31 May Stations of the Resurrection No.11
Through Eastertide we will be posting Stations of the Resurrection like this one to encourage meditation on the risen life of Christ, with short reflections written or compiled by members of the Community.
Disciples sent into all the world
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The exams have been completed, the training is done, the skills have been honed and learnt and now you can set off and begin this new chapter. It is a stage in life that has been repeated and repeated down the centuries albeit in different situations and contexts. A person, whether young or old, spends some time learning a new set of skills and eventually there comes the time when they set off to put all they have learnt into practice. It is an exciting and nerve wracking time and one of those watershed moments in any person’s life.
The disciples have spent a long time in preparation with Christ learning and listening and following and now they are commissioned to carry on the work, and it is interesting that even at this stage we are told that ‘some doubted’. Despite the resurrection appearances not to mention all that they had seen and heard during Christ’s ministry there are still doubts lingering in the air. In many ways I am glad that they are present as it is a very human response and an almost universal human trait to harbour doubts. Doubts about ourselves or others, doubts about the present or future, doubts about what is really true.
It seems to me that the doubt in itself can become a vital part of what it means to be a follower of Christ. Doubt properly expressed and acted upon can become the stimulus and spark for a life that continues to be open to the renewing and cleansing power of the Holy One. Doubt is not the same as passivity and we should remember that those who doubted still turned up on the mountain. The doubt itself only becomes destructive when it begins to convince us of the lie that we are alone.
Christ proclaims to the disciples; to all those present, the honest doubters and the humble worshippers, ‘I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ The Commission then is not simply a Commission of doing but also of being. We are commissioned into the truth that there will be no place or time; no condition or context when we will be alone. And so we seek to live day by day exploring the radical nature of that Resurrection truth.