Unity in Holiness

Sermon Reflection from Sunday, June 2, 2019 | Respectfully Submitted by Mal Underwood

On this Seventh Sunday of Easter, the celebration day of the Feast of the Ascension, Mo. Mary had much to unpack in her message.  The appointed readings were from the formal Ascension Feast Day, Thursday, May 30, as approved by Bishop Wright. Our Parish family’s kickoff gala of the 175th anniversary of the founding of our church was held on Thursday night with many of the parish family and some local dignitaries in attendance. 

The event included a proclamation by Mayor Santini, who acknowledged the invaluable contribution of Ascension as a “crown jewel”. During the service Mo. Mary also celebrated the 50th wedding anniversary of Joe and Kathi White with the rite of a Renewal of Vows.  With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Mo. Mary joyfully commended the five decades of pure bliss of Joe and Kathi’s holy union, comparing it to that of Steve and hers.  After the appreciative laughter subsided, she acknowledged the ups and downs of a holy marriage and the inevitable growth and change that two individuals experience in many years of holy union under the blessings and guidance of our Heavenly Father.

While Mo. Mary opted for the Ascension Day scripture readings for the Sunday service, she also summarized some of the text from the Gospel reading from John 17 assigned to the Seventh Sunday of Easter.  Jesus said,

As you Father are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” 

These beautiful words of love and unity remind us of who we are and to whom we belong. Through the sacrament of holy matrimony, God transforms two individuals to a new life to love, cherish, nourish and grow with one another in holy union. 

Mo. Mary reminded us that other sacraments of the church such as Holy Eucharist, Baptism, and Confirmation also mark this transition, empowering us to enter a new life of being and of loving as we are called to do.  For 175 years, the Church of the Ascension has participated in these holy sacraments as the body of Christ in the world, changing and empowering countless lives in the ministries of the Kingdom.

Jesus walked the earth in a particular place and time to teach us about the kingdom of heaven and reconcile us to God.  His ascension to the Father allows him to reign over all from on high and abide with his beloved children.  He is in us and we are in him, the holy union of our existence.  Thanks be to God!