Helen, a member of the St Clare’s community has written the following reflection on John 19: 9-29.
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
In the beginning, on that first day of the week, in a new time without Jesus, he came to them, a bearer of peace. Not gone, but here.
The disciples were gathered together in their common faith and fear, gathered behind a locked door.
What joys is it that they kept out too?
Jesus walked through those locked doors of fear to his people and brought peace; there is no place that you can go that God will not be able to reach you and bring you peace.
20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Jesus continues his signs, and joy breaks through the fear for a moment.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
The work continues and is transferred to our hands through Jesus.
What mission sits in your hands?
22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
As God breathes life, so Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit into us, new life, a baptism in the Holy Spirit itself.
23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Jesus’ work in our hands, he forgave us so that we could be forgiven.
What must we endure to forgive and bring peace ?
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus continues to provide his signs so that his followers, in this case, Thomas, can believe. How many of the others would have had Thomas’ doubt if they had not been in the room that first day?
“blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Chimes of the beatitudes, a recognition of what it will take to believe without signs.
Though, what signs do we see today, perhaps they are still there?
And perhaps it is fitting to end with another line from the beatitudes that echoes through this passage
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God”
Jesus, as we gather in your name
Be with us
Walk through our locked doors and reach us
Calm our fears
Guide our souls to the signs of you
Bring peace to our hearts and minds
So that we may forgive
So that we may carry your message of peace
Jesus, be with us as we gather in your name
Prepare us to unlock our doors and go out into the world with love