Pastor’s Post for the Seventh Sunday in Easter, May 8th


Dear friends in Christ:

This Sunday (May 8) is Mother’s Day so I want to begin by sharing a word of appreciation for all the faithful women who bless the lives of children with love, with play, and with a ferocious desire to keep them from harm and danger. If she is still with you, it is a good day to bring your mom to church!

Once while in Glacier National Park, Montana with my kids (Janet and Aaron) we were taking a boat back to our car after a hike along the shore of Two Medicine Lake to a waterfall.  It was a long hike and the boat ride was a chance to rest our weary feet. As we slowly chugged along the lake we noticed a three some of hikers on a path that paralleled the lakeshore, and we also noticed a mother grizzly and her two cubs, grazing in the shrub on the hillside. The hikers were inadvertently about to walk into the space between the mother grizzly and her two cubs. That would not have been good. The ranger on the boat with us began shouting and sounding the alarm for the hikers to stop. The ranger understood the ferocity of a mother grizzly when she fears that her cubs are in danger. It was a powerful reminder of how God has given an important role to mothers to guard and keep their children from all threats to their wellbeing.

As many of you know, this past weekend we were at my son’s wedding in California.  The wedding was held at the homestead of the bride’s family, in the dry steep hills above Malibu, not the beach house you might imagine from TV shows like “Two and a Half Men.”

While there I got to spend some time with the bride’s mother, Sue, whom I had not met previously. I suspect Sue is quite the “mother bear” like other strong women I have known: she raised a large family on the ten acres they settled 30 years ago – no utilities, totally off the grid. That was possible because Sue’s husband, also a Joe, seems to be able to figure out how to do anything with almost nothing.

Not only is Sue an expert in all things maternal, but she has had a career as a public school teacher.  So she is a super organizer.  She somehow managed a wedding cast of what seemed to be hundreds and turned a dry barren hillside into a wonderful outdoor wedding chapel. It was quite a wedding.

And yet with all the festivities going on my wife, Patricia, picked up a deeper sense of melancholy that I was trying hard to mask. Weddings are supposed to be joyful! Certainly this one was. Why was I feeling a little blue? When I got back Tuesday I think I kind of figured it out. My relationship with my son has changed forever. He is now husband to his wife, and will be father to the children that they hope will come. I have been “Aaron’s dad” for the last 34 years. I was saying good-bye to one kind of relationship with Aaron and coming into a new one that frankly I don’t quite understand yet.

I see some of the same things happening in the story Jesus’ Ascension in Luke 24 and Acts 1 which will be our Bible readings this Sunday. The apostles are confused and uncertain. This is why Jesus tells them to wait in the city for the Holy Spirit. Their relationship with Jesus changed that day.  They would need time to get a handle on what that would mean. No longer is Jesus “their Jesus.” He is “Lord of all.”  He is still the same, the hands, feet, and side still marked with the wounds of the cross, even as He “sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty from which He will come to judge the living and the dead.”  Change is always hard, and it usually means leaving some things behind as relationships change. Yet, by faith, we embrace changes as they come, trusting what Jesus has promised, “I am with you always, even to the close of the age.”

Pastor Joe Hughes
Voice & text: 217-898-9063