Deacon Blog June 9, 2019
NOW What ?
I don’t know about you, but I hate to see this beautiful Easter season come to an end. I realize, theologically it doesn’t, or shouldn’t, end in terms of our expression of faith and participation in Christ’s mission, but it’s the focus on the “launch” of the New Covenant that grabs me. It’s like the celebration of our birth day. The contrast, though, is that our birthday celebrations are focused on us and not our parents. Beginning with Lent we “set the table” for our understanding of what is about to happen for us in the Paschal Mystery, as well as the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us along this path we walk in life. People have often asked me about what I think my life would have been like if my Godmother June had not arrived in my world in September of 1970. “I can’t answer that really” I say, because I have no frame of reference for an alternative viewpoint. Not to disparage the film “It’s a Wonderful Life”, but I just don’t possess that kind of perspective of what this world would be like if I were not born… physically or spiritually. Other than to feel gratitude for what has transpired for me. As we approached the incredible feasts of The Ascension and then Pentecost, a certain image has captivated my thoughts and I would like to share them with you, both to create context for these events but also to hopefully promote a deeper understanding and appreciation for these events.
As we read the accounts of Post-Resurrection life for Christ’s Believers, imagine for a moment the mindset and reality for Jesus’ followers… and not just the Apostles but all HIS followers. Imagine you are a “devout” football fan, or better yet, a dedicated player yourself. You have spent three years training, learning, listening to your team “play book”. You have invested both emotional and physical efforts to become a true team member. You have worked hard to understand and apply “team philosophy” in the world around you. Your heart and soul have been poured out to adapt and conform to this “new way”. Your old habits have been examined and evaluated, some are retained and some are abandoned because they just don’t fit into the new system. You have allowed yourself to be separated from loved ones for the sake of the “team” and your old life has slowly begun to fade from the rear-view mirror. The day arrives for the championship game. Your excitement and anxiousness over the unknown territory you are now walking is cause for an explosion of emotion that is near impossible to contain. Then, just before the big game (two days to be exact) your captain, the most valuable player, is arrested and dies in the custody of the authorities. To make matters worse, HE left no continency plan for what to do and HE took the “play book” with HIM. Now, complicating everything is the fact that the same people who killed the “captain” want to do the same to you… so you hide in fear of your own life. The sheer un-certainty and fear of your new reality is paralyzing. And so, you all wait, in hiding, discussing what to do next. Not only did the “big game” not happen, but people are hunting you down trying to kill you. It gives a whole new meaning to “championship hangover”.
continued on back
You have sacrificed everything for this purpose… you have nothing left. No job, no family, and no religion. You’ve heard reports (mostly from sources you don’t respect or value) that the “Captain” has been spotted so the confusion is ramped up another notch. Just when you all are about lose hope HE appears, mysteriously, if for no other reason than to give you hope that the “big game” will still happen… only the venue has changed.
We can feel all of these emotions and experiences in our own lives and it leads to a sense of abandonment and fear. Gradually the fear and confusion for the rapidly expanding throng of believers gave way, revealing a renewed sense of purpose and vision for a Way they never imagined. In the analogy above, our “Captain returned, gave us the gameplan, and enabled the completion of this plan to take place. The disciples were being taught to truly trust in GOD and not to “get in the way” of LOVE’s desire for us, Grace. We must look at our religious lives (sacred reading and study, prayer, service, worship) as our Easter Season, or seven weeks of vocational training preparing us for a life in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. We get our “diploma” on Pentecost, but then our “job search” begins. We have been given purpose and vision, armed with Hope, Faith, and LOVE.
A Blessed Feast of the Ascension to ALL
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