How many times did the disciples and apostles think they lost Jesus? And how many times did they realize that He was still with them? How many times have we had tough losses or great pain to endure in our lives? How many times have we imagined that God has abandoned or forgotten us? How many times have we realized that He hadn’t? How long will it take us to believe Jesus when He says He will never abandon us and always be with us?
At this point in the Easter season, we have heard many of the stories of Jesus’ reconnection with His apostles and disciples. We have read the accounts of how He reestablished relationships with those who are most dear to Him. It seems to be a pattern: He promises us forever, and we are forgetful time and again.
Jesus invites us to trust Him, His promises and His way of life. He wants us to live a similar life of trust as He did. In His time in the garden on the night of the Last Supper, He encountered the will of God and wished that it would go away. That night, He was asked to trust that the cycle of living, dying and rising was worthy of His faithfulness. He was asked to trust that forgiveness was better than retaliation or revenge.
We are nearing the feast of the Ascension of Jesus. And the season of Easter culminates with the feast of Pentecost. The Easter season is not yet finished. We are nearing that point in the Easter season when we are being asked to trust that we will not lose Jesus if we let go of Him in anticipation of the gift of the Holy Spirit. How good are you at trusting and letting go?
Most of our experiences of trust are triggered by being asked to let go of something stable and secure. Our selection from the Acts of the Apostles for the sixth Sunday of Easter gives us an insight into the early Church and its struggle to trust, letting go of old understandings for the sake of new wisdom. Imagine a Church community that would quarrel over what was most authentic in religious practice. It took a council of the apostles in order to determine the true wisdom that would allow the Church to welcome new members and to know what were the most essential practices. Members had to be willing to let go of their own understandings and give way to the wisdom given to them through the apostles by the Holy Spirit.
This might be a great time for each of us to wonder how we are being asked to trust and let go for the sake of living more deeply in the wisdom of God given to us through the Holy Spirit. Our entire archdiocese is examining itself, hoping to make All Things New. And we are being asked to honestly submit ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit given to us through the common wisdom of the people of God and the leadership at the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Most of us would be just fine with change as long as it’s change that we want. If it doesn’t agree with our wisdom, we don’t consider it wisdom. What will it take for each of us to be willing to trust the promises of God and be willing to let go for the sake of a deeper life in Christ? What will it take for us as brothers and sisters to enter true discernment for the best future of the Church of St. Louis? Are you willing? Can you trust? Can you let go for the sake of the wisdom of God?
Father Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters.