The Grand Farewell
We have power for the present, because he who sits at the "right hand of God" rules the world. The same power that directs the cosmos is now available by the Holy Spirit, who makes Christ real to us in the here and now. Christ's ascension encourages us to look forward to the ultimate triumph of his reign (1 Cor. 15:25). This same power of Christ, the power to love, is ours every day, for every occasion—whether in love for the beggars and homeless, or for bosses and colleagues, or strangers, or even for those who have wronged us. Christ is not limited by time or space. Jesus is our constant companion.
So celebrate Ascension Day! Sing hymns that lift up Christ's kingship. Picture Jesus as our advocate before God, and pray to him as our only mediator. Focus your personal and congregational worship on Christ's presence with us through the Spirit. Claim the power and exercise the gifts Jesus has promised.
Why celebrate? First, because Christ's ascension means our future destiny is secured in God's kingdom. That is a destiny to dream about! It also means our worship and prayers are heard by God since Christ continually brings us into God's presence. And Christ's ascension guarantees that the powerful love by which he reigns in this world is available to us right now. Salvation is ours and the power for ministry since the Spirit is with us!
This article first appeared in the May 18, 1992, issue of Christianity Today. Donald K. McKim is editor of academic and reference books with Westminster John Knox Press, author of Introducing the Reformed Faith (2001), and editor of the Encyclopedia of Reformed Faith (1992) and other books.
Copyright © 2001 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Recent Christianity Today articles on the Ascension include:
Books & Culture Corner: "Taken Up in Glory" | The Ascension has been forgotten in many Protestant churches, jettisoning an essential part of the Christian story. (May 21, 2001)
The Day We Were Left Behind | Hungry as we are for the presence of God, the one thing we do not need is a day to remind us of God's absence. (May 18, 1998)
The Text This Week offers lectionary readings, links to fine art and films with Ascension themes, contemporary and historical sermons on the Ascension, and other resources.