Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 April
This weekend is Saturday the 27th and Sunday the 28th of April, beginning the second week of Easter.
The Kyiv Chamber Choir, sing the Credo: “I believe in one God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” As I start this prayer today, can I join in with this strong, almost exuberant expression of faith? Can I begin by declaring my faith in my God, my creator, my heavenly Father?
The resurrection that we celebrate in this Easter season is a central tenet of the Christian faith. Yet the resurrection can be difficult. It can pose intellectual difficulties for us, perhaps theological difficulties too, and quite probably imaginative difficulties too if we try to picture what it was like, or what the risen Jesus was like. Over the last week, as we have contemplated these resurrection scenes, how have you felt yourself reacting to them? Did any of these “difficulties” crop up? If so, how did you deal with them? What difference did it make to place yourself in those scenes and imagine what it was like to be there? Did you notice any change in your feelings over the course of the week? Did you become more comfortable, or less comfortable with the resurrection? – more willing, or less willing, to talk about it to others? We hear about Thomas’s first reaction to the news of the resurrection in this reading from the Gospel of John.
“I want to see the evidence.” It’s a perfectly normal human reaction, isn’t it, to being told something that seems extraordinary, unexpected, difficult to believe? – to want to see the evidence for yourself and not rely on the accounts and the judgements of others. If you were Thomas, not having seen the risen Jesus for yourself, but hearing these reports from the other disciples, do you imagine yourself reacting the same way, or differently? What might you have said?
What’s interesting is that Thomas is not condemned for his famous doubts – not even reproached. Rather, Jesus gives him exactly the evidence he asked for. If you thought that, in Thomas’s place, you might have expressed similar doubts to his, how do you feel about the way Jesus meets him on his own terms here?
As you hear the passage again, put yourself in Thomas’s place. Listen to Jesus speaking directly to you, and when he invites you, put your finger in the mark of the nails in his hands, and place your hand in his side.
What do you want to say now to Jesus, who went through all of this so that, through believing, you may have life?