Project Canterbury

Locust Street Letters

By Frank Lawrence Vernon

Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.




During the Forty Days of Eastertide, the Disciples had the supreme satisfaction of seeing Our Lord, with their bodily eyes, and of hearing His voice with their bodily ears. But it was only for forty days. And it was only for them. Our Lord had told them that they would not always have this particular satisfaction. He had told them that He would go His way to Him that sent Him. This had made them very sorrowful. Our Lord knew how they were feeling. He went on to explain that it was expedient for them that He should go away. He said that if He did not go, the Comforter would not come. He promised that if He went He would send the Comforter. The Comforter, He explained, would be the Spirit of truth who would guide them into all truth. From the Holy Ghost they would learn the whole truth, only a part of which they had learned in the midst of the first glad surprise of the Resurrection. The Holy Ghost would give to them the sense of the Presence of their Lord and Master. He would give to them the sense of union with Him, so that they would go on in a perfectly satisfying discipleship. They had enjoyed the bodily sight of Him. They would go on in the enjoyment of a much fuller Communion with Him. It would be for all the disciples who would come after them to enjoy this conscious discipleship in its full Communion.

They had been blessed with the special privilege of bodily vision. It had been made very easy for them. For those who would never see Him as they had seen Him, for those whom the Spirit of truth would lead into the new vision of Him, there would be reserved a special blessing. This special blessing would be the reward of faith. The joy of the disciples, during the Forty Days of Eastertide, had been a sensible joy. It had been a joy produced by their sense of sight and hearing and touch. They were to be led to something beyond sensible joy. They were to know the meaning of spiritual joy, which is quite above and independent of sensible joy.

After the Holy Ghost came, they were given this spiritual joy. They rose above mere sensible joy. On this higher plane Christians have lived ever since.

Each year in mid-Eastertide we need to be reminded of this. And we need to remember it all through the year. We are human and we cannot help longing for the sight of Our Lord and the sound of His voice. We cannot help wishing for sensible contact with Him. We are so dull spiritually. We would like to see, and we can't. We would like to hear, and we can't. There is so much waiting. It is the waiting that we mind most of all.

It is just at this point that we escape from the senses. The Holy Ghost comes to our help. He guards our union, deep down below the senses. He prays for the things we cannot pray for. He gives the peace which passes understanding. We in this our own Easter have a blessing all our own.

Affectionately in Our Lord,

Project Canterbury