Thursday, 28 April 2011

Easter 2 thoughts so far...

It's a funny old week - with Holidays Monday & Friday.
Here are my thoughts so far about
John 20: 19-31
1 Peter 1: 3-9


I am grateful to a fellow blogger for bringing my attention to this story
here

“There is a widely told story about Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island, who suffered ill health as a child. One night the nurse found him up, out of bed, with his nosed pressed against the window. ‘Come here, child,’ she said to him, ‘you’ll catch your death of cold.’ But he wouldn’t budge. Instead he sat, mesmerized, watching a lamplighter slowly working his way through the black night, lighting each gas street light along his route. Pointing to him, Robert said,
‘See, look there; there’s a man poking holes in the darkness.’”

And so my theme for this week has to be ‘poking holes in the darkness’.

Just 2 days after all the joy of Easter Sunday, on Tuesday, I had to lead a funeral for a 41 year old dance teacher. The church was full, the congregation were largely younger people – including quite a number of Sam’s former pupils, and friends of her 16 year old daughter. Emotions were high, as you would expect – and suddenly it seemed that the message of Easter Sunday was more important than ever. My task at that funeral was to help people to give thanks to God for Sam’s life, but also to ‘poke holes in the darkness’ and talk about the promise of Jesus that ‘where I am, there you will be also’. Since Jesus is alive, we can reasonably hope that Sam, too, is alive. This doesn’t take away the grief, but I believe it pokes some holes of the light of hope in the darkness of grieving.

In our gospel reading today, Thomas is not with the others when the risen Jesus first appears to them. So they excitedly tell him "We have seen the Lord.".
But he wants to poke holes in their argument: ‘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." .
I find it hard to criticise Thomas for his doubts – he is of course being perfectly reasonable in thinking that Jesus, who was dead, will remain dead: this is what normally happens. This is the darkness of the reality of death.

But then Jesus appears a second time, and confronts Thomas with the hope of resurrection life. This doesn’t just poke holes in Thomas’ darkness, it dispels it utterly, and Thomas the doubter becomes Thomas who “gets it” as he proclaims ‘my Lord and my God’.

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