“Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”
In this week’s Gospel, the disciples seem very confused, even distraught, when Jesus says he will be leaving to prepare a place for them in his Father’s house. They do not understand, and how are we to blame them, when Jesus enigmatically speaks of being “the way and the truth and the life.” At this point in John’s gospel, Jesus is moving towards the Cross and Resurrection, and he wants to prepare his closest friends, his disciples, for this new reality. And here, near the end, we can hear Jesus’ frustration as Thomas and Philip question him. We hear his exasperation: “How do you NOT know who I am by now? I have been showing you the way for so long.”
The disciples, however, do not want talk of the way, they want Jesus. They want the feeling of when they were called on the seashore, dropping their nets to follow him, to know life and joy and love. Jesus is talking of leaving, and they are lost and afraid.
We identify so much with the disciples in our time of loss and uncertainty. Our world has been turned upside down, upended, and we are afraid. Deaths from COVID-19 grow each day and millions have lost their jobs. We know people who work in healthcare, our friends and family who have seen up close the effects of this pandemic. They hug their children goodbye and go off to fight this disease, only to return home worried that they might infect their family. Our parents are aging, and if this terrible disease would come for them, would we be able to go to them, to hold and comfort them? We are half-way through an Easter without a Resurrection and Jesus, the Christ, seems to have left.
But is Christ really so far from us? The way that Jesus speaks of is very close and simple. We need but look within, believe that God is now here in every moment, and remember. We all can remember back to those moments in our lives when this reality was present to us.
Nazareth Farm is that moment, that place where the way seems evident and clear, and Christ is vividly present. We walk the misty road in the morning watching the creek meander out of the holler and the white church standing vigilantly on the hill. We hear laughter and song echo out of the O’Connor room windows at night as we walk back to the staff house satisfied with the day. Christ is present here. Christ is present in our community friends, homeowners, neighbors, and volunteers. Christ is present in the long drives, the food shared, and the conversations taken. We know Christ here. We know Christ in the long sips of tea on Mary Sandora’s front porch drinking in her wisdom and in the warm embraces of a welcome home hug.
Why then do we question the way? Why is it that we forget the clarity and connection we know at Nazareth Farm? This week let us remember. Let us remember, in our troubles and sorrow, doubts and fears, that the way is simple, rooted in us, and we can walk it with surety. The way, the only way, is Love.
By Angie Moloney and Bill Alt, past director, staff member, and board member