Normally Pause for Thought meets on a Friday morning, we are now able to go online.
You can view the video here:
You can listen to the audio recording by phoning 01252 978319, and a computer will play the audio recording automatically.
The text is here:
Welcome to Pause for Thought. In normal times we meet on a Friday morning in the Spire Church, Farnham, for now we meet online, and welcome everyone who cares to join us. Several of the ideas are based upon material from Roots on the web.
Today we’re thinking about the Bible story from John chapter 20, verses 19-31. The disciples were afraid and had hidden away behind locked doors. Jesus appeared among them and told them that they could be at peace. The disciples saw his wounds, they knew it really was Jesus with them, and they found peace. Then Thomas came back, and like the others wasn’t able to believe until he saw for himself, and touched the wounds himself.
I’m going to lead us in a prayer: Risen Lord, we know that you met with your disciples, despite locked doors and fearful minds. You brought them wholeness and peace. Help us, in our worship and in our lives, to see you meeting with us through nay closed minds, or nay barriers that we have made. Take away our fears, and open our hearts, so that we can be ready to meet you, to hear you, and to know that in you we find our true peace; through Jesus Christ our risen Lord. Amen.
None of us have ever experienced an Easter like this one. Perhaps we have more idea than before what those disciples must have felt like when they were shut away and frightened? Perhaps their doubts and fears may be just a little bit closer to us this year?
Like the disciples, many of us are hiding behind locked doors for fear of the potential danger posed by the people outside. All that we took for granted is simply not there anymore. For the disciples, contact with people outside carried the risk of arrest, injury, or even death by mob violence; for us, such contact may lead to serious illness.
Many of us have had to cancel plans, or put them on hold. Eagerly awaited family gatherings and holidays, sports matches and performances have been postponed at best. We may justifiably feel disappointed, depressed, devastated; and these emotions are pretty much what I think that the disciples were feeling, too. We shouldn’t feel guilty about them.
But Easter comes anyway…
We can’t cancel it or put it on hold. We can’t postpone it, or ask for a refund. Sadly the internet post about Easter being postponed until 12 May 2020 was published on April the first. Like it or not, whether we were in the mood for it or not, Easter comes anyway.
Just like Jesus…
We may be locked in our homes for fear of the people outside, but that doesn’t stop the risen Jesus from coming among us. We may find it hard to believe that he’s with us, especially in times like these; but so did the disciples – especially Thomas.
The marks of Jesus’ wounds proved to Thomas that the Jesus who appeared to the disciples in their doubt and fear was the same Jesus who had been nailed to the cross.
That same Jesus, who was willing to die to show us the height and breadth and depth of God’s love, is willing to be with us in our times of doubt and fear. Jesus’ suffering and death are not the end of his story, and they are not the end of ours either.
I’m going to lead us in a prayer:
Loving heavenly Father, by your Son’s unexpected, amazing resurrection, you show his followers that suffering – and even death – are not the end. May his risen presence be with us in our times of doubt and fear, may he unite us with those whom we love, and when the darkness has gone, raise us through him to new life; through the same Jesus Christ, our risen Lord. Amen.
And so, as we return to other things, go with the blessing of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, upon you, today, tonight, and forever. Amen.