Delivered at St. George’s Episcopal Church on June 5, 2011

– Honoring Grads –

Psalm 68:4-5, 33-36, Luke 24:44-53, Ephesians 1:15-23

And so it had come to pass….the events predicted over these past 3 to 4 years had come true….it is finished, and it was time to rejoice. The anxieties were greatly diminished, and the future was bright, and clear…the sky was blue……yes, I had just graduated from High School!

The next morning I had lucked out; I had the house to myself. I was all alone, and to this day remember waking up late, confidently walking into the day feeling new, and transformed.

I remember playing the original Broadway cast album from the hit show 1776. Basking in the march-like overture, I could inwardly sense a kindred parallel between the birth of a new nation, and my own private declaration of independence; a break from the past, and looking with confidence toward the future.

I walked out the front door into what seemed like the first warm strains of a glorious summer, and looking out at the patchy white clouds of the late morning sky, reality took hold, and slapped me square on the face…….oh no….yes, community college starts in the fall, but…….what am I going to do next?

In our lesson from Luke, their time as disciples was coming to a close; a disciple after all is one who studies and is committed to learning from a Master. Like a Baccalaureate service mixed with a slight smidgen of graduation, Jesus blesses his students for what work they had done, and offers encouragement for what they might do in the future. And in the tradition of Moses, and Elijah, withdraws, and is removed from their sight.

In an explosion of excitement, the former students return to their community, bursting with energy and enthusiasm. Our Gospel story stresses that they were found continually praising God in the temple which to me almost sounds like a religious version of an all night party. Then, after the experiences which took place near Bethany, I wonder if the disciples shared a similar moment like mine…. “Holy Capernaum, what are we going to do next?”

As they sat around talking about their time with Jesus, and the ascension experience, I’d not be surprised if Thomas mentioned Jesus saying that he would send something which would cloth them with power from on high. Thomas, after all, did not deal well with ambiguity; he had to know what things meant or had to see it to know and believe.

Of course, two thousand years removed, we have a good guess as to what Jesus was talking about. “Clothed with power from on high” means they would be baptized in the power of the Holy Spirit. But, for this small and loyal Jesus following in Jerusalem, this meaning might be vague, and equally hidden. Outside of Pentecost we celebrate next Sunday, without the visual drama of flaming tongues of fire; how do WE know that our lives have been clothed with power from on high?

Maybe if we could spend more time seeing the world, and our experiences through a theological lens, taking time to inwardly digest and reflect theologically upon our lives, we might discover that we are not orphaned, and that we are continually comforted, and clothed from on high. This takes place in two ways as we are participants through the ebb and flow of God’s pulse, and like the tides of the ocean, act as comforter, as well as the comforted.

Being clothed in the power from on high enables us to live within a spiritual Ying and Yang as comforter, and comforted while at the same time demonstrating God’s distributive justice for all. In our reading today, it talks about Jesus opening their minds up to understand scripture.

If you would like to open your mind to understand scriptures I can give you a simplified version in one sentence: “With God, everyone wins.” The Bible contains the journey of humanity’s struggle to make this happen and how we struggle to discern God’s call. Jesus empowered the disciples to make it so, and we are witnesses to this understanding, and inheritors of “the way.”

Be the comforter as well as the comforted. Give as well as receive. Laugh as well as cry. Mourn, and also rejoice, and you will be clothed with the power from on high as an amour of light to all nations.

Through prayer, and theological reflection, bathed in the compassion of God, through Christ, we are can be sent out as a people clothed from the power on high. Each Sunday, through Eucharist, we are fed with the reality of “God’s, Everybody Wins Kingdom.” This can become a reality each and every day. Through our openness to each spark of the Holy Spirit, we can become participants in God’s bliss through multiple means of expression, or in our words, we can make it known in the world as Nourishing Spirits. More need to hear about this simple reality…let’s bring people in here…we have work to do.

Amen.