Written in the context of the Gospel for Sunday, April 24th, Luke 24: 36b-48.
In this 24th chapter of Luke’s Gospel, the writer is recounting the story of one of Jesus’ early appearances to his disciples after his death and resurrection. It has been a horrific time for each of Jesus’ followers: a time of gut-wrenching loss in the person of their Lord Jesus in such a painful, dehumanizing, public way; a time of fear for their own lives and anxiety over what would happen to them without His presence with them. In this time of deep darkness for His disciples, Jesus appears to them uttering the words, “Peace be with you.” They have seen Him suffer and die on the cross. They have seen that last breath, that spear stab in His side. Yet here He is with them, bringing them peace! How can it be He? Certainly not in His earthly flesh. Yet He shows them the wounds in His hands and feet. To assure them further of His presence in the flesh, He eats a piece of broiled fish with them. Only then, when Jesus has assured them He is truly with them, speaking to them, does He begin to explain that what has happened in these seemingly terrible days has, in fact, led to the miracle of God’s forgiveness of their sins as was ordained in Scripture.
This has led me to think about how, in the turmoil of the last 13 to 14 months, Jesus has been with us at the Terrace in so many ways. What thoughts I share with you now have come from some of our fellow residents.
One has seen this time as an opportunity to pray for others more often, to read books that have helped her grow spiritually. It has been a wonderful time to experience and grow in the love of Jesus.
Another resident appreciates the time we have had to get to know each other and to become family in the absence of distractions from the outside.
Yet another has always turned to God to take care of her, has always felt His presence, has always felt precious in His sight. She continues to look to God as her guide. His presence has kept her from being fearful during the past year.
Two other residents say that to experience new life, we must be willing to die to the old life, to make the changes that free and open us to those possibilities God has waiting for us. We must have the courage to step out of what needs to die in us to step into new life. We cannot do this without removing that which blocks us from the new life. We must have patience to see what God has planned next for us. Resurrection/Easter is a season to do this.
Another resident quoted the title of one of his favorite books, Priests for Each Other. To him, this title says it all. We have had, indeed, an unusual opportunity to do this for each other.
Yet another resident says that this time has made her aware of the various ways her friends and we have had to live—all of us are being required to adjust; that, in itself, unites us.
Finally, one of our residents has been encouraged and heartened by the many flowers, trees, and shades of green that have been right here on our grounds at the Terrace. She and her husband have had, also, time to watch courses on DVD about creation billions of years ago that died millennia ago, that are just now visible to us—truly a miracle!
In sum, we at the Terrace have been sequestered for months at a time. We still wear masks in our halls and when we go out. However, we have had the great gift of having each other, including a wonderful staff who have gone way beyond what is required to keep us fed, entertained, living in clean surroundings, and happy—often at risk to their own health. We have had the time to do things we might not otherwise have done, to see those things we might otherwise have missed in nature and in each other, and in God’s love and care for us. The Lord has risen; the Lord has risen, indeed, in this and all seasons. Alleluia!
by Margaret Jackson, resident of St. Anne’s Terrace