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ASCENSION DAY

Our first impressions are to consider the Ascension of our Lord as the very greatest event connected with His appearance on earth. To our own mind, undoubtedly, nothing could be so solemn, so exalting, as the changing this life for another; the putting off mortality and putting on immortality; and all this we connect with the thought of the removal from earth to heaven.
      - Thomas Arnold

Worship demands the far distances of God; it protests against the little, the near, the material. It must love but it must look up. It cannot live without the note of spirituality and universality, if not mystery. The ascension, the passing of Christ within the veil, answers this need. So does a full-robed Christianity add to definiteness of knowledge the outreach of imagination and home.
      - Maltbie Davenport Babcock

The ascension of Elijah may be compared to the flight of a bird, which none can follow; the ascension of Christ is, as it were, a bridge between earth and heaven, laid down for all who are drawn to Him by His earthly existence.
      - Michael Baumgarten

So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
      - Bible, Mark (ch. XVI, v. 19)

He is taken up, that He tray fulfill His design in dying, and give the work of our salvation its last completing act.
      - Rev. John Flavel (2)

We celebrate this day the Ascension of our great Judge into heaven, where He sits upon His throne and has all the world before Him; every human soul, with its desires and aims, its thoughts, words, and works, whether they be good or bad. Every man who is running now his mortal race is from first to last before the eye of Him who as on this day ascended with human nature into heaven. Shall we grieve that the Visible Presence is withdrawn, and that there is no longer on earth the mighty and mysterious. Personage who put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself and discomfited through dying the enemies of God and man? Not so! There is no reason for sorrow that He quits the earth on the wings of the wind. We could not detain Him below, we would have Him as our Mediator within the veil. This and this only, can secure to us those spiritual assistances through which we ourselves may climb the firmament.
      - Henry Melvill

Christ is already in that place of peace, which is all in all. He is on the right hand of God. He is hidden in the brightness of the radiance which issues from the everlasting throne. He is in the very abyss of peace, where there is no voice of tumult or distress, but a deep stillness--stillness, that greatest and most awful of all goods which we can fancy; that most perfect of joys, the utter profound, ineffable tranquillity of the Divine Essence. He has entered into His rest. That is our home; here we are on a pilgrimage, and Christ calls us to His many mansions which He has prepared.
      - Cardinal John Henry Newman

Jesus went away not only to prepare a place for us, so that it will be ready for us as one by one we go home, but to prepare us for the place, to fit us for heavenly enjoyments and heavenly service.
      - Francis Nathan Peloubet

Christ "ascended," not to depart from earth, but to take the throne of His Kingdom on earth. "He sat down at the right hand of God." God's reign does not consist in sitting upon a distant throne! It consists in omnipresent power and authority. To sit at His right hand means to share His Authority and Omnipresence.
      - Edward Talmadge Root

He is gone; a cloud of light
  Has received Him from our sight;
    High in heaven, where eye of men
      Follows not, nor angels' ken;
        Through the veils of time and space,
          Passed in to the holiest place;
            All the toil, the sorrow done,
              All the battle fought and won.
      - Dean Arthur Penrhyn Stanley

The ascension of Christ added distance to definiteness in worship. Definiteness we must have, as ever craving for a theophany, every instinct of idolatry proves. "Lord, show us the Father and it sufficeth us" is prompted by this feeling. The Incarnation is God's response to this human need. But imagine Jesus living on indefinitely after the resurrection, even under the earthly conditions which obtained during those forty days!
      - Unknown

His Ascension marked a stage in His revelation, but it only brought Him nearer to us. To have lingered among the early disciples would have limited His mission and sequestered Him from the later Church. As the Resurrection opened the grave, the Ascension opened heaven.
      - Unknown, Evangelist

Hail the day that sees Him rise,
  Ravished from our wistful eyes!
    Christ, awhile to mortals given,
      Re-ascends His native heaven.
        There the glorious triumph waits,
          Lift your heads, eternal gates!
            Wide unfold the radiant scene,
              Take the King of glory in!
      - Charles Wesley (1)

By the Ascension all the parts of life are brought together in the oneness of their common destination. By the Ascension Christ in His Humanity is brought close to every one of us, and the words "in Christ," the very charter of our faith, gain a present power. By the Ascension we are encouraged to work beneath the surface of things to that which makes all things capable of consecration. Then it is that the last element in our confession as to Christ's work speaks to our hearts. He is not only present with us as Ascended: He is active for us. We believe that He sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
      - Brooke Foss Westcott

See, the Conqueror mounts in triumph,
  See the King in royal state,
    Riding on the clouds His chariot
      To His heavenly palace-gate;
        Hark, the choirs of angel voices
          Joyful halleluiahs sing,
            And the portals high are lifted,
              To receive their heavenly King.
      - William Wordsworth


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