Ruth Everhart is a Presbyterian pastor and author who, this week in The Christian Century, described the difficulty, frustration, and pain of trying to communicate with her aging mother who was confined to her room in a senior care facility during these disrupted days.
They had been talking daily on FaceTime, but since her mother's birthday happened to fall on Good Friday, Ruth had the vision of connecting her mother with the whole family over the Easter weekend by Zoom technology. Her mother grew up during the Great Depression and had been bearing up well, but she couldn't comprehend the new language of "icons" and "apps" and "links." Ruth Everhart said that the hours she spent struggling to establish this new connection with her mother turned out to be as sacred as any she had ever spent on Good Friday.
I read the article with interest as the elderly have been much on my mind these weeks, but then Ruth said something that struck me as absolutely profound. She said, "This pandemic has been teaching me something I had never quite been able to learn: the limits of words and the limitlessness of faith."
I haven't been able to get that off of my mind since I first read it. Isn't that true? And isn't it a fitting description, not only of our response to the current pandemic, but also of our response to the experience of the Easter season? When we linger in the stillness of Easter morning and ponder the significance of the empty tomb, we run headlong into the limit of words, and the limitlessness of faith.
We currently find ourselves caught in something entirely too large for us to comprehend. Imagine for a moment the experience of the women and the disciples early that resurrection morning, peering with disbelief into the empty tomb. The scope of that experience was beyond what they could ever have conceived. There likely were no words. But their faith grew beyond any recognizable earthly or mortal bounds.
That's what happens when you experience the limits of words and the limitlessness of faith.