Peter, James and John accompany Jesus up the mountain today and witness a shocking event. We are told this is six days after Jesus has predicted his own torture and death, having to rebuke Peter for trying to hush him up. At the end of this mountain-side event, Mark tells us "Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus."
Today, in Holy Women, Holy Men, we remember and honor Anskar who died in 845. He laid the groundwork in Scandinavia for the church to grow and prosper, although his work didn't take root and begin to flourish until a hundred years after his death. HWHM tells us that "Anskar is looked upon by Scandinavians as their apostle" for building schools and creating missions with little support or financial resources.
Anskar answered God's call to spread this news about Jesus, and although he was frustrated by the events that swirled around his world at that time, Anskar stayed focused on the one whose call he was following. His is a life that illumines an important part of of our individual faith journeys. So often we do not see the fruit born from our faithful tending of the fields, and this can be frustrating and wearing on us. It is natural and expected for us to want to see those results. Many times, God's time turns out to be very different from our own understanding of time. God's scope of vision is different than our impatient demand for results, now. The Collect for Anskar says in part:
you sent your servant Anskar as an apostle to the people of Scandinavia, and enabled him to lay a firm foundation for their conversion, though he did not see the results of his labors: Keep your Church from discouragement in the day of small things, knowing that when you have begun a good work you will bring it to a fruitful conclusion
Much like those three confused apostles walking down the mountain-side with Jesus today, we need to remember in those times of frustration and disappointment and confusion, when there appear to be road blocks to our self-defined success, that our work of creating the kingdom bears unknown fruit well beyond our imaginings and our sight and knowledge. We need to stay focused on the truth of our faith, and that when we may feel alone, or it appears that our efforts may seem to bear no fruit, our faithfulness needs to remain only with Jesus, and not anything or anyone else. This may not seem like enough, but it is.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.