These are the last words of Mark’s account of the earthly life and works of Jesus. And yet, they convey the strong sense, not of an ending, but of a beginning.
I write these words in the house I grew up in. It has lain empty since my Mother died at the end of December. I am coming to the end of a week of sorting out her affairs. This special time has been moving, nostalgic and cathartic in equal measure.
On Sunday I went to her church, where she played the piano, ran the Guild and had been at the heart of much of what went on there for over 40 years. She was not there, of course, but the Gospel was still being preached, prayers were being offered, and sung worship raised to heaven. I was struck by how this was not an ending. This was the start of a new thing - my life without my mother around and her new life with her maker.
As Christians we mustn’t be hooked into the thought that what we do is for the next five months, five years or even five centuries. We are part of a narrative that started before God created our universe. That narrative will continue to the end of that same universe and beyond. Our part is to do what we are called to do, humbly, diligently and faithfully.
And I find some kind of peace in that thought. We have the responsibility of being the Church here on earth today but we do not have the burden of what happened before us or what will happen after us. That is for God to plan for those he will raise up to come after us.
Lord God, in you we find our every need. May the weary find you, because in you they will be refreshed. May the fearful find you, because in you they will be encouraged. May the outcasts find you, because in you they will find their home. Give us, Lord, the peace of knowing that your sovereign will shall prevail, because you are the Lord of History as well as the Lord of our little lives. Amen.
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.