thoughts and observations on the daily readings
Saturday of the Third Week of Easter
Readings may be found here
Have you been making your bed every day in lockdown? I chuckled when I read those words in the passage from Acts. Peter spoke that command to Aeneas as a demonstration that after eight years, Aeneas was fully healed of his paralysis. I read this and thought sheepishly of my own temptation to slip from daily discipline in the lockdown.
On a deeper level, I find the imagery in this passage moving in our context. Here we have a paralyzed man returned to health and even a dead woman brought to life. The disciples in the early Church were doing the work of the Lord Jesus, in His Name and by His Grace. That imagery brings my mind to the images of the folks rising from hospital beds and being celebrated as they return home to family and friends, of nurses and doctors and so many others getting up from their beds and going to work with such courage and effectiveness, of so many others staying on watch and on the job, of others come alive with passion and compassion to help neighbors and the community. The work of the Lord - cherishing, protecting, healing, and raising up life - is on display all around us.
This week I asked a pastor who is recovering from Covid 19 about his parish social ministry. Many parishes have struggled to help the hungry as so many of our volunteers are older and vulnerable. He moved me deeply when he told me that their children and grandkids and young neighbors had begun showing up to take on the work of receiving, sorting, preparing, and distributing food to the hungry. I imagine that many of those young people were not much for church before and here they are “rising up” like Tabitha to a new kind of life.
At the conclusion of the Bread of Life Discourse, Jesus describes His message as “spirit and life.” Peter echoes this truth: Lord to Whom shall we go, You have the words of eternal life!” This Peter, who struggles so much in his life of discipleship has a moment of the deepest insight. He sees in this moment the truth that will lift him up and heal his paralysis.
There are so many challenges right now. In particular, we continue to pray for those who are sick and all those around the world facing dire struggles for medical assistance, food, and employment. While it might not be the greatest of challenges, we are also feeling the effects of confinement, isolation, and uncertainty. In the midst of that struggle is the very moment to know the power of the Lord Jesus to raise us up and to remove our paralysis - to bring us to life in ways we may not have expected. So get up, make your bed, and live in the light and freedom of the children of God!