Often when I ask assisted living residents for prayer requests I hear longings for physical healing. “I would just like to get out of this wheelchair and walk again,” one might say, or “For my back to heal so I can get around without this walker.” But truthfully, wheelchairs and walkers may be a part of their reality as long as they tarry on this earth.
So how can we encourage elders we know to look beyond their physical limitations to see the opportunities they still have to move through the world making a difference? Especially now during their increased isolation due to the pandemic? At Easter we can encourage those who believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the promise of eternal life for those who believe, to share this Good News with others.
I love the stories in the Bible of women running with good news. The Samaritan woman at the well ran back to her village after encountering Jesus. John 4:28 states: Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”
And of course there’s Mary Magdalene that first Easter morning. She, too, encounters Jesus, but she doesn’t recognize him at first. John 20:15-16 reads: “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabonni!” (which means Teacher).
Jesus tells Mary Magdalene to go and tell the others that He has risen, and will soon be returning to His father in heaven. John 20:18 tells us: Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” Surely she ran as fast as her sandaled feet could carry her.
Maybe the older people we know can no longer run to deliver good news, but they can still deliver it. Encourage those who believe to share what they know, and to explain who the risen Lord is to them, with others this Easter. Help them to see beyond their physical limitations to the amazing life-giving force that is still within them. Encourage them to figuratively leave their wheelchairs and walkers behind and “run” with the Good News of Easter!
Revised from an article first published in Pikes Peak Senior News, Spring 2020.