The Ascension is the essential link between the Jesus who walked this earth and the Lord of heaven; the Christ who entered our world of time and space and now reigns in glory in the eternal world; the Savior who died on Calvary’s Cross and the High Priest who ever lives to make intercession in heaven for His people on earth.
—Peter Atkins, Ascension Now, 67
The Ascension event allowed the disciples and the current worshiper to access the presence of Christ wherever they were located in time and space.
Even the resurrection appearances allowed Christ to be accessed only by those in certain locations. If Thomas was not with the rest of the disciples when the resurrected Christ appeared, the Thomas had no access to Jesus (John 20:24-29). Thomas had to be in the right location to confront the Christ with His challenge and to respond in faith. After the Ascension, access to Christ was open to any worshiper who drew near in heart and soul. In Christ there was full assurance of access to the Godhead wherever the worshiper might be located.
The expansion of the Church has been built on the principle that Christ and the Godhead can be accessed from any point on the globe and at any time in history. The worshiper is no nearer to Christ in the places of the historical setting of the Jesus of Nazareth. Pilgrimage can enliven faith by making real the geography of the Gospels and assuring the disciple that the gospel is not a fable. We know that the life of Jesus is rooted in geography and in history. Yet the access to the exalted Lord is readily available at whatever time and place suit the worshiper. Christians live by this assumption, but it is important to realize that the assumption rests on the doctrine of the Ascension.
—Peter Atkins, Ascension Now, 93-94
The Ascension doctrine helps us to keep a balance between seeing God in Christ as “one of us” and Christ as “from the heart of God.” Too great an emphasis on the Incarnation can distort this balance, so that worship is centered exclusively on the human aspects of worship—our concerns, our needs, our agenda, and our material world. Worship, unless corrected by the dimension of heaven, can become earthbound. The Ascension doctrine reminds us that there is another dimension to worship. We join Christ—rather than Christ coming down to join us—in the eternal nature of heaven, and there our worship is caught up with that of the angels and archangels and the apostles of every generation.
—Peter Atkins, Ascension Now, 83-84
The doctrine of the Ascension reassures us that Christ is our access to the Godhead and that all our worship is “in” and “through” Christ. Because Christ has ascended into heaven, the locus of our worship is also “in heaven.”
—Peter Atkins, Ascension Now, 83
We worship the Father not in our own name, nor in the significance of our own prayer and worship, but solely in Christ’s name who has so identified Himself with us as to make His prayer and worship ours, so really ours that we appear before God with Christ Himself as our one true prayer and our only worship.
—T. F. Torrance, Space Time and Resurrection, 117
The purpose of the Ascension is that Christ should take up the position of responsibility and authority that is the proper place for the Son to be. As Christians repeat the words of the Creed in the Liturgies, they are able both to acknowledge that Christ is in His proper place and also that it is the same Christ, who has shared our human condition and who has suffered with us and for us, that is now responsible for the governance of the created order and for our destiny. Jesus, who understands us and our human condition, holds responsibility for our welfare and has the authority to carry out the divine will and purpose.
—Peter Atkins, Ascension Now, 73-74
The dust of the earth is on the throne of the Majesty on High.