Ascension of Christ (by Kylie Popa)

“We can’t be new creations if nothing changes.” One of my most favorite authors, Bob Goff, wrote a book called Love Does. I used to read it over the course of the school year with my 8th grade students and have been able to share it with some parishioners online through our daily Facebook prayer. It’s tricky to fully summarize Bob and the stories he shares in this heartwarming, yet soul-igniting book, but the premise is that love is not merely a feeling or an emotion, but an action. We are challenged by Bob to get to the do part of faith.

That quote about change has always stuck with me, especially in the last several years, as I have made some big life changes with stepping away from teaching in the traditional classroom setting. Making that change and choosing to alter course is never an easy task because it requires stepping into the unknown. This Sunday, we read about a change the disciples really didn’t ask for and most likely didn’t want. Their first big change came back on Good Friday when their leader was killed. The one they had left everything behind to follow had left them too. I can only imagine how difficult, dark, and confusing those initial days must have felt. Thankfully, as we’ve read the last several Sundays of Easter, Jesus did indeed rise from the dead and he made himself known in some very special ways for 40 days. But this Sunday, he throws them all for another loop. Jesus officially leaves this earth as he ascends into heaven. He instructs his followers to stay in the city and to wait until they are “clothed with the power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

Next weekend, we will officially celebrate Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit is sent out to all – a great day to remember our Confirmation. However, we don’t get to Pentecost without Good Friday, without Resurrection Sunday, and without the Ascension. All the changes – the good and the bad – are necessary to move forward. I tend to resist change because I love my habits and thrive on routine. I like when I can be in control and know (generally!) what to expect. Unfortunately, living the call as a Christian disciple in mission is quite the opposite. It can be unpredictable and change is a prerequisite for growth. Fortunately, in all the change, we also have a constant. The Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Spirit – is that one constant we can rely on. It’s what pushes us to take the leap of faith, go for the job change, make the scary move, say yes to something when we don’t know all the details, and the list goes on. It’s also what carries us through the discomfort that inevitably comes with that change. And then it is most certainly what gives us the courage to continue to do it again and again.

We are constantly being made new, but we are reminded in Mark 2:22 that nothing good comes from pouring new wine into old wine skins. We must be willing to endure the changes to see great growth. How is Jesus making you a new creation this Easter season? May we, as the disciples did, “pay Jesus homage and return to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:52) as we await the celebration of change and one step closer to our eventual forever home with God in heaven.

– Kylie