Christ is risen, the tomb is empty!
I’m thinking today of Thomas, who was off performing his duties as the disciples’ designated shopper when the resurrected Jesus showed up and showed them his hands and feet, and they beheld the glory of God while he was away.
Ever feel like that? The most amazing things happen to my friends, but I always miss it! With Thomas, we hear the good news and the bad news at the same time: “Jesus was here! And…you missed it.” How can we rejoice when everything is still locked away? The tomb is empty…
Now begins the resurrected life, the life of waiting. This life is one marked by an attempted return to normalcy even as we, like the disciples, are still behind our locked doors “for fear of”. For the disciples it was for fear of the group who crucified Jesus in the first place. For us, it’s for fear of “teh Rona” as I’ve taken to calling it on social media, but the fear has been every bit as real.
For Fear Of
“For fear of” isn’t something that binds us up only during teh Rona. I bet I’m not alone in finding myself locked tight behind my doors for fear of in frustrating ways throughout my life: for fear of embarrassment; for fear of disappointing my family, friends, coworkers, or congregational partners in ministry. For fear of being thought a fraud. Or, terror of terrors, knowing that I talk a lot and just can’t help myself… but what if I’m boring while I do it?
I lock myself behind pastoral privilege to keep me secure in that one because people have survived boring preachers for generations. Thank goodness that cellphone screens can dim, and bowing our heads to sneak a peek looks reverent in church! (Thought we pastors weren’t wise to that one, did you?)
More on point, we join the disciples behind locked doors knowing that the truth is the same for us as it was for them: we just aren’t enough on our own to tackle the outsized problems that life slings our way. That’s the dirty little secret of adulthood, we’re never quite enough and we know it. And it sometimes seems like when God does show up, we were out shopping and just missed it.
And once again, we find ourselves staring at the back side of a locked door wondering whether Jesus can get back in to find us like he seems to be finding everyone else.
Can Jesus even get to me behind this door?
In my “for fear of”, sometimes I worry I’m out of even his reach.
But Jesus isn’t fazed by locks on doors or hearts.
But Jesus didn’t forget Thomas.
But Jesus has heard our fears, doubts, and sins; our wonderings, griefs, and secret shames. Over the gnashing of teeth behind our homemade cloth masks, Jesus has heard it all. All of it. We’re locked away from every single thing for fear of all of it, but Jesus…
Jesus shows up.
Jesus shows up with the Divine Invitation right when we’re in the deepest part of the pit and lying in the grave of our despair. Right when we need him most, Jesus joins us in the tomb to dwell with us there until we’re ready for Jesus to empty that tomb too; until the dried out bones of our grief can stand to bear flesh once more.
Jesus shows up.
Alleluia, Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed, Alleluia!
Grace & Peace,