This weekend, Willie and I attended the Princeton University Commencement Program. The commencement was soaked in an air of cheers and wonder. New beginnings were awaiting all of the excited students, whose anticipation was flowing not calmly-no! Rather like the raging waters of Niagara Falls.
“You did it!” could be heard far and wide from proud voices of families along with cheery tears. Students waited eagerly for the pronouncement of completion and the ceremonial flip of the tassels. Enthusiastic family and friends watched and listened for ethereal cries of joy.
Graduation and commencement ceremonies hold such a special place in our society. People always smile at the thought of success through graduations. It brings that feeling of euphoria. It is almost unexplainable when we come to an end that opens doors to new beginnings.
It reminded me of Mary when she arrived back at Jesus’ Tomb where earlier she had screamed and ran her hardest to tell the disciples that they had stolen her Lords’ body! Mary was truly upset because she understood the end, and had not gotten a glimpse of the glorious beginning. When Jesus, who was standing at the tomb, called to her, “Mary,” she turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). With unbridled excitement, her tears turned from sadness to joy and from the end to a commencement. A new beginning for the world.
Mary was the first to receive instructions by Jesus after His resurrection. She was to deliver the word that Jesus is alive. This is what Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.” (John 20:11-18 NIV).
Christ rising from the dead, the resurrection, has opened the door to a time of Grace. Mankind’s’ sins being forgiven and saved by Grace. (“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—” Ephesians 2:8 NIV). It is the time where we once again can come before our Lord as ask for forgiveness of sins. We have a clean spirit. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
The unspeakable joy felt by the disciples, the witnesses in the town, the many ancient texts that were written about Jesus’ resurrection speak to The Commencement. When Jesus returns, may we all graduate in the second coming.
Pastors Willie McIntosh III and J. Rochelle McIntosh
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