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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Today’s Reading | John 20:24–31 

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. (NRSV)

Have you ever wondered why Thomas wasn’t with the rest of the disciples when Jesus appeared to them? It had been such a big event. The resurrected Christ had blown right through the closed doors of the room. He showed them his wounds, breathed the peace that passes all understanding on them, and commissioned them. If I had missed that, I would have spent a fair amount of time berating myself. And I probably would have dismissed the excitement of the others, doubted it, simply to protect myself so that I wouldn’t feel so bad about missing something so important.
Thomas missed Easter. I assume he had been with the others on Good Friday, but when the resurrected Christ appeared in that room the first time, Thomas missed it. The fact is, we all missed that first Easter. None of us were there. And at some level, just like Thomas, we carry around this internal doubt. How does it make sense? Could it have really happened? Are these other people a bit crazy?
The part of the story that brings me to tears is that Jesus graciously came again to that same house. This time Thomas was there, and Jesus invited Thomas to touch his wounds, to see for himself.

We all missed that first Easter, but over the centuries Jesus has continued to come into our lives, one by one, with his mark on experiences we can touch and see and with the gift of a peace that passes all understanding. When this happens, we can’t physically see him or touch him, but we know it—or at least we have a gut sense of it. We all missed that first Easter. But Jesus keeps showing up with the words, “Do not doubt but believe.”

Gracious Spirit of the Living God, remind me that you keep appearing in our wounded lives and doubtful hearts. When I sense your presence and when you invite me to touch and see for myself, allow me to take you up on the offer and then fall to my knees in gratitude, saying “My Lord and my God.” Amen.

Written by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care

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