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." - John 20
So, the Cadbury Eggs are either on sale at pennies on the dollar, or they're all eaten, or they're hidden behind the asparagus fern, only to be found after they've gone stale. Easter is over, right?
Not so fast. We read in John's Gospel of the disciples, still huddled behind locked doors. They are frightened and, we can imagine, still mightily confused about what happened when the body of their beloved friend Jesus vanished. Some of them had seen him reappear; some had not. But whether they had seen him or not, they didn't understand.
"Oh, how could they be so obtuse?" we wonder. "Isn't it obvious that everything has now changed, that all is well in the Kindom of God now that this blessed miracle has taken place? Come on you folks," we urge. "Gentleness has triumphed over death. Can't you see that?"
But Easter continues, in part because this resurrection is not only confusing and even unbelievable; it is transformative. And we don't really want to be transformed. Ugly and broken as our world is, we know its landscape pretty well, and we've got our standard responses and reactions to its betrayals pretty well figured out. We still see the bad guys as our primary worry. We still respond to violence with more violence. We still slip into cynicism and hopelessness - even when we dress it up with wry humor and clever phrases that signal our resignation to same-old-sameness..
It takes good time to absorb how things have changed. It takes time to figure out how to unlock the doors behind which we hide, afraid to throw open the door and live into the light. Others aren't living into that light; we can still see that. Why should we? Or, how should we?
Thomas, unfortunately now labeled "The Doubter", won't believe the miracle until he sees it himself. When we call out his doubting, we call out our own selves. Either we examine our doubts honestly and faithfully, or we lug them around like a big rock tied around our necks and pretend the rock isn't there. This, of course, works really well...
Doubt and faith in the same sentence? This isn't what we learned in Sunday School. Maybe that's part of why so many wise and thoughtful people have walked away from those simplistic, all-wrapped-up lessons they were taught - the ones that told us that, if we didn't believe wholeheartedly and unquestioningly, there was something wrong with us. That we were - or are - unworthy.
William Sloan Coffin once wrote, "As I see it, the primary religious task these days is to try to think straight….You can't think straight with a heart full of fear, for fear seeks safety, not truth." Faith may be, finally, about truth; but it's really about searching for truth. We find it not as much BY looking for it, but IN looking for it.
And that's why, even after the Easter eggs are gone, or going stale, we keep on with Easter. So, we worship together and keep wondering, "How might we really unlock those doors? And what manner of joy and hop lives beyond those doors?"
Following worship, we'll share a time of refreshment and fellowship. Please join us. There is SOO much to talk about. Your wisdom - and doubts - are needed.
Eastertide Sabbath blessings-