Resurrection

Second Sunday of Easter: Acts 5: 27-32; Psalm 150; Revelation 1:4-8; John 20-19-31

This Sunday is one of the Sundays where we get the same reading each year: on the second Sunday of Easter, we hear the story of Thomas: doubting Thomas, as he is often known. I suspect I am not alone in having a soft spot in my heart for Thomas, who gives all of us permission to ask questions, to talk about what we sometimes can’t believe because we can’t understand.

Every Sunday, we say the creed: we affirm belief. But I know from conversations with many people over the years that there are things that almost all of us have trouble with. The Resurrection is high on the list. What exactly do we mean by it? how do we understand it? The story of Thomas reminds us that such questions go back to the time right after it all happened. Thomas needs to see Jesus to believe the stories he has heard.

I don’t think that when the disciples talked about seeing the risen Christ, he was back like he was before the crucifixion. In today’s gospel, the first time Jesus appears to the disciples, he enters a room whose doors are locked; the next week, he enters again, “although the doors were shut”. Other Resurrection appearances are equally strange: on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) Jesus appears walking next to the two men, but as soon as they recognize him, he disappears. Jesus is embodied after the Resurrection, enough for Thomas to feel his hands and his side; but he is able to move through doors and appear and disappear in mysterious ways.

The Resurrection is something new. It’s not the world we know. We are constantly trying to learn what this mystery means. If, like Thomas, we are sometimes confused and asking questions, it’s not surprising. We are waiting, Paul tells us, for a “new heaven and a new earth” (2 Peter 3:13). There are moments when the shape of that new heaven and new earth are clear. The other moments, when the outlines are vague, are times when I am reassured by Thomas’s questions, reminded that I’m trying to understand something outside my experience.

One thought on “Resurrection”

  1. As I read this I felt all those lose strings of questioning that seem to creep back with day to day life, removed and ‘hearing ‘am secure, edifying the soul I needed so very much today. Thank you for your Resurrection Day message not heard before from this perspective, I m very grateful for your service.

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