Earlier this Sunday morning I “attended” two different worship services. One was a livestream of a former parish I served in Chicago, the other a recorded service led by a friend who serves a congregation in Denver. They both were good for my soul, reminding me of Easter promise even in the midst of the uncertainties and doubts (I love the Thomas story!!) of daily living.
I must confess, however, that my thoughts were here on the southside of Indianapolis, and specifically centered in Bargersville, and a building on Whiteland Road where disciples of Jesus gathered to worship their Risen Lord – together, in person – after such a long time apart. I haven’t yet talked to any of you who were there, but I can imagine a spectrum of feelings, from absolute joy to delayed grief, from excitement to mild disappointment, from simply feeling a bit “weird” walking into a space you have missed so much, to the wonderful peace of being in the company of friends and fellow members. I can also imagine that everything didn’t go quite perfectly, and that things weren’t exactly how you may have imagined them to be…
Which brings me to why I love the Thomas story so much and why it’s so fitting that the lectionary puts it before us every single year on the Sunday after Easter. My friend Debi Thomas says it this way, “In the footsteps of the doubting disciple, we're invited to voice our desires and raise our hopes. We’re given permission to feel hungry, cautious, and (dare we admit it?) envious. Envious of those who find faith easier to sustain than we do. Envious of those who have experienced Jesus more dramatically than we have. Envious of those who, for whatever reason, don’t feel the cognitive dissonance between the truth of the resurrection, and the ongoing reality of death in the world. Thomas reassures us that our glorious Easter hymns notwithstanding, the week after the resurrection has always been murky, messy, and complicated. We’re not the first human beings to struggle with it, and we won’t be the last. Struggle is intrinsic to post-Easter life.”
So yes, it’s okay to admit that this transition time is a struggle. But there are so many things to be hopeful for these days at Risen Lord. More and more people are being vaccinated. You are beginning to safely open the building for worship and for its role as a mission center. You have a regular supply pastor for Sunday mornings as your Leadership Team works for an interim and/or more permanent solution. Most of all, the same Risen Lord who gracefully and gently reminded Thomas of his everlasting love, is the same Risen Lord who leads you through this transitional time.
Be well, friends. You are loved. Alleluia! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Pastor Dave Schreiber