Coming & Going: the Rhythm of the Souls

“Ascension of the Lord”, Chiesa di Santa Maria del Carmine by Bernardino Gandino (1587 – 1651)

reflections on mission from Deacon Rob Lewis
and Annemarie Zimmerman

And he rejoiced with great sadness.

This describes my conflicted emotional state when I say goodbye to friends who leave All Souls. 

The emotions start to rise with the first buds of spring, when our students prepare to head out to parts unknown. I know it’s time for them to go, yet I want them stay. 

Sweet Sorrow

Similar emotions must have flooded the disciples as they watched Jesus ascend into heaven. (We celebrate the Feast of Ascension in a few weeks, on May 13).

I can imagine Mary Magdalene, the first disciple to encounter the risen Lord, had prepared her cohorts to let go of Jesus when the time came, as Jesus had told her to do. (John 20:17-18) 

The only way they were going to have Jesus was if they let him go. 

What goes up . . .

If Jesus had not ascended, neither would have the church’s mission. Jesus ascends so that his Spirit can descend, indwell us, and send us out. 

Jesus sets the pattern. He left the world to be more fully in the world. The King must be seated on his throne to rule his kingdom. 

We ascend to Mt Zion, and partake of the heavenly feast so that we can take that nourishment into the world. 

So Send I You

This is the rhythm of Christian community, the rhythm of our liturgy which moves us inexorably forward to the altar and then sends us out to the world. 

We say of a person confused, “They don’t know whether they’re coming or going.” We do. We are not confused. We come and we go with a sense of purpose. 

This is the impetus of Souls on Mission, which we all are. Wherever we go. Whatever we do. We recognize, affirm and celebrate the good work God is already doing among us and through us, as the Holy Spirit prompts us to help others in need. 

God’s Good Work

One of these good works is Hawthorne House, which is dedicated to helping vulnerable young women enter into the rhythm of community as they transition from dependence to independent life. These women come. They are cared for. They grow toward independence. And they go.

Doug and Sara Zimmerman and their children live in community with these young women, providing support and a sense of family and belonging. In this audio recording, Annemarie Zimmerman gives her perspective on life at Hawthorne House:

We invite you to listen!