Our Ascended Mediator (3)

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

Our Ascended Mediator

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

Ascension (a day late)

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

More than a Prophet

Jesus not only leads the way; He is the destination.
He not only teaches; He is the subject.
He not only shows us how to live; He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
Jesus not only proclaims God’s promises; He is the one in whom they are all fulfilled (2 Cor. 1:20).
He not only brings Gods Word; He is God’s Word incarnate (John 1:1,14).

—Michael Horton, Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples, 184

The Arts as Highways

The arts are not the pretty but irrelevant bits around the border of reality. They are highways into the center of a reality which cannot be glimpsed, let alone grasped, any other way. The present world is good, but broken and in any case incomplete; art of all kinds enables us to understand that paradox and its many dimensions. But the present world is also designed for something which has not yet happened. It is like a violin waiting to be played: beautiful to look at, graceful to hold–and yet if you’d never heard one in the hands of a musician, you wouldn’t believe the new dimensions of beauty to be revealed. Perhaps art can show something of that, can glimpse the future possibilities pregnant within the present time. It is like a chalice: again, beautiful to look at, pleasing to hold, but waiting to be filled with the wine which, itself full of sacramental possibilities, gives the chalice its fullest meaning. Perhaps art can help us to look beyond the immediate beauty with all its puzzles, and to glimpse that new creation which makes sense not only of beauty but of the world as a whole, and ourselves within it. Perhaps.

—N. T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense, 235-36