There is probably no more special and graced time in a mother’s life than the moment she is handed her child for the very first time after delivery. I have been told from countless mothers – including my own – that all the anticipation, all the worry, the inevitable pain that invariably is a part of this miraculous moment – dissipates in seconds as she looks upon her child for the very first time and caresses him or her with a mother’s love. Part of the wonder of this moment is, of course, the great hope that is in the heart of every mother and father as they witness new life come forth in their little family. It is so natural to ponder the inevitable question: What will become of this child? As much as loving parents may want to chart the life course of their child they know that they must let their child in time experience the freedom of charting their own course in life, making their own life choices that hopefully will reflect the wisdom that mothers and fathers have striven to impart to their children. In time, every parent in a sense must let go so that they can witness the hoped for blossoming of the life of their daughter or son.
My friends, so much of our lives is about letting go – isn’t it? There comes a time when we have to let go of the security of our familiar surroundings and go off to build our own lives, chart our own course in life. But, we never do that in a vacuum. We have all heard the expressions, “We are our mother’s son” or “We are our father’s daughter” that conveys the notion that the character and integrity of our parents lives on in who we are.
As we gather this day to ponder the mystery of the Lord’s Ascension into heaven, the dynamic of both letting go and charting a new course for Lord’s Kingdom and His good news is celebrated today.
For three years the Lord’s disciples have shared companionship with the anointed one. They have witnessed the challenge of his teaching of unconditional love and experienced his miracles of healing. With his crucifixion as a common criminal they were crestfallen since in that dark moment they felt that all their hopes and dreams were for naught. Then, to their utter astonishment, the one whom they thought was dead was now alive in their midst speaking his words of peace. For 50 days, the disciples encountered this mysterious risen presence offering words of promise, comfort, encouragement and challenge. And now as he returns to His Father, his mission to transform the world by His loving mercy is handed on to them and to us. There is a letting go and a new beginning.
The mission and ministry of Jesus is now our mission and ministry, my friends. The Lord through the mystery of the Ascension and next week as we ponder the mystery of Pentecost, calls each one of us now in the power of His spirit to continue shaping our world, our culture, our society and our families with the transforming presence of Jesus.
Yet, the credibility of that mission and ministry will depend on how well you and I put on the mind and heart of Jesus, how well we are indeed shaped by the Father’s love who has called each of us to new life and hope in His Son, Jesus, the Savior of the world. May we drink deeply of this grace so that the good news of Jesus may indeed live on in us.