May 29 – Ascension of the Lord
There is probably someone in your life who was the best teacher you’ve ever known – in elementary, high school, or college, maybe a coach or advisor of another extracurricular activity. Perhaps it was a relative or mentor who helped you get started in your career or business. The reason that person was your best teacher is not necessarily the content but the way in which they taught, the example they set for you, the model they presented for the way to live your life. It is very likely that this teacher was only in your life for a brief time – a year, maybe two or three – but their impact has lasted a lifetime. That’s why you remember them today. I especially remember Dr. Robert Meyne, chair of the Department of Recreation at Indiana State University. I was a confused undergraduate changing my major for the third time. In meeting with him I immediately felt a special bond – a father figure who encouraged and challenged in the most gentle way. As a senior, I was at the hospital with his wife when he died. I still think of him today, 48 years after his death and appreciate how his example has formed part of who I am today.
Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. The disciples who followed Jesus and witnessed his life and death experienced him as their best teacher ever. Jesus taught them far more than facts and information. He set an example of how to live and empowered his followers so they could take forward his message of salvation. In the Ascension Jesus left them for a final time. But despite his physical absence, Jesus left the disciples with the resources they would need to carry on the mission of his Church. The effects of Jesus’ earthly ministry remain with us today. Though the historic events of Christ’s life and ministry took place two thousand years ago, he remains with us along with the effects of his teaching and example. The Spirit that Jesus promised to send still gives power to his Church and each of her members. Jesus’ ascension is a preview of what will occur for all who believe and follow him!
This weekend we also celebrate Memorial Day. With what has become the “official” start of summer with a day off work, barbecues, opening of swimming pools, and picnics, let us not forget the REAL OFFICIAL meaning of this day. Let us take some time to pause and not only remember, but pray for our citizens who have sacrificed their life by dying in battle for the freedoms we enjoy. May God bless those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and may God bless our veterans and keep safe all who serve in our military today!
Next Sunday is Pentecost – Come Holy Spirit!