These are my thoughts for the 3rd Sunday of Easter, 26 April 2020 (Year A). Even when you normally work from home as we do, things can get piled up, pushed around, and buried on the desktop. And that later point is a fairly good trick when your desktop is your computer screen.
I think that the Gospel reading came at a time when there is talk about getting out of the house. We certainly would like to be outside, especially as the weather gets warmer and we begin to see the changes in the world that tell us spring is arriving (you all can post photos of the flowers blooming in your garden if you want.).
I sometimes think that we feel that we have a better chance of being with God if we are outside. We sing of being in the garden alone with him or seeing all that is there as “Our Father’s World”.
And we are, perhaps, getting a little tired of staying inside. It is okay to stay inside when it is winter and the weather is hardly conducive to rambling walks in the garden or forest. It is getting warmer and the days are getting longer. There is something inside us that says we must go outside; we must be with others.
It hurts when we cannot be with others; it hurts when we see people we know suffering and we cannot do a single thing to comfort them.
But common sense, that intuitive nature about life that we were given by God, tells us that perhaps now is not that time.
From the moment we began our own journey with Christ, we have known that we must set aside a time and place where we are with Him. Many years ago, I was wandering the campgrounds of Perkins Scout Reservation north of Wichita Falls, Texas. In this wandering, I came across a clearing with a tree stump in the middle. On that tree stump was a hawk, resting, I suppose, from his day’s labors. There was something about that image that gave me a sense of calm.
Four years later, I would find another tree stump, this one on the edge of the campus of NE Missouri State Teachers College. I was there to begin another part of my journey and on those days when the journey seemed a bit rocky, I knew that I could come to that place on campus to once again find my focus.
I do not know if that clearing on the campgrounds is still there. I know that work on the sidewalk took out the tree stump but the spot is still there. Still, I cannot go to those places of focus but they are imagines in my mind and I can use those images to help me refocus.
There is evidence to suggest that Isaac Newton came up with his ideas about motion and gravity during a period when the bubonic plaque had closed Oxford University and he had returned to the family farm. While there is no evidence to suggest that a falling apple was the impetus for his thoughts of motion and gravity, he was able to envision the experiment and its results. Similarly, the evidence suggests that much of Shakespeare’s works were done during periods of plaque that had closed the theaters of London, forcing the Bard to return home to a more contemplative mode.
These are “our falling apple moments”; times when the way we would like to focus has been take away from us and we find it necessary to find a new way.
In this way, we remember that our journey with Christ continues. In these moments of quiet reflection and solitude, we can refocus our lives. When the time comes that we can journey out into the world once again, we will be refreshed and able others to continue or begin their journey.