ascension Day reflection.

Now He was going home… In seven words the
years of labor and sorrow end: "While they beheld, He was taken up."…
There were no bells and banners on earth, but surely all the trumpets
on the other side sounded as they never sounded before… Surely the
chiming golden bells of heaven sang their welcome, and angel choirs
intoned the song of the throne: "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to
receive power and riches and wisdomand strength."… On the anvils of
God the nails had been forged into the scepter of a king… "He was
taken up"… The angel hosts sweep to either side, leaving the way
clear to the Eternal Light that no longer blinds the eyes of us who
stand gazing after Him… He leads a procession which comes from the
ends of time and space, all the harvest of all the white fields the
world has ever known, the pilgrims of the night who come at last to the
dawn of an everlasting day… "He was taken up." The Child of the
manger, the praying heart on the starlit lanes of Galilee, the hunger
in the wilderness, the weariness of the Sychar Well, the tears of the
Garden and the Hill, the thirst of the Cross – all over now… The
robes of the Transfiguration once momentary, now clothe Him forever,
and angels and archangels sound the great doxology of the Waiting
Church: "Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and

An old story – perhaps too old for us to do more than
glimpse its glory… And yet – we ought to remember it more clearly…
It was the solemn moment in the story of God and man when the visible
Christ became the invisible Christ… From that hour everything
concerning Him became visible only to the eyes of faith… The final
line of demarcation in the world – between those who believe and those
who refuse to believe – was now clear… Men can say that all this is
not true and use the mind of man to reject the mind of God, or they can
know that God once walked among them and that they now have a Friend in
heaven who knows all that earth and time and pain can do to man…

Ascension did not take Jesus away… It brought heaven near… In the
realm in which He now reigns time and space have no meaning… There is
no up and down, no near and far, no darkness, and no distance in the
world of faith… He is as near as yesterday’s prayer, today’s joy,
tomorrow’s sorrow… His homecoming has made heaven a home for us who
still walk far from home… Wherefore stand we gazing into heaven?…
Our momentary task is here, but through the slow dimming of the years
we see the evening lamps of home tended by the pierced hands of Him who
has gone to prepare a place for us… Is there a better way to live -
or die? … All that we have to do now is believe and follow:

The lapping of the sea of death before his feet
Crept near; the wind was wild;
But he, who knew the One he came to meet,
Saw it and smiled.

Stepping without a hesitating word
Into the icy tide,
As if he saw the footprints of his Lord
Gleam at his side,

Borne up by Love that gave as he had given,
He crossed the midnight foam
And laid his hand upon the door of heaven
Like one returning home.

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  1. The Rev. Shane R. Cota
    May 27th, 2006 at 18:02 | #1

    Well, why don’t you reprint some O.P. Kretzmann stuff? I first ran across him when I worked in the periodicals room in college. I saw his column in the old issues of the Cresset, and think I copied most of them, but lost them somewhere. I would love to have some of them again. I was fortunate to find a collection of his entitled “The Pilgrim” at a used book store in Fort Wayne. His writing is powerful for some reason. It really touches a chord. His column “Sehnsucht” was one of the best, along with the one about the autumn leaves. You could tell he was a deeply feeling man, regardless of his failings.

  2. June 2nd, 2006 at 00:49 | #2


  3. Michael L. Anderson
    June 6th, 2006 at 10:09 | #3

    “He was taken up.”
    So we nail Him on the cross, which lifted burden He takes up willingly; and the hell-razing task accomplished, heaven takes Him back.
    Those belonging to His Kingdom not of this world never get enough of Him, it seems. The earth elevates Him, in its intendedly debased way; and heaven responds, by taking Him up in glory.
    The elevation of Christ’s body seems to be a recurring theme in time, from the Lord’s Passion onwards. Hmmm…
    An exhilarating commentary from O.P. Kretzmann. Compliments and blessings to Reverends Weedon and McCain, for the sharing.

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