Dirkie Smit tells the story of Chesterton, under the title ‘The Hammer of God’ where Father Brown investigates a murder in a small town. The victim was killed by a hammer crushing his skull. Everyone in town suspected the blacksmith. Its obvious – he has the tools, but moreso he has the motive.At the end, as the plot unravels, the investigator discover that its in fact the brother of the victim, the local pastor. This pastor had the habit of retreating from the daily life, high into the highest towers of the cathedral. From there, he would look down upon the townfolk, seeing all their movements. (This is what happens when you have all the time in the world!). But also, from there he saw the criminality of his brother, from there he grew so angry and on one faitful day he threw him with a hammer- killing his own brother.
Father Brown, the investigator in his dramatic concluding speech, to the case tells the pastor, that mountains (high places) are made to look up to, not to look down from, and church towers are meant to be pointers to heaven, not vantage points, from where we look down upon people. Towers are reminders that God is above, and greater then us (on earth), not places where we take God’s place. From here, we loose our humanity, we loose ourselves and don’t see the hammer in our hands.
Eph 1 also speaks of the enthronement in high and mighty terms. Ascension may be interpreted to mean that we also ascended to be higher, better then ‘the other’, those busy with their daily lives, those who remain earthly, worldly. We might also be in danger of looking down, of condescending, of judgement (with a hammer in the hand, ready to throw).
God’s reign in Jesus Christ is different. He reigns in love, in meekness, in forgiveness and patience. In His reflections Jungel ( as quoted by Smit), reminds us that we all want to sit on the thones, we all want the higher positions and we love to sit in the heavens from where we can affirm ourselves, our achievements. The danger, he states, as illusions of might (grandeur), illusions of becoming God, of belittling people and ruling over them.
The Bible reminds us that Jesus, ascended and reigns-he sits at the right hand of God and he reigns, not by might, nor by power, but by Spirit. This reign often is hidden, invisible, unrecognisable… small, but never insignificant. This reign, comes in the form of servanthood, of death, amongst crossbearers- it is a reign that is not militant, logical, but in faith. To believe in the resurrection and the ascension… the reign of Christ, is a confession of faith.
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