|Pentecost 17, Year B, Season of Creation 3||September 19, 2021||Pentecost 17, Proper 20, Year B, Season of Creation 3||Psalm 54, Mark 9:30-37|
|Pentecost 16, Year B, Season of Creation 2||September 12, 2021||Pentecost 16, Year B, Season of Creation II||Mark 8:27-38|
|Pentecost 15, Year B, Season of Creation 1||September 5, 2021||Proper 18, Year B Season of Creation 2021||Isaiah 35:4-7a, Psalm 146, James 2:1-10, 14-17, Mark 7:24-37|
|Pentecost 13 B – Rev. Amy Turner||August 22, 2021||Pentecost 13, Proper 16||John 6:56-69|
|Pentecost 12, Year B||August 15, 2021||Proper 15, Pentecost 12, Year B||John 6:51-58|
|Pentecost 11, Year B||August 8, 2021||Pentecost 11, Proper 14, Year B||John 6:35,41-51|
|Pentecost 10, Year B – Rev. Bambi Willis||August 1, 2021||Pentecost 10, Proper 13, Year B||John 6:24-35|
|Pentecost 9, Year B||July 25, 2021||Proper 12, Pentecost 9, Year B||2 Kings 4:42-44; Ephesians 3:14-21; John 6:1-21|
|Pentecost 8, Year B||July 18, 2021||Proper 11, Pentecost 8, Year B 2021||Psalm 23, Jeremiah 23:1-6, Mark 6:30-34|
|Pentecost 7, Year B||July 11, 2021||Proper 10, 7th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B||Amos 7:7-15, Psalm 85, Ephesians 1:3-14, 2: 11-22, Mark 6:14-29|
|Pentecost 6, Year B||July 4, 2021||Pentecost 6, Proper 9||2 Corinthians 12:2-10; Mark 6:1-13|
|Pentecost 5, Year B||June 27, 2021||Proper 8, Year B||Mark 5:21-43|
|Pentecost 2, Year B||June 6, 2021||Proper 5, Year B||Genesis 3:8-15, Psalm 130, 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1, Mark 3:20-35|
|Trinity Sunday, Year B||May 30, 2021||Trinity Sunday, Year B||John 3:1-17|
|Day of Pentecost, Year B||May 23, 2021||Day of Pentecost, Year B||Acts 2:1-21, Romans 8:22-27, John 16:4b-15|
Easter 2, Year B
Sermon Date:April 11, 2021
Scripture: John 20:19-31
Liturgy Calendar: Second Sunday of Easter, Year B
“The Incredulity of Thomas” – Duccio, di Buoninsegna (1308-11)
When Jesus appears his disciples for the first time after his resurrection, one of the disciples is missing.
Thomas hears the news later.
The disciples immediately tell him why they are so full of joy. “We have seen the Lord,” they say.
But Thomas does not share the joy of the others. He does not believe them. He wants to see Jesus for himself.
Thomas needs proof to believe.
The disciples don’t throw Thomas out of the group because he doesn’t believe them.
They don’t make Thomas sign on a dotted line saying that he believes that Jesus is risen in order to continue on as one of them.
And Thomas is willing to continue on with the disciples, even though he is the odd person out because he does not yet believe that Jesus really has been resurrected.
Everyone holds together, even in the tension.
In fact, the next week the disciples are all together when Jesus returns, and greets them as he had the week before.
Jesus turns to Thomas, his hands outstretched, his wounded side exposed.
And Thomas sees and believes.
Now that he has seen the risen Lord, Thomas surely feels the joy of the other disciples. And now the joy of the other disciples is complete, for Thomas, their brother, has joined them in joy at last.
The disciples had learned something from Jesus by being his followers during his ministry. They had begun to learn how to love expansively and generously. This expansive and generous love on their parts meant that they could give space to Thomas in his doubt.
The writer of this gospel does not indicate that the disciples tried in any way to convince Thomas that he should believe. They just stuck to their story, kept loving Thomas, and left the rest to Jesus.
And when Jesus appeared, Thomas, too, came to believe.
In our day of divisions, I find this story about Jesus, the disciples, and Thomas particularly helpful.
This story reminds us to be people who love generously and expansively—as Jesus loved the disciples so much that he came back to them after his resurrection, bringing them peace, even though they had deserted and betrayed him on his way to the cross.
This story also reminds us to be open to the resurrection itself and to the ways in which the resurrection is present and visible in us and all around us. Remember, we not only see, but also get to be, signs of resurrection on this earth.
As Julian of Norwich, the medieval mystic wrote, “God is all that is good. God has created all that is made. God loves all that God has created. And so anyone who, in loving God, loves all his fellow creatures [and] loves all that is. All those who are on the spiritual path contain the whole of creation, and the Creator. That is because God is inside us, and inside God is everything. And so whoever loves God loves all that is.”
Resurrection life within us means that our love is constantly expanding outward, loving more and more fully, loving more people, loving more of God’s creation in visible, tangible, touchable ways. When we live resurrection lives, we open up more and more space for love.
This story also reminds us to trust—to trust Jesus to make the resurrection plain to those who doubt, to trust Jesus to make clear the new beginnings opening before us.
When love seems to be in short supply, when all seems to be going wrong, and when we doubt ourselves and others and even God, this story helps us to remember to trust.
When everything goes wrong, when everybody betrays us, when our lives are full of hardships, we go back to the story of the crucifixion. But waiting in trust keeps us from staying stuck on our own crosses.
Trusting in our risen Lord reminds us that after every Good Friday comes Easter.
After every death a comes resurrection.
After the darkness of every night comes the light of another new day.
Trust helps us to be patient in our waiting.
Waiting is an essential part of being able to see resurrection around us.
The way God shaped creation itself teaches us about the value of waiting.
Waiting for the barren winter to end, so that new growth can burst forth when the earth turns to spring…
Waiting nine months for a new life to take shape before a child is born…
Waiting for grief over what has been lost to turn to gladness for what will be, growing out of the goodness of what has been.
So—to be people whose love is growing greater and more expansively, loving more and more day by day,
To be people who trust in the Lord,
To be people willing to wait for the resurrection when resurrection seems impossible–
To love, to trust, to wait on God will lead to joy and gladness.
For resurrection is all around us. We can see new life everywhere, because we have seen our Risen Lord.
As the psalmist says, weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
The disciples, huddled in a locked house, and full of fear, saw their risen Lord and rejoiced together.
In Acts, the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and great grace was upon them all because they heard the apostles give their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power. And so with great joy they shared all that they had with one another and there was not a needy person among them.
The writer of I John says that “we declare to you what we have seen and heard—our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ– so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”
Expansive love, deep trust, waiting on the Lord, and joy—are all the hallmarks of our life together as people of the resurrection.
So let’s love one another as God has loved us,
trust one another as Jesus trusted the disciples,
be patient with one another as the disciples were patient with Thomas,
and to be of one heart and soul with one another and to care for one another so that no one has need.
And may our joy be complete, because we have seen the risen Lord at work all around us, and we already have resurrection life in his name.
Resource: Julian of Norwich, The Long Text, quoted by Richard Rohr in his daily meditation for Friday, April 9th. Meditations@cac.org