Preparing for Worship: 4/19/2020

Reflection from Pastor Hoffman

Peace be with you.

Those are the words that stand out to me this time in the familiar story that we always hear the week after Easter – the story of so-called Doubting Thomas. The disciples are locked away in the room where they had last shared a meal with Jesus before his death. Their world has been turned upside down. They don’t know who or what to believe. They don’t know what’s coming next. And Jesus appears to them saying, “Peace be with you.”

We don’t know where Thomas is or why he’s not with him, but we do know his famous line in the sand: “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.” (John 20:25) And the next time the disciples are gathered there in the upper room – this time with Thomas – Jesus appears again, with the same greeting: Peace be with you.

I’ve never given much thought to that greeting before. It’s far more interesting to focus on Thomas, his need for proof, his belief or lack thereof. But reading the gospel this time, in a world that is filled with fear, turned upside down, where it is hard to know who or what to believe, Jesus’ greeting sounds like a word of blessing: Peace be with you. With these words, Jesus reassures the scared, anxious disciples. Peace is with you, because I am with you.

The risen Christ is still finding us in our locked rooms with fearful hearts. Jesus comes to us – again and again – as many times as it takes – so that we too might receive the peace that comes only from God.

May the peace of the risen Christ be with you.

~ Pastor H.

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