Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER, 1936.
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
Last Sunday, The Octave of Easter, we were thinking in church of Our Lord’s appearance to the eleven disciples assembled in the room, the doors being shut. Saint Thomas was present, making the eleventh. After this appearance, Saint John tells us, “Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberius: and on this wise shewed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, we also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately: and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it in for the multitude of the fishes. Therefore the disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord.”
We disciples who are keeping Eastertide in 1936 came to the Altar on Easter Day to see and worship and receive the Risen Lord, when it was yet very early. Then we returned to praise “for the glorious Resurrection of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord: for He is the very Paschal Lamb, which was offered for us, and hath taken away the sin of the world: who by His death hath destroyed death, and by His rising to life again hath restored to us everlasting life.”
Since Easter Day we have gone on in the glad observance of the Great Forty Days which will reach the climax on Ascension Day. Then we shall wait for Pentecost. Forty Days of praise and glory. The Liturgy reminds us that we are lauding and magnifying the glorious Name, with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven. We need the Angels to help us keep this Festival. It is comforting to remember that they are helping us.
On Easter Monday we remembered that we were but men. We all went back to work again. Out in the world Easter Monday was only another Monday. Just the first work day of another work week. The same old duties. They were no easier. The same old environment. It was no different. The same old discouragements. We came to the church whenever we could. An early Communion whenever it was possible. But it was difficult to arrange, for daily schedules were not elastic. A visit to pray and to make a meditation when we could. But the days left us little time for anything except the day’s work. Perhaps we were disheartened. The glow of Easter devotion may have dimmed a little between Sundays. Worship may have seemed to be a luxury denied to us to some extent. And work may have seemed a drudgery.
It is just at this stage that we need encouragement. It is just in this experience of the first disciples that we find it They went back to ordinary work. And in ordinary work they saw the Lord. They were glad again.
We are not Angels. We are humans. We have human work. Work is not often heroic or dramatic. It is just ordinary work. Sometimes after we have finished it, it seems unimportant. We only discover how important a commonplace work is when we neglect it. A neglected, unimportant work is a matter of serious importance. Who hasn’t learned that? I think that we also have learned that the blessing attached to a required daily schedule of work is that it ensures our being in the right place at the right time all through the day. It is in these right places, wherever they are, that we may always see Jesus standing on the shore.
Affectionately in Our Lord,