It is better for you….

In order to grow, change and separation are essential. In his final days, Jesus says to his followers: “…I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go,” – an allusion to the Ascension.  In the weeks before this statement, he had already begun to prepare them for this departure.  As it sunk it,  their sadness and denial grew to the point where they were no longer able to listen with an open heart.   It was  as if it did not matter where he was going, but that he must leave at all – that things would change.  Jesus says, “But now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘where are you going?'” There they remain, stuck between what their relationship had grown to be and the unknown future with Jesus’ promise to send the Spirit.  What did this mean? 

What does it mean for those of us who are parents to tell our children, who are comfortable with the way things are, that big changes are coming – that it will be better for you.  It didn’t comfort my foster children who only knew foster care and enjoyed changing families, that being adopted meant a stable environment and that would be much better.  It didn’t comfort my teenage son when we explained he would have to separate from his chosen high school because something better and healthier awaited him elsewhere.  It didn’t comfort me when I finally understood that the image of God I had grown up with – one primarily external  and transcendent – -needed to be broken open and transformed into an inner knowing that God’s Spirit dwells within me and throughout all of God’s creation.  Separation is painful. What a daily challenge for me to see Christ not just in the pages of scripture but in the person next door and the one I work and pray beside!  Saint Benedict said: “All who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ.” (RB 53.1)

 It’s of course easier or more comfortable to stay where everything is a “known”.   It took our adopted children months, even years to understand how permanence is better than constant transition.  They had to learn it through the passage of time.  My son is still learning how a new way of doing high school is more fruitful.  I still fall into my old model of “God out there” as a way of escaping my own personal responsibility of carrying God’s message.  There is a lot of resistance. The disciples were really doing the same thing regarding the commissioning Jesus proclaimed.  (see yesterday’s post for more on this).  As we move toward Pentecost I wonder what each of us needs to change or separate from in order to grow?  The clouds of the Ascension call us into that mystery.

About WalkingwithBenedict

I love how scripture comes alive with messages for our lives today. In praying with scripture, we are called into deeper relationship with God and others. We are called to the growth in love, hospitality, peace, humility, stewardship and hope. St Benedict's Rule provides a lens for how scripture can be lived in our lives today whether we live inside or outside a monastery.
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4 Responses to It is better for you….

  1. Pat says:

    Even as adults, despite repeated experiences with change as a good thing, often times slip into despair when something changes in our comfort zone. The biggest stresses in life are related to change: Divorce, the death of a loved one, loss of a job, moving from the home and community we are comfortable with. Having the faith that God has a plan and accepting that without any complete knowledge of what that may be is dificult as adults, imagine the stress and fear that children will face. We sometimes have to make the tough decisions as parents, but we need to recognize that those fears are very real. We can help them see with each experience of change that there was a plan, even though they did not know what it was and relate that change as part of God’s plan (as opposed to our great idea and good parenting).

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  2. R. Ann says:

    “In order to grow, change and separation are essential.” How true but how so incredibly difficult to live! As an Air Force brat and wife, I have been moving every 2-3 years for the last 44 years of my life. Change and separation have become a part of my DNA. Have I grown? Honestly, some days I feel like a 2-year-old throwing a temper tantrum. But when I look back, I marvel at how God has used every move, every separation, as an opportunity to push me into a spiritual adulthood that would not have otherwise been possible. With each move God was saying to me, “It is important for you to go so that I can come closer to you, so you can know me better.” Each new location brought me into relationships with people that were much more spiritually mature than I was. They helped me to grow and see God through a different set of eyes and helped me to integrate who I was and who God wanted me to be.

    I have now been in one place for almost four years and it almost feels like it’s time to move again! But now my spiritual growth due to change and separation are taking on a new face. No longer am I being “forced” to move physical localities but the changes being asked of me are no less demanding and difficult. Yet I somehow know that without these changes I cannot go to where God wants me to be. He says, “It is important for you to go.” I no longer have the Air Force as an excuse for letting go and leaving various friendships or ministries. I can’t throw a temper tantrum – although it’s tempting! It’s time for me to move into a spirituality of change, growing up, and willingness to do the will of the Beloved. It’s scary and exciting all at the same time. A beautiful paradox that hints at the coming of the promised Spirit.
    Peace

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    • You make a great distinction between internal and external change and separation with the recognition that God uses both as opportunities for growth. Outside your familiar experience of physical moves drawing you closer to him, you also see his presence in the new experience of spiritual growth within physical stability. To be so open to this is a gift!

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