Reflection for the Third Sunday of Easter, May 1, 2022 by Mary Lou Edgar.
“Just after daybreak Jesus stood on the beach, but the disciples did not
know that it was Jesus.” –John 21:4
Can I Change?
Easter is such an emotional time. Lent has ended, we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, and I get all sorts of sorts of ideas about how I can be a better person.
Like new year’s resolutions, I have Easter resolutions. Each year I try to look honestly at myself during Lent so I will feel somewhat renewed when I get to Easter. Today I received a beautiful reading from a friend of mine written by Steve Garnaas-Holmes. It spoke of the many people who saw Jesus after the Resurrection and did not realize who he was. The question is asked, “Why didn’t they recognize him? Because he’d been changed.” The writer then stated: Resurrection isn’t “coming back to life,” it’s going on to a new life. It’s transformation. In the Gospel we read about how the disciples reacted when Mary reported to them that Jesus had risen. They were afraid. They didn’t believe it. They had heard about it, but it hadn’t changed them yet.
There is much more to this wonderful piece but what struck me was the idea of real change. If I could change something, what would it be. Of course, there are many things, but I had to narrow it down. I came to see that it would be the idea of gratitude. I struggle with gratitude. Often, when things are going well, I am very grateful. Other times, not so much. The last six weeks since our daughter became ill, have been stressful. Much of the time I was feeling frightened and overwhelmed. I remind myself to be grateful and, after some time of prayer, I feel it. I feel my gratitude and know it is a gift. I am grateful for this beautiful life God entrusted to me many years ago, and the joy she has brought to so many. I am grateful for the beautiful Easter we shared as a family at the rehabilitation center where she is healing. I am grateful for the progress she is making. I am grateful for all the beautiful people – so many who are members of this church – who have offered help and assurance to our family.
In the First Reading this Sunday, Saul (who later becomes Paul) is struck down by a strong light, which blinds him. When he asked what this was, Jesus spoke to him saying that Saul was persecuting him and needed to stop. As we know, Saul made some big changes in his life after that!
Changes can also be small. Some years ago, I planted a few mini daffodils in my yard. Each year there are more of them. They have grown, they have spread, and they are beautiful. They have changed. It is wonderful to consider that we too can change and bloom. I would like to think I could be grateful for all changes. But, as I think about it, I wonder how many of us would have recognized Jesus on that beach. I’m not at all sure I would have.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Lou Edgar, MSS, is a clinical social worker who founded A Better Chance for Our Children, an adoption and foster care agency that works to find permanent homes for children in the foster care system. Mary Lou was the Executive Director of ABCFOC, but she is now retired. She graduated from Neumann University and Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research. She and her husband joined SsAM in 2021.