Found by Resurrection?
This year, I am starting Eastertide reluctantly. I want to stay in Lent, which feels like a more appropriate season for rest and withdrawing. I don’t quite feel ready for resurrection, not yet.
And I am starting Eastertide full of sympathy for Thomas, who has a lead role in this week’s Gospel passage from John. The disciples, we are told, have gathered in a room, where they have locked their doors for fear of the Jewish religious authorities. They are hiding after Jesus has died, and their hopes – for a revolution, a transformation, a fulfillment of prophecies – have been dashed, or so they think.
Imagining myself there, in that room, the first word that comes to mind is “safe”. The locked room would probably feel like one small, certain measure of safety in a violent and chaotic world. Right now, when we in fact need to stay inside, I am even more primed to think of being inside, being locked in, as safe.
Suddenly, regardless of the locked door, Jesus appears. The disciples rejoice, seeing him. But Thomas is not there, and only hears the story later. His words, “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,” feel even more poignant now, when the usual ways that we could express care or concern, a hand on the shoulder, a hug, are impossible to give anyone outside our immediate circle. If the resurrection happened today, would Thomas have been able to believe?
My heart goes out to him, and the way he was so honest in his doubts. But Thomas was able to put his hands in the mark of his nails and the hole in his side. He was able to experience the signs of Jesus’s resurrection. He was able to believe.
This Eastertide, still feeling more in Lent than Easter, I wonder if I am actually able to believe in the resurrection, or if it is only a story. I love thinking about the resurrection, love hearing stories about moments that point to renewal, transformation, and rebirth. But I realize that despite the fact that I love stories about resurrection, I sometimes don’t live my life as if the resurrection is true. Sometimes, I live my life to be safe, staying inside both physically and metaphorically.
So as Easter begins, I am starting to look at my life, and wonder if it resembles the life of someone who follows a risen Savior. I am starting to listen, to see if I might notice resurrection in the here and now, those small signs of hope that remind us that Jesus is risen. I am trying to listen and to begin praying, a practice I have long struggled with – actually setting aside time to listen for God. As strange as that feels, this Eastertide, I have a sense of hope when I remember Thomas, tentatively reaching out, touching Jesus’s hands and side. Resurrection found him, even if he didn’t yet believe.