Wednesday Word from Taylor
This Sunday at St. Thomas, we will celebrate and bless those graduating from high school, college, and graduate school. Since I am nearly done with my master’s degree at Columbus State University, I too will take part in Graduation Sunday this year. The Seventh Sunday of Easter is also sometimes referred to as Ascension Sunday because we will hear the story of Jesus’s ascension into heaven. The combination of Graduation Sunday and Ascension Sunday is particularly fitting since the transition of graduation is not unlike the disciples’ experiences on the day of Christ’s ascension.
Graduation is a time of celebration and reflection: a moment when we honor and acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and commitment that has brought us to this point in our lives. Graduation is also a moment of transition: a time when we leave behind one phase of our lives and begin a new journey. Like students working to earn their diplomas in 2023, the disciples of Jesus experienced joy, community, friendship, sacrifice, and personal growth. They studied, learned, and served others on a journey full of challenges and rewards.
Graduation, like the ascension of Jesus, is a time of both sadness and joy. I imagine that the disciples were filled with a mixture of emotions on the day of Christ’s parting: sadness at his departure but also joy at his ascension and promise of new life. Similarly, graduation can lead to a mixture of emotions as students prepare to leave behind friends, mentors, and a routine that has defined them for years, but also joy at the prospect of new opportunities, challenges, and experiences.
Jesus commanded his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations by teaching, serving, and loving others. Graduates are also tasked with taking the lessons and gifts granted to them along their educational journey and using them to positively impact the world. Through education and knowledge, our graduates have more opportunities to serve others, work for justice, and strive for peace.
In the Gospel lesson this Sunday, we will hear John’s account of Jesus praying over the disciples before his ascension: blessing them and calling for their protection. Like Christ, we will take a moment to pray over our graduates this Sunday, honoring them in this time of transition and blessing them as they go on to use their gifts for the service of others. May we shower each graduate with love and support as they attempt to embrace this significant moment in their life with gratitude, courage, and faith