Not Just a Day

Easter egg hunt 2017We celebrated Resurrection Sunday recently through a morning filled with special times — a shared breakfast, prayer and fellowship time, Easter worship service, and an egg hunt for the kids. After church, some enjoyed rest, others spent time with family or friends, still others went out to appreciate the beauty of nature. It was a lovely Easter Sunday.

And it’s not over yet! In the traditional Christian calendar, Easter is not just a day, nor even a week, but an entire season that starts on Resurrection Sunday and continues for fifty days until Pentecost, when we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church. So it can be said that today is not simply the Sunday after Easter, but the second Sunday of Easter.

One of the lectionary texts for today is John 20:19-31.  At this point in the story, Jesus had been crucified and then was raised to life again after three days. Mary Magdalene encountered him at the tomb and was very surprised to find him alive, and she went to tell the disciples. And yet, just a few verses later we find the disciples together in a room, with the doors locked because of their fear. And yet again, Jesus shows up.

Why were they hiding? I’d like to say they were being foolish in hiding away, but I imagine I’d have been right there with them. Imagine the emotional roller coaster they’d been on — the excitement of entering Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna!”, the anger of an unfair trial, the despair of the crucifixion, the uncertainty about the empty tomb, the fear of those who had orchestrated the death of their leader. But then Jesus shows up, as Jesus does, and their hope is resurrected.

Except for Thomas, who was not with the rest of them, and proclaimed, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” And I love Jesus’ response. He met Thomas where he was, and offered himself — not an idea or an argument, but himself in person — as evidence. Interestingly, after Thomas’s earlier declaration, we don’t see him taking Jesus up on the offer of his nail-scarred hands. He simply responded to the person of Jesus, the One he knew: “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus isn’t afraid of our questions. He provides enough to meet our needs, then makes space for us to step toward him in faith.

Happy Easter!

— Pastor Debi