April 21, 2014
What could the Great Fifty Days of Easter, Mother’s Day, and commencement exercises have it common? At first glance, not much. One is a season of the Christian liturgical church year, one is a Hallmark Holiday, and the last one is in some ways an initiation into another developmental phase of life. But lately I’ve been wondering about those Great Fifty Days when it is said that Jesus was risen from the dead and was appearing to some he loved. He wanted them, I think, to be able to recognize him, not by his outward appearance-apparently he looked distinctly different to the human eye after his rising—but by being able to see with the eye of the heart. From deep in their insides, he wanted them to be able to recognize him. And when they didn’t, he helped them see what got in their way. When the Christ is right in front of you, can you see Him? What prevents you from recognizing the Christ, in yourself and others?
My mother, Jane Caroline Sharpe Sander, (1923-2001) taught me in so many ways to see the Christ in other people as well as in myself. Her mantra, “People are important, not things” became one of the writings in my heart early in my life. All of my friends were greeted as if they were the Christ.T he house could be a mess, and it usually was, but my mother always put down what she was doing to greet my friends and talk with them. I think her heart recognized what was good, true, and authentic in people. In her volunteer work with the mentally disabled, my mother talked about how she felt like she could see the Light of Christ in the eyes of those she helped. I don’t think I got it then, but I get it now. A good mother, the Mother Archetype, sees right to the heart and soul of a person. A good mother knows her children, recognizes who they are and brings out what is true and good in them. A good mother, like the risen Christ, wants to teach her children to recognize Truth from inside themselves, and to not be dependent on the outward appearances of others. So like the risen Christ who was still teaching those he loved during the days after Easter, a good mother teaches her children over and over again to recognize what is True and to know it from deep within.
Make a giant leap with me here to commencement exercises. Many people will be graduating from something in the next few weeks: kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school, college and graduate schools, and basic training. If all has gone well, the graduate is being sent into the world ready for the next stage of the life they are living. They have succeeded in making it to a certain mile marker, and they will be granted access to the next part of the path. It is assumed that certain truths have been learned and that the person has been formed in a way that will enable them to expand upon what has gone before. Like Jesus’ commissioning of his disciples (You have graduated guys, you know this stuff, you can go out into the world and do this. It’s all inside you now) we, too, graduate from many things and are sent to walk the next part of our path. We carry what we have learned with us, hopefully deep within us.
Spring is a busy time for most people. Many things are coming to an end. Take a few moments and meditate on what you have learned to be true, from the inside out. What gets in your way of seeing truth?
And Happy Eastertide, Happy Mother’s Day, and Happy Graduation in all of the ways you celebrate them.