As I write, the “sugar snow” is falling around us here in Northern Ontario. You might be familiar with the concept: a heavy snowfall that blankets the early spring landscape. It’s good for maple trees, providing insulation as the sap begins to flow. Although it’s helpful, it’s not always an appreciated aspect of life in our environment, especially when our winter-weary souls anticipate the life and growth of spring.
We anticipate, yet we’re not quite there. Two steps forward, one step back. Our environment moves through the changes of seasons and days; we work hard as communities and families to meet challenges together; every one of us learns and grows and develops in our life. Healthy life is growing and transitioning and changing always.
Spiritually, the Season of Easter represents the transitions all creation undergoes. Awakening, enlivening, growing into fresh experiences and daring to venture into new directions. Within this Easter Season, we discover the Ascension, when Christians remember the events of the risen Christ’s ascension into heaven.
This moment falls weeks after Easter Sunday, but before Pentecost. The resurrected Christ has spent time amongst his friends and followers, but has not yet returned to God’s home. All these friends and followers, these disciples, these students of Jesus, haven’t yet felt the full power of the Holy Spirit that would bind them together as a church. Almost there, and yet not quite.
The story of the Ascension describes a transition for those first Christ-followers. They are becoming apostles, the “ones who are sent.” Suddenly, those who were students are now something else, becoming something more, sent by Jesus with a specific calling: to continue the work he began. To witness to the power of Christ’s love in the world. To dare to live with passion, changed by repentance and forgiveness, free to be generous with all their God-given gifts.
Despite their fears and their uncertainty about where this would lead, those ancestors in faith chose to respond to Christ’s invitation generously, with their whole lives. We know this because we are here today, we have heard the good news they had to tell. We have been graced with the gifts they shared, generation after generation. And now we have the opportunity to respond as they once did. To be the ones sent by Jesus to heal, feed, care and share. To make real the love and mercy of God through our generosity.
As followers of Christ, we learn and grow. We allow God’s love to transform our lives for a reason – to join with God in the transformation of the world. In this Easter season of growth and new life, how are you an apostle of Christ? What – or who – inspires you to generosity in these Easter days? How do you bless this beloved world with your gifts?
Please make a gift to Mission & Service this Easter.
May each of us be “the ones who are sent” to generously share healing and love with others and with the world.
Written by: Rev. Melody Duncanson Hales – Canadian Shield regional staff for stewardship, congregational support, youth and mission.