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Doubting and Finding Peace

April 27, 2019
Mountain Bluebird at Hollowell Park in the Rocky Mountain National Park

The Mountain Bluebirds have returned to the Rocky Mountain National Park! Their color and their song are a sure sign that Spring is coming to Colorado… of course, there is snow in the forecast for next week which is also a sure sign of Spring in the Rockies! Yet for me it is still a sign of hope as new life springs from the earth where it has been dormant for the winter. When we are caught in the middle of an April or May snowstorm here, though we may doubt that Spring is really here, there is a certain peace in knowing that it will most certainly come. Only it will come on its own timetable and not on ours!

Even though a week has passed since we celebrated Easter Sunday, in the Gospel reading from John we find the disciples in the locked room on the evening of the day when the women brought the news of the empty tomb to them. All of the remaining eleven disciples were there, except for Thomas. Thomas, for whatever reason, was missing. The church has done a pretty good job through the centuries of vilifying Thomas by somehow believing that his faith wasn’t as strong as the ten who were in the Upper Room when Jesus appeared.

How many times have you heard the phrase, Doubting Thomas? Thomas, the one who’s faith was somehow weaker because he asked a logical question when the others told him about seeing Jesus. Yet if I look at John 20:20 (now there is an interesting thought… 20/20 vision… was their vision perfect at first?), I see something different… After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Look at that verse very closely… AFTER he said this (Peace be with you)… he showed them his hands and his side… THEN the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. They didn’t rejoice and believe until Jesus showed them his hands and his side! Thomas, after his arrival on the scene, only asked for the same sort of “proof” that the others had been given BEFORE they rejoiced and saw the Lord!

Listen to what Thomas said to the others: 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. Is that anything less than what the ten had received themselves? Nope! So, let’s put the eleven in the same boat now. They all doubted… initially, they doubted the testimony of the first evangelists, the WOMEN! Then they only believed once they had physically seen the marks and the scars which proved to them that Jesus was real and not a ghost.

What did Jesus do with these disciples who didn’t know what to believe? Did he belittle them? Did he chastise them? Did he condemn them? Nope! He offered them his peace!

So, despite the doubt of the disciples, Jesus still offered peace! I find great comfort in that personally. Even though I doubt… even though I wonder where the Lord is in the midst of struggles and darkness… even though I see only hopelessness and despair… Jesus doesn’t give up on me… His peace does not require a prerequisite on my part… as he said earlier in John 14:27, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, do not let them be afraid.

When I see the horrors of the attacks on Mosques in New Zealand… the attacks on Synagogues in the US… when I see people killed because of their sexual identity, race, religion, or the color of their skin… when I see violence and hatred spewed out in acts of physical, emotional, and spiritual violence… my heart breaks. At those times I will admit that I lose hope in humanity. It is ONLY the peace which Christ gives that allows me to endure… to shine the light of Christ’s love in the encroaching darkness…

Dear reader, we must band together! We must take the peace which Christ offers to us and hold that light up high. We must be that peace… we must share that peace… that is why Christ gives it to us… we must let it shine out in the darkness!

3 Comments
  1. “Dear reader, we must band together! We must take the peace which Christ offers to us and hold that light up high. We must be that peace… we must share that peace… that is why Christ gives it to us… we must let it shine out in the darkness!” So true, we must be the light and the peace in a world that has forgotten how to value each person.

  2. We must! We shall!

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