History is written backwards. That statement reads kind of funny. Still, the truth is, most history is written through the lens of hindsight. When an event happens, like the birth of a child or your graduation from high school or a tragedy experienced by a parent or a joy that lights up the human heart...when such an event takes place and is noticed, photos are taken and stories are shared and it seems obvious what the experience means to you. But over time, as life is lived and a perspective is given through those years of living, it is only after looking back at all the events of your life that experiences like the birth of a child or the suffering of a loved one comes into focus.
Even the inspired Gospels of God’s Good News carry this sense of being put together through a wisdom born of faith and hindsight. We know the story of the engagement of Joseph and Mary. We enjoy the accounts of the birth of Jesus during the season of Christmas. When do you suppose these accounts of the Lord Jesus were put down on scrolls? What of that story of the teenage Jesus remaining in Jerusalem while Mary and Joseph and their village neighbors headed back to Nazareth after the feast of Passover? When was that committed to papyrus, in pen and ink? What about the beauty and power of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount? Was there a reporter there, writing down his every word? And the many parables we have of his wisdom–was there a writer from the Jerusalem Post taking down all for publication?
When Jesus of Nazareth was present on this good earth, He was the focus, though he spoke always of the Father. His preaching and healing and teaching and exorcizing and feeding and forgiving and loving...those men and women that experienced the man from Galilee and the signs he worked while in their midst were touched personally as he lived with them. Stories of these signs were talked about, but chances are, there was no one in the crowd taking notes for an article or a column and no one could see what his future held in store for him or them.
It was only after what we remember as Holy Thursday: the gift of his sacrificial love in the new Passover (Eucharist), and the mandatum unto humility and service, in the washing of the feet. It was only after the betrayal and the arrest and the show-trial and the torture and the Cross. It was only after his death, when all hope was lost by his followers. It was only with the Resurrection, and the encounter with the Risen Lord that his life’s purpose came into focus. Through the teaching of the Risen Lord and through the hindsight born of faith and the Spirit, the Gospels of God’s Good News were written down. And, they were written for us and for all, that we might come to believe in all that the Father has given us in the Son.
Ascension – Pentecost – and the Age of the Church. The Gospels record the word of the Risen Lord as He says I am with you always, until the end of the age (Matthew 28. 16-20). Though the Risen Lord ascended, leaving this good earth and His movement of believers, he is with us as Emmanuel, in the Spirit given at Pentecost. In fact, as we remain as branches on the living Vine of Life (John 15.5), we are members of His living Body, His Church. And as members of the Church of central Louisiana, we are to announce His Good News, as missionary disciples.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
(For The Greater Glory of God)