Believers are joined to the Lord in a spiritual union and fellowship with each other that is sustained by their relation to this living Person. The continuing life of Christ includes our life. In this union Christ shares empathetically in our struggle even now, and we share in the fullness of his life with God the Father.
There is hardly a point in Christian teaching at which we seem to be further distanced from modern consciousness than the exaltation of Jesus. When we look toward him with jaded modern eyes, we tend to reduce him to something manageable. So modernity struggles to identify experientially how his consciousness has affected our modern forms of consciousness. The only conception of a living Christ that is allowable under the constraints of modern naturalism is that his influence lives in the memory and actions of others, analogous to the way heroes exert continuing influence. But the worshiping community celebrates that he acts upon us as one who himself is personally alive. The missing element in such an analysis is his own continuing personal life.
The ancient ecumenical testimony is that Jesus now lives so as to engender life in us. His living presence is the real energy and force and power of historic Christianity and present Christian life. Detached from the living Christ, the branch withers, the flower fades.
~ Thomas C. Oden, Classic Christianity (2009)